Top Baseball Prospects for 2014
Now updated for 2014'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 21 BA 16 SC 16 BP 11 SN ES 24 ML 11
A righthander with three possible plus pitches, righthander Lucas Giolito had a chance to be drafted #1 overall until he was sidelined by UCL problems. If he's really back at full strength, he's one of the best pitching prospects left in the Washington system, and the team's best bet to be a future ace. And considering the depth and quality of that system, that's really something to remember. With a stable of quality arms at all stages of development, the Nats are better-poised for the coming decade than any team in baseball.
Full Scouting Report for Lucas Giolito
SB 22 BA 21 SC 17 BP 13 SN ES 21 ML 44
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 his strong finish led into a powerful 2013 in which he proved that he's most definitely all the way back to premium status. He should see action in KC this season.
Full Scouting Report for Yordano Ventura
SB 23 BA 26 SC 23 BP 12 SN ES 50 ML 35
The fastest legs in red stockings, young Billy Hamilton should get a shot at locking down a long-term job in Cincinnati's young lineup this season. The Pioneer League's player of the year in 2010 stole 155 bases (not a typo) at an 80% success rate in 2012, and ended last season by swiping 13 bases in 13 games for the big-league Reds. The switch-hitting Hamilton really does look like a prototypical leadoff hitter thanks to his wheels and rapidly-developing 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 current lineup.
Full Scouting Report for Billy Hamilton
SB 24 BA 43 SC BP 49 SN ES 52 ML 37
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. So far, all signs point to a 2014 opportunity
Full Scouting Report for Robert Stephenson
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The Cubs number one pick in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora projects to be a Northside star one day soon. Signed when he was only 18, he's not quite ready yet, but he's already got scouts drooling: his across-the-board toolset is solid, and he's still improving. His leadership ability and poise are especially impressive, as he performed very well under the highest possible levels of pressure throughout his award-laden high-school career. Outpacing older players during his first shot at A-level ball last season, Almora slashed a very mature .329/.376/.466. He'll probably spend most of 2014 at high-A Daytona in an attempt to slow him down a little, but it probably won't work: he should be in AA sometime this summer, and he looks like a probably Futures Game star from the get-go.
Full Scouting Report for Albert Almora
SB 26 BA 36 SC 8 BP 25 SN ES 28 ML 18
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.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Zimmer
SB 27 BA 23 SC 11 BP 34 SN ES 10 ML 25
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.
Full Scouting Report for Eddie Butler
SB 28 BA 24 SC 28 BP 26 SN ES 17 ML 41
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 .260/.333/.390 in 86 games split between high and double-A in 2013, propelling him into the 'complete catcher' category. He's not quite ready, especially in the game-calling department, but he's not very far off, either. Expect him to get a look-see in 2014, with 2015 as his more likely ETA.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Hedges
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An 11th round selection by the Dodgers back in 2010, outfielder Joc Pederson has already far exceeded the expectations of most scouts. A late signee, he didn't really taste pro ball until 2011, when he raked a .353/.429/.568 line at rookie-level Ogden in the Pioneer League, impressing coaches with his work ethic and ability to use his raw tools effectively: the young man stole 24 of 29 bases and played an intelligent, competent outfield while being tested at all three positions.
A patient hitter who isn't afraid to take his walks, Pederson is well on his way to becoming a well-rounded ballplayer who should be above-average in all aspects of the game. There might not be an obvious space for him in L.A. right now, but baseball has a way of making space for those with talent enough to get them to the Show in the first place. If he puts in another year like his last two, he'll be on top of the prospect lists next time around.
Full Scouting Report for Joc Pederson
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21 to 30 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013