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.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
If you think you have found a mistake, please read
this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best Southpaw Prospects for 2014
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
A tall lefthander from California, Boston prospect Henry Owens is a raw but high-ceilinged pitcher who many project as a future relief specialist, though he's shown the durability and maturity to survive as a starter, and the Sox are expected to keep him in that role as long as possible. Owens fastball is a low-90's offering with movement, though it could pick up a few ticks as he grows and gains strength. He mixes in two curves, one hard and one soft, with varying degrees of effectiveness, and a weak changeup that does almost no good whatsoever at present.
With command to improve and strength to build, Owens won't be an All-Star anytime soon, but his raw ability shouldn't be overlooked, either. Given a couple of years of good guidance and hard work, he could find himself taking an MLB mound every fifth day, or at least for an inning or two twice a week.
Full Scouting Report for Henry Owens
SB 38 BA 40 SC 21 BP 69 SN ES 42 ML 30
A smallish but smart-throwing lefthander from Oklahoma, Marlin prospect Andrew Heany is the proud owner of a quality three-pitch arm. On a Marlin club shallow in the pitching department, Heany could move quickly: while originally on track for 2015-16 wouldn't be surprised to see him arrive as early as this season.
Full Scouting Report for Andrew Heaney
SB 40 BA 30 SC 42 BP 30 SN ES 34 ML 29
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.
Full Scouting Report for Max Fried
SB 51 BA 53 SC 27 BP 55 SN ES 48 ML 43
A rapidly-developing lefthander who rode a mechanical change to a breakout season last fall, Venezuelan Edwin Escobar and his plus breaking ball could reach MLB in 2014, probably in a relief capacity.
Full Scouting Report for Edwin Escobar
SB 57 BA 56 SC 75 BP SN ES ML 95
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.
Full Scouting Report for Eduardo Rodriguez
SB 65 BA 65 SC 36 BP 61 SN ES 43 ML 68
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 70 BA 99 SC 56 BP 68 SN ES ML
A big, strong strikeout artist who's been held back thus far by control issues, homegrown Phillies lefty Jesse Biddle still gets a very high nod thanks to his crazy-good stuff. He struck out a batter per inning at low-A Lakewood last year, which is enough to give him a pass (for now) on the fact that he also walked exactly one batter per odd inning.
Full Scouting Report for Jesse Biddle
SB 71 BA 71 SC 96 BP 94 SN ES 77 ML 53
A very young lefthander who is raising eyebrows all over minor league ball, Julio Urias is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Dodger system today. His stuff is plus-plus, and while there are concerns about his slight frame, the teenager should be given plenty of time to grow up and into his body in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Julio Urias
SB 74 BA 51 SC 41 BP 35 SN ES 14 ML 64
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
The number two overall pick in 2011, Seattle pitching prospect Danny Hultzen is a solid lefthander who draws more than his share of Cliff Lee comparisons. With a fastball that drops in around 94mph and a no-nonsense workmanlike approach to the game, the comparison isn't far off base, either. In three seasons of duty at the University of Virginia, Hultzen went 32-5 with a 2.08 ERA. The Cavs ace also struck out a nasty 148 batters in 103 innings in his final season.
In addition to the well-advertised pinpoint fastball, he showed advanced ability to find and locate a nifty cutter, a decent change, and an occasionally-wicked slider, though he may back-shelf that one for awhile. He looked ready for MLB last season, but with not much to play for, the Mariners erred on the discretionary side, which should keep their soon-to-be-stellar rotation affordable a little bit longer. Look for him this season.
Full Scouting Report for Danny Hultzen
SB 107 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A flamethrowing lefthander, Montgomery was grabbed early by the Royals in the 2008 draft. Four minor league seasons later, he's still looking pretty legitimate, if unspectacular. He's assembled a 4.17 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and a 460:212 collection of strikeouts versus walks over 546 innings that have propelled him to AAA and the major league doorstep. Traded to the Rays during the 2012 winter, he'll be looked to sooner than he might have been in KC. He's only 23 years old, and suffered some flameout control issues at times last season, but we still expect to see him in the majors this season. A new coaching staff might be all that it takes to restore his onetime shine.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Montgomery
SB 122 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, lean lefty who's been pitching under the radar for the past two seasons, Cuban Roenis Elias has stuff and guile enough to succeed in MLB, though the jury is very much still out on whether his best use would be from the bullpen or rotation. Elias, who defected from Cuba without much fanfare three years ago, was a Southern League All-Star last season posting a 3.18 ERA while striking out a tidy 121 batters in 130 innings. He's likely to open the season back in AA Jackson, but with the Mariner rotation looking iffy to open the season, he could be called upon for a spot start or two, plenty of opportunity to raise his stock even further.
Full Scouting Report for Roenis Elias
SB 123 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A top pitching prospect from the 2013 draft, Sean Manaea (rhymes with pariah) went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 17 starts for Indiana State in 2012, striking out 115 batters in 105 innings while walking only 32. The son of proud parents Opal and Faaloloi (yes, he's Samoan), Sean brings a mid-90's fastball to the plate that should improve as he fills out further. His secondary offerings, a nasty slider and a developing change, aren't good enough for the Show just yet, but they're advanced for his age. Sean is also known for having a Pettitte-like pickoff move that holds even talented baserunners at bay.
Full Scouting Report for Sean Manaea
SB 130 BA SC 90 BP 78 SN ES ML
A Dominican lefthander signed in 2012, Giant prospect Adalberto Mejia showed good control in his first visit to American ball, charting a respectable 3.97 ERA and 1.34 WHIP across 107 innings. He spent half his time as a starter and half in relief, as the Giants are looking hard at him as a fast-track bullpen option. Should they reconsider, he could impress with his quality changeup. If he remains in the bullpen, it'll be his low-90's fastball with decent motion and occasional wipeout slider that are called upon most often.
Full Scouting Report for Adalberto Mejia
SB 143 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall, thin lefty sneaking his way up the ladder in Tampa, Dominican pitcher Enny Romero won't get a lot of attention due to the richness of pitching the Rays have in stock, but in another system he could be a top prospect, if only for his natural ability.
Rough-edged but generally pretty projectable, his sometimes-clanky delivery seems to be the root of his control struggles, though he did pitch a little more within himself last year, so there's hope. He's been improving in that regard recently, which is critical: until he can keep that sinking 92mph fastball consistently down, he'll have to lean on the change and curve a bit too much to keep hitters honest, and neither of those pitches is quite all-there yet. Romero looked better at high-A Charlotte last year than he did at a lower level the year before, which is a great sign, and managed to increase his workload to 123 innings without any significant setbacks, quelling our earlier concerns about his stamina for now. He'll look to improve again this year and try to work his way into the AA rotation.
Full Scouting Report for Enny Romero
SB 146 BA SC BP 90 SN ES ML
It's not often that a college pitcher's best weapon is a changeup, but that's how it is for Gonzaga's Marco Gonzales. It's also why he's a top pitching prospect: the change is usually the hardest and last pitch for any professional to master. More traditionally. Marco commands a low-90's fastball well and leans on a good slider against lefthanded hitters. A two-way player while in college, he's no slouch with a bat, which could be extra-attractive to his future in the National League. In a Cardinal system adept at getting the most from smart pitchers, Gonzales has a very bright future.
Full Scouting Report for Marco Gonzales
SB 147 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A lefty who can touch 96mph with a sizzling fastball, Toronto's Daniel Norris is a bit of a sleeper who should be gaining a lot more attention in the months and years to come. Norris already complements his heat with a hammer curve that can be devastating, and if he manages to get a third pitch up to even major-league average, he'll be an ace on a team known for discovering gems.
Full Scouting Report for Dan Norris
SB 156 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish lefthanded pitcher from Montvale, New Jersey, Rob Kaminsky is best-known for throwing three no-hitters as a high-school junior in 2012. On his season, he surrendered only 12 hits in 53 total innings while striking out 103. His low-90's fastball reaches 93mph from time to time, and a nice low-80s changeup suggests he could be a good pitcher down the road. Best of all, his sharp curve suggests starting potential.
Full Scouting Report for Rob Kaminsky
SB 167 BA SC 99 BP SN ES 100 ML
A lefthanded pitcher who also looks good in the outfield, high-schooler Trey Ball is probably the best of the 2013 draft class when it comes to viable two-way players. As a pitcher, Ball brings a fastball/slider/change combination from an easy three-quarter arm slot, with the slider being his best pitch at the moment. His velocity lasts deep into games, further supporting the scouting eye view that he has 'clean' mechanics. At the plate, he shows a quick bat that generates good power, especially to the opposite field. He's a better than average baserunner, though not a true plus one. He's most likely to be given his first opportunity as a pitcher, but it's awfully nice to know he has quality athletic ability and baseball tools to fall back on, should that fail to work out.
Full Scouting Report for Trey Ball
SB 186 BA 89 SC 81 BP SN ES ML 96
Top Prospects 2013