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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Another solid all-around young catching prospect from a draft class full of them, Ypsiliati native Coulter has the makings of real plus power and good bat control. Behind the plate, he's shown a strong arm and good reflexes, which means he might remain there, too.
Full Scouting Report for Clint Coulter
SB 311 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A combination catcher/third base prospect in the Yankees system, JR Murphy jumped from A ball (.257/.322/.374 at Tampa) to AA (.231/.306/.408 at Trenton), and continues to develop in a slow-but-sure fashion on the farm. He has no real speed (no surprise there) but does show a plus batting eye, great patience, and a short, powerful swing from the right side.
His power is still developing, but it seems very likely to arrive in time. There are divergent opinions on his game-calling and catcher's defense potential, but he's got time to learn that, and he was signed for his bat, anyway. Even if he's only a third baseman in the future, he should have what's necessary to be New York's own Brandon Inge in another year or two. He's on track to spend all of 2013 in AA ball, with a mid-to-late 2014 callup the most sensible timeline.
Full Scouting Report for JR Murphy
SB 312 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A hulking righthander from Peculiar, Missouri, Angel prospect Mark Sappington was taken in the fifth round of the 2012 Draft and dispatched to Pioneer League Orem, where he quickly showed enough to explain his selection earlier than many expected. At Orem, Sappington struck out 34 in 36 innings while posting a 1.28 WHIP, a solid enough piece of work to earn him a season of A ball in 2013. Sappington works with a mid-90's fastball with natural sink, perhaps thanks to his high delivery. His secondary pitches are iffy, controlwise, but show enough liveliness to merit a close eye. The slider in particular could be his out pitch for many years to come. He looks a lot like a reliever (or even closer) to us, but for the time being he's being pushed as a rotation option for a future Angels club, sometime around 2016. We think he'll be in the bullpen a couple of years before that.
Full Scouting Report for Mark Sappington
SB 313 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Until recently the fastest-rising player on the Yankee farm, outfielder Tyler Austin destroyed four (four!) levels of minor league ball in 2012, averaging .322/.400/.559 from rookie ball all the way up to AA, and that AA line wasn't bad in itself: a .286 average in a player's very first taste of high-level minors is something special. Austin is a right-handed hitter with a quick and strong swing to all fields, which makes him extra-potent once his advanced batting eye and patience is brought to bear. His power is rapidly approaching plus, and while he'll be no leadoff-type base stealer, a middle-order back with better than average speed is exactly what the Yankees are looking for these days. Slowed by injuries to open 2014, he should return to fast-rising status by midseason.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Austin
SB 314 BA SC BP SN ES 85 ML
The Chicago Cubs made Vitters the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, and while he's not yet lived up to expectations, the hope in Hopeland is that he'll develop 25-homer power soon, because Theo really needs someone to replace the departed Aramis Ramirez. He's not a perfect prospect, though: in addition to wishy-washy discipline (he strikes out four times as often as he walks), one cause for concern is that he might need to move from third base to left field, but if he continues to maintain his overall offensive numbers at higher levels of play, the Cubs will find room for him somewhere.
Full Scouting Report for Josh Vitters
SB 315 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A powerful righthander with a long, lean frame, Monmouth export Pat Light was Boston's third overall draft pick in 2012, one with a high ceiling but a few more rough edges than some top prospects. Already touching 98mph with his fastball, he appears to havea little room to grow left in him, too, which is almost scary to consider. He might be better served by subtraction, though, as his top-speed fastball looks a little flat to us. Light's slider and change aren't there yet, as he struggles to throw them for strikes, but both have good movement, so there's signiificant potential here. If his body and touch develop alongside each other, he could be a regular in Fenway by 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Pat Light
SB 316 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A ripening player who's outperformed scouting expectations at every level of minor league ball, Angel third base prospect Luis Jimenez pops up on sabermetric radar a lot more often than he does in spiral notebooks or conference calls. Jimenez's impressive .309/.334/.495 AAA numbers in a full season with Salt Lake might look freakish, but it's exactly consistent with the .302/.338/.518 line he's posted in a five year minor league career that's included every level of play in six different leagues. He's even raked in winter ball.
Old-time scouts grouse about his smallish frame and lack of 'big league' power, but any team that can get an .856 OPS and solid fielding from a short, line-drive hitting third baseman is a very lucky team indeed. Look for him to touch MLB this season. A great 'unknown' breakout candidate.
Full Scouting Report for Luis Jimenez
SB 317 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The rare kind of lefty who can hit the upper 90's, Tigers prospect Casey Crosby has been working hard to grow in the shadow of Rick Porcello, who presumably has a better publicity department. Crosby has a live curve and a developing change, but his command isn't ready for the majors just yet, as evidenced by the iffy ratios he displayed over the past two seasons in the minors. Still, the Tigers know good stuff when they see it, and tried him in MLB last year to so-so results. If he sharpens his touch a bit, he could step in as a strong number two or three in the Tigers rotation by the end of 2014. He already has good mound presence, great baseball smarts and instincts, and the competitiveness to succeed, so it really does look like a simple accumulation' of time and experience is all that's missing.
Full Scouting Report for Casey Crosby
SB 320 BA SC BP SN ES ML
310 to 320 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013