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 low nineties fastball doesn't usually mean much, but when you can bring it from the left side along with a high-quality curve and changeup, you're well on the road to success in MLB. Mariner prospect Tyler Pike looked very good in 2012, striking out 57 in only 50 innings of rookie ball. He won't be up anytime soon, but if he lives up to his early promise, he'll be striking out his share of major leaguers sooner or later. In the mean time, he will be given every chance to refine that arsenal in a minor league rotation for the next four years or so, with the bullpen as an easy backup plan: there's no shortage of job options for a lefthander with quality stuff.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Pike
SB 231 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Jordan 'Magic' Swagerty is a righthanded pitcher in the Cardinals system who most expect to carry on from his college success as a reliever in the future. The jury is far from settled on that just yet, though: while most of the 52 strikeouts he logged in 54 innings at high-A Palm Beach last year came from the bullpen, the Cards also allowed him to make seven starts.
The former Arizona State closer certainly has shut-down stuff: that 92mph dart can touch 94 when it's used sparingly, and it could look even less hittable when it comes right after a nasty, dirt-biting slider. But it's Swagerty's advanced command of the change and curve that keeps St Louis from committing him to ninth-inning work just yet. A switch-hitter, Magic also racked up a .484 average in his junior year of high-school play, so he should enjoy National League style ball, too.
Full Scouting Report for Jordan Swagerty
SB 232 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A 20th-round college pick by the Phillies back in 2009, Darin Ruf has looked like organization filler for most of his minor league career, though he's probably a little more than that. The .317/.408/.620 and 38 homers he mashed at AA Reading got him an MLB stint last year, and thanks to his 11-for-33 performance, he should be back up at some point in 2013. In the field, he's competent in either corner outfield position, but first base is really where he fits best, which is a bit limiting in Philadelphia at present.
Full Scouting Report for Darin Ruf
SB 233 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Drafted in the 10th round of the 2008 draft, JJ Hoover is a tall, solidly-built right-hander who was a bit lost a Braves system deep in pitching, so he could thrive in a Reds organization that's dying for help. Hoover works primarily from his fastball, and since it can touch 98mph, who wouldn't? He's working on his slider and curve, but since he's already striking out more than a batter per inning, he doesn't need much else. We'd be shocked if he didn't contribute from the Reds bullpen this year.
Full Scouting Report for JJ Hoover
SB 234 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The younger brother of National Chris, shortstop Deven Marrero is a rising prospect in the Red Sox system, mainly on the strength of his defensive ability. Per one of his coaches, he's Omar Vizquel, but a better hitter and baserunner. That's pretty high praise to come off the cuff, so we'll have to wait and see, though in Marrero's defense, that .268/.358/.374 with 24/30 steals in his first tour of A-level Lowell is certainly an endorsement. If Jose Iglesias doesn't ever find a stick with which to hit, Marrero will become the chosen one.
Full Scouting Report for Deven Marrero
SB 235 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A hot prospect before the 2008 draft, Scheppers fell to the Pirates (and, after not signing, the Rangers in 2009) due to concerns about an unusual (but non-structural) shoulder injury. He has big upside, but as he's older than most of his same-experienced peers now, his prospect status has taken a hit. He's still only a small step away from being useful in the majors right now, though, which means he's only a single good string of appearances away from Arlington. A full-time reliever now, Scheppers struck out exactly a batter per inning while idling at AAA in 2012, while walking only one sixth as many, for an impressive 1.097 WHIP. He's ready for a new challenge.
Full Scouting Report for Tanner Scheppers
SB 236 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall, thin lefty sneaking his way up the ladder in Tampa, Dominican pitcher Enny Romero won't get a lot of attention due to the richness of pitching the Rays have in stock, but in another system he could be a top prospect, if only for his natural ability.
Rough-edged but generally pretty projectable, his sometimes-clanky delivery seems to be the root of his control struggles, though he did pitch a little more within himself last year, so there's hope. He's been improving in that regard recently, which is critical: until he can keep that sinking 92mph fastball consistently down, he'll have to lean on the change and curve a bit too much to keep hitters honest, and neither of those pitches is quite all-there yet. Romero looked better at high-A Charlotte last year than he did at a lower level the year before, which is a great sign, and managed to increase his workload to 123 innings without any significant setbacks, quelling our earlier concerns about his stamina for now. He'll look to improve again this year and try to work his way into the AA rotation.
Full Scouting Report for Enny Romero
SB 237 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A toolsy hitter who's already capable of spraying balls all over the field, Oakland infield prospect Daniel Robertson looks to fit well into that organization's on-base philosophy. His short swing and excellent eye look more advanced than his age, in fact. Listed by many as a shortstop, his so-so range and powerful arm look more like third base tools to us, and his workmanlike approach to the game suggest that the A's might finally have their Kevin Youkilis, even if it took an extra decade to find him.
Full Scouting Report for Daniel Robertson
SB 238 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A powerful righthander with a long, lean frame, Monmouth export Pat Light was Boston's third overall draft pick in 2012, one with a high ceiling but a few more rough edges than some top prospects. Already touching 98mph with his fastball, he appears to havea little room to grow left in him, too, which is almost scary to consider. He might be better served by subtraction, though, as his top-speed fastball looks a little flat to us. Light's slider and change aren't there yet, as he struggles to throw them for strikes, but both have good movement, so there's signiificant potential here. If his body and touch develop alongside each other, he could be a regular in Fenway by 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Pat Light
SB 239 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A late-blooming pitching prospect who's just now learning to pitch from his very big and strong frame after recovering from shoulder surgery a couple of years back, the Nationals' own Nathan Karns looks like he could step up into MLB soon. In 116 innings split between low and high-A ball last season, the right-handed Karns showed mastery of his 98mph fastball, turning in a scintillating 2.17 ERA, 1.01 WHIP season. A new ability to throw a quality curve for strikes and a developing change also helped him strike out nearly twelve batters per nine innings of work. A bit under the radar thanks to his advanced age, Karns could be a surprise savior if the Nats suffer injury this year. If not, he's on track for a storybook rookie debut at the age of 26 next season.
Full Scouting Report for Nathan Karns
SB 240 BA SC BP SN ES 99 ML
230 to 240 of 650 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013