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 82 SC 50 BP 57 SN ES 78 ML 50
Georgia high schooler Austin Meadows is an outfield phenom who attracted a great deal of first round attention in MLB's 2013 first-year player draft before falling to the Pirates with the ninth overall selection. A phenom with five tool talent, Austin is one of the fastest baserunners in the country, with speed that would make him one of the fastest players in pro baseball if he can get the rest of his game to half that level. His swing is promising, featuring a smooth and easy load with the makings of real plus power from the left side. He's been compared to players like Andre Ethier and Jacoby Ellsbury, and not without reason: few ballplayers blend across-the-board abilities like this. The only thing that might keep him from a minor league roster is 2014 is his commitment to Clemson University.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Meadows
SB 61 BA 49 SC 38 BP 89 SN ES 35 ML 45
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.
Full Scouting Report for Braden Shipley
SB 62 BA 62 SC 46 BP 62 SN ES 25 ML 79
A switch-hitting catcher of the type the Red Sox have kept on trying to develop for the last decade, Cleveland native Blake Swihart has the tools necessary to succeed in the big leagues, assuming his game-calling head can develop as expected. Already blessed with solid contact ability from either side of the plate, (.448/.492/.845 for Team USA two years ago) he's also showing a strong and accurate throwing arm already. If he has to move away from the plate, he could be a competent third baseman, since he doesn't really have the legs for the outfield, but if that happened he would drop a great deal in value, since there are many other young third basemen with similar offensive pop.
Full Scouting Report for Blake Swihart
SB 63 BA 73 SC BP 73 SN ES 56 ML 61
A tall and lanky teenager who arrived in the DR in the winter of 2011, outfielder Jorge Soler is one of the most promising Cuban prospects in baseball today. He's already shown off his tools in Dominica, and while he looks like a centerfielder right now, physically, his height and young age make it quite possible he'll be a corner fielder when he finishes growing. And if his loopy power swing develops as expected, he'll hit like one too.
He's already showing signs of MLB videogame level power at the plate, and his very strong arm is certainly real. His iffy contact skills and lack of patience at the plate, though, are equally clear indicators that he's still a rather rough gem. One bonus for his future home in The Show: the youngster already has an electric personality in his toolbox, which means he could be a real cover boy come 2015 or so.
Full Scouting Report for Jorge Soler
SB 64 BA 41 SC 21 BP 45 SN ES 26 ML 49
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.
Full Scouting Report for DJ Peterson
SB 65 BA 85 SC BP 65 SN ES ML 88
Signed as a sixteen year old out of Panama back in 2008, catcher Christian Bethencourt is a toolsy ballplayer dripping with all-around talent. Competing with far-older players in 2009, the 17-year old showed flashes of power and above-average speed to complement his advanced bat control skills. In 2012, he slashed .243/.275/.291 at AA Mississippi while working primarily on his defense.
Since he's a catcher with the entire universe of game calling and defense to master, he's still a couple of years away, but he's such a shining star that he's a near-lock to rise through the prospect ranks every year before taking over in Atlanta. He's just that talented. If he settles in and looks strong in AA this year, he'll be starting in Atlanta next.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Bethancourt
SB 66 BA 69 SC 78 BP 87 SN ES 90 ML 82
A long and lean righthander from Texas, Kohl Stewart is the embodiment of pitching potential, and as long as he remains a Twin, he's got a very good chance at reaching that potential. His stuff is very raw, and other than his slider doesn't do much, but his fastball was already cracking 90mph as a high-schooler, which means there are almost certainly a few more ticks to come. As a starter for St. Pius X in Houston, Stewart made eight starts (40 innings) in which he struck out 59 and walked 16. (His ERA was an hilarious 0.18). A multi-sport athlete, he's also done very well as a football player (as a high school senior, he threw for 2,560 yards and 28 touchdowns). In a small taste of pro baseball last season, Stewart struck out 24 Rookie league batters in 20 innings of work while walking only four. He'll step up slowly, first to A-ball in 2014, and the Twins will take their sweet time making sure he earns every promotion along the way.
Full Scouting Report for Kohl Stewart
SB 67 BA 52 SC 41 BP 54 SN ES 76 ML 40
A plucky infielder usually slotted at second base despite having enough arm to stick at shortstop, Markus Lynn (Mookie) Betts is a quality ballplayer with no obvious future home in Boston. Still, if he can keep whacking balls the way he did at high-A Salem last season (.341/.414/.551 in 51 games) the team will find a place for him, even if it means moving him on the diamond again.
Full Scouting Report for Mookie Betts
SB 68 BA 75 SC BP SN ES 61 ML 62
The Cubs number one pick in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora projects to be a Northside star one day soon. Signed when he was only 18, he's not quite ready yet, but he's already got scouts drooling: his across-the-board toolset is solid, and he's still improving. His leadership ability and poise are especially impressive, as he performed very well under the highest possible levels of pressure throughout his award-laden high-school career. Outpacing older players during his first shot at A-level ball last season, Almora slashed a very mature .329/.376/.466. He'll probably spend most of 2014 at high-A Daytona in an attempt to slow him down a little, but it probably won't work: he should be in AA sometime this summer, and he looks like a probably Futures Game star from the get-go.
Full Scouting Report for Albert Almora
SB 69 BA 36 SC 83 BP 25 SN ES 28 ML 18
A rapidly-developing lefthander who rode a mechanical change to a breakout season last fall, Venezuelan Edwin Escobar and his plus breaking ball could reach MLB as soon as 2014, probably in a relief capacity.
Full Scouting Report for Edwin Escobar
SB 70 BA 56 SC 31 BP SN ES ML 95
60 to 70 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013