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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A power-arm in the Giants' system, Mike Kickham is yet another project in a pitching lab that's quickly becoming famous for producing quality arms. 3.05 ERA, 1.29 WHIP with 137 strikeouts in 150 innings. His control was iffy (he walked 75) but for the quality of his stuff, we can overlook that for now. Give him another year to sharpen his control and he could be another devastating San Francisco weapon.
More Scouting Book Info on Michael Kickham
SB 221 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A talented lefty hitter who's played nothing but outfield since being drafted by the Brewers in 1998, Logan Shafer also put up one of the most impressive minor league seasons in baseball in 2011. Leaping from high A to AA to AAA and eventually getting a pat on the rear with eight games on the Milwaukee bench, Shafer actually performed better and better as he moved up the ladder, culminating in an eye-popping .331/.401/.521 during 40 games at AAA Nashville. He spent most of 2012 proving he was legit, raking a calm and consistent .278/.332/.438 in AAA before his second latte in the fall.
While his power is still mainly of the doubles variety, he did pop a career high eleven homers in Nashville last year, and it seems likely he'll hit even more than that as he fills out. He also needs to improve his baserunning smarts, or give up on trying to steal bases altogether. But other than that there's not much not to like here. Schafer should get a chance to make the Brewers out of spring training, but even if he falls short in April, he'll definitely be with the team by September.
More Scouting Book Info on Logan Schafer
SB 222 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.
More Scouting Book Info on JT Realmuto
SB 223 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Taken by the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft, outfielder Brandon Jacobs has been a sort of lost man in the Boston system ever since. Overshadowed by a number of other players, Jacobs has nonetheless slowly climbed his way into relevance. A running back in high school, Jacobs still looks the part. Now he's a strong, fireplug-shaped outfielder destined for a corner (probably left). His fielding is still rough, and he won't win any 100m dashes, but he's got a power hitter's body and a strong (if long) swing with plus bat speed. If anything gets him to Fenway, it'll be what he can do with a fastball that drifts too far over the plate. Give him another year or two.
More Scouting Book Info on Brandon Jacobs
SB 224 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris Reed
SB 225 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An offensive-minded infielder from Japan's Pacific League, Kensuke Tanaka slashed .300/.350/.363 with in 505 plate appearances last season for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Widely known as a solid glove man, he also showed plus speed and basestealing ability early in his career, though that has faded as he's matured.
More Scouting Book Info on Kensuke Tanaka
SB 226 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, strong Dominican ox in the Mets system, Domingo Tapia is a righthanded pitcher with serious, serious heat. His fastball is probably the best on the Mets farm, and one of the best in the minors today. Tapia used that heater to strike out 101 hitters last season in 108 A-ball innings (19 starts) while walking only 32. He should start 2013 in high A, spend 2014 in AA, and join the Mets late that year.
More Scouting Book Info on Domingo Tapia
SB 227 BA SC BP SN ES ML
LJ Hoes is near-MLB ready outfielder who gets downgraded only because he probably won't get much better than he is today. Other than a power shortage, he's pretty much what you want to see in a prospect just leaving his teenaged years: good bat speed and good raw mechanics at the plate (despite an unusual late load) and all-around athleticism in the field. He's a contact hitter still, but the bat speed and solid fundamentals still point to possible power developing somewhere down the road, though he's running out of time to show it. His ETA in Baltimore is 2013, and he could start by 2014.
More Scouting Book Info on LJ Hoes
SB 228 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A second round pick from the 2006 draft, outfielder Joe Benson skipped out on Purdue to jump into the Twins system, where he's been growing and developing ever since. He's the proud owner of above average wheels at near plus speed, and a solid plus arm, making his defense high quality all around. At the plate, the Twins will be looking for a little more discipline, since he does have a habit of chasing breaking balls, but other than that he's looking awfully close to ready. Benson smashed a precocious .303/.395/.485 at high-A Ft Myers, then looked outclassed in AA and during a relief stint on the MLB roster in 2012, but try not to hold that against him. He should be back and better than that in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Joe Benson
SB 229 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Miles Head
SB 230 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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Top Prospects 2013