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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The first son of Niceville, Florida, Milwaukee prospect Jimmy Nelson is an enormous bear of a pitcher pulling himself up the minor league system. After dominating the high-A Florida League with a 2.21, 1.082, 77:25 performance, Nelson moved up to AA Huntsville at midseason. While his numbers against more advanced hitters suffered, Nelson's always been good at challenges, so watch for him to step up again in 2013. Nelson works with a nice matched fastball and slider that he commands well, though his control isn't quite up to snuff. Some scouts think his delivery is too busy, but it's difficult to be certain.
What we do know is that his changeup doesn't change much, and can't be counted on in a pinch, which means Nelson becomes a two pitch pitcher under pressure. With his size and intimidation factor, that sounds like a future reliever to us.
More Scouting Book Info on Jimmy Nelson
SB 331 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Critics howled when Baltimore reached for Simon too early in the draft, but after he posted sub-1.00 WHIPs at three different levels of play in 2011, they became a lot quieter. A very tall, ground-ball throwing righthander from Arizona, Kyle Simon could churn through batters at almost any level as long as he keeps repeating his delivery, and so far he's shown every sign of being able to do just that, day in and day out. A hard worker without the glitz of a rockstar prospect or 100mph strikeout arm, Simon was shipped to the Phillies as part of the midseason Jim Thome trade in 2012. He's looking like a viable future closer from here, and could be a hot setup arm before that.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Simon
SB 332 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A strong, squat outfielder with plus power potential, Phillip Ervin is an outfielder with good speed who could actually stick in centerfield for a future Reds team. The Pucketesque ballplayer was a good hitter in 2012 (327/.406/.519, 10 homers, 16 steals) and an even better one in wooden-bat Cape Cod League action in the fall, where he raked .323/.429/.631 with 11 homers and 10 more steals in a near-identical number of at-bats. While he'll get some knocks for his smallish size, he has more than a few believers in the scouting ranks, and could surprise many by outperforming expectations.
More Scouting Book Info on Phillip Ervin
SB 333 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big lefthander who looks destined for the bullpen unless Pittsburgh can fix him, Andy Oliver came to the team via a 2012 trade.
Oliver works with a 96mph fastball that blows away lesser hitters, with an above-average change to keep them honest, though he struggles to locate it successfully, leading to an unacceptably high number of walks. His breaking pitches aren't quite ready for prime time yet, either. Time and patience is needed here.
More Scouting Book Info on Andy Oliver
SB 334 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A sturdy righthander first drafted by the Orioles out of high school in 2010, Alex Gonzalez reentered and was selected by the Rangers in 2013's first round. Working from a consistent 3/4 arm slot, Gonzalez repeats his delivery very well, mixing a mid-90's fastball with a superior, late-breaking slider. Seen by some as a reliever, his future as a starting pitcher will hinge on whether or not his changeup, currently below-average, can be refined into a reliable offering. One big plus in his favor: he's known for maintaining his good stuff deep into ballgames.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Gonzalez
SB 335 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish lefthanded pitcher from Montvale, New Jersey, Rob Kaminsky is best-known for throwing three no-hitters as a high-school junior in 2012. On his season, he surrendered only 12 hits in 53 total innings while striking out 103. His low-90's fastball reaches 93mph from time to time, and a nice low-80s changeup suggests he could be a good pitcher down the road. Best of all, his sharp curve suggests starting potential.
More Scouting Book Info on Rob Kaminsky
SB 336 BA SC BP SN ES ML
If there's one thing the Detroit farm has in spades, it's left-handed pitching, so it's not surprising that they dealt some of that surplus, including young Brian Flynn, for deadline help in 2012. A huge, sturdy power pitcher with good control, Flynn brings a heavy, heavy 96mph fastball down and in on hitters, and it's almost always enough to send them back to the bench. With a dominating mound presence and enough control to hold games in check, he's a fascinating upside guy in a crazy Miami system that could be going anywhere.
More Scouting Book Info on Brian Flynn
SB 337 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A gritty, hard-noised infielder taken by the Nationals in the second round of the 2012 draft, Anthony (Tony) Renda will be compared to Dustin Pedroia for the rest of his career. And it's not just his small size and tenacity that earn the comp, either: Renda has plus bat speed, which means in time he could disply enough power to bang balls into outfield walls and occasionally over them. For now, though, he's a singles hitter with great hustle and baseball instincts, which means he could be a fan favorite in Washington by 2015.
More Scouting Book Info on Tony Renda
SB 338 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A hard-hitting corner outfielder from Florida, Colorado's Kent Matthes is one of the most powerful bats on the Rockies farm. A very impressive 2011 season at high-A Modesto (.334/.378/.642... that's a 1.020 OPS, folks) was cut short by hand surgery, and he never really returned to any level close to that in the ensuing season.
We'll assume he needed more recovery time than expected, and keep our eyes on his potential, which remains huge. Matthes also brings better than expected speed for such a big guy, plus a pretty decent glove to work everyday. If he can return to his pre-surgery form, he'll be in Denver before 2013 is finished. A safer bet would be 2014, however.
More Scouting Book Info on Kent Matthes
SB 339 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A powerful left-handed bat from the Detroit system, outfielder Danry Vasquez was acquired at 2013's deadline by the Houston Astros. A tall Venezuelan with a propensity to swing at everything and hit most of it, Vasquez looked overmatched in a brief taste of A-ball in 2012, though his earlier track record and plus bat speed both suggest that he should be a solid hitter a couple of years from now. How and where he is deployed in the field will dictate whether he'll be a fast-rising and useful asset, or a slow-developing but ultimately more valuable one.
More Scouting Book Info on Danry Vasquez
SB 340 BA SC BP SN ES ML
330 to 340 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013