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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Tampa Bay's first selection in the 2014 draft, Casey Gillaspie (yes, Connor's brother) is a big, strong, power-hitting first base/DH type who is as close to major league ready as a college player can be. A switch-hitter, he evokes easy and obvious comparisons to Berkman and Teixeira, though not without merit: he squares up the ball very well from both sides of the plate, and should show real plus power once he's finished growing. Since he's already approaching 6-5 and 250, we hope he stops growing soon. In the field, he's got soft hands and good command of the field, but lacks the speed need to really man any other position for more than an emergency game or two.
More Scouting Book Info on Casey Gillaspie
SB 81 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, strong strike thrower, Appel was selected eighth overall (Pirates) in the 2012 draft, but didn't sign, allowing him to reenter the 2013 draft, where his hometown Astros flattered him with the #1 overall selection. One of the best pitching prospects in the last few years, he should provide the big anchor the rebuilding Astros so desperately need. He'll be ready in 2014 -- heck, he's ready right now -- but the Astros will do their best to slow down his arbitration clock while they assemble the rest of a competitive team to play behind him.
More Scouting Book Info on Mark Appel
SB 82 BA 39 SC BP 21 SN ES 11 ML 17
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 83 BA 79 SC 57 BP SN ES 84 ML 65
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 84 BA 65 SC 72 BP 61 SN ES 43 ML 68
Another promising third base prospect in Philadelphia, Dominican Maikel Franco has accelerated his course to the big leagues thanks to a blistering 2013 season with AA .339/.363/.563 line at AA Reading followed up on a spring .299/.349/.576 at A-level Clearwater. The young slugger crushed a combined 31 homers in 541 at-bats. If he stays this hot, he'll be in Philly this year, though his prime is another couple of years away. With the Phillies looking a few years away from contention, the organization may take the conservative road with Franco in order to hold down his substantial future costs.
More Scouting Book Info on Maikel Franco
SB 85 BA 17 SC 16 BP 52 SN ES 63 ML 26
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 86 BA 88 SC 85 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 87 BA 76 SC 61 BP SN ES 74 ML 67
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 89 BA 64 SC 34 BP 80 SN ES 73 ML
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 in 2013, posting a combined 12-7 record and 2.78 ERA across 27 starts split between AA Binghamton and AAA Las Vegas. More improtant, he struck out 150 would-be hitters in only 155 innings. He looks unlikely to break camp with the Mets this spring, but he should be quick to move, should the team be ready for minor league help early in the year.
More Scouting Book Info on Rafael Montero
SB 90 BA 68 SC BP SN ES 60 ML 85
80 to 90 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013