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 seasoned prospect looking to break into the San Francisco rotation ASAP, righthander Chris Henson is unlike most Giant pitching prospects in that he doesn't throw ungodly breaking stuff at 99mph. What he can do well, though, is
pitch. Heston has succeeded at every level by combining great command and superior pitching skill, and there's no real reason to think he can't ride his very clever arm all the way to the big leagues soon. That 2.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP season he posted last year came across 25 AA-level starts, after all, so there are no worries here about inferior hitters or a small sample size. Bank on him being with the big club in 2014, but don't be surprised if he sneaks his way into the Giants' rotation several months ahead of schedule, either.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris Heston
SB 291 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year for 2008, DeJesus doesn't have much left to prove in the minors, especially after idling with a bubbling .304/.343/.416 during another full year of AAA parking-lot ball in 2012. When he makes contact, he's a hitter in the Howie Kendrick style: gap to gap line drives with excellent bat control. In the field, he has soft hands and excellent (inherited?) baseball instincts.
Traded to the suddenly-rebuilding Red Sox in the August shocker of 2012 that sent Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to L.A., and then to Pittsburgh for the acquisition of Joel Hanrahan, De Jesus provides high-upside infield potential on a team that doesn't have much left. He looks like he'll be playing in Pittsburgh very soon.
More Scouting Book Info on Ivan De Jesus
SB 292 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A lefty pitching prospect whose ascension was hampered by a stress fracture (in his foot), Matt Smoral has a nice and easy delivery to serve up a quality fastball in the 92-94mph range and a filthy breaking ball, though not one he can yet command effectively.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Smoral
SB 293 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A gifted all-around infielder from Puerto Rico, Kansas City prospect Christian Colon hasn't quite lived up to the hype associated with his draft ranking, but there's nothing about him that says 'bust', either. A plus contact hitter with good speed, excellent baseball instincts and soft hands, Colon, won't hit 40 home runs in any league any time soon, but he should be a good enough contributor at all other aspects of the game to bless the Royals roster before the end of 2013, if only as a benchy utility type.
More Scouting Book Info on Christian Colon
SB 294 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A fifth-round pick by the Royals back in 2008, lefty John Lamb scrambled up the ladder quickly before plateauing at AA last season. He no longer ranks among the minor league leaders in ERA and strikeouts, probably because of the return from TJ surgery he's been working through for more than a year now. Lamb, however, remains a cool-headed professional on the mound and seems able to succeed even when balls aren't falling his way. His fastball, which once hit 96, currently tops out around 90mph, though it still shows good movement, and while he hasn't been throwing his high-school slider much lately, his change and curve are near major-league ready. Give him another half season or so to fully return to strength, then we'll see how much he has left in that onetime top-shelf arm.
More Scouting Book Info on John Lamb
SB 295 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Has it been that long already? Son of the Blake Street Basher himself, Dante Jr. is a pretty disciplined power hitter for such a young player, and seems capable of playing a more than reasonable third base in the bargain. The easy pick as GCL MVP for 2011 (.342/.446/.505), he's found a better level in full-A ball, and should remain there until his bat can propel him into AA, which could come by the end of the season. His advanced batting eye is the key to his success so far, and if he can maintain it, he should be able to put up solid numbers again.
More Scouting Book Info on Dante Bichette
SB 296 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A quality righthander in the lower levels of the Tampa Bay organization, young Jeff Ames is one of the lesser-known arms in a pitching-heavy system that seems to have a special propensity for drafting players from the state of Washington. He combines a quality fastball with a slider that looks like a plus pitch at times, which means even if he can't master the emerging changeup, he could have a bright future in a major league bullpen someday. Ames looked terrific in his first 64 innings of work in the low-A level NYPL (1.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 70:20 K:BB), and will attempt to make the same short work of high-A ball in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Jeff Ames
SB 297 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Padre prospect with the nastiest sinker-slider combo in the minors, righthander Donn Roach can also toss a borderline curve just often enough to infuriate free swingers. Jumping across two levels of play in 2012, Roach combined for a ground-ball heavy 1.88 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 105 innings of work as a starter. He looks like an innings-eating ground ball machine who should be ready in mid-2014, though the team could use him sooner than that. He'll idle and polish his third pitch in AA this season.
More Scouting Book Info on Donn Roach
SB 298 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Cuban lefthander Gerardo Concepcion is a young phenom who's been quiet all winter, while arranging his citizenship in Mexico, working out in the Dominican Republic and generally getting ready for his new life in America. That life will have a North Side address, now, as the new Cubs brain trust scooped him up when nobody else was looking.
No fifth starter, Concepcion was the Rookie of the Year in the Cuban National League last season with the Industriales. In his first and final year in Cuba, Concepcion posted a 3.36 ERA in sixteen starts and five relief appearances. He defected in Rotterdam last winter. Comparisons to Aroldis Chapman are inevitable, though Noel Arguelles might be a better choice. In Concepcion's case, either comparison is almost fair. Concepcion can't come close to Chapman's heat, and he's even less polished, but he does bring similarly wicked stuff from a similarly tall, wiry frame. He got shellshocked a bit from his first exposure to US ball in 2012, but he's young enough that he should have time to adjust. That might take a couple of years.
More Scouting Book Info on Gerardo Concepcion
SB 299 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third round pick by the always-clever Pirates in the 2011 draft, and signed despite concerns about his future plans, ex-Hoosier Alex Dickerson is a slugger of the first order. He should help the Pirates offset a pitching-heavy talent pool in the near future. While dropping to the third round helped him fade from some writers' memories, his first-year pro line at low-A State College (.313/.393/.493) propelled him back into the top ranks.
A prototypical slugger, Dickerson is big, wide and strong. He's the kind of friend you'd call to help you move, or maybe to stand behind you while you visit someone who owes you money. Dickerson's left-handed swing is a bit long, but his bat speed seems more than adequate to cover that right now. He's not getting fooled by breaking balls yet, either, though he hasn't seen many truly great ones. We're dying to see him in Altoona. Until then, he's a couple of years away from the majors (let's say... mid-to-late 2014?), but if he continues to chew through pitching the way he has so far, he'll be a great asset by that time.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Dickerson
SB 300 BA SC BP SN ES ML
290 to 300 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013