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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A tall and lanky power pitcher in the Jon Lester mold, Chad James was a first round selection who signed with the Marlins in 2009. In addition to moving fastball that he commands well, James has a fantastic (if erratic) curve and a developing change that will dictate his future as he matures. He's developing more slowly than was hoped, but without much competition, he could still be parked in the back of the Marlins rotation by 2014, or sooner if the big veterans break down.
More Scouting Book Info on Chad James
SB 421 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The kind of prospect that makes scouts use the word 'athlete' ten times per report, Baltimore infielder Adrian Marin is a slappy shortstop who's easy to recognize at the plate thanks to his unusual approach. He looked good in his rookie league debut (.287/.339/.360 in 47 games) but he's still a pure potential player at this point. Watch him develop, don't expect much power, and he could be a useful piece of an MLB club in a couple of years.
More Scouting Book Info on Adrian Marin
SB 422 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A combination catcher/third base prospect in the Yankees system, JR Murphy jumped from A ball (.257/.322/.374 at Tampa) to AA (.231/.306/.408 at Trenton), and continues to develop in a slow-but-sure fashion on the farm. He has no real speed (no surprise there) but does show a plus batting eye, great patience, and a short, powerful swing from the right side.
His power is still developing, but it seems very likely to arrive in time. There are divergent opinions on his game-calling and catcher's defense potential, but he's got time to learn that, and he was signed for his bat, anyway. Even if he's only a third baseman in the future, he should have what's necessary to be New York's own Brandon Inge in another year or two. He's on track to spend all of 2013 in AA ball, with a mid-to-late 2014 callup the most sensible timeline.
More Scouting Book Info on JR Murphy
SB 423 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Rangers outfield prospect Nomar Mazara is a huge teenager with a lefthanded power bat that's so off the charts that one scout calls him 'Angel Villalona without the rap sheet.' Signed as a sixteen year old out of Dominica as a 2011 IFA, Mazara is recognizable at the plate thanks to a high leg kick, Juan Gonzalez style, and incredible power to all fields, a la Miguel Cabrera.
He's still a bit scrawny (at 6-6 he could use a few more pounds), but if he manages to add even more muscle to his frame... well, Rangers fans might want to move their cars a bit further away from the right field wall. Mazara slashed a satisfying .264/.383/.448 as a 17 year old in Rookie ball last year, making him look like an A-level one to watch this season.
More Scouting Book Info on Nomar Mazara
SB 424 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big righthander from Alabama, Chase Whitley is a raw but promising pitcher who shows flashes of good command with three decent-looking pitches. His low-90's fastball has a little natural sink, while his slider, which comes across at about 86mph, has nice tailing action. His changeup is only so-so, at least so far, but could develop into a quality offering against left-handers. While he's most likely destined for bullpen work in MLB once he's ready, Whitley went 9-5 as a starter at Scranton-Wilkes Barre in 2012, posting a 3.25 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and striking out 66 in 80 innings. His walk rate was a bit high (25) and he showed increasing wildness as the season went on, but all in all he did everything possible to move up the depth charts in the Bronx.
More Scouting Book Info on Chase Whitley
SB 425 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A year after coming back from TJ surgery, Astro prospect Vincent Velasquez looked fully-recovered, touching 97mph with his fastball and flashing a quality changeup and curve in 45 piecemeal innings in low-A Tri-City (NY-P). Velasquez will need another solid year to transition back to starting work, but if his arm strength follows along and he can handle the workload, he could be pushing for a rotation job in Houston by the end of 2014. Definitely one to watch, though with a practical and critical eye: his frame doesn't suggest durability.
More Scouting Book Info on Vincent Velasquez
SB 426 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The final pick of 2012's first round, Brian Johnson was a two-way star in Florida, but when you're left-handed and have four quality pitches, you can probably hang up your batting gloves after turning pro. His fastball isn't stunning, topping out at 93-93mph, though it has some natural sink, but his ability to throw any of his other pitches on demand is what sets him apart, here. It's been awhile since Boston had a high-ceiling lefty pitching prospect: Johnson could break that streak.
More Scouting Book Info on Brian Johnson
SB 427 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The 108th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs in the 2013 draft, Tyler Skulina is a very tall, strong righthander who racked up 107 strikeouts in 107 innings as a junior for Kent State last season. His 11-3 record and 3.77 ERA made him (along with Taylor Williams) one of the team's two aces. Skulina's fastball is usually in the low-90's but can touch 96 when necessary, and has just enough late life to be effective. While his changeup isn't close to MLB caliber just yet, his curve probably is, which gives him enough to work with that the Cubs will keep developing him as a starter. While he's unlikely to blossom into a real ace, his upside is probably that of a solid number three starter.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Skulina
SB 428 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the best hitting prospects in the 2007 Amateur Draft, Beau Mills went to the Indians, who at the time enough had no long-term 1B or 3B solution in their system. He turned out to be pretty much as-expected, a lumbering slow slugger with so-so contact skills but plus power. The .300/.358/.522 line he posted in AA Akron in 2011 was validated by a month-long tour with the AAA Clippers in which he turned in similar numbers while homering seven times in 35 games.
While his stumbles in 2012 led the now-loaded-with-bats Indians to pawn him off to the Reds, he still deserves at least a look in MLB.
More Scouting Book Info on Beau Mills
SB 429 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A solid contact hitter with good speed, Noonan hasn't moved ahead of his coopetitors in the last two seasons, and in fact seems to have even regressed a bit in his climb up the ladder. He remains raw, lacks a dominant skill, and still needs to add a lot of polish to push ahead of the pack. What he still has is the tools and makeup of an everyday second baseman, with the fair-to-good power that the modern position seems to require. After a solid .296/.347/.416 line at AAA in 2012, he's ready for an MLB opportunity, though his fortune will rise and fall with the depth chart in San Francisco. He might be more valuable to some other franchise, and if rumors can be trusted, there's been no shortage of recent interest from other teams, either.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Noonan
SB 430 BA SC BP SN ES ML
420 to 430 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013