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 big, strong lefthander who has already mastered the don't-mess-with-me look so important to mound presence, the Angels' own Nick Maronde found college success after transforming into a closer at the University of Florida. After being drafted by the Angels, he rocketed through the minors and wound up as a surprise LOOGY specialist in Anaheim before the end of year. He's the best lefty prospect in the Angels system today. If he returns to starting duty, he could be very good in another year or so. If the team leaves him in the bullpen, on the other hand, he could be great.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Maronde
SB 419 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A two-way player who most prefered as a pitcher, Tuscon native Alex Verdugo was drafted and signed as an outfielder by the Dodgers at the tail end of the 2014 draft's second round.
On the mound, Verdugo is a left-handed pitcher who brings a nice tilted 92mph fastball from a three-quarter slot, along with a looping curve and a change that has some promise. At the plate, he's a lefty-swinging line drive hitter who nailed baseballs to a .532 clip as a high-school senior. Scouts admire how his short, compact swing generates power nonetheless. Obviously, he's a project that will take a few years to develop, but the Dodgers are very good at this sort of thing, at least if their experience with James Loney is any indication.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Verdugo
SB 420 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A powerful righthanded reliever ready to help out in Washington right now, Miami-born Christian (CJ) Garcia is one of many young bullpen weapons the Nats plan to use to defend their NL East title. A mature prospect, Garcia has already thrown seven full seasons of minor league ball, maintaining a strikeout rate of more than a batter per inning (and more than 10 per 9 for most of that career.) He's been a reliever for the team so far, but he has the guile and pitch selection to start. His fastball is a naturally-moving mid-90's dart that he controls well, and to which he can add natural sink on command. His changeup is solid, the type one would expect from a veteran pitcher, and his curve, when it's on track, is an unhittable shame-maker. He's a strong candidate to anchor the Washington bullpen in 2013, but should the team be shy a rotation member at any point in the next couple of seasons, he may be a terrific in-house replacement, too.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Garcia
SB 421 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A fast-rising prospect drafted as an IFA by the Mariners in 2010, Ketel Marte is a Dominican defensive whiz with whispers of an emerging offensive presence. A switch-hitter who's stronger from the right side of the plate, Marte mixes enough plate savvy and consistent contact to suggest a solid on-base ability in the future, and his fringe-plus speed could keep him near the top of the batting order, too. In the field, he has the range, quickness, and soft hands to stick at shortstop, though his arm and footwork are a bit clumsy at times. If he can stick at shortstop, he could be a very good everyday MLB regular someday. If not, he'll still be a fine utility and bench body.
Full Scouting Report for Ketel Marte
SB 422 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Once a top Royals pitching prospect, Kyle Smith was traded to the Astros in mid-2013. Drafted out of high school by KC in the 4th round of the 2011 Draft, Smith is built more like an infielder than a power pitcher, barely tipping the scales at 180lbs and not cracking the six-foot barrier at all. But he can pitch, using a true plus curve to make his average 92mph fastball look a lot more impressive than it would be alone. He shows an advanced ability to work counts and outsmart hitters already, as evidenced by the 12.2 batters he struck out per game in Rookie and A ball in 2012. He needs only a little improvement to his changeup to have a chance to break out.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Smith
SB 423 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A graceful, gifted athlete despite his deceptively compact build, Indians prospect Justus Sheffield brings easy 92mph gas from the left side, with some quick-developing secondary pitches (a change and curve) that look very advanced for such a young arm. He's a long way away from being a seasoned pitcher, but as far as raw talent goes, you could do a whole lot worse. Expect a mid-to-back rotation lefty in 2019 or so.
Full Scouting Report for Justus Sheffield
SB 424 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The 20th overall selection of the 2011 Draft, lefthander Tyler Anderson is a high upside pitcher who most scouts agree is close to MLB-ready. Many see a younger version of Jeff Francis, a fast-moving pitcher who was able to succeed even in rarefied Colorado. In his last year of college ball, Anderson struck out 114 batters in just 108 innings, mainly on the strength of a solid fastball-change combination that he commands well. His other pitches aren't anything to write home about, but he's good enough right now that he could step into a mediocre Colorado rotation and improve it immediately.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Anderson
SB 425 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A strong, burly outfielder drafted by the Tigers in 2011, Texas native Tyler Collins is a high-potential offensive player in a system that needs them. Collins, who has flown a little under the radar thanks to a detour in Australian baseball (an All-Star, thank ya mate), Collins shows good bat control to go along with his significant power, and has better wheels than one might expect from his body type. He'll need another year of simmering stateside before he's ready for big-league play, but he shouldn't be ignored: he slashed .313/.360/.534 at low-A ball in 2011, and a matching .290/.371/.429 in 2012 at high-A. Let's see what he does with AA pitchers.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Collins
SB 426 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A college infielder with an up-and-down career at Stanford, prospect Alex Blandino is a nominal shortstop who's probably destined to move off the position in the near future. Drafted at the tail end of 2014's first round, Blandino brings good bat speed and a sharp eye to the plate every time out, lashing singles and doubles to all fields. While he may or may not ever develop the power teams like to see from corner infielders, he's already got the quick hands, glove and strong arm to man third base.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Blandino
SB 427 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A young, tools-heavy outfielder picked up in the 2011's A-round, White Sox prospect Keenyn Walker broke out quickly at Rookie-level Great Falls, slashing .333/.441/.483 and looking like a loaded weapon with eleven steals in only fifteen games. He struggled hard when moved up to low-A ball, however, squeezing out only a .228/.296/.259 line while looking overmatched by even average breaking pitches.
But, and you know how this part goes: he's young, and has a lot to learn and a lot of time to learn it. Still only 20 years old, his plus plus speed should manifest itself into better defense, while his already-impressive batting eye should help him improve his on-base results in the years to come. He won't ever develop massive power, but he should be capable enough of doubles and triples, once he learns to swing at the right pitches.
Full Scouting Report for Keenyn Walker
SB 428 BA SC BP SN ES ML
420 to 430 of 751 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013