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 toolsy, fast college player with a potent bat from the right side of the plate, Jason Esposito is a nice sleeper prospect clawing his way quickly up the Baltimore system. Esposito slashed a nice .330/.405/.514 in three full seasons of ball at Vanderbilt, with a homer every 30 at-bats and 60-of-79 steals. He's not exactly patient at the plate yet, but he's got a little time to work on that. If plate discipline is something that can be learned (and the jury's still out on that one, officially), Esposito's powerful mix of offensive tools is just what a team like the Orioles should be looking for: a premium project. He looked overmatched in A-ball last year, but we'll chalk that up to adjusting to the pro game and wait to see what he does in 2013. We're cautiously optimistic.
More Scouting Book Info on Jason Esposito
SB 291 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A solidly-built catcher/third-base prospect from Kent, Washington, Reese McGuire doesn't quite deserve the Bryce Harper comparisons he sometimes inspires, but he's not all that far off, either. An offensive monster at a young age, he should enjoy the benefits of further physical development over the next couple of years, which means those towering homers will get even more awe-inspiring. Best of all, he gets that power from a short, quick stroke that doesn't look like any kind of all-or-nothing swing. Behind the plate, he looks very very good, definitely good enough to stick at catcher if his body plays along. He's very young and very raw, but there are few players from the 2013 draft class with a higher ceiling.
More Scouting Book Info on Reese McGuire
SB 292 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Luke Jackson is a young, strong and raw righthander cooking up in the Texas Ranger system. Blessed with an easy 95mph fastball, Jackson overpowered Carolina League (High A) hitters in 2012 with 74 strikeouts in 65 innings of work, but didn't need much more than that heater to do it: his finesse and pitching savvy still have some distance to cover before he's Arlington ready. His curve and change aren't suitable for higher levels of minor league ball yet, but he's in a good system for development and shows the sort of pitcher's body and strength that old-school coaches love. If you like raw projectability over eye-popping early results, Jackson's your man.
More Scouting Book Info on Luke Jackson
SB 293 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A powerful righthander with genuinely filthy stuff, Pirate prospect Victor Black looks like a future closer, as long as he can throw his prime stuff with consistency. At AA Altoona in 2012, Black struck out an ungodly 85 batters in only 60 innings of work, wrapping up 38 games for the Curve and earning respect as one of the league's nastiest relievers. He's a fascinating option for the Pirates in 2014... and maybe even sooner than that.
More Scouting Book Info on Victor Black
SB 294 BA SC BP SN ES ML
When a high school player is projected as a first baseman, it's a sort of mixed message. On the one hand, it means that scouts have little to no faith in the player's ability to perform anywhere on the field. On the other hand, if such a player is still highly thought of, he must be one heck of a hitter. That's the case with LA-born, NY-drafted teenager Dominic Smith. The youngster has exceptional bat speed and power, and even shows enough of a discerning eye at the plate that a few scouts have conjured the ghost of Larry Walker in describing his potential. Smith's glove is actually quite good at first, and he has a strong arm, so it's possible some team will try to make a right fielder out of him, but that won't change the calculus: as long as the kid can learn to handle quality breaking balls in the minor leagues, he'll be a quality MLB ballplayer one day.
More Scouting Book Info on Dominic Smith
SB 295 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The kind of all-around outfielder that Dexter Fowler once promised to be, Sacramento State's Tim Wheeler was universally regarded as one of the safest 'college hitters' available in the 2009 draft. With plus speed and a good set of instincts for the outfield, he's a solid defender, while his high-contact, high-smarts approach to hitting have always made it look like it could fit right into the top of the Rockies order soon enough.
He hit a career-best .303 in 2012 in AAA, though his power evaporated mysteriously, and he's still struggling to steal bases efficiently. He needs to put in more work.
More Scouting Book Info on Tim Wheeler
SB 296 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A fast-developing outfielder who slashed .309/.364 /.403 at AA Mississippi last year, Thomas David (Todd) Cunningham is one of Atlanta's most-potent future offensive threats. A switch hitter, Cunningham combines an ability to hit for a high average with good speed and developing power. Cunningham has true plus speed and can cover a large amount of outfield ground, though he's still learning to use that speed effectively on the bases. He'll be ready for MLB in another year or so: if there's no place for him in Atlanta, he could become a significant mid- or offseason trade target for a team without a clear CF option.
More Scouting Book Info on Todd Cunningham
SB 297 BA SC BP SN ES ML
By most measures, he's the least of the three prospects the Padres landed for Mat Latos, but USC righthander Brad Boxberger is still no slouch. The 43rd player selected in the 2009 draft is a strong, stout pitcher who projects as a middle-of-rotation arm for the Padres in the near future, thanks to his pro-level collection of above-average pitches and his ability to survive under pressure. He works with a 92-94mph fastball that he'll work in on hitters quite fearlessly, and he complements it with a decent-and-improving curve. Most interestingly, though, he features a nifty sinking change that could be a real strikeout pitch for him once he learns to command it a bit more consistently.
More Scouting Book Info on Brad Boxberger
SB 298 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, hard-throwing Dominican righthander signed by the Mets as an international free agent in 2006, Cleto is a raw pitcher who features a moving fastball at 97mph, a real thunderbolt that looks like a genuine plus pitch. His slider is a work in progress, however, and his other pitches aren't anything special yet.
Cleto was acquired by the Cardinals in the 2011 offseason after a Cal League year with Seattle in which he posted a 6.16 ERA in 23 appearances (21 starts). If his change develops, he could still blossom into a strong starting role, but so far (as expected/feared) its' been the slider that's developed best, earmarking Cleto as a late-inning strikeout artist: in nine late-season innings with the MLB Cards last year, Clete struck out fifteen hitters. Expect him to remain a bullpen weapon in 2013, with a move to the rotation possible one day down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Maikel Cleto
SB 299 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 300 BA SC BP SN ES ML
290 to 300 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013