Top Baseball Prospects for 2013
Now updated for 2013's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
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this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best First Base Prospects for 2013
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
Until recently, being a first base prospect on the Cardinals was a sort of slow death sentence, but 2012 brought with it a bright and shiny new day for the likes of Matthew James Adams. Adams is a strong, plug-shaped fielder who won't be winning any awards for his footwork, and he's definitely locked at first base (or at DH on another team), but what the young man can definitely do is hit baseballs far, and often.
For most of his young career, his power potential has always been a given, but the real crux of Adams's recent attractiveness is that those 18 homers he nailed in 67 AAA games didn't come on all-or-nothing swings: the Philly native also maintained a .329 average on the season and walked with encouraging frequency. He was rewarded with a September callup, and deserves a roster spot in 2013. He'll never fill you-know-who's shoes, of course, but he can be a very high-quality player in his own right, and he's pretty much ready for big league ball today.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Adams
SB 52 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Diamondbacks organizational player of the year for 2009, first baseman Ryan Wheeler was acquired by the Rockies in their trade of Matt Reynolds late in 2012. While his stock has slid a bit since its 2010 heights, Wheeler is still looking like a solid all around player who will land in Coors sooner rather than later. Before slouching into MLB with the Diamondbacks late in the year, Wheeler had slashed a scary-good .351/.388/.572 line in AAA ball, and that's the player the Rockies hope they traded for. His strikeout to walk ratio, just barely over 2:1, wasn't half-bad, either. He should be a part of an under-the-radar Rockies revival in 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Ryan Wheeler
SB 125 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, strong and hungry monster with plus contact skills and off-the-charts power, Phoenix native CJ 'Crusher' Cron slashed a nasty-looking .308/.371/.629 right through the rookie Pioneer League in 2011, capped by eight homers in his final ten games. In 2012, he did much the same in the Cal League, posting a .293/.327/.516 line while knocking no less than
twenty-seven dingers. We expect he'll be crushing AA pitching sometime in 2013, just as soon as they open the cage to let him out.
Full Scouting Report for CJ Cron
SB 173 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tree-trunk of a young man, Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach won't win any sprints or high-jumping contests, but lordy, lordy, the boy can hit baseballs. Plus contact, plus-plus power to all fields, and a bucketful of moon-shots every day in batting practice: these are the things young Vogelbach is made of. In the NL, a man this large (the Cubs list him at 250lbs, but they're being very polite) is destined for first base, like it or not, and thankfully Vogelbach does show good hands and footwork around the bag.
Full Scouting Report for Dan Vogelbach
SB 199 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Oh, the headlines they'll write. Miles Head is a powerful and puntastic prospect currently gaining attention in the Oakland system. With 23 homers in 124 games split between high- and double-A last year, Miles is a big boy on a fast track to joining the very young and very potent offense in Oakland.
While he has enough arm to play third base, he really belongs at first, where he's a capable fielder, or better still at DH, where he can focus on mashing longballs full-time. While the Athletics would surely like Head to take a few more walks, they'll certainly accept that .968 OPS at any cost, which means he could be tested in a green and gold uniform before 2013 has faded into winter.
Full Scouting Report for Miles Head
SB 229 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A 20th-round college pick by the Phillies back in 2009, Darin Ruf has looked like organization filler for most of his minor league career, though he's probably a little more than that. The .317/.408/.620 and 38 homers he mashed at AA Reading got him an MLB stint last year, and thanks to his 11-for-33 performance, he should be back up at some point in 2013. In the field, he's competent in either corner outfield position, but first base is really where he fits best, which is a bit limiting in Philadelphia at present.
Full Scouting Report for Darin Ruf
SB 233 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A two-way player in high-school, Oakland announced Matt Olson as a first baseman when selecting him in 2012's First Supplemental Round, and that's probably what he'll be for the Athletics. He has a promising mix of power and patience that could play well in a system that covets both.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Olson
SB 242 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Chris McGuiness, a Citadel grad originally drafted by the Red Sox, came to the Indians a Rule 5 selection from Texas. That means he'll need to stick on the major league roster to remain an Indian, and there are indications he may be able to do just that. McGuiness smacked 24 homers and slashed a .268/.366/.474 line at AA Frisco last season while playing first base exclusively. If he can do that again in the majors, well... those are numbers that the Indians would take from a left-handed first baseman / designated hitter.
Full Scouting Report for Chris McGuiness
SB 269 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The best in-house bet for a first-baseman of the future, Milwaukee's Hunter Morris stroked an easy .303/.357/.563 (with 28 home runs) at AA Huntsville in 2012. There's not much more he needs to prove in the minors, which means he'll be banging on Milwaukee's door in 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Hunter Morris
SB 297 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third round pick by the always-clever Pirates in the 2011 draft, and signed despite concerns about his future plans, ex-Hoosier Alex Dickerson is a slugger of the first order. He should help the Pirates offset a pitching-heavy talent pool in the near future. While dropping to the third round helped him fade from some writers' memories, his first-year pro line at low-A State College (.313/.393/.493) propelled him back into the top ranks.
