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 80 BA SC 43 BP 58 SN ES 38 ML
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Mookie Betts
SB 81 BA 75 SC 61 BP SN ES 61 ML 62
The big slugger named Jonathan Singleton had no real future in Philadelphia, but in the AL-destined Astros he looks like a heck of a 1B/DH piece for the near future. Even as a corner outfield prospect, he's competent, and his powerful left-handed bat does nothing but hit. Singleton raked a nice .284 with 21 homers at AA Corpus Christi last season, which would have placed him squarely into contention for an Opening Day job in Houston if he hadn't derailed his career with a 50-game PED-free drug suspension. He'll be back around midseason and should push his way onto the MLB squad before the year is over, regardless.
More Scouting Book Info on Jonathan Singleton
SB 82 BA 82 SC 71 BP 57 SN ES 78 ML 50
When a high school player is projected as a first baseman, it's a sort of mixed message. On the one hand, it means that scouts have little to no faith in the player's ability to perform anywhere on the field. On the other hand, if such a player is still highly thought of, he must be one heck of a hitter. That's the case with LA-born, NY-drafted teenager Dominic Smith. The youngster has exceptional bat speed and power, and even shows enough of a discerning eye at the plate that a few scouts have conjured the ghost of Larry Walker in describing his potential. Smith's glove is actually quite good at first, and he has a strong arm, so it's possible some team will try to make a right fielder out of him, but that won't change the calculus: as long as the kid can learn to handle quality breaking balls in the minor leagues, he'll be a quality MLB ballplayer one day.
More Scouting Book Info on Dominic Smith
SB 83 BA 92 SC 74 BP SN ES 37 ML
A young, toolsy prospect with a very high ceiling, John Paul (JP) Crawford is one of the nation's best teenage baseball players. He has all the raw athleticism, including plus speed and superior fast-twitch muscles, to succeed almost anywhere on the diamond. Naturally, we'll see how he performs as a shortstop first, and the early signs are positive: he has soft hands and a strong arm, managing to look as smooth and practiced as any phenom Dominican. At the plate, Crawford shows a good eye for such a young hitter, with good bat control and the ability to square up and turn around on pretty much anything he's ever seen. At 6-2 and still growing, he may outgrow shortstop before his talent displaces him, but it shouldn't matter: he looks just as much a future All Star centerfielder as a shortstop, anyway.
More Scouting Book Info on JP Crawford
SB 84 BA 78 SC 57 BP SN ES 46 ML
A catcher and pitcher in high school, Mississippi native Hunter Renfroe was drafted by the San Diego Padres (13th overall in 2013) as an outfielder, presumably signalling the team's intent to develop him quickly. And that's reasonable, given that his calling card is his offensive ability. The Cal Ripken League MVP in both 2011 and 2012, Renfro hit .395 and .366 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and made himself known as a major power threat from the right side of the plate. He's an above-average runner, and has a real plus arm (he hit high-90's in his pitching days), which means he should be quite happy in right field soon.
More Scouting Book Info on Hunter Renfroe
SB 85 BA 80 SC BP SN ES 94 ML
A smallish infielder drafted by the Tigers in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, FSU alum Devon Travis has already made a career out of outperforming expectations. A late signee, Travis only sampled 25 games in the low-A NYPL, but he looked ready for wooden bats and pro baseball immediately, slashing .280 /.352/.441 while popping three homers and stealing as many bases. In the field he has the skills for short but will probably live at second base due to his size and lack of a true cannon arm. A sparkplug for a future MLB lineup.
More Scouting Book Info on Devon Travis
SB 86 BA 84 SC BP SN ES ML
A big shortstop who some prefer as a future outfielder Rosell Herrera lit up scoreboards in A-level Asheville last season (), inflating his stock tremendously. He'll have to do it again in 2014 to make it onto any shortlists as a Tulo replacement, however.
More Scouting Book Info on Rosell Herrera
SB 87 BA 86 SC 64 BP SN ES 54 ML 99
Another product of the Mets' Latin American prospecting machine, Dominican righthander Rafael Montero is yet another hard thrower coming up fast through the minor league system. Montero has a lean and mean mound presence, not unlike the young Pedro Martinez, and he has the electric stuff to live up to that comp. Montero brings a mid-90's fastball that's solid and accurate, but it's the advanced nature of his secondary pitches (especially the wicked slider and sometimes-plus change) that frustrates hitters.
And my, how those hitters do get frustrated. Montero racked up crazy-good numbers last year, both before and after his promotion to high-A St. Lucie. Combined, he went 11-5 in 20 starts with a 2.36 ERA and an eye-popping 0.94 WHIP. He also showed his command and control by maintaining a strikeout to walk rate of more than five to one. He'll probably pitch at AA in 2013, and could even be late-season Mets callup. Even if he isn't, though, expect to see him on top of prospect lists next time around.
More Scouting Book Info on Rafael Montero
SB 88 BA 68 SC 78 BP SN ES 60 ML 85
A shortstop who outgrew the position, as so many tall men do, Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini zipped up prospect lists last year mainly on the strength of his .298/.398/.500 performance at Low-A Lowell in 2011, and that season was obviously no fluke: he slashed .305/.394/.433 a year later at higher-level Greenville. Cecchini shows good (but not great) glove and footwork, and his arm can certainly handle the long throws from third, so there's little worry that he'll be able to play there. While there's no special reason for pessimism, we'll see how he can handle higher quality pitching, including his first taste of ungodly breaking stuff in 2013 before anointing him as a better third base option than Will Middlebooks.
More Scouting Book Info on Garin Cecchini
SB 89 BA SC 58 BP SN ES ML
Pierce Johnson is a wiry righthander snapped up by the Cubs in 2012's Supplemental Round after a few too many ballclubs were frightened away by a forearm strain. Silly ballclubs: Johnson is a legit first-round talent who brings a solid mix of three quality pitches to the mound already, and his 95mph fastball could be a real plus pitch as long as he can maintain its natural motion even when using it exclusively down in the zone, which he still struggles to do consistently. If he develops as expected, Johnson could be a solid part of a revitalized Chicago rotation come 2015 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Pierce Johnson
SB 90 BA 87 SC 85 BP 91 SN ES ML 100
80 to 90 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013