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 massive lefthander from New York state who grew even more massive during his time in Texas, Sean Nolin is an advanced Blue Jay prospect who spent most of 2012 in high-A ball. At Dunedin, Nolin racked up a nice 2.19 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in fifteen starts, striking out more than a batter per inning while walking less than a third as many. Nolin mixes a very good slider with a decent curve, but it's his plus change that makes his low-90's fastball look a couple of ticks better than that. On the newly-depleted Blue Jay farm, he's one of the nearest to ready. If he dominates at AA the way he did at lower levels, he'll be in Toronto before the year is up.
More Scouting Book Info on Sean Nolin
SB 271 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Like all Florida shortstops, Oscar Mercado is often compared to a young Alex Rodriguez. And there's some similarity: the lean athleticism, the discerning eye that seems to see right through pitchers, the all-around grace and strong arm from the field. He's gifted with a bit less raw power than young A-Rod was, however, and quite a bit faster: he'll be more of a consistent 40-steal threat than a 40-homer one. Still, he looks every inch a true shortstop, probably the best high school infielder of his draft class.
More Scouting Book Info on Oscar Mercado
SB 272 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A lot of teams like to do it, but the Dodgers really, really, really love drafting major league bloodlines, and shortstop Jesmuel Valentin (Jose's son) will fit very nicely into that wont. A switch-hitter like his daddy, Jesmuel's swing is quite different looking, though he delivers similar plus bat speed and deceptive power. On the bases, he's above average, and in the field he seems capable of handling shortstop, though not in the most elegant way. Second base might be a better long-term home, though if he inherited his father's flexibility, he should be capable of playing any of the eight fielding positions.
More Scouting Book Info on Jesmuel Valentin
SB 273 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big-bodied righthander from Orlando, Padres pitching prospect Walker (sic) Weickel was the 55th player selected overall in the 2012 draft. The 94mph he's already reaching with his fastball will increase as he fills out, and the good cut and sink he can add make him look ready to be a dominant reliever very soon. Of course, he's durable-looking and armed with a quality curveball, too, so he'll be given every possible opportunity to succeed as a starter long before it comes to that, especially given the wealth of hot relief arms in the Padre system.
More Scouting Book Info on Walker Weickel
SB 274 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Originally drafted by the Rangers, Righthander Joe Wieland is today a premium Padres pitching prospect with his sights set squarely on San Diego. A tall and thin kid with easy gas, Wieland works comfortably at 90-94mph, spiced with a genuine plus curve. Even his change shows above-average flash.
With exceptionally good command and control, he brought all that quality stuff to bear in 2012, making six starts for the Padres and posting a veteran-looking 1.27 WHIP and 24:9 strikeout to walk ratio. A fly-ball/strikeout pitcher, he should improve further in 2013 and fit perfectly into San Diego's style of play, not to mention that ballpark. If he's not in the rotation to open 2013, he will be by the end of the season.
More Scouting Book Info on Joe Wieland
SB 275 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 276 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Sometime in the last decade or so, the Braves got very very good at identifying catchers. Victor Caratini, a product of the PR Baseball Academy, is another in the fast-growing line of top-notch backstops coming through Atlanta's system. A reliable defensive target, he's received a great deal of praise for his framing and blocking ability, and his arm, while not a full-bore cannon, is better than many MLB catchers already. At the plate, he's a viable switch-hitter, a disciplined and well-rounded talent who projects as a 10-20 home run guy in the future. (He hit .377 with six home runs and a .549 slugging percentage in 175 ABs with Miami Dade.) Should the Braves catcher pipeline get jammed up, as it may very well, Caratini is also a capable third baseman.
More Scouting Book Info on Victor Caratini
SB 277 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish closer candidate who came from the Padres minor league system, U Missouri alum and current Diamondback prospect Matt Stites ran his high-90's fastball right through the Midwest League in 2012, posting this insane performance line that contains no typographical errors: 50 innings, 0.74 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 60 strikeouts and (wait for it) 3 walks.
Stites complements his heat with a 'changeup' that still clocks in the high 80's and a breaking ball that's either a 12-7 slider or a hard curve, depending on your school of thought. Either way, it's devastating when it comes in unannounced. Despite his smallish stature, Stites has all the confidence and swagger you expect from a quality relief pitcher. He's shown no fear of any hitter, at least not yet.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Stites
SB 278 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 was sort of lost man in the Boston system ever after. Overshadowed by a number of other players while in Boston, Jacobs nonetheless slowly climbed his way into relevance, and should have an easier path to the Majors from the White Sox starting blocks.
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 MLB, 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 279 BA SC BP SN ES ML
270 to 280 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013