A prototypical slugger, Dickerson is big, wide and strong. He's the kind of friend you'd call to help you move, or maybe to stand behind you while you visit someone who owes you money. Dickerson's left-handed swing is a bit long, but his bat speed seems more than adequate to cover that right now. He's not getting fooled by breaking balls yet, either, though he hasn't seen many truly great ones. We're dying to see him in Altoona. Until then, he's a couple of years away from the majors (let's say... mid-to-late 2014?), but if he continues to chew through pitching the way he has so far, he'll be a great asset by that time.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Dickerson
SB 328 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A mature college star toiling in the Oriole minor league system, Christian Walker is a righthanded first baseman with superior on-base skills but questionable power. He looks like a fringe candidate from here, but a James Loney / Kevin Youkilis career isn't completely out of the question here.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Walker
SB 382 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A pure hitter drafted 48th overall by the White Sox in 2012, Florida native Keon Barnum is already capable of putting on tentpole exhibitions in batting practice. With a big, strong bat from the left side with a stroke that might be a bit too long, we see a lot of longballs and an even larger number of strikeouts in his future. Chicago is a good place to showcase those skills.
Full Scouting Report for Keon Barnum
SB 396 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A massive first baseman with equally massive power potential, Diamondback prospect Jonathan Griffin destroyed the Cal League (.304/.366/.523 with 26 homers) in 2012 before being bumped to AA. That's where he'll keep mashing in 2012, trying to cut back on the strikeouts a bit. His glove at first is adequate for a right-hander, but a little more refinement there wouldn't hurt either. If the Diamondbacks need a mid-season boost, he may get a shot, but otherwise we're looking at Griffin competing for a 2014 roster spot.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Griffin
SB 403 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Alex Dickerson gets a lot of press in Piratelandia, but it could be another first base masher, the smaller but just as potent Matthew Curry, who ends up launching dingers in Pittsburgh first. Curry, a 16th round (!) selection back in 2010, looked awfully good in AA last year, slashing a .285/352/.480 line at Altoona. He'll probably start 2013 back in Altoona, but as long as he maintains the same level of performance, he'll end the year with the big club.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Curry
SB 410 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Chris Garcia is a big, strong corner infielder who came to the Braves via the Los Angeles Angels. A seasoned prospect, Garcia is probably the most disciplined hitter on the Atlanta farm, as evidence by his 334:317 strikeout to walk ratio in six minor league season. Recently, Garcia slashed .285/.408 /.431 with 11 homers at high-A Lynchburg while playing a competent first base (he's also spent time at second and third, but he's a bit large for either.) A Casey Kotchman / James Loney type hitter, he won't be a superstar, but he could prove valuable if Atlanta, or another team, loses an everyday corner infielder in the months or years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Chris Garcia
SB 445 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the best hitting prospects in the 2007 Amateur Draft, Beau Mills went to the Indians, who at the time enough had no long-term 1B or 3B solution in their system. He turned out to be pretty much as-expected, a lumbering slow slugger with so-so contact skills but plus power. The .300/.358/.522 line he posted in AA Akron in 2011 was validated by a month-long tour with the AAA Clippers in which he turned in similar numbers while homering seven times in 35 games.
While his stumbles in 2012 led the now-loaded-with-bats Indians to pawn him off to the Reds, he still deserves at least a look in MLB.
Full Scouting Report for Beau Mills
SB 453 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Puerto Rican prospect Neftali Soto is a toolsy infielder who's growing up fast in the Reds' power-packed farm system. After looking like the future of the franchise in 2011, he took a step back in 2012 at AAA Louisville with a meh .245/.313/.400 full-season line. He did manage 14 homers and 30 doubles, however, showing that he hasn't lost his power stroke. His increasing size and strength knocked him out of third base contention, as expected, but he's a useful enough 1B-RF bat, and he could be a decent DH with another ballclub. But as long as he keeps hitting, that'll be just fine.
Full Scouting Report for Neftali Soto
SB 493 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The M's chose Poythress in round two of the 2009 draft based on his ability to hit baseballs very, very hard. He's pretty much done that, though not to the high levels that Seattle was hoping for. His .304/.404/.439 line at AA Jackson last year is solid enough, but with only six homers in 83 games, he might not have the power that a first baseman is expected to have. Seattle is banking on some short-term veteran bats in 2013, and if any of them falter or fall to injury, the team could him a shot. His defensive shortcomings limit him to first base or DH, but that might not matter: the Mariner lineup could benefit from a righthanded bat at either position.
Full Scouting Report for Rich Poythress
SB 532 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A power-slugging right-handed first baseman in the Cleveland system, Jesus Aguilar isn't the second coming of Almighty Pronk, but he's certainly good enough to mash some MLB-style dingers of his own in the years to come. Until then, he'll idle at AA Akron, where he slashed .292/.402/.500 in short duty last year, after doing much the same in high-A earlier in the season.
Full Scouting Report for Jesus Aguilar
SB 538 BA SC BP SN ES ML
When a high school player is projected as a first baseman, it's a sort of mixed message. On the one hand, it means that scouts have little to no faith in the player's ability to perform anywhere on the field. On the other hand, if such a player is still highly thought of, he must be one heck of a hitter. That's the case with Los Angeles teenager Dominic Smith. The youngster has exceptional bat speed and power, and even shows enough of a discerning eye at the plate that a few scouts have conjured the ghost of Larry Walker in describing his potential. Smith's glove is actually quite good at first, and he has a strong arm, so it's possible some team will try to make a right fielder out of him, but that won't change the calculus: as long as the kid can learn to handle quality breaking balls in the minor leagues, he'll be a quality MLB ballplayer one day.
Full Scouting Report for Dominic Smith
SB 539 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013