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.
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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 11 BA 8 SC 10 BP 17 SN ES 15 ML 9
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Addison Russell
SB 13 BA 14 SC 4 BP 7 SN ES 3 ML 12
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 18 BA 17 SC 24 BP 52 SN ES 63 ML 26
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 27 BA 25 SC BP 37 SN ES 32 ML 15
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 63 BA 85 SC 67 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 68 BA 72 SC BP 93 SN ES 88 ML 80
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 74 BA 61 SC 46 BP 74 SN ES 55 ML 51
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 78 BA 60 SC BP 95 SN ES ML 92
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 79 BA 70 SC 60 BP 66 SN ES 57 ML 98
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 109 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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 115 BA SC 58 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 116 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 151 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Edward Salcedo
SB 184 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Cheslor Cuthbert
SB 186 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Zack Cox
SB 192 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 203 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 233 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 242 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A pure power hitter with iffy judgment to date, Cardinal prospect Pat Wisdom will need to live up to his name in order to hit for a high enough average to move up. That .282 last season is enough to get a promotion this year, for example, but he'll need to keep it up. He's in a good system for this, of course, as the Cardinal farm has always excelled at squeezing maximum performance from AAAA hitters.
More Scouting Book Info on Patrick Wisdom
SB 254 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013