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.
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SB 20 BA 2 SC 2 BP 4 SN ES 3 ML 2
The main return for the departing Dan Haren, Arizona's Tyler Skaggs is almost ready to compete at the major league level, and should contend for a rotation spot in early 2013. Skaggs was so-so as injury relief for the Diamondbacks last year, but is better than his numbers displayed, and the extra experience will probably only make him stronger. If he doesn't break camp with the Diamondbacks, he'll be back to join them permanently soon enough.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Skaggs
SB 21 BA 12 SC 13 BP 17 SN ES 12 ML 10
A 6-foot-4, solidly-built athlete, Marlin prospect Christian Yelich is a left-handed hitter with a picturesque swing that's a thing of beauty. Yelich is already showing good power, and as he grows into his body, that power should grow along with him.
Though originally seen as a first baseman, the Marlins preferred him as an outfielder, and he seems capable of playing any of the three positions there. He's ready enough, but the Marlins may try to hold him back for cost-savings, so it's a bit of a coin toss whether 2013 or 2014 will mark his permanent MLB assignment. A possible (huge) trade could also open up an opportunity earlier than expected.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Yelich
SB 22 BA 15 SC 14 BP 23 SN ES 6 ML 13
A powerful young bat getting a lot of attention in the Rockies system, Nolan Arenado is looking like a viable corner bat in the very, very near future. He slashed an impressive .285/.337/.428 line during his first taste of AA-ball in 2012, showing that he's a contact hitter and not just a slugger.
Arenado is a line-drive hitter right now, but he has real developing power that could catapult him to elite status very soon. His defensive ability, while improving, is still a question mark, though, so it's very possible that he'll be limited to first base or left field in the National League eventually.
Full Scouting Report for Nolan Arenado
SB 23 BA 52 SC 34 BP 57 SN ES ML 62
The Dodgers liked righthander Kevin Gausman a lot back in 2010, but he turned down an above-slot offer to go to LSU instead. Picked up again in 2012 by the Orioles, he's looking just as promising now as he was then: a solid pitcher with a big fastball and promising (though inconsistent) breaking stuff who could develop quickly. He's a bit of a high-risk / high-reward player for the Orioles, but when you're trying to compete in the AL East, you have to take a few chances. So far, he's looking like a good gamble.
Full Scouting Report for Kevin Gausman
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He doesn't have Bryce Harper's moonshot power, but Anthony Rendon is probably still the best pure hitter in the Nationals system today. (Overshadowed by Harper from the very beginning, Rendon was the team's first round draft pick in 2011.) A nominal third baseman, he'll probably shift to second or left field for the Nats soon, at least as long as Ryan Zimmerman appears entrenched at the hot corner. He'll definitely be a potent part of a future Nats lineup, and is the most anticipated new National bat, now that Harper has settled into Beltway life for good.
Full Scouting Report for Anthony Rendon
SB 25 BA 30 SC 37 BP 35 SN ES 17 ML 28
The big slugger named Jonathan Singleton had no real future in Philadelphia, but in the AL-destined Astros he looks like a heck of a 1B/DH piece for the near future. Even as a corner outfield prospect, he's competent, and his powerful left-handed bat does nothing but hit. Singleton raked a nice .284 with 21 homers at AA Corpus Christi last season, which would have placed him squarely into contention for an Opening Day job in Houston if he hadn't derailed his career with a 50-game PED-free drug suspension. He'll be back around midseason and should push his way onto the MLB squad before the year is over, regardless.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Singleton
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The number two overall pick in 2011, Seattle pitching prospect Danny Hultzen is a solid lefthander who draws more than his share of Cliff Lee comparisons. With a fastball that drops in around 94mph and a no-nonsense workmanlike approach to the game, the comparison isn't far off base, either. In three seasons of duty at the University of Virginia, Hultzen went 32-5 with a 2.08 ERA. The Cavs ace also struck out a nasty 148 batters in 103 innings in his final season.
In addition to the well-advertised pinpoint fastball, he showed advanced ability to find and locate a nifty cutter, a decent change, and an occasionally-wicked slider, though he may back-shelf that one for awhile. He looked ready for MLB last season, but with not much to play for, the Mariners erred on the discretionary side, which should keep their soon-to-be-stellar rotation affordable a little bit longer. Look for him this season.
Full Scouting Report for Danny Hultzen
SB 27 BA 29 SC 11 BP 50 SN ES 66 ML 18
The classic all-promise righthander, Arizona's Archie Bradley is a potentially outstanding pitcher who's only a changeup short of a major league career very soon. Of course, that's the pitching equivalent of a hitter who can handle everything except a curve ball, so this youngster's future will depend mighty heavily on how many MPH he can
subtract when called upon to do so. If he stumbles, his big fastball and plus curve should still serve his team well in relief, but we won't know for another year or two which road he'll be taking from South Bend to Mobile.
Full Scouting Report for Archie Bradley
SB 28 BA 25 SC 10 BP 31 SN ES 29 ML 24
A solid, gritty shortstop without a single stand-out tool in his bag, Florida grad Nick Franklin projects as 'a switch-hitting Michael Young' according to at least one scout. He's an above-average fielder with decent range, a solid line-drive hitter with a discerning eye, and a faster-than-average baserunner with good judgment.
Franklin spent most of 2012 in AA, and his .322/.394/.502 line there is all you need to know. He'll compete for a job in Spring Training. Worst-case, he'll arrive late in the season, probably for good.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Franklin
SB 29 BA 79 SC 47 BP 72 SN ES 69 ML 47
Originally drafted out of high school in 2009, Seattle proto-catcher Mike Zunino (son of ex-Yankee Greg) was still the best catcher available when 2012 rolled around, and Seattle moved quickly to snap up some Jesus insurance by selecting him third overall. Zunino is a power hitter with a bit of a propensity to strike out, but his plus bat speed suggests he could become a better impact hitter with coaching and experience. Behind the plate, he's a strong-armed and very high-quality defensive catcher with significant leadership and game-calling skills, making him a bit of a natural to grow up with Seattle's cadre of young, developing arms. Catchers generally take an extra year or three to really develop, but Seattle is pushing Zunino fast, which makes a Buster Posey-style early ascension not just possible, but probable. He'll take some swings in Safeco this season... and quite possibly more than a few.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Zunino
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20 to 30 of 650 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013