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 68 SC BP SN ES 60 ML 85
Nobody expected young Josh Bell to sign in 2011, which is probably why he fell to the Pirates in round two of the draft. But one should never underestimate the allure of five million shiny dollars, and young Bell shocked other managers by inking with the Pirates and passing on the University of Texas. Bell immediately became the biggest bat in a Pirate system that's very lacking in offensive muscle, but his primo status doesn't only come from relative dearth: he's a valid top prospect all on his own merit.
Full Scouting Report for Josh Bell
SB 91 BA SC BP 77 SN ES 97 ML 74
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 92 BA 100 SC 56 BP 83 SN ES 71 ML 89
A supplemental first round pick for the Brewers a few years back, Jake 'the Dog' Odorizzi is a tall righthander with a smooth and easy delivery that portends well for his future. Originally a part of the prospect package that moved Zack Greinke to Milwaukee, Odorizzi was a hot commodity again in 2012's offseason, as he was shipped to Tampa in favor of some more-seasoned veteran pitching. He's pretty much ready for action, though, and expectations will be high for him to fill that hole in the Rays' rotation ASAP. He'll enjoy the benefits of some nice pitching coaches, of course: Tampa is very very good at squeezing the best performance from young arms.
Full Scouting Report for Jake Odorizzi
SB 93 BA 67 SC 65 BP 92 SN ES ML 56
Brock Holt is a fiery, undersized infielder who moved to Boston as part of the trade for Joel Hanrahan. Scouts don't love him, but he keeps on producing no matter where he plays, and he clearly has an advanced understanding of the game's finer points. Holt slashed .322/.389/.432 in AA for the Curve in 2012, then hit a tidy .292 when called up to Pittsburgh. He'll be a phone call away from Fenway in 2013 as the most-ready infield replacement for whoever falls to injury first.
He might not have obvious star potential, but he's a solid player, and it's almost a shame that he's probably destined to be a utility man. At least he'll be a good, old-school gritty one. And of course, when they make the cartoon version of the Red Sox, he'll be voiced by F. Jon Benjamin. So there's that.
Full Scouting Report for Brock Holt
SB 94 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Two years from now, the Seattle Mariners might just have one of the very best rotations in all of baseball. Yes, really. In addition to solid and near-ready Danny Hultzen and phenom Taijuan Walker, the Mariners also own James Paxton, a tall, athletic Canadian lefthander. Paxton rose to national attention at U Kentucky, and was selected in the 2009 Draft's supplemental round by the Toronto Blue Jays. He did not sign, however, and quickly became embroiled in a hubbub and eventual lawsuit when it was revealed that his 'family adviser' Scott Boras may have negotiated with the Blue Jays on his behalf, which is against NCAA rules. He thus became ineligible to play NCAA ball in 2010, and instead parked himself in independent ball to await the next draft, when he was selected by the Mariners much later, at #132nd overall.
His mid-nineties stuff and sick breaking ball hasn't yet translated to many overpowering performances, but he looked solid enough in a full season of AA ball in 2012, striking out 110 in 106 innings while posting a 3.05 ERA. His 54 walks (and concomitant 1.411 WHIP) should give touts pause, however: he needs to rein in that control if he's going to excel in MLB anytime soon.
Full Scouting Report for James Paxton
SB 95 BA 99 SC BP 68 SN ES ML
A big, limber righthander who was hitting 98mph on the radar gun before going under the Tommy John knife in May 2014, pitcher Jeff Hoffman still has enough upside to be selected ninth overall by the Blue Jays in that summer's draft. Before surgery, Hoffman was commanding that fastball along with a plus curve (a true 12-6 knee-buckler that he used as a strikeout pitch) and a very good changeup, two pitches that he'll need to rebuild in the years to come. A textbook long-term investment by the Blue Jays.
Full Scouting Report for Jeff Hoffman
SB 96 BA SC BP SN ES ML
First drafted by the Red Sox way back in 2008, righthander Alex Meyer passed on an alleged $2M signing bonus to go attend U Kentucky, in order to reenter the draft in 2011. Apparently, he spent his time in school eating well: the youngster now tips the scales at 6-10 and 230lbs.
A power pitcher (no kidding) with a high-90's fastball and a wicked slider, he's got stuff to burn, but a sometimes-wonky delivery and spotty command have plagued him through his young career. The Nats, flush with confidence at the depth of their rotation, parted with him in a trade to Minnesota in exchange for Denard Span, but that's no indication of any dodgy quality: he simply moves from being a top Washington pitching prospect to being a top Minnesota number one pitching prospect... and the Twins have shown a great ability to develop young arms. So while the move to Nicetown might slow his debut by a couple of years (the Twins are notoriously slow and cautious with young arms), it might also improve his chances of being solid and polished when he does arrive.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Meyer
SB 97 BA 45 SC 49 BP 32 SN ES 62 ML 28
The first son of Niceville, Florida, Milwaukee prospect Jimmy Nelson is an enormous bear of a pitcher pulling himself up the minor league system. After dominating the high-A Florida League with a 2.21, 1.082, 77:25 performance, Nelson moved up to AA Huntsville at midseason. While his numbers against more advanced hitters suffered, Nelson's always been good at challenges, so watch for him to step up again in 2013. Nelson works with a nice matched fastball and slider that he commands well, though his control isn't quite up to snuff. Some scouts think his delivery is too busy, but it's difficult to be certain.
What we do know is that his changeup doesn't change much, and can't be counted on in a pinch, which means Nelson becomes a two pitch pitcher under pressure. With his size and intimidation factor, that sounds like a future reliever to us.
Full Scouting Report for Jimmy Nelson
SB 98 BA 96 SC 76 BP SN ES ML 83
A solidly-built catcher/third-base prospect from Kent, Washington, Reese McGuire doesn't quite deserve the Bryce Harper comparisons he sometimes inspires, but he's not all that far off, either. An offensive monster at a young age, he should enjoy the benefits of further physical development over the next couple of years, which means those towering homers will get even more awe-inspiring. Best of all, he gets that power from a short, quick stroke that doesn't look like any kind of all-or-nothing swing. Behind the plate, he looks very very good, definitely good enough to stick at catcher if his body plays along. He's very young and very raw, but there are few players from the 2013 draft class with a higher ceiling.
Full Scouting Report for Reese McGuire
SB 99 BA 81 SC BP 59 SN ES ML
A high-quality hitter laboring deep in the shadows of the Atlanta system, Tommy La Stella combines exceptional plate discipline with good pop. That .302/.386/.460 line from high-A Lynchburg last came with 32 extra base hits in 85 games, and he could look even better in AA, once adjusting a little. His speed is above average, and his baserunning skills are already very good. His glove is less tested but seems capable, especially at second base. While he might not be a tip-top prospect, he's a very good one, and could be contributing in a Braves lineup sometime in 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Tommy La Stella
SB 100 BA SC BP SN ES ML
90 to 100 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013