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.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
If you think you have found a mistake, please read
this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best Third Base Prospects for 2014
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
Seen by many as the best pure hitter in the 2013 draft class, San Diego's Kris Bryant is a polished college prospect who looks like a quality middle of the order bat. In Chicago, he'll get a long look at third base, due to positional needs, but he may still end up at first base, despite his good arm. That might dim his prospect star a little, and it gives bears some easy ammunition, but long-term it really shouldn't matter: his bat is good enough for any position, and he looks to be a solid piece in the Cubs' rebuilding effort.
More Scouting Book Info on Kris Bryant
SB 5 BA 8 SC 10 BP 17 SN ES 15 ML 9
A high-profile 2010 pick for the Tigers, high-schooler Nick Castellanos was one of the best bats available in the draft. He shows very quick wrists and great natural hitting ability already, which means as he grows and fills out, he could become a certifiable monster. He has surprising speed for a big guy, too.
He played shortstop in high school, but Scouting Book readers know that we were pretty sure he would be a third baseman or corner outfielder as a pro from the moment the Tigers signed him. In a full season of A-ball in West Michigan, he was indeed primarily deployed at third base (we're so smrt), and he raked to the tune of .312/.367/.436. His AA debut in 2012 didn't go quite as swimmingly, but .264/.296/.382 is nothing to be ashamed of when you're only 20 years old and facing top flight pitching for the first time. Detroit, ever on the lookout for more ways to squeeze sluggers into the lineup, has also started testing young Nicky in right field, and on their OF-light MLB squad, that might be a better place for his debut, at least until Prince Fielder graduates to full-time DH status, leaving at least one of the corner infield spots vacant again.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Castellanos
SB 20 BA 25 SC 28 BP 37 SN ES 32 ML 15
A nominal third baseman, Texas prospect Joey Gallo should probably be considered a first base or DH prospect, as his fieldwork isn't anything that will get him into MLB anytime soon. His bat his tremendous though, with huge power to all fields, probably more than any other prospect in the system: that 1.169 OPS in Rookie ball portends a step up to A-levels in 2013. With a long swing and iffy judgement, though, he's got some development to do before he's ready to join in the Texas thunder.
More Scouting Book Info on Joey Gallo
SB 38 BA 60 SC 47 BP 95 SN ES ML 92
One of the most appealing college hitters eligible for the 2013 MLB Draft, DJ Peterson is a nominal third baseman who may end up at first or a corner outfield spot in the future. (Based on the shortage of quality 1B prospects, we'd place our chip on that corner if pressed.) Peterson won the Mountain West Conference triple crown in 2012, demonstrating that he can bring smooth, easy power on every plate appearance. His hitch-free swing and growing power have him zooming up prospect lists, and for good reason. Selected 12th overall by the Mariners, he immediately becomes one of the team's top offensive prospects, just a notch behind Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin.
More Scouting Book Info on DJ Peterson
SB 65 BA 85 SC BP 65 SN ES ML 88
A big, strong third baseman in the Matt Williams tradition, Arizona prospect Matt Davidson was traded to the White Sox during the winter of 2013. Davidson slashed .237/.333/.434 during a month with the Diamondbacks in 2013, but it's the .280/.350/.481 AAA line (with 17 homers in 115 games) that the White Sox paid for. He strikes out a bit too much, but he makes up for it with overall offensive chops. On defense, he's solid if not spectacular, more than enough to stay in favor on the homer-happy south side.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Davidson
SB 77 BA 72 SC 96 BP 93 SN ES 88 ML 80
Another promising third base prospect in Philadelphia, Dominican Maikel Franco has accelerated his course to the big leagues thanks to a blistering 2013 season with AA .339/.363/.563 line at AA Reading followed up on a spring .299/.349/.576 at A-level Clearwater. The young slugger crushed a combined 31 homers in 541 at-bats. If he stays this hot, he'll be in Philly this year, though his prime is another couple of years away. With the Phillies looking a few years away from contention, the organization may take the conservative road with Franco in order to hold down his substantial future costs.
