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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SB 60 BA 56 SC 31 BP 27 SN ES 58 ML 55
A 21-year-old righthander who started his college career as a shortstop before being converted to the mound, Oregon native Braden Shipley developed quickly enough to become one of the top pitching prospects from the 2013 draft class. He's moved up quickly because he's commanded his low-90's fastball so well that he hasn't needed much from his (still developing) change and curve yet. Tall, limber and athletic, he looks like just the kind of raw material that many MLB coaches would love to develop into a viable ace.
More Scouting Book Info on Braden Shipley
SB 61 BA 62 SC 73 BP 62 SN ES 25 ML 79
A slight shortstop with plus instincts, Arizona prospect Chris Owings could see a move to second base in the near future. Signed out of high school in South Carolina after being selected 41st overall in the 2009 draft, Owings is a gap-to-gap hitter with a bit of pop. He's decent defensively, and shows above average speed on the bases. He's not a likely All Star, but he could be a competent bench or utility player in the bigs at any time.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris Owings
SB 62 BA 66 SC 65 BP 28 SN ES 72 ML 77
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 lightly-built lefthanded starter from Venezuela, Oriole prospect Eduardo Rodriguez is a steadily-developing pitcher who could help out the Orioles of the near future. He's risen smoothly through the minors so far, and after a full-season 3.70/1.24 performance in 22 starts for A-level Delmarva in the Sally League, should taste AA ball for the first time in 2013.
Rodriguez isn't a strikeout artist, at least not yet, but his excellent control and quality slider do seem to inspire poor contact from hitters, giving him excellent ground ball ability. His fastball, which can touch 95mph, is good enough thanks to its natural movement, but his changeup isn't special yet. Keep an eye on him when he starts to face more advanced hitters to see if they're fooled as easily as low-level ones have been.
More Scouting Book Info on Eduardo Rodriguez
SB 64 BA 65 SC 36 BP 61 SN ES 43 ML 68
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 65 BA 72 SC BP 93 SN ES 88 ML 80
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 quite the all-around ballplayer needed for everyday use just yet, he was probably the best overall raw athlete in the Toronto Blue Jays system last year, and he's undoubtedly the same sort of jewel in the Marlins' system today.
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 probably be a AAA player at the start of 2014, but we fully expect to see him in Miami later in the year.
More Scouting Book Info on Jake Marisnick
SB 66 BA 79 SC BP SN ES 84 ML 65
A huge righthander in the Pirate system, Nicholas Kingham (not Kingman) is another young power arm in a system that's busting at the seams with them. Drafted fresh out of high school in 2010, he's busy going through the traditional 'fastball, fastball, fastball' period of his ongoing development with the Pirates, so it's difficult to judge how much more than that he'll be able to offer when the time comes. He did show off a quality change back in high school, as well as a very rough curve, so there's potential.
We haven't seen enough of him in pro ball to feel confident about his chances yet, but that 117:36 strikeout to walk ratio in the low-A NY-Penn League is encouraging.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Kingham
SB 67 BA 64 SC 72 BP 80 SN ES 73 ML
An eighteenth round pick (!) of the Dodgers back in 2008, righthander Allen Webster has made the Dodger scouts look awfully clever since, as he's risen into the very top ranks of the system in the years since. A quality arm with good control but iffy command, Webster's primary weapon is a mid-90's fastball that can reach 98 with heavy sink, but he's no one-trick pony: his curve, change and slider are all potential plus pitches that show exceptional filth, even when he struggles to throw them consistently. If he can master at least one of those, hopefully the change, he'll be striking out major leaguers very very soon.
Splitting 2011 between the two cutest-named minor league cities in baseball, Webster followed up a 5-2 record and 1.24 WHIP in 9 starts at Rancho Cucamonga with a 6-3, 1.50 WHIP in 17 more at Chattanooga, his first test in AA ball. As a followup, after a hot start in 2012, Webster was generally considered the top pitching prospect (remaining) in the Dodger minors when he was traded to Boston in August. He's a good candidate to compete for a rotation spot in 2013's Spring Training, but a midseason or late-season callup would be a safer play.
More Scouting Book Info on Allen Webster
SB 68 BA 88 SC 54 BP SN ES ML 46
A slappy, scrappy, switch-hitting wheels player, Pirate prospect Alen Hanson was a low-visibility 2011 IFA signing from the Dominican, but one that earn more kudos for htose ever-impressive Pittsburgh scouts. Hanson would probably get more attention if his name included an Alvarez or Concepcion in there, something that looked more Latin and less Nordic. (At least 'Alexi'. Something. Make an effort, kid!)
Alexi is said to have the quick hands and feet necessary to stick at shortstop, but he also has a quick everything-else: plus speed is clearly his main offensive weapon. Power may never come, depending on how his slender frame fills out, but he's already showing superior on-base skill, and the Pirates should already be delighted with his development, no matter when he finds the ceiling.
More Scouting Book Info on Alen Hanson
SB 69 BA 76 SC 77 BP SN ES 74 ML 67
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 70 BA 99 SC 56 BP 68 SN ES ML
60 to 70 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013