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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SB 80 BA 46 SC 68 BP 61 SN ES 51 ML 53
A very big kid from Texas with a pretty big arm, righthander Kyle Crick was the his district's 4A pitcher of the year in 2011 and looked even better in the Sally League last season. He brings a typical power heavy fastball from a high arm angle, and complements it with a slider that shows serious promise.
By all reports his change and curve are very much works in progress, though, so don't get too excited about this kid too soon. Crick's 128 strikeouts in only 111 innings of work is his highlight stat, but that 1.28 WHIP shows he's better rounded than the average strikeout artist. He'll try to climb to AA in 2013, and if he looks as wicked there, he'll probably receive a rewarding cup of coffee come September.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Crick
SB 81 BA 66 SC 58 BP 65 SN ES 76 ML 86
A blooming catching prospect in a Marlin system that's light on catching prospects, California boy Rob Brantly probably won't be a superstar, but he's quality material behind the plate, and he's already showing a gift for learning on the job, a valuable skill in the 'everybody plays' environment of modern Miami.
He lucked his way onto the Marlin's roster in 2012, then earned a permanent place on his own merit with a nice .290/.372/.460 in 100 at-bats. While he's probably not quite that good, he's the best bet the team has right now and should open 2013 as the everyday catcher, a heck of an opportunity for the youngster. He's always shown a good eye at the plate and decent discipline in applying it, using his quick and compact swing to good effect in taking balls to their natural fields. He hasn't shown much power yet, but could be a more than capable gap hitter in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Rob Brantly
SB 82 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, strong third baseman in the Matt Williams tradition, Diamondback prospect Matt Davidson hit .261 with 23 homers at AA Mobile at 2012, which is pretty much exactly in line with his performance lower in the system, complete with the asterisk-worthy high strikeout rate. With fellow prospect Bobby Borchering moving to the outfield, Davidson has a clear shot at the third base gig in Phoenix, as long as his bat remains respectable and his defense continues to improve. He's a decent 2013 bet, and could be up for a quick dip in the Arizona hot tub sooner than that.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Davidson
SB 83 BA 88 SC 50 BP 89 SN ES 75 ML 77
A Venezuelan righthander getting a great deal of 2013 attention in Detroit, Bruce Rondon is a pitcher stuffed with stuff, though still a bit challenged for control of it. In other words, a prototypical closer in the making. Not a huge man, Rondon nonetheless gets plenty of action on his heavy fastball, which can break 100mph but usually clocks-in closer to 96. His best trick, however, is the way he adds deception with a low arm angle that's near-sidearm. Not only does that arm action make his fastball hard to pick up, it also makes his slider have more movement than it really needs, which is probably the main cause of some of that wildness. Rondon displayed an occasional change back in 2009, but that's nothing he'll really be needing in the bullpen, so it's probably best to consider it at least semi-retired.
Rondon reall could use another year of cooking in order to practice dealing with more patient hitters, the kind less likely to flail at his dirtballs, but the Tigers could use him in the bullpen immediately. Whether or not he opens 2013 closing for the team, he'll almost certain end the season that way.
Full Scouting Report for Bruce Rondon
SB 84 BA 95 SC 96 BP SN ES ML 92
A lithe, athletic outfielder with enough speed to cover big terrain, Pirate outfield prospect Gregory Polanco really took a step into national attention in 2012, showing off a .325/.389/.516 slash line during his first taste of A-ball, a line that included 25 doubles and 15 homers.
At the plate, Polanco is still a bit of a raw swinger, but he makes enough contact to get away with it most of the time, and his natural ability helps him put balls in play that others might foul off or miss altogether. As his skills improve, his talent could propel him into the upper tier of young hitters. His defense is very sloppy but should come along with the rest of his game, with good raw speed that should help him cover mistakes in the mean time. His arm is not special, but should be enough to handle a corner outfield assignment.
Full Scouting Report for Gregory Polanco
SB 85 BA 51 SC BP 44 SN ES ML 65
It might seem like we've been talking about him forever, but Twins prospect Kyle Gibson still hasn't broken out, though his surgically reconstructed right elbow has kept him from zooming up the charts to date. When he recovers, he'll probably return to show the stuff that once made him talented enough to be the ace of any college staff, though Kyle Gibson was hidden behind Aaron Crow in Missouri for awhile. Since then he's been toiling and recuperating quietly in the oh-so-patient pitching factory in Minnesota.
The big righthander is a workhorse with a high-command fastball and the determination to grind through opposing batters inning after inning. His fastball can reach 94-95mph, but he works mainly in the 91-92 range, relying on his plus slider and above-average change to beguile batters. He started to look like his old self toward the end of 2012, and considering that his strength was never something that came from wicked motion to begin with, he should be a good candidate to recover to 110% sometime in mid-2013.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Gibson
SB 86 BA 68 SC BP 64 SN ES 41 ML 49
A young righthander who could join the bevy of power arms in San Francisco in the years to come, Clayton Blackburn was an eye-opener in Augusta last year. Blackburn posted a shiny 8-4, 2.54, 1.02 season at A-ball, striking out an ungodly 143 hitters while walking only 18. That's a strikeout to walk ratio of eight.
Blackburn achieved numbers like those by locating a sinking, mid-90's fastball with good accuracy. His propensity for keeping it down in the zone limits the damage hitters can do, leaving them his quality change and curve to chase, usually all the way back to the bench. While he's worked from both rotations and bullpens, the quality of his secondary pitches will probably keep him in a starter's role until and unless he pitches his way out of it. Having a quality sinking fastball, of course, is a great backup plan if he ever becomes a full-time reliever. Watch his progress in 2013, and you'll have a much better idea where, and how, he'll land in MLB.
Full Scouting Report for Clayton Blackburn
SB 87 BA SC 63 BP 95 SN ES 80 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.
Full Scouting Report for Allen Webster
SB 88 BA 49 SC BP 69 SN ES 63 ML 71
Another two-way player inherited from the Phillies system, Jarred Cosart is primarily a pitcher as far as the Astros are concerned. As a pitcher, he displays a consistent, balanced delivery, with a mid-90's fastball and a polished 11-5 curve that's probably the best hammer in the Astro system. His change, while a bit rough, also looks to be a potential plus offering. He's not all there yet, and his peripheral numbers suggest that he's bumping into his ceiling a bit sooner than hoped, but with no obvious flaws, he's already good enough to at least contribute at the MLB level. If the Houston bullpen hurts in 2013, we'll see him. If not, 2014 will be a good proving ground.
Full Scouting Report for Jarred Cosart
SB 89 BA SC 85 BP SN ES 86 ML 89
One of Japan's most talented all-around ballplayers, Oakland rookie Hiroyuki Nakajima is a toolsy, accomplished shortstop with a good line-drive swing and an exemplary work ethic. Playing all season at shortstop for Seibu in 2011, Hiroyuki slashed .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles, which is actually a poor year compared to his .310/.381/.479 career line. He also stole 21 out of 23 bases, showing exceptional skill. He's a solid player, with the same speed and discipline usually seen in Japanese players, plus a little more power than American fans might expect. A three-hole hitter with Seibu, Hiro would fit well into the number two or seven slot for the A's, or as a decent lead off man.
Full Scouting Report for Hiroyuki Nakajima
SB 90 BA SC BP SN ES ML
80 to 90 of 650 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013