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 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 261 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 262 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 263 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Aaron Blair, a 21st round selection last season, spent the interim playing Cape Cod baseball before returning to the 2013 draft. Blair, a power righthander, can reach 95mph with his fastball, and it often looks better than that thanks to his better-than-average change. He doesn't yet command his curve with the same confidence he brings to other offerings, but overall he's a good pitcher, not just a raw arm, and he should continue to develop in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Aaron Blair
SB 264 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A hulking righthander who missed the 2014 season recovering from a stress fracture in his back, the University of South Carolina's Chad Sobotka nonetheless landed a $400,000 bonus and a fourth-round selection by the Braves. Atlanta's brain trust, a group that probably deserves some faith, believed that other teams were frightened by Sobotka's injury, one that they expect will have no effect on his future career. Or maybe other teams just wanted the starting pitcher he looked like a year ago, rather than the 96mph fastball / 84mph slider reliever that he'll likely now be. If the Braves elect to rechannel him back into starting duties, of course, he'll need a year or two to sharpen his once-respectable changeup.
Full Scouting Report for Chad Sobotka
SB 265 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A handsome, linebacker-like outfielder from Stanford, Austin Williams is one of the premium offensive prospects available in the 2013 MLB Draft. Williams passed on the Cardinals out of high school, electing to attend Stanford instead. As a college hitter, he's shown exceptional discipline and on-base ability (almost .400 in his sophomore year), coupled with good speed and developing power that hasn't yet translated into light-tower shots, but probably will. With a strong college performance near the end of the season, he rose into the second round of the draft, where he was snapped up by hitting hungry Seattle.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Wilson
SB 266 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 268 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The thirteenth overall selection in the 2014 draft, San Diego infield prospect Trea Turner has the eye, bat and legs to be a premium tablesetter on top of an MLB roster someday. Better than the usual crop of defense-first players with speed, Turner also brings a plus contact bat and very good plate discipline to his game, at least when he doesn't get homer happy. Hopefully the Padres will remind Turner they don't need him to be a power threat: they'll be more than happy enough with the on-base skills and superior defense he's more equipped to deliver.
Full Scouting Report for Trea Turner
SB 269 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A well-rounded high school athlete who just happens to be a pitcher at the moment, Georgia native Spencer Adams was snapped up by the pitching-hungry White Sox in 2014's June amateur draft, and looks like one of the team's top prospects as a result. Adams already mixes a tight 95mph fastball and sharp slider, with a reasonable curve and changeup still in development. Scouts like Adams's lithe frame and loose, easy delivery, suggesting a higher likelihood of smooth, healthy development without setbacks or injuries. Since he's still very young, it also means he could gain more strength and velocity as he matures.
Full Scouting Report for Spencer Adams
SB 270 BA SC BP SN ES ML
260 to 270 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013