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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A pitcher with enough bat to play a corner, Portland native Carson Kelly was selected by the Cardinals at the tail end of 2012's second round on the strength of that bat. A likely third baseman thanks to his cannon arm, he generates plus bat speed and shows a good ability to adjust to pitching at the plate. St Louis has always loved pitchers who can hit; in Kelly they may have landed a hitter who can pitch, too.
Full Scouting Report for Carson Kelly
SB 211 BA SC BP SN ES ML
No relation to Russ, though the righthanded pitcher does have at least one other thing in common with the catcher: both are viable backups at third base. Most baseball people are following the Dodgers' lead and are still looking at Ethan as a pitcher first, and his 2012 mound-work was his best ever: 13-6, 3.48, 1.25 WHIP in 27 Eastern and Southern League AA starts. Martin leads with a usually-straight fastball and falls back on a hard slider coming from a compact frame, a combination that makes him look like more of a reliever than a starter. He's closer, but still not really ready, and needs to get his walks a little more under control, but when he does add some experience to his talent, he could be yet another in a long string of powerful arms that came out of the Dodger system.
Traded to Philadelphia at 2012's deadline, Martin's challenge would seem to be a little bit greater today, but by all accounts he has the character and strength of will to weather adversity: tools that could prove helpful in the City of Brotherly Love.
Full Scouting Report for Ethan Martin
SB 212 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A mature prospect in the Boston stable, righthander Alex Wilson has already shown the ability to perform as both starter and reliever in the minors, most recently going 5-3 in three starts and 37 relief appearances for the PawSox in 2012. He posted a 3.72 ERA, striking out 78 (but walking 33) in 73 total innings. As a reliever, he'll use a mix of fastballs from a high three-quarter arm slot to set up a nicely-commanded slider that's always been his strikeout pitch. His changeup is average, but he won't need to use it as a reliever, anyway, other than as an occasional surprise. He has little left to prove in the minors and should help the big club as a middle-to-late relief specialist in 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Wilson
SB 213 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A converted shortstop with a cannon arm and a terrific pop time, catcher Jake (JT) Realmuto was another part of Greensboro's A-level championship title in 2010. Untapped power and good speed (for a catcher) combine with a quickly-developing eye that should propel him to the majors one day. Realmuto is Miami's top catching prospect today, though he's still a year or two away from big-league baseball.
Full Scouting Report for JT Realmuto
SB 214 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A year after coming back from TJ surgery, Astro prospect Vincent Velasquez looked fully-recovered, touching 97mph with his fastball and flashing a quality changeup and curve in 45 piecemeal innings in low-A Tri-City (NY-P). After another solid year, it looks like he's almost ready for a full workload again, which means he could be pushing for a rotation job in Houston by the end of 2014. Definitely one to watch, though with a practical and critical eye: his frame doesn't suggest durability.
Full Scouting Report for Vincent Velasquez
SB 215 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A young righthander who could join the bevy of power arms in San Francisco in the years to come, Clayton Blackburn was an eye-opener in Augusta last year. Blackburn posted a shiny 8-4, 2.54, 1.02 season at A-ball, striking out an ungodly 143 hitters while walking only 18. That's a strikeout to walk ratio of eight.
Blackburn achieved numbers like those by locating a sinking, mid-90's fastball with good accuracy. His propensity for keeping it down in the zone limits the damage hitters can do, leaving them his quality change and curve to chase, usually all the way back to the bench. While he's worked from both rotations and bullpens, the quality of his secondary pitches will probably keep him in a starter's role until and unless he pitches his way out of it. Having a quality sinking fastball, of course, is a great backup plan if he ever becomes a full-time reliever. Watch his progress in 2013, and you'll have a much better idea where, and how, he'll land in MLB.
Full Scouting Report for Clayton Blackburn
SB 216 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A steal of a signing by the Cardinals just before the 2014 season, 23-year-old Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz hit .315 with 12 homers and 11 stolen bases for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara in 2012. Interestingly, that's the same franchise that produced Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. Maybe it's the water.
Full Scouting Report for Aledmys Diaz
SB 217 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, durable looking righty, Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia signed as an IFA from Dominica in 2007, and since then has been to visit every development guru on the East Coast, as scouts and coaches all tinker with his awkward delivery in the hope of adding some consistent location to his 96mph heater and stumbling slider. Everyone who's worked with Familia agrees that his control needs a great deal of work, but that's typical in a young player with such electric stuff. As with many such players, whether he ends up a starter or reliever will depend almost completely on whether he can learn to throw his raw change with consistency and deception. We won't really know for another year or two, here.
Full Scouting Report for Jeurys Familia
SB 218 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Dodgers first-round pick (16th overall) in 2011, Chris Reed is a big, strong lefty with a solid 94mph fastball and a polished breaking ball. His stuff is electric, especially his strikeout slider: he could be a powerful piece of an MLB bullpen at any time. The Dodgers are thus-far more inclined to let him develop as a starter, though, and given the dodgy state of their rotation, they're probably wise to do so. Reed's physique and mentality do look ideal for a rotation-anchor. Give him a year or two.
Full Scouting Report for Chris Reed
SB 220 BA SC BP SN ES ML
210 to 220 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013