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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Three years after signing an IFA bonus totally three quarters of a million dollars back in 2009, the very young Twins prospect Jorge Polanco stepped up in rookie-league Elizabethton last year, slashing .318/.388/.514 with five homers and six stolen bases spread across 51 games while showing a real plus glove all over the diamond. It looks like all that winter ball and coaching paid off on defense, too, as the smallish prospect seems to be growing into a strong, potent athlete. He might not be the nimble, rangey shortstop that most Dominicans aspire to be, but Polanco is already looking like a solid second baseman from our seat, so that's how we'll label him for now. Give him a few years to refine his overall game and he'll be a good one.
More Scouting Book Info on Jorge Polanco
SB 291 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An athletic righthander from Southlake, Texas, Dodger prospect Ross Stripling leans heavily on a sinking 94mph fastball with good natural movement. His secondary pitches are qualiity curve and very good changeup, and when he's on his game he can slice and dice hitters by mixing all three pitches in the lower part of the zone. Stripling struck out a batter per inning in 12 Rookie League starts last season. but it'll be mid-2013 before the Dodgers really know what he can do. He could move quickly if he keeps up his sharp command: keep an eye on his peripherals to see whether he'll arrive in LA in mid-2014, which would be right on schedule, or sooner than that, which is very possible. Coaches are buzzing about him already.
More Scouting Book Info on Ross Stripling
SB 292 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall, slender righthander from Florida State, Cardinal prospect Luke Weaver draws a few comparisons to Tim Hudson, probably due to his size, shape and arm angle. Like Hudson, he doesn't overpower with raw stuff, choosing to dial his fastball down to 92-93mph in order to give him better control of its late life, while mixing in a very, very good low-80s changeup with natural sink. His soft slider (or is it a hard curve?) isn't anything special yet, but he's shown an affinity for study and practice, which means it wouldn't shock anyone to see him develop a quality third or fourth pitch in the years to come.
More Scouting Book Info on Luke Weaver
SB 293 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A righthanded pitcher who actually committed to Florida as a shortstop before being signed away the Rays, Cameron Varga fell to Tampa in the second round due to concerns about a biceps injury he suffered a season earlier, but if he's truly all better, he's going to end up looking like a real steal. To understand why he gave up on shortstop, note that Varga went 10-0 in his senior year at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
while not allowing a run. His strikeout to walk ratio was 141:6 walks, and his wins included five no-hitters. If there's an asterisk attached to all that, consider that he was one of the older high-school players in the country (he missed a year of school, and was 19 at graduation). But there's no denying that his 94mph fastball and power curve are real weapons, for any age, and his changeup is much more promising than most pitchers have a handle on so early. He's one of the best high-risk, high-reward prospects to come out of the 2014 draft.
More Scouting Book Info on Cameron Varga
SB 294 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Yet another spare part that came to the Astros via the Phillies farm system, SSantana is tall, projectable hitter with a long but uncluttered swing. An average runner and a strong-armed thrower, Sunday is still learning to handle breaking pitches, but for such a young talent, he's already looking like one of the best athletes in the revitalized Houston system. Give him a couple of years to get comfortable with upper-level pitching, especially those irksome breaking balls he's going to struggle with in AA, and he could be a part of a wild new AL offense in 2015 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Domingo Santana
SB 295 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A right-handed outfielder with solid Cuban League experience, Dariel Alvarez was signed by the O's in the summer of 2013. Alvarez is seen as a talent all-around ballplayer who could probably handle an infield assignment if required, though centerfield is his natural home. From any position, his strong arm is seen as his main defensive tool. Offensively, his patience at the plate is a bit of a question, but he shows an advanced bat with better than average power and above-average speed.
More Scouting Book Info on Dariel Alvarez
SB 296 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A switch-hitting catcher from Indianapolis, Tucker Barnhart is an all-around ballplayer with great raw tools and more than a small idea how to apply them to the game of baseball. Drafted out of high school by the Reds back in 2009, Barnhart has shown a quality batting eye and good patience at each level of play, slashing .278/.371/.409 last season at high-A Bakersfield and earning a promotion to AA at the end of the year. He's got a little pop, but with less than a dozen homers in three hundred pro games, he won't be winning any home run derbies. Behind the plate, he's a quality receiver with what looks to be a preternatural gift for keeping pitchers in the zone. While Devin Mesoraco has the Reds catcher-of-the-future award in hand for now, Barnhart could be in the running in another couple of years.
More Scouting Book Info on Tucker Barnhart
SB 297 BA SC 94 BP SN ES ML
Most two-sport, two-way amateur players are a bit of a novelty, and it's clear which way they'll fall when they turn professional. This isn't the case with Monte Harrison, an outfielder/pitcher/wide-receiver who received football and baseball scholarships from Nebraska before signing with the Brewers, who drafted him 50th overall in 2014. A raw athlete with pretty much wide-open ceiling, Harrison's already got a 97mph fastball and/or cannon arm from the field, near-plus speed, and a very quick, sharp batting stroke with a nice angle of attack that could blossom into a line-drive generator in time. He'll need a lot of time to practice, but now that he's focusing on baseball, he should develop a lot more quickly. Still, give this one a few years to see what's what.
More Scouting Book Info on Monte Harrison
SB 298 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Georgia native who's already shown the ability to maintain a 95mph fastball deep into starts, White Sox prospect Chris Beck is a righthander with the usual college pedigree: he's only a year or two away from MLB ready, and when he arrives he should be adept at pounding the lower half of the strike zone while mixing in two different better-than-average breaking pitches to boot.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris Beck
SB 300 BA SC BP SN ES ML
290 to 300 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013