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 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 3 BA 18 SC 24 BP 20 SN ES 19 ML 21
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 16 BA 10 SC 6 BP 24 SN ES 13 ML 13
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 17 BA 43 SC 59 BP 49 SN ES 52 ML 37
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 33 BA 34 SC 33 BP 50 SN ES 41 ML 36
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 26 BP 36 SN ES 45 ML 48
The consensus best hitting prospect available in the 2014 draft, Alex Jackson was drafted and signed by the Mariners after hitting an even .400 (with a 1.459) OPS in his last year at Rancho Bernardo High School. Nominally a catcher, the Mariners are much more likely to accelerate his development by moving him to the outfield, where his bat will bring him to the Major Leagues much more quickly. Reportedly a student of the game, he'll no doubt struggle a bit while learning a new position, but he should have no real issues adjusting to any other challenge the low minors can offer. While his swing can get just a bit long at times, there's nothing to suggest he won't still be a better-than-average righthanded contact hitter with true plus power by the time he reaches MLB, and that's something the Mariners would love to have in the lineup.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Jackson
SB 51 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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 52 BA 50 SC 52 BP 23 SN ES 51 ML 33
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 60 BA 82 SC 50 BP 57 SN ES 78 ML 50
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 61 BA 49 SC 38 BP 89 SN ES 35 ML 45
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 64 BA 41 SC 21 BP 45 SN ES 26 ML 49
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 69 BA 36 SC 83 BP 25 SN ES 28 ML 18
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 73 BA 94 SC BP 100 SN ES 47 ML 71
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 83 BA 79 SC 57 BP SN ES 84 ML 65
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Josh Bell
SB 91 BA SC BP 77 SN ES 97 ML 74
Once expected to be drafted in 2014's first round, Toronto-born outfielder Gareth Morgan instead fell to Seattle in the second, who signed him by doubling the $1M recommended slot bonus. A fast, athletic athlete who's already looking like a premium hitter, he's been drawing comparisons to Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Morneau, Jose Bautista... and other sluggers familar to Canadians everywhere... ever since he was the youngest member of Canada's National Junior team at the age of 14. With more near-pro experience than a typical high-schooler, he'll likely be fast-tracked to the majors, and could arrive in Seattle's left field as a 20-year-old, possibly as early as 2016.
More Scouting Book Info on Gareth Morgan
SB 103 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The son of Dodger scout Orsino Hill, outfielder Derek is one of the fastest prospects in baseball, with true game-changing speed in the Billy Hamilton fashion, though he's probably a better defender, with a stronger arm. At the plate, he's growing, already showing superior bat speed and gap power, with every possibility he could add power to an already-sweet line-drive swing as he grows into his lanky frame. Come to think of it, Starling Marte might be a better comparison.
More Scouting Book Info on Derek Hill
SB 108 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Braves' first round selection in the 2014 First Year Player Draft, North Carolina native Braxton Davidson looks every bit the kind of player that Atlanta loves to see: a smart, well-mannered southern boy who can hit baseballs 500 feet. While he doesn't have the wheels that Justin Upton or Jason Heyward offer, he might have a bigger bat than either, and his defense looks solid enough to stick in an outfield corner. His arm, for certain, is strong enough: when moonlighting as a pitcher, he averages 92mph on the radar gun.
More Scouting Book Info on Braxton Davidson
SB 109 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Mets first round pick (13th overall) in 2011, outfielder Brandon Nimmo earned his high draft pick with superior tools and excellent projectability, thanks to his strong, mature physical frame. Nimmo slashed a respectable .248/.372/.406 in low-A ball, and should spend 2013 working up to higher A levels. He's still young, but in an offensively weak system, he could move quickly and land in New York before 2015.
More Scouting Book Info on Brandon Nimmo
SB 115 BA SC BP SN ES 92 ML
Top Prospects 2013