Top Baseball Prospects for 2014 and Beyond
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.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
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Top Padres Prospects for 2014
Current Overall SB ranking shown in grid below.
The number one catching prospect in the system until Yasmani Grandal came to town, Austin Hedges is still a top prospect with a very high ceiling. Not quite as ready for the majors as Grandal was, Hedges is still barely out of high school. But he's valid: long-seen as a strong-armed defensive catcher, he slashed an unexpectedly-solid .260/.333/.390 in 86 games split between high and double-A in 2013, propelling him into the 'complete catcher' category. He's not quite ready, especially in the game-calling department, but he's not very far off, either. Expect him to get a look-see in 2014, with 2015 as his more likely ETA.
More Scouting Book Info on Austin Hedges
SB 29 BA 27 SC 37 BP 18 SN ES 33 ML 24
A tall, thin pitcher being developed in the Padres system, Ohio native Matt Wisler looks every bit a future rotation anchor. In 20 AA starts last season, Wisler struck out almost exactly one batter per inning while walking barely more than one per game. That's exactly the sort of performance that the control-obsessed Padres love to see, and it's enough to put him in the mix for MLB consideration in mid-to-late 2014.
Wisler works a couple of different low-90's fastballs with accuracy to both sides of the plate, but it's his slow curve that turns heads and misses bats most often. How he'll perform against better opponents is an open question, but if he continues his careful, clever approach while trusting his stuff, he should succeed.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Wisler
SB 43 BA 44 SC 49 BP 47 SN ES 39 ML 78
A quality lefthander who looks close to MLB ready, San Diego pitcher Max Fried should see Petco sooner rather than later. Fried's fastball doesn't exceed 92mph very often, though he can add a bit more when he really needs it and gets more outs thanks to its sinking nature than its velocity, anyway. His cutter and change are average pitches already, and should be better than average by the time he's anchored into the Padre rotation.
More Scouting Book Info on Max Fried
SB 51 BA 53 SC 27 BP 55 SN ES 48 ML 43
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
Casey Kelly is big, strong pitcher who came to San Diego from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Young Kelly is already 6-3 and 200lbs, with more size and strength to come as he fills out.
He took an uncomfortable step backwards with the Red Sox back in 2010, which probably precipitated their sudden willingness to part with the once-untouchable asset, but his stuff is still there, just waiting for his ability to catch up: Kelly's fastball was rated the best heatuh in the Red Sox system in 2010. And so was his curve. And so was his changeup. Put all that together with his plus control, and it seems pretty clear we're looking at a possible Padres success story. Like any pitching prospect, he needs luck on his side to stay healthy, and if he gets that, he'll be a solid number two or three starter, and maybe even a future ace.
More Scouting Book Info on Casey Kelly
SB 128 BA SC 89 BP SN ES ML 87
The Topps Player of the Year for the (A-level) Midwest League in 2011, outfielder Rymer Liriano is a five-tool talent on the fast-track to major league duty in San Diego. His 2012 numbers (.251/.335/.377) might look inferior to his track record, but it was the youngster's first crack at AA, so it's actually pretty impressive. The Dominican native's award-winning minor league career is a tantalizing showcase of speed and power, just the thing the Padres could use at the top of the order. If he lights up AA pitching this spring, he could be in the majors by midseason. If not, he's still a near-lock for the 2014 lineup.
More Scouting Book Info on Rymer Liriano
SB 161 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall and thin righthander from Oakland, Joe Ross was the 25th overall draft selection in 2011, taken by the San Diego Padres. Reports on Ross are uniform in noting that his fastball and curve project to be major league average (that's good) while his change needs a great deal of work (that's bad, but not unusual for a youngster like Ross). Given the good pitching climate and coaching staff in the Padre system, Ross ranks a bit higher than he would elsewhere.
More Scouting Book Info on Joe Ross
SB 192 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The number one son of Moss Bluff, Louisiana, San Diego's Jace Petersen is one of the organization's most promising middle-infielders. A raw, often unpolished prospect, Jace the Face nonetheless looks like a natural ballplayer. Peterson carries his athletic ability with natural grace, looking like nothing as much as a bundle of potential. His plus bat speed and first-step hustle look awfully good on film, and he looked very good handling low minors pitching over the past two seasons. He'll spend 2014 in the minors as well, but he's a fascinating prospect nonetheless.
More Scouting Book Info on Jace Peterson
SB 247 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big righthander drafted in 2009's fourth round, San Diego's Keyvius Sampson looked pretty darn fine in his first season of A-ball back in 2011, going 12-3, 2.90, 1.10 across 24 starts. He struck out 143 batters, three times as many as he walked, with a K/9 rate near 11. He slid somewhat in 2012, though to be fair, a lot of pitchers find humility in their first trip to the Texas League. Sampson's control still needs work, but there's not much else to complain about here: he has guile, mound presence, confidence and calm when dealing his 94mph fastball (with movement), hammerish curve and even his newest pitch: a fading change with plenty of sink. Issues with recurring elbow soreness seem to be in his past, but note:
seem to be.
More Scouting Book Info on Keyvius Sampson
SB 258 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big-bodied righthander from Orlando, Padres pitching prospect Walker (sic) Weickel was the 55th player selected overall in the 2012 draft. The 94mph he's already reaching with his fastball will increase as he fills out, and the good cut and sink he can add make him look ready to be a dominant reliever very soon. Of course, he's durable-looking and armed with a quality curveball, too, so he'll be given every possible opportunity to succeed as a starter long before it comes to that, especially given the wealth of hot relief arms in the Padre system.
More Scouting Book Info on Walker Weickel
SB 274 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Originally drafted by the Rangers, Righthander Joe Wieland is today a premium Padres pitching prospect with his sights set squarely on San Diego. A tall and thin kid with easy gas, Wieland works comfortably at 90-94mph, spiced with a genuine plus curve. Even his change shows above-average flash.
With exceptionally good command and control, he brought all that quality stuff to bear in 2012, making six starts for the Padres and posting a veteran-looking 1.27 WHIP and 24:9 strikeout to walk ratio. A fly-ball/strikeout pitcher, he should improve further in 2013 and fit perfectly into San Diego's style of play, not to mention that ballpark. If he's not in the rotation to open 2013, he will be by the end of the season.
More Scouting Book Info on Joe Wieland
SB 275 BA SC BP SN ES ML
With one of the fastest home-to-first sprints since Ichiro and an OBP over .400 in his first season of pro ball, Padres prospect Cory Spangenberg is already looking very capable of sitting atop a San Diego batting order very soon. The versatile infielder played third base in college but will almost certainly be a second baseman in San Diego. He's still a bit rough around the edges, so give him a year to push his way into AA ball before you start expecting him to crack the Padres' everyday roster.
More Scouting Book Info on Cory Spangenberg
SB 303 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Adys (or, sometimes, Adis) Portillo is a hard-throwing right-hander who shows more polish than most Venezuelan prospects. Portillo exhibits a dominating mound presence and great composure, featuring a moving fastball that tops out at about 94mph. It's the raw stuff he wields with three possible plus pitches, though, that puts him into the upper ranks of pitching prodigies.
More Scouting Book Info on Adys Portillo
SB 307 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Padre prospect with the nastiest sinker-slider combo in the minors, righthander Donn Roach can also toss a borderline curve just often enough to infuriate free swingers. Jumping across two levels of play in 2012, Roach combined for a ground-ball heavy 1.88 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 105 innings of work as a starter. He looks like an innings-eating ground ball machine who should be ready in mid-2014, though the team could use him sooner than that. He'll idle and polish his third pitch in AA this season.
More Scouting Book Info on Donn Roach
SB 392 BA SC BP SN ES ML
By most measures, he's the least of the three prospects the Padres landed for Mat Latos, but USC righthander Brad Boxberger is still no slouch. The 43rd player selected in the 2009 draft is a strong, stout pitcher who projects as a middle-of-rotation arm for the Padres in the near future, thanks to his pro-level collection of above-average pitches and his ability to survive under pressure. He works with a 92-94mph fastball that he'll work in on hitters quite fearlessly, and he complements it with a decent-and-improving curve. Most interestingly, though, he features a nifty sinking change that could be a real strikeout pitch for him once he learns to command it a bit more consistently.
More Scouting Book Info on Brad Boxberger
SB 407 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A prep pitcher who some expected to go in the first round after improving his stuff immensely in 2011, Floridian righthander Zach Eflin almost did just that, winding up as the second pick of the compensation round in 2012. Eflin's fastball is a 95mph dart with late life that he throws from a high arm slot for maximum effect, while his curve looks remarkably well-developed for such a young player. His change, as with so many young pitchers, is still a work in progress, but scouts rave about Eflin's work ethic and commitment to improve, two things we love to see here at Scouting Book.
More Scouting Book Info on Zach Eflin
SB 474 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The lithe and wiry Reymond Fuentes shares a lot in common with his famous cousin, fellow outfielder Carlos Beltran. A superior defender who makes great reads and uses his plus plus speed to reach even the deepest gappers, Fuentes also brings a sharp and compact line-drive swing to the park. If he has weak spots, they're his lack of power and relatively weak throwing arm, but the highlight-reel catches he'll be making in expansive Petco should make those shortcomings easy to overlook. Once on a quick track to a 2013 debut, his offensive fumbles in AA slowed his progress. He'll need to improve his on-base skills if he's going to make all that speed good for something, offensively.
More Scouting Book Info on Reymond Fuentes
SB 512 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The younger brother of Seattle's DJ, Dustin Peterson is an offensive-style shortstop with a compact stroke that somehow generates exceptional bat speed. Peterson has good hands and a better than average arm, though not a real plus one. He has the potential to stick at short, but a little more growth and power and he'll be considered a third baseman by most. He's committed to Arizona State, but his high draft selection suggests he may sign to start his pro career a little sooner than planned.
More Scouting Book Info on Dustin Peterson
SB 566 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A top third base / outfield prospect in the Padres system, James (JD) Darnell is a well-rounded hitter who has more than just corner pop. Darnell also boasts real doubles hustle and good baserunning skills, despite raw speed that's only average. His fielding is a work in progress for now, and it's possible that his training may be cut short with a move across the diamond to first base in the future, but at present he looks like a good long-term value for the Padres, and his work in the minors will continue to focus on fielding drills and defense while he competes for an MLB job that he's almost qualified for already.
More Scouting Book Info on James Darnell
SB 682 BA SC BP SN ES ML