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 90 BA 87 SC 85 BP 91 SN ES ML 100
A headline acquisition as part of the trade of pitcher Matt Garza, Hak-Ju Lee is a big, powerful shortstop from Korea who's now prominently positioned in the Tampa Bay system. Already a polished hitter (.261/.336/.360 at AA Montgomery last year), Lee seems to have the footwork and arm to stick at shortstop, too, and he's shown improvement in the field every season. His 37 steals in 2012, a career best, is also a highlight worth remembering. As projected, he should get a shot at everyday Tampa life in 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Hak-Ju Lee
SB 91 BA SC 69 BP SN ES 79 ML 84
A Washington draftee who made a detour to Oakland in 2012, re-Nationalized pitcher AJ Cole is a six-foot-five, lanky righthander who can touch 95mph with his fastball. Cole also mixes in a power curve and passable changeup that could develop into plus pitches with good coaching and support. He's already drawing comparisons to Justin Verlander, who was a similar pitcher at the same age, complete with the erratic control that's still holding Cole back from a breakout. Give him time and watch his peripherals. Trading a couple of MPH for greater control could accelerate his timeline.
Full Scouting Report for AJ Cole
SB 92 BA SC 93 BP 53 SN ES 65 ML 69
A smallish shortstop in the Cubs system, the switch-hitting Arismendy Alcantara is a toolsy Dominican who's been impressing scouts with his improving bat and solid defense. The octosyllabic shortstop raised his slash line to a career-best .302/.339/.447 with 25 steals in 2012 while playing at high-A Daytona, the toughest level of his life to date. That's enough to raise eyebrows. In the field, Alcantara has played all over the infield but looks most comfortable at short, where he shows above-average range and a strong arm. He'll be pushing for AA duty in 2013, and could be a factor from the Cubs bench the year after that.
Full Scouting Report for Arismendy Alcantara
SB 93 BA 100 SC 88 BP 83 SN ES 71 ML 89
A power righthander who many see as the next Dodger ace, first round draft pick Zach Lee has a ways to go before he's a sure thing, but he did nothing to frighten away believers in 2011, racking up a great start to his pro career in A ball. With a 92mph fastball, plus curve and a developing change, he's a young pitcher worth worth watching closely: that 103:32 strikeout to walk ratio he posted across two leagues in 2012 portends a solid future.
Full Scouting Report for Zach Lee
SB 94 BA 95 SC 76 BP 84 SN ES 75 ML 63
A California boy with serious defensive chops at shortstop, White Sox prospect Marcus Semien slashed a tidy .273/.362/.471 with 14 homers in his first taste of high-A ball in 2012, stepping up his game from the year before. While the power surge was a pleasant surprise, Semien has long been known as a well-rounded athlete with a full toolbox, showing a soft glove and strong arm at shortstop, a patient eye at the plate and plus speed on the bases. Already a fast-riser, he'll be rocketing up prospect lists if that power increase turns out to be for real.
Full Scouting Report for Marcus Semien
SB 95 BA 91 SC BP SN ES ML
A fast, slappy hitter with good speed and plus defense, Rockie prospect David Dahl looks like a good fit for Coors Field. More than a raw tools candidate, Dahl uses his speed well on the bases and in the field, and shows a good eye for situational hitting. For such a young player, he's quite polished already, though he'll need a couple more seasons in the minors to really reveal his true level.
Full Scouting Report for David Dahl
SB 96 BA 94 SC 51 BP 100 SN ES 47 ML 71
A rapidly-maturing slugger who rose to attention in the Rangers system, Mike Olt ('Mike Olt!') is a legit third-base candidate whose defense is already passable, though his first-step could use some improvement. Olt hit .288/.398/.579 with 28 dingers at AA Frisco in 2012, good enough to enter discussions as a 2013 starting possibility in Arlington, despite the lack of any clear position at which for him to play. After a full year of trade rumors, he finally landed in Chicago at 2013's midseadson in the trade that sent Matt Garza to Texas. In the smaller park and with a young team growing up alongside his bat, his career is in a good place.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Olt
SB 97 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A power pitcher from Columbia (that's Columbia, South Carolina), Taylor Guerrieri is a bit of a shadow prospect in the Rays system, easy to miss when you're busy being starstruck by all the bigger names. But Guerrieri is a solid and fast-rising pitching prospect in his own right, uncoiling a nice mid-90's fastball from a classic power pitcher's frame that can even reach 98 on occasion. His curve shows flashes of greatness and could humiliate major leaguers someday, and he's continue to sharpen it as he also works on a change and cutter. His mechanics seem solid, as much as mechanics can be judged, and at least he's consistent with his delivery, a vanilla 3/4 without any scary snapbacks or recoil. This year, he'll continue to sharpen his command in the minors, but could be a mid-rotation contender in Tampa, especially if injuries strike.
Full Scouting Report for Taylor Guerrieri
SB 98 BA SC BP SN ES 66 ML 94
Another raw athlete in a draft filled to the brim with such potential, Ranger prospect Nick Williams fits the cliche perfectly: great natural tools and athleticism, good speed, strong arm, very raw skills, and a swing that shows glimmers of greatness... but also one full of more holes than a beer-league infield. Williams will report to the Rangers' rookie-league team in Arizona for evaluation and assignment.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Williams
SB 99 BA 97 SC BP 88 SN ES ML
One of the bundle of top prospects sent to Miami for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and company in November, Justin Nicolino is a finessey lefty in the Tom Glavine fashion. Nicolino can dial his fastball up to 92 or 93, but not much more than that. It's more than enough, though. Nicolino had what might be the best debut by a Jays prospect ever in 2011, and has continued to blossom since. If he makes the big leagues in 2013, which is possible, he'll do it on the strength of an easy, repeatable throwing motion (balls will come down, down, down on hitters from his tall frame and overhand motion) and a propensity to throw strikes, strikes and more strikes.
Full Scouting Report for Justin Nicolino
SB 100 BA SC BP SN ES 93 ML 81
90 to 100 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013