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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SB 40 BA SC 100 BP SN ES 89 ML 91
Two years from now, the Seattle Mariners might just have one of the very best rotations in all of baseball. Yes, really. In addition to solid and near-ready Danny Hultzen and phenom Taijuan Walker, the Mariners also own James Paxton, a tall, athletic Canadian lefthander. Paxton rose to national attention at U Kentucky, and was selected in the 2009 Draft's supplemental round by the Toronto Blue Jays. He did not sign, however, and quickly became embroiled in a hubbub and eventual lawsuit when it was revealed that his 'family adviser' Scott Boras may have negotiated with the Blue Jays on his behalf, which is against NCAA rules. He thus became ineligible to play NCAA ball in 2010, and instead parked himself in independent ball to await the next draft, when he was selected by the Mariners much later, at #132nd overall.
His mid-nineties stuff and sick breaking ball hasn't yet translated to many overpowering performances, but he looked solid enough in a full season of AA ball in 2012, striking out 110 in 106 innings while posting a 3.05 ERA. His 54 walks (and concomitant 1.411 WHIP) should give touts pause, however: he needs to rein in that control if he's going to excel in MLB anytime soon.
More Scouting Book Info on James Paxton
SB 41 BA 87 SC 82 BP 92 SN ES ML 61
A defensive star in the making, outfielder George Springer brings great range, a good glove and a powerful arm to the park. He'd be patrolling spacious centerfield in Minute Maid Park already, if only his bat could catch up to the rest of his all-around game. While he showed signs of offensive competency in 2012, that .219/.288/.342 line at AA Corpus Cristi doesn't exactly give him a fast-track ticket to the Bigs, either. He'll be 24 as this season winds down, which means he really needs to show something, and soon.
More Scouting Book Info on George Springer
SB 42 BA 37 SC 25 BP 55 SN ES 43 ML 57
One of the bundle of top prospects sent to Miami for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and company in November, Justin Nicolino is a finessey lefty in the Tom Glavine fashion. Nicolino can dial his fastball up to 92 or 93, but not much more than that. It's more than enough, though. Nicolino had what might be the best debut by a Jays prospect ever in 2011, and has continued to blossom since. If he makes the big leagues in 2013, which is possible, he'll do it on the strength of an easy, repeatable throwing motion (balls will come down, down, down on hitters from his tall frame and overhand motion) and a propensity to throw strikes, strikes and more strikes.
More Scouting Book Info on Justin Nicolino
SB 43 BA 86 SC 39 BP 73 SN ES 62 ML 72
You know what the Atlanta Braves really need? More overpowering pitchers with electric stuff. No, wait, actually, they already have more of those than they know what to do with. No matter, JR Graham is exactly that kind of righthanded prospect, and he won't let a niggling thing like a logjam stop his 100mph sizzler.
A fourth round pick who has already surpassed the expectations of most scouts (you clever, clever Braves, you) Graham mixes his nasty fastball with a diving slider and a proto-cutter that he's still struggling to keep down and under control, but he's in exactly the right system to learn that. Still young, he probably won't be an MLB factor as an every-fifth-day starter for another couple of seasons, but if he stays healthy, he could be a quicker bullpen phenom in Atlanta. He's certainly got the stuff.
More Scouting Book Info on JR Graham
SB 44 BA 93 SC 87 BP 63 SN ES 94 ML
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Davidson
SB 45 BA 88 SC 50 BP 89 SN ES 75 ML 77
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 46 BA 60 SC 56 BP 42 SN ES 23 ML 67
Right-handed outfielder Jake Marisnick, a third-round draft choice in 2009, moved to Miami as part of the Marlin Fire Sale of 2012. While he's not yet an all-around ballplayer, he was probably the best overall raw athlete in the Toronto Blue Jays system last year, and he's undoubtedly the same jewel in the Miami system today. The .233/.286/.336 he slashed during a couple of months of AA ball doesn't look as nice as the .263/.349/.451 line he posted in A-ball earlier in the season, but it was his first taste of the higher level, so give him some slack. Marisnick is a player who seems dedicated to training and professional development without needing a whole lot of coaching, so once he adjusts to Miami life, he'll be just fine.
He's also got the sort of positive, outgoing personality that big league promotions managers love. He'll be a AA player for most or all of 2013, with Miami possible late in the year.
More Scouting Book Info on Jake Marisnick
SB 47 BA 64 SC 20 BP 71 SN ES 82 ML 70
A promising high-school bat scooped up by the Rockies in 2011's compensation round, Irving alum Trevor Story is a sweet-swinging youngster with an all-fields line drive stroke, and better than average wheels in the field.
After a .268/.364/.436 line across 47 rookie league games, Story stepped up to A ball and performed much the same, slashing .277/.367/.505 in a full season and showing advanced baserunning ability to boot . He's viable at either short or third right now, but won't be MLB-ready for a couple more years.
More Scouting Book Info on Trevor Story
SB 48 BA 96 SC 83 BP 34 SN ES 85 ML 99
First drafted by the Red Sox way back in 2008, righthander Alex Meyer passed on an alleged $2M signing bonus to go attend U Kentucky, in order to reenter the draft in 2011. Apparently, he spent his time in school eating well: the youngster now tips the scales at 6-10 and 230lbs.
A power pitcher (no kidding) with a high-90's fastball and a wicked slider, he's got stuff to burn, but a sometimes-wonky delivery and spotty command have plagued him through his young career. The Nats, flush with confidence at the depth of their rotation, parted with him in a trade to Minnesota in exchange for Denard Span, but that's no indication of any dodgy quality: he simply moves from being a top Washington pitching prospect to being a top Minnesota number one pitching prospect... and the Twins have shown a great ability to develop young arms. So while the move to Nicetown might slow his debut by a couple of years (the Twins are notoriously slow and cautious with young arms), it might also improve his chances of being solid and polished when he does arrive.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Meyer
SB 49 BA 59 SC 61 BP 88 SN ES 61 ML 40
A fast, slappy hitter with good speed and plus defense, Rockie prospect David Dahl looks like a good fit for Coors Field. More than a raw tools candidate, Dahl uses his speed well on the bases and in the field, and shows a good eye for situational hitting. For such a young player, he's quite polished already, though he'll need a couple more seasons in the minors to really reveal his true level.
More Scouting Book Info on David Dahl
SB 50 BA 53 SC 60 BP 40 SN ES 37 ML 58
40 to 50 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013