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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A square, powerful righthander from the University of San Francisco, KC pitcher Kyle Zimmer's calling card is his 98mph fastball, which he brings from a great rock-solid arm angle. It dazzles hitters from either side of the plate thanks to late life and movement. It's Zimmer's selection of other pitches, though, all of which look to be near-MLB ready, that will get him to the Show to stay. Give him another year or so, and you'll have a quality pitcher on your hands.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Zimmer
SB 41 BA 23 SC 32 BP 34 SN ES 10 ML 25
A tall, thin pitcher being developed in the Padres system, Ohio native Matt Wisler looks every bit a future rotation anchor. In 20 AA starts last season, Wisler struck out almost exactly one batter per inning while walking barely more than one per game. That's exactly the sort of performance that the control-obsessed Padres love to see, and it's enough to put him in the mix for MLB consideration in mid-to-late 2014.
Wisler works a couple of different low-90's fastballs with accuracy to both sides of the plate, but it's his slow curve that turns heads and misses bats most often. How he'll perform against better opponents is an open question, but if he continues his careful, clever approach while trusting his stuff, he should succeed.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Wisler
SB 42 BA 44 SC BP 47 SN ES 39 ML 78
A towering righthander who's as good at intimidating hitters as he is at actually throwing baseballs, Pirate prospect Tyler Glasnow might not be as well-known as some of Pittsburgh's other pitching prospects, but his ceiling is just as high. He doesn't command it perfectly, but isn't afraid to use it inside as well as outside, which is enough to keep hitters skittish. Glasnow shows a big curve on occasion that's impressive when it works, and a changeup that's rough but promising. He's firmly a prospect of the 'good stuff, needs to master it' type. Another couple of years of easy repetition is all that's needed here. Give him 500 more innings.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Glasnow
SB 43 BA 46 SC 40 BP 42 SN ES 20 ML 27
A high school outfielder selected fifth overall in 2013's draft, Clint Frazier is a five-tool athlete with an advanced bat for such a young player. Some scouts disparage his small size, but his athleticism and performance rival (and in most cases exceed) his more universally-praised teammate Austin Meadows. A long-term building block for the Indians, he'll be moved slowly, as the team tries to slide all the necessary pieces into place in a coordinated roster rebuild.
Full Scouting Report for Clint Frazier
SB 44 BA 48 SC 26 BP 36 SN ES 45 ML 48
A prototypical hard-throwing Texas righthander, high-school prospect Tyler Kolek was taken by the Marlins as the second overall pick of 2014. The fastball that springs from his large, sturdy body often scrapes 100mph, and when he mixed it with a solid 12-to-6 curve, he can be almost unhittable. He's also added a slider recently, a nasty high-movement offering that's already better than most in the minor leagues. While there's no real changeup on the horizon, it might not matter: he's already more than capable of keeping batters uncomfortable and off-balance in the box. If there's a warning label on Kolek, it might be on his high-maintenance mechanics, which might suggest repeatability and command issues down the road.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Kolek
SB 45 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The best left-handed power bat available in the 2014 draft, Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber is one of the newest proto-stars in a dizzyingly-deep farm system that's starting to blossom in Chicago. Schwarber's bat led Indian to its first Big Ten Championship since 1932 (sic). Schwarber's very good bat speed generates lightning-bolt power, while his batting eye seems strong enough to keep his game from decaying into a single dimension. Behind the plate, he shows a strong if sometimes-erratic arm and a good head for the game, but there are enough questions about his receiving and framing skills that a move to an outfield corner is something many scouts are discussing. The Cubs should give him a chance behind the plate first, though. If he can stick there, his bat could propel him to All Star status.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Schwarber
SB 46 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Drafted as a teenager from Puerto Rico to open 2012's compensation round, Jose Orlando (J-O) Berrios is a smallish righthander with good arm strength from a compact but strong frame. His short delivery bodes well for mechanical soundness, with a fastball that can pop at 96mph and a breaking ball that looks like a real plus offering. He'll slow-cook in Minnesota after signing, but if he stays healthy, it won't be long before he's seen as a top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value.
Full Scouting Report for Jose Berrios
SB 47 BA SC BP 75 SN ES ML 90
A smart, talented righthander with College World Series experience, ex-LSU Tiger Aaron Nola was drafted by the Phillies in the summer of 2014, and should rise to the team's very top prospect ranks very shortly. He brings a nice, low-90's fastball with great natural sink from a smooth three-quarter arm slot, repeating it effortlessly and commanding both sides of the plate. His changeup might be even better, as he's able to throw it almost anywhere on command, making that fastball seem more frightening than it might look in isolation. His breaking balls aren't as sharp, but assuming the Phillies don't rush him to the Majors (and, really, why should they?) it will have time to catch up to the rest of his game, which is already MLB-caliber.
Full Scouting Report for Aaron Nola
SB 48 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The number three overall pick in the 2014 draft, White Sox pitching prospect Carlos Rodon has fans dreaming of a rotation that features both Rodon and fellow lefthander Chris Sale (himself the 13th pick in 2010). Rodon is a big, durable-looking college arm from North Carolina State who features a heavy 95mph fastball and a wipeout slider, both of which he commands very well. As is usual with prospect pitchers, a changeup is only barely-there, but as long as he develops a passable one, he'll be a top-tier pitcher in MLB very soon.
Full Scouting Report for Carlos Rodon
SB 49 BA SC BP SN ES ML
If you believe in bloodlines, you have to be a fan of Nick Gordon, brother of Dee Gordon, second-born son of Tom Gordon, and natural heir to all the kingdoms of the north. At least, those kingdoms that are bounded by Target Field.
Signed by the Twins after being selected fifth overall in 2014, Gordon could follow in the footsteps of either family member: as a pitcher he brings easy low-90's heat and a solid curveball from the right side, while as a hitter he's the proud owner of a smooth left-handed swing and good wheels to go along with it. With a good natural grace in the field and a strong arm, he might be best developed as a shortstop until and unless he proves he can't perform. Given his lineage, one probably shouldn't bet against him.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Gordon
SB 50 BA SC BP SN ES ML
40 to 50 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013