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.
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 2013
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
A powerful young bat getting a lot of attention in the Rockies system, Nolan Arenado is looking like a viable corner bat in the very, very near future. He slashed an impressive .285/.337/.428 line during his first taste of AA-ball in 2012, showing that he's a contact hitter and not just a slugger.
Arenado is a line-drive hitter right now, but he has real developing power that could catapult him to elite status very soon. His defensive ability, while improving, is still a question mark, though, so it's very possible that he'll be limited to first base or left field in the National League eventually.
Full Scouting Report for Nolan Arenado
SB 23 BA 52 SC 34 BP 57 SN ES ML 62
He doesn't have Bryce Harper's moonshot power, but Anthony Rendon is probably still the best pure hitter in the Nationals system today. (Overshadowed by Harper from the very beginning, Rendon was the team's first round draft pick in 2011.) A nominal third baseman, he'll probably shift to second or left field for the Nats soon, at least as long as Ryan Zimmerman appears entrenched at the hot corner. He'll definitely be a potent part of a future Nats lineup, and is the most anticipated new National bat, now that Harper has settled into Beltway life for good.
Full Scouting Report for Anthony Rendon
SB 24 BA 30 SC 37 BP 35 SN ES 17 ML 28
A rapidly-maturing slugger 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. A subject of trade rumors all winter long, he's still an attractive piece to many MLB teams, though the Rangers would probably prefer to keep him in-house.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Olt
SB 36 BA 22 SC 12 BP 30 SN ES 71 ML 22
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.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Castellanos
SB 38 BA 21 SC 9 BP 37 SN ES 38 ML 21
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.
Full Scouting Report for Kaleb Cowart
SB 50 BA 60 SC 56 BP 42 SN ES 23 ML 67
A Florida prep infielder with a plus power bat and better than average speed, shortstop Addison Russell will probably grow out of the position very soon, but he'll look quite good as a third baseman in Oakland, too, especially if the ball club succeeds in securing an actual, like, baseball park in which to play. He's probably the best hitting prospect in the Oakland system, and could get a chance in the Bigs earlier than expected, especially if the precocious A's keep on winning sooner than the schedule suggested.
Full Scouting Report for Addison Russell
SB 62 BA 48 SC 40 BP 22 SN ES 10 ML 48
A big, strong third baseman in the Matt Williams tradition, Diamondback prospect Matt Davidson hit .261 with 23 homers at AA Mobile at 2012, which is pretty much exactly in line with his performance lower in the system, complete with the asterisk-worthy high strikeout rate. With fellow prospect Bobby Borchering moving to the outfield, Davidson has a clear shot at the third base gig in Phoenix, as long as his bat remains respectable and his defense continues to improve. He's a decent 2013 bet, and could be up for a quick dip in the Arizona hot tub sooner than that.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Davidson
SB 84 BA 88 SC 50 BP 89 SN ES 75 ML 77
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.
Full Scouting Report for Garin Cecchini
SB 132 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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.
Full Scouting Report for Joey Gallo
SB 135 BA SC 95 BP SN ES ML
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.
Full Scouting Report for DJ Peterson
SB 152 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Dominican phenom who was hotly pursued by the Mariners and Yankees for several years, young Edward Salcedo finally signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves in the spring of 2010, more than making up for the team's absence of a first-round pick in the 2010 Draft. A big, strong infielder with soft hands and a very quick bat, Salcedo is currently a gap-to-gap line drive hitter, though his size and strength project out to significant power in the future, as scouts who compare him to Hanley Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez are applying only a little exaggeration.
The (certified) 20 year old appears talented enough to stick at shortstop, despite a sloppiness that comes with youth, but if he doesn't, his bat is so advanced that he will remain a top prospect, even at third base or in right field. His prime won't really start until 2014 or so, though he could get a look-see sooner than that.
Full Scouting Report for Edward Salcedo
SB 178 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Cheslor. A Nicaraguan third baseman who seems skilled enough to stick at the position, the Royals' young slugger looked pretty darn good in his first look at A-ball in 2011 before falling a bit back to earth in 2012, though to be fair to the man, he was one of the youngest players in the league. He'll spend some time in higher A ball this year, most likely, and if all goes well be hitting AA pitchers every day in 2014. After that, well, it should be a lot of fun ahead in KC in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Cheslor Cuthbert
SB 181 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Cardinals' first pick of the 2010 Amateur Draft (25th overall), Arkansas' Zack Cox is a toolsy player with a high-end mix of baseball instincts and work ethic. He abandoned pitching to focus on hitting as a college freshman, and he hasn't looked back since. His bat speed is exceptional, and allowed him to turn on even the best heat in college ball while also letting him adjust to off-speed pitches with an ease seldom seen in NCAA.
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 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 almost immediately. He's ready.
Full Scouting Report for Zack Cox
SB 189 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A sixth round selection by the O's in 2011, catcher and third baseman Nick Delmonico probably has the best pure power bat in the Baltimore system, but it'll be a year or two before we know that for sure. Most intriguing is the reflection that his success in high school came mainly on the strength of his 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. He's a few years away.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Delmonico
SB 201 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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. He may end up at first base, despite his good arm, because of the recent shortage of quality first base prospects in baseball. 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.
Full Scouting Report for Kris Bryant
SB 203 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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.
Full Scouting Report for Stephen Piscotty
SB 207 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.
Full Scouting Report for Richie Shaffer
SB 208 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, athletic third base prospect from UNC who just happens to be BJ Surhoff's favorite nephew, slugger Colin Moran should be one of the top picks in baseball's 2013 draft. Moran has shown the sort of quickness and arm strength necessary to stick at third base. 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 put himself firmly in first round territory. While he hasn't shown much power yet, he has the frame (and the genes) to develop at least average pop in the future.
Full Scouting Report for Colin Moran
SB 217 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.
Full Scouting Report for Carson Kelly
SB 241 BA SC BP SN ES ML 69
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.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Villanueva
SB 251 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013