More Scouting Book Info on Maikel Franco
SB 85 BA 17 SC 16 BP 52 SN ES 63 ML 26
A Cardinal prospect picked up in the St. Louis treasure trove known as 2012's Supplemental draft round, California native Stephen Piscotty is an offensive-first corner glove who won the Cape Cod batting title in 2011, also picking up the award as the league's best pro prospect. While his name almost makes us wish he was a part of the Tampa Bay farm system, he'll do just fine in St. Louis, too. He should move quickly through the ranks.
More Scouting Book Info on Stephen Piscotty
SB 104 BA 70 SC 66 BP 66 SN ES 57 ML 98
A big, athletic third base prospect from UNC who just happens to be BJ Surhoff's favorite nephew, slugger Colin Moran was selected sixth overall in the 2013 draft. He's a line-drive contact hitter with a sweet left-handed swing, and when he slashed .365/.434/.494 for the Tarheels in 2012, he locked down national attention. While he hasn't shown much power yet, he has the frame (and the genes) to develop at least average pop in the future. Not a bat-only type, Moran has also shown the sort of quickness and arm strength necessary to stick at third base.
More Scouting Book Info on Colin Moran
SB 111 BA 61 SC BP 74 SN ES 55 ML 51
A shortstop who outgrew the position, as so many tall men do, Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini zipped up prospect lists last year mainly on the strength of his .298/.398/.500 performance at Low-A Lowell in 2011, and that season was obviously no fluke: he slashed .305/.394/.433 a year later at higher-level Greenville. Cecchini shows good (but not great) glove and footwork, and his arm can certainly handle the long throws from third, so there's little worry that he'll be able to play there. While there's no special reason for pessimism, we'll see how he can handle higher quality pitching, including his first taste of ungodly breaking stuff in 2013 before anointing him as a better third base option than Will Middlebooks.
More Scouting Book Info on Garin Cecchini
SB 123 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The 2009-10 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Kaleb Cowart is a switch-hitting two-way player that the Angels flip-flopped on a couple of times before finally deciding they'd most like to see him as a full-time infielder. That's a shame, because as a pitcher he's blessed with easy heat in the 92mph range and can also touch 95mph on occasion.
As a fielder, he's a plus defender with quick feet and the expected cannon arm. At the plate, he's a nominal switch hitter who is stronger from the right side, with a long swing but good bat speed. His overall balance of two-way skills has drawn comparisons to Ethan Martin and Casey Kelly. He's probably a better hitter than either of those, though.
More Scouting Book Info on Kaleb Cowart
SB 155 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A sixth round selection by the O's in 2011, catcher and third baseman Nick Delmonico probably had the best pure power bat in the Baltimore system at draft time, and he's shown flashes of that power already in pro ball. The best indicator for possible future success comes not from seeing his legit power, however, but in noticing that his success in high school came mainly on the strength of patience and selectivity at the plate: if that kind of discipline can be nurtured in pro ball, he could be a very powerful offensive force indeed. Now a Brewer thanks to the shrewd dumping of Francisco Rodriguez in mid-2013, he'll continue to develop in another system known for sharpening young hitters.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Delmonico
SB 161 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Jeimer Candelario is a corner infield prospect who's been rapidly moving up the planning charts for the Chicago Cubs. After showboating in the DSL as a seventeen year old in 2011, Candelario found his level in A ball in 2012, slashing .281/.345/.396 with 20 extra-base hits in 71 games with Boise. The following season, at A-level Kane County, Candelario produced at a respectable .256/.346/.396, easily adjusting to the better pitching. Questions linger about whether Candy can really handle the defensive requirements of third base. If he can't, there's a different question: can he hit with enough power to man first base productively? These questions will get answered over the next couple of years as he attempts to work his way into high and double-A ball. Lots of upside here, though there are many potential pitfalls along the way, too.
More Scouting Book Info on Jeimer Candelario
SB 201 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A dead-red power hitter who will need to learn some discipline to succeed as a pro, high school slugger Mitch Nay was lucky enough to be drafted by an American League ballclub with no fear of offense-only ballplayers. He's a long way away, and comes with significant risk attached, but Nay could be a contributor from a corner infield spot as early as 2017.
More Scouting Book Info on Mitch Nay
SB 217 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A rapidly-maturing slugger who rose to attention in the Rangers system, Mike Olt ('Mike Olt!') is a legit third-base candidate whose defense is already passable, though his first-step could use some improvement. Olt hit .288/.398/.579 with 28 dingers at AA Frisco in 2012, good enough to enter discussions as a 2013 starting possibility in Arlington, despite the lack of any clear position at which for him to play. After a full year of trade rumors, he finally landed in Chicago at 2013's midseadson in the trade that sent Matt Garza to Texas. In the smaller park and with a young team growing up alongside his bat, his career is in a good place.
More Scouting Book Info on Mike Olt
SB 222 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Cardinals' first pick of the 2010 Amateur Draft (25th overall), Arkansas' Zack Cox was shipped to Miami at the 2012 deadline, and assuming Miami doesn't change course four more times in the next twelve months, he should see MLB action there this year. A toolsy player with a high-end mix of baseball instincts and work ethic. his bat speed is exceptional, and allows him to turn on even the best heat while also letting him adjust to off-speed pitches with an ease seldom seen in such a young player. He's still a bit rough defensively, but he'll have time to mature as a pro player while waiting for his MLB career to begin. His bat seems close to ready now: he was probably St. Louis's best overall offensive prospect when he was shipped two seasons ago.
More Scouting Book Info on Zack Cox
SB 237 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third base prospect in the Washington Nationals system (how discouraging for him), Matt Skole is also the brother of the better-known Jake. While Jake went to Texas in 2010's first round, Matt was drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2011's 5th.
A solid hitter with a plus eye at the plate and a nice-looking power swing that doesn't mess up his timing much, he looked very good at high-A Carolina in 2012, slashing .314./355/.486, which should be enough to get himself a ticket to AA ball this season and Washington's speed-dial thereafter. How he handles the increasingly-ungodly breaking balls in AA will be the bellweather for Skole, but there's no reason to doubt him yet. If he puts together another strong year in the minors, we'll probably see him in September.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Skole
SB 256 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A pitcher with enough bat to play a corner, Portland native Carson Kelly was selected by the Cardinals at the tail end of 2012's second round on the strength of that bat. A likely third baseman thanks to his cannon arm, he generates plus bat speed and shows a good ability to adjust to pitching at the plate. St Louis has always loved pitchers who can hit; in Kelly they may have landed a hitter who can pitch, too.
More Scouting Book Info on Carson Kelly
SB 257 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A high-school quarterback who only really focused on baseball in his senior year, Ryan McMahon is a hard-hitting prospect with plus power on the horizon, thanks to his still-growing frame and very quick bat. In the field, he looks strong and flexible enough for third base, though an outfield corner isn't out of the question, either. He'll take some time to learn the finer points of the baseball arts, but he's already looking very good with the broad strokes.
More Scouting Book Info on Ryan McMahon
SB 284 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish IFA import from Guadalajara, Mexico, Christian Villanueva moved slowly through the Ranger system for a few years before being shipped north to Chicago at 2012's trading deadline. CV, who was a malnourished-looking 150lbs when he signed, has been bulking up as hoped, adding strength while still smashing baseballs with quick, easy power. Even his smooth defensive play hasn't suffered: he still looks pretty capable of covering shortstop if necessary.
At A-level Hickory in 2011 he was overshadowed by Jurickson Profar, but Villanueva quietly put up a very impressive offensive line of his own, with 17 homers and 32 steals (in 38 attempts). His base-stealing fell off a cliff last season, but he still produced offensive numbers. He still has a lot to prove, especially once he sees some quality breaking stuff at higher levels, but if that power/speed combination holds up as his body blossoms, he could soon become a high-impact contributor in the new-look Cubs offense we're all waiting to see come 2014 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Christian Villanueva
SB 305 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the higher-upside hitters in the 2012 Draft, Tampa Bay's Richie Shaffer is a nominal third baseman who can not only play first, but also a corner outfield position, thanks to his powerful arm. A right-handed hitter, Shaffer has strong wrists that deliver real plus bat speed. He only logged 138 plate appearances at low-A Hudson Valley last year, but he looked good doing it: .308/.406/.487 with four dingers and a nice walk rate for a player whose strike zone judgment has been a question to date. His power potential high, so he's definitely worth keeping an eye on, even if he struggles a bit moving up the ladder.
More Scouting Book Info on Richie Shaffer
SB 321 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013