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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Selected by Cincinnati in the first round of the 2011 Draft (27th overall), righthander Robert Stephenson was a rare high-school choice from the usually conservative Reds franchise. The tall Californian overpowered his peers in his senior high school season, posting a 1.19 ERA in 76 innings that included not one but two no-hitters. A power pitcher in the classic mould, he can already top 98mph with his fastball. As always, though, it's how well his secondary pitches develop that will determine his fate in pro baseball. He'll try to work up to high-A ball in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Robert Stephenson
SB 22 BA 19 SC BP SN ES ML
Like a taller twin to Gerrit Cole, righty James Taillon is a geniune monster power arm from Texas (via Quebec), a very high-ceiling pitcher who has already cracked 100mph on many radar guns. If that's not enough to get your attention, note that while his slider and change are below average, his curveball has already been rated a plus pitch. If he can hold his arm together under increasing workloads and develop his command and control to pro levels, he could be a viable #2 or #3 starter by 2014 or so, with a shot at being a genuine ace somewhere down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Jameson Taillon
SB 23 BA 22 SC BP SN ES ML
A sleeper prospect in from the Rangers' system, right-hander Carl (CJ) Edwards was drafted as an afterthought in 2011's 48th round, but rose quickly enough through the ranks to gain the attention of the rebuilding regime in Chicago. Edwards skipped past rookie ball in 2012 and spent most of the season with A-level Spokane, racking up a combined 5-3 season with a stellar 1.48 ERA and an eye-popping 0.85 WHIP. His 85:25 ratio of strikeouts to walks was enough to earn him a promotion to Sally League Hickory to open 2013.
Edwards derives a quality mid-90's fastball (somehow) from his slight frame, complementing it with quality off-speed pitches. His plus curve has thus far infuriated lower-level pro batters. While it'll be awhile before he shows the stamina to get deep into ballgames, his ability to handle heavy workloads is really the only question mark here. He's one of the best under-hyped prospects in baseball.
More Scouting Book Info on CJ Edwards
SB 24 BA 28 SC BP SN ES ML
A sometimes-dominating college starter who struggled with control issues from time to time, Colorado prospect Eddie Butler was drafted in 2012's supplemental round on the strength of his best performances, in which he looked downright unhittable. Butler somehow produces a 98mph sinking fastball from a smallish and lightweight frame, managing to command it well to both sides of the plate despite (or thanks to) its late life. His breaking balls are less reliable, but if the Rockies can help him to add even average command to his toolset, he'll be a powerful starter or reliever in the near future.
More Scouting Book Info on Eddie Butler
SB 25 BA 24 SC BP SN ES ML
A square, powerful righthander from the University of San Francisco, KC pitcher Kyle Zimmer's calling card is his 98mph fastball, which he brings from a great rock-solid arm angle. It dazzles hitters from either side of the plate thanks to late life and movement. It's Zimmer's selection of other pitches, though, all of which look to be near-MLB ready, that will get him to the Show to stay. Give him another year or so, and you'll have a quality pitcher on your hands.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Zimmer
SB 26 BA 23 SC BP SN ES ML
A high-profile 2010 pick for the Tigers, high-schooler Nick Castellanos was one of the best bats available in the draft. He shows very quick wrists and great natural hitting ability already, which means as he grows and fills out, he could become a certifiable monster. He has surprising speed for a big guy, too.
He played shortstop in high school, but Scouting Book readers know that we were pretty sure he would be a third baseman or corner outfielder as a pro from the moment the Tigers signed him. In a full season of A-ball in West Michigan, he was indeed primarily deployed at third base (we're so smrt), and he raked to the tune of .312/.367/.436. His AA debut in 2012 didn't go quite as swimmingly, but .264/.296/.382 is nothing to be ashamed of when you're only 20 years old and facing top flight pitching for the first time. Detroit, ever on the lookout for more ways to squeeze sluggers into the lineup, has also started testing young Nicky in right field, and on their OF-light MLB squad, that might be a better place for his debut, at least until Prince Fielder graduates to full-time DH status, leaving at least one of the corner infield spots vacant again.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Castellanos
SB 27 BA 25 SC BP SN ES ML
A very small guy with a very big arm, Royal's righty Yordano Ventura invites easy comparisons to his countrymate Pedro Martinez, though he doesn't come with quite the colorful personality. Ventura complements a plus fastball with rapidly-improving curves and changeups so well that the Royals may need to accelerate his development. His 2012 was a bit of a rebuilding effort, but the full season before shows off Ventura's good and bad parts well enough. That 4-6, 4.27 ERA that he accrued in his first season of A-ball might look pretty uninteresting, but the eyeballs-in-seats part of our research department would like to emphasize that the second half of Ventura's season was markedly better than the first, and he finished strongly enough to gain a few notches on the Kansas City prospect ladder. (Our math nerds would also like to chime in by pointing out that all year long, in good times and bad, he maintained a solid 3:1 ratio of strikeouts to walks.)
More Scouting Book Info on Yordano Ventura
SB 28 BA 26 SC BP SN ES ML
The fastest legs in red stockings, young Billy Hamilton should soon get a shot at locking down a long-term job in Cincinnati's young lineup. The Pioneer League's player of the year in 2010 has just kept on running wild since, most recently stealing 155 bases (not a typo) at an 80% success rate in 2012. The switch-hitting Hamilton really does look like a prototypical leadoff hitter thanks to his wheels and on-base skills: a player doesn't even get 190 opportunities to steal unless one can get on base an awful lot in the first place. In the field, he's capable of shortstop (his natural position), but the Reds have spent the last year prepping him to play the outfield, better to fit into the 2013 lineup.
More Scouting Book Info on Billy Hamilton
SB 29 BA 43 SC BP SN ES ML
The number one catching prospect in the system until Yasmani Grandal came to town, Austin Hedges is still a top prospect with a very high ceiling. Not quite as ready for the majors as Grandal was, Hedges is still barely out of high school. But he's valid: long-seen as a strong-armed defensive catcher, he slashed an unexpectedly-solid .279/.334/.451 in 96 A-level games in 2012, propelling him into the 'complete catcher' category. He's still a couple of years away.
More Scouting Book Info on Austin Hedges
SB 30 BA 27 SC BP SN ES ML
21 to 30 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013