Don’t Sleep on These 12 Sleepers for 2017

In fantasy baseball, it is impossible to have all of your teams loaded with the top-tier talent necessary to win every season. Even keeper leagues have players at the top every year who struggle with injuries. You need depth, you need to find a diamond in the rough, and you need to take gambles in order to win. For that reason, you need to know some players who may fly under the radar. This is a list of 12 players who may be available a little later than you think in your baseball drafts who could ruin the lives of your fiercest competitors.

pollock
Pollock should return to All-Star status after missing most of 2016. Courtesy: CBS Sports

A.J. Pollock, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Pollock had all of 46 plate appearances in 2016 due to injuries. It isn’t so much that he is a legitimate sleeper as much as how low he may rank on several draft boards due to his extended absence. Remember, this is a guy who hit .315/.367/.498 with 39 doubles, 20 home runs, and 39 steals in 2015. He was the Yang to Paul Goldschmidt‘s Ying, worthy of an early selection last season. Don’t let him fall too far and reap the benefits if he falls into your lap.

Carlos Gomez, OF, Texas Rangers

Gomez struggled so mightily last season that the Houston Astros released him on August 18th. Two days later, Gomez signed with the Texas Rangers and promptly put up the type of line that Houston was looking for during his time there, erupting to a .284/.362/.543 line with eight home runs and 24 RBI in just 33 games – he had five home runs and 29 RBI in 85 games for Houston. He signed for one-year and $11.5 million to prove himself capable of All-Star production in his age-31 season. He is playing in the right place for another offensive outburst.

buxton
Buxton still has the tools that made you fall in love. Don’t run away now. Courtesy: ESPN

Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Buxton has really disappointed a lot of fans and prospect fanatics with a pretty abysmal start to his career. He has struck out 162 times (with just 29 walks) in 469 plate appearances, which has led to a putrid .220/.274/.398 triple-slash in his brief career. While others will look at those numbers and run, you shouldn’t let the prospect fatigue and struggles lead you astray. Look at Buxton’s September from 2016:

Months
G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip
29 29 113 101 24 29 6 2 9 22 1 10 38 .287 .357 .653 1.011 66 .370
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/4/2017.

While the strikeouts are still worrisome, this supposed clone of a young Eric Davis showed power and the abilities that made people drool. He was given the job for the month of September and ran with it, which is downright scary with his speed tool and the BABIP right where most speedsters have theirs. Look for a breakout in 2017.

tomas
Tomas can’t take a walk, but you don’t need to with power. A healthy lineup around him could lead to more power. Courtesy: Peter Gammons

Yasmany Tomas, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Tomas was just a part of my story about overpaid Cuban free agents, so why would I have him on a sleeper list, you ask? Because Tomas has some tools that you can’t find everywhere, namely his power. He tore things up in the second half of 2016, posting a .913 OPS, which is impressive for a guy who walked in just 5.5% of his plate appearances. It meant that the 18 bombs in the second half – and 31 overall – could be overlooked due to how ridiculously horrific the Diamondbacks have handled him. With Jake Lamb locked in at third, it appears that Tomas is officially a slugging outfielder, and his numbers could continue to climb with the return of the previously mentioned Pollock to the Arizona lineup.

Hernan Perez, 2B/3B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Over his first 351 career plate appearances (2012-2015), Perez was pretty useless, posting a .235/.251/.307 line with 15 doubles, three triples, one homer, and six stolen bases. Then, at age 25, Perez got an opportunity in Milwaukee, and, boy, did he make the most of it. In the second half of the 2016 season, this previously unknown, organizational depth player went on to post a .281/.313/.449 triple-slash with nine home runs, 14 doubles, two triples, and 24, count ’em…24, stolen bases. He’d total 13 bombs and 34 steals on the season, playing third, second, and outfield. While no one knows whether he will put up similar numbers, Perez has some value, even if it is only in deep mixed leagues. That position flexibility is Zobrist-like, while the production isn’t too far off, either. He would be a nice addition in late rounds for depth purposes, though the addition of Travis Shaw at third could lead to Perez being a one-year wonder.

cotton
Did you know who he was before September? Be honest…Keep an eye on him, but don’t go crazy. Courtesy:sacbee.com

Jharel Cotton, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Cotton was a 20th round pick by the Dodgers in 2012, acquired by the A’s in the Rich Hill and Josh Reddick deal last season. He had long had solid numbers in the minors, striking out 10 per 9 IP over the course of 490+ minor league innings. Upon reaching the majors for the first time in September, Cotton posted video game numbers over five starts with a 2.15 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 23:4 K:BB, and 6 H/9. It is anyone’s guess as to whether the 5’11” right-hander will continue to miss bats at that rate, but you don’t want to be the one who watches someone else benefit from the gamble. He’s penciled in as Oakland’s No. 4 starter, so continue to monitor him this spring.

James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners

If only this guy could stay healthy…which is exactly why he is a sleeper. After making only 20 starts in 2016, Paxton is the type of guy that Brett Anderson would like to be and every other pitcher avoids becoming; however, his final 11 starts were pretty impressive, injury-free, and worthy of fantasy acknowledgment. He posted a 71:9 K:BB over 67.2 innings, a 3.19 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, and a .235 BAA. Seattle made a lot of deals this winter to become contenders, and Paxton could be a “guy” who improves enough or continues to pitch like he did last season, to help make that happen.

Daniel Norris, LHP, Detroit Tigers

Norris had an interesting year, spending a lot of time rebuilding stamina after beating cancer between the 2015 and 2016 season. Upon sticking in the Tigers rotation (from August 9th onward), the young left-hander posted a 3.04 ERA and 55 punchouts in 56.1 innings. While the 1.37 WHIP and 19 walks in the same 56.1 innings is worrisome, Norris has shown the ability to make it work. He will turn just 24 in April and he has to beat Matt Boyd and Mike Pelfrey to earn the No. 5 spot, but, if he wins it, he has the stuff and the teachers (Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann) to learn on the job.

Robbie Ray, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Run in terror if you’d like, but don’t forget to look at the 11.3 K:9 that Ray posted in 2016. That led to a whopping 218 strikeouts in 174.1 innings. Sure, the 4.90 ERA is gross. Sure, the 1.47 WHIP is disgusting. There is something here. You don’t miss that many bats without having great stuff. This will be Ray’s age-25 season and he will take another step forward because he won’t be posting a .355 BABIP in 2017 and he won’t be losing 15 games again if he throws it by so many opposing hitters in 2017. Keep in mind, Ray’s FIP was 3.76 in 2016. Jose Peraza, 2B/OF, Cincinnati Reds

peraza
There could be a lot of this happening in Cincinnati. Courtesy: Getty Images

Jose Peraza, 2B/OF, Cincinnati Reds

Everyone is going to be on the Peraza bandwagon, with valid reasons. When the Reds traded Brandon Phillips (and millions of dollars that “small-market” teams don’t have) to the Atlanta Braves, it made fantasy baseball fans celebrate. Peraza posted a .324/.352/.411 triple-slash and 21 stolen bases in just 72 games and 256 plate appearances. With Peraza and Billy Hamilton around, the Reds could look a lot like the St. Louis Cardinals of the 1980’s, when Vince Coleman and Willie McGee ran wild on the league. They just have to get on base for that to happen, and Peraza has been more of a hit-tool and speed talent than an on-base machine.

Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants

After getting hit in the head on June 18, Panik battled some concussion symptoms, having played through them by passing concussion protocol through MLB. After the beaning, Panik hit just .215/.305/.346. Prior to that, he was hitting .263/.326/.411. Obviously, there could be something in the Justin Morneau area here that could scare you away from wanting Panik on your fantasy team, but he showed a couple of statistics that would warrant a rebound. Overall, including the times that he was apparently dazed, Panik walked more than he struck out in 2016, while posting career highs in homers (10) and RBI (67). In addition to that, Panik had a woeful .245 BABIP. While the league average is typically around .300, Panik’s was incredibly low. There are always outliers and it appears that Panik was one of them in 2016. Expect a rebound in 2017.

Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have a lot of interesting young pitchers. Finnegan was, prior to Anthony DeSclafani‘s return from injury, the only Reds’ pitcher worth owning in fantasy leagues. Like any young pitcher, there were growing pains…lots of them; however, it wasn’t all Finnegan’s fault. The Reds had Finnegan paired with Ramon Cabrera in 12 of his 31 starts and Cabrera was ranked 113th out of 114 catchers in pitch framing. Whether that is something you consider or not, you should know that he should have Devin Mesoraco back there again, barring another injury, in 2017. In addition to the potentially damning battery mate in 2016, Finnegan was able to change something in his approach down the stretch, throwing a changeup more often and posting some ridiculous numbers over his final seven starts: 1.93 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 47:16 K:BB, 37.1 IP, .199 BAA. Sure, the Reds will be one of the worst teams in MLB in 2017…unless they have players like Finnegan continue to grow while on the job. Consider adding him in late rounds and be willing to bail on him if he goes through battles of inconsistency in the middle of the year.

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2016 MLB Prospects: Top 100 Prospects

As more and more teams look for young, controllable talent, it becomes necessary for baseball fans to become acquainted with the prospects within their system. Not only are these players capable of becoming the future stars of their teams, but they are also the chips that could be cashed in for more “ready” talent to get your team to the next level. As a fan, not a scout, I’ve compiled the Top 100 Prospects in Major League Baseball for your enjoyment. Get to know the following players:

1. Corey Seager, 3B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are loaded with talent and Seager is monster of their talented group of prospects
The Dodgers are loaded with talent and Seager is monster of their talented group of prospects

2. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

3. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals

4. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

5. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

6. Joey Gallo, 3B/OF, Texas Rangers

7. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

8. Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers

9. Trea Turner, 2B/SS, Washington Nationals

10. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox

11. Yoan Moncada, 2B, Boston Red Sox

12. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies

13. Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets

14. Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves

15. Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland Indians

16. Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers

17. Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees

18. Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins

19. Sean Newcomb, LHP, Atlanta Braves

20. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

21. Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

22. Alex Bregman, SS, Houston Astros

23. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

24. Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics

25. Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

26. Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres

27. Gleyber Torres, SS, Chicago Cubs

28. Jose Peraza, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

29. Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Winker could be ready by the time the Reds find a taker for Jay Bruce
Winker could be ready by the time the Reds find a taker for Jay Bruce

30. Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies

31. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians

32. Billy McKