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 Outfield Prospects for 2014
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
Georgia's Byron Buxton, the second overall pick of the 2012 Draft, is a speedy outfielder who might be the best overall offensive prospect in baseball today. With a natural base-stealing ability and plus speed in the outfield, he's a future star no matter how you slice it, and he's a very good bet to make a Mike Trout-sized impression on MLB in the near future. At the plate, he's a line-drive hitter with a little pop for now, but his excellent bat speed and ability to adjust portends a better future than that. Minnesota is well-known for cooking their prospects until they're well-done, and the team is a lot more than one bat away from contention, so don't expect him immediately. When he does arrive, however, it should be for the long haul.
More Scouting Book Info on Byron Buxton
SB 1 BA 1 SC 1 BP 1 SN ES 1 ML 1
A big Dominican outfielder with an even bigger left-handed bat, Cardinal slugger Oscar Taveras was promoted to AA ball in 2012 and promptly spanked it to the tune of .321/.380/.572. Testing AAA waters in 2013, he spanked the ball almost as well, with a .306/.341/.462 slash line and five homers in six weeks of work. He's big-league ready right now, so as soon as the Cardinals elect to give him a chance, he'll be making some highlight reels. While there's an outside chance he could land a spring job, it's safer to look for him in June.
More Scouting Book Info on Oscar Taveras
SB 4 BA 3 SC 3 BP 3 SN ES 5 ML 3
A lithe, athletic outfielder with enough speed to cover big terrain, Pirate outfield prospect Gregory Polanco really took a step into national attention in 2012, showing off a .325/.389/.516 slash line during his first taste of A-ball, a line that included 25 doubles and 15 homers. In 2013, he stepped up all aspects of his game, and while the raw numbers might not look as impressive, those are numbers accrued while rising through three levels of play all in one summer.
At the plate, Polanco is still a bit of a raw swinger, but he makes enough contact to get away with it most of the time, and his natural ability helps him put balls in play that others might foul off or miss altogether. As his skills improve, his talent could propel him into the upper tier of young hitters. His defense is very sloppy but should come along with the rest of his game, with good raw speed that should help him cover mistakes in the mean time. His arm is not special, but should be enough to handle a corner outfield assignment.
More Scouting Book Info on Gregory Polanco
SB 10 BA 10 SC 6 BP 24 SN ES 13 ML 13
A defensive star in the making, outfielder George Springer brings great range, a good glove and a powerful arm to the park. He'd be patrolling spacious centerfield in Minute Maid Park already, if only his bat could catch up to the rest of his all-around game. After scuffling in 2012, Springer started lighting up scoreboards last season, stroking 37 homers and a very impressive .303/.411/.600 line a season evenly split between AA and AAA.
While the Astros may try to hold him back for cost-management reasons, Springer is 24 this spring, which means his time is almost certainly right now.
More Scouting Book Info on George Springer
SB 17 BA 18 SC 20 BP 20 SN ES 19 ML 21
The fastest legs in red stockings, young Billy Hamilton should get a shot at locking down a long-term job in Cincinnati's young lineup this season. The Pioneer League's player of the year in 2010 stole 155 bases (not a typo) at an 80% success rate in 2012, and ended last season by swiping 13 bases in 13 games for the big-league Reds. The switch-hitting Hamilton really does look like a prototypical leadoff hitter thanks to his wheels and rapidly-developing on-base skills: a player doesn't even get 190 opportunities to steal unless one can get on base an awful lot in the first place. In the field, he's capable of shortstop (his natural position), but the Reds have spent the last year prepping him to play the outfield, better to fit into the current lineup.
More Scouting Book Info on Billy Hamilton
SB 26 BA 43 SC BP 49 SN ES 52 ML 37
The Cubs number one pick in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora projects to be a Northside star one day soon. Signed when he was only 18, he's not quite ready yet, but he's already got scouts drooling: his across-the-board toolset is solid, and he's still improving. His leadership ability and poise are especially impressive, as he performed very well under the highest possible levels of pressure throughout his award-laden high-school career. Outpacing older players during his first shot at A-level ball last season, Almora slashed a very mature .329/.376/.466. He'll probably spend most of 2014 at high-A Daytona in an attempt to slow him down a little, but it probably won't work: he should be in AA sometime this summer, and he looks like a probably Futures Game star from the get-go.
More Scouting Book Info on Albert Almora
SB 29 BA 36 SC 8 BP 25 SN ES 28 ML 18
An 11th round selection by the Dodgers back in 2010, outfielder Joc Pederson has already far exceeded the expectations of most scouts. A late signee, he didn't really taste pro ball until 2011, when he raked a .353/.429/.568 line at rookie-level Ogden in the Pioneer League, impressing coaches with his work ethic and ability to use his raw tools effectively: the young man stole 24 of 29 bases and played an intelligent, competent outfield while being tested at all three positions.
A patient hitter who isn't afraid to take his walks, Pederson is well on his way to becoming a well-rounded ballplayer who should be above-average in all aspects of the game. There might not be an obvious space for him in L.A. right now, but baseball has a way of making space for those with talent enough to get them to the Show in the first place. If he puts in another year like his last two, he'll be on top of the prospect lists next time around.
More Scouting Book Info on Joc Pederson
SB 31 BA 34 SC 35 BP 50 SN ES 41 ML 36
A tall and lanky teenager who arrived in the DR in the winter of 2011, outfielder Jorge Soler is one of the most promising Cuban prospects in baseball today. He's already shown off his tools in Dominica, and while he looks like a centerfielder right now, physically, his height and young age make it quite possible he'll be a corner fielder when he finishes growing. And if his loopy power swing develops as expected, he'll hit like one too.
He's already showing signs of MLB videogame level power at the plate, and his very strong arm is certainly real. His iffy contact skills and lack of patience at the plate, though, are equally clear indicators that he's still a rather rough gem. One bonus for his future home in The Show: the youngster already has an electric personality in his toolbox, which means he could be a real cover boy come 2015 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Jorge Soler
SB 39 BA 41 SC 53 BP 45 SN ES 26 ML 49
A high school outfielder selected fifth overall in 2013's draft, Clint Frazier is a five-tool athlete with an advanced bat for such a young player. Some scouts disparage his small size, but his athleticism and performance rival (and in most cases exceed) his more universally-praised teammate Austin Meadows. A long-term building block for the Indians, he'll be moved slowly, as the team tries to slide all the necessary pieces into place in a coordinated roster rebuild.
More Scouting Book Info on Clint Frazier
SB 44 BA 48 SC 38 BP 36 SN ES 45 ML 48
A smallish, toolsy outfielder drafted in 2011's supplemental round by the Red Sox, Jackie Bradley has been zipping up the prospect charts ever since. Bradley outclassed high-A ball in his first season of work, showing off on-base skills and speed on the bases that could make him a legit leadoff threat in the majors soon. Perhaps most promising, though, is Bradley's patience at the plate: there are not many minor leaguers who walk more often than they strike out. After dominating high-A early in 2012, he found a better level in AA ball (.271/.373/.437).
Bradley continues to show patience and smarts, and his speed pays dividends in the field, where he looks capable of controlling the game from center without much challenge.
More Scouting Book Info on Jackie Bradley
SB 50 BA 50 SC BP 23 SN ES 51 ML 33
Georgia high schooler Austin Meadows is an outfield phenom who attracted a great deal of first round attention in MLB's 2013 first-year player draft before falling to the Pirates with the ninth overall selection. A phenom with five tool talent, Austin is one of the fastest baserunners in the country, with speed that would make him one of the fastest players in pro baseball if he can get the rest of his game to half that level. His swing is promising, featuring a smooth and easy load with the makings of real plus power from the left side. He's been compared to players like Andre Ethier and Jacoby Ellsbury, and not without reason: few ballplayers blend across-the-board abilities like this. The only thing that might keep him from a minor league roster is 2014 is his commitment to Clemson University.
More Scouting Book Info on Austin Meadows
SB 55 BA 49 SC 52 BP 89 SN ES 35 ML 45
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 66 BA 79 SC BP SN ES 84 ML 65
The big slugger named Jonathan Singleton had no real future in Philadelphia, but in the AL-destined Astros he looks like a heck of a 1B/DH piece for the near future. Even as a corner outfield prospect, he's competent, and his powerful left-handed bat does nothing but hit. Singleton raked a nice .284 with 21 homers at AA Corpus Christi last season, which would have placed him squarely into contention for an Opening Day job in Houston if he hadn't derailed his career with a 50-game PED-free drug suspension. He'll be back around midseason and should push his way onto the MLB squad before the year is over, regardless.
More Scouting Book Info on Jonathan Singleton
SB 82 BA 82 SC 71 BP 57 SN ES 78 ML 50
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
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.
More Scouting Book Info on David Dahl
SB 96 BA 94 SC 51 BP 100 SN ES 47 ML 71
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Williams
SB 99 BA 97 SC BP 88 SN ES ML
A well rounded young outfielder in the KC system, Dominican Jorge Bonifacio has received a little more attention of late, ever since Wil Myers left the building. At age 19, Bonifacio didn't rattle at all when promoted to A ball in 2012, slashing .282/.336/.432 with 10 homers and breaking a sweat. He might want to turn up the accelerator a bit, of course: he's only 25 of 41 in stolen base attempts, a poor success rate for a player with such good speed. He'll be in the minors another year or two, but could join Bubba Starling in a potent young Royal outfield soon enough.
More Scouting Book Info on Jorge Bonifacio
SB 101 BA 90 SC 92 BP 99 SN ES ML 91
A well rounded outfielder with great tools and a dedicated commitment to improving his skills, Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario could be a big sleeper star for Minnesota by mid-to-late 2013. He's only twenty, but Eddie's .296/.345/.490 Midwest line (with 48 extra-base hits in 95 games) looks frighteningly good, doesn't it? Miguel Sano will get the lion's share of glowing press in the next few years, but Eddie Rosario could be right at home hitting behind him.
More Scouting Book Info on Eddie Rosario
SB 102 BA SC 63 BP 60 SN ES 49 ML
A squat, powerful outfielder from the Dominican, the switch-hitting Abraham Almonte is an underhyped prospect who came up in the Yankee system. Acquired by the Mariners in a spring 2013 trade for reliever Shawn Kelley, his value increased somewhat in a system bereft of offensive potential. As a Mariner, Almonte put up his best minor league season to date in 2013, slashing .300/.394/.482 in 516 games split between AA and AAA, including a razor-sharp .314/.403/.491 at the higher level of play. His fifteen homers (11 in AAA) was almost double his previous season high. Despite his fireplug stature, Almonte also shows good speed in the outfield and on the basepaths (20-of-27 steals in 2012). While he might not be one of baseball's top outfield prospects, his nice mix of tools could yet blossom into an everyday corner, especially on a DH-friendly roster.
More Scouting Book Info on Abraham Almonte
SB 103 BA SC BP SN ES ML
While a slurry of trades last year left the Yankee farm as not quite the best-smelling in baseball, Mason Williams is still occupying the biggest stall in the stable, providing the sweet scent of offense-to-come. Mason, the son of former NFL receiver Derwin and the proud owner of a monicker that any power-suited New York attorney would be happy to carry, has already shamed the teams that passed him over four or five times each. The fourth-round pick arrived as a fiery, aggressive hitter and baserunner, with plus speed and solid defense in center. He's already looking like a better leadoff hitter and all-around player than Brett Gardner... and Curtis Granderson can play right field, can't he? Williams is rehabbing from an injurious 2012, but should be full strength and lighting up the minor leagues will full fury by midseason. He's still a couple of years away from the Stadium, but should spend a long career there.
More Scouting Book Info on Mason Williams
SB 108 BA SC BP SN ES 87 ML 75
Top Prospects 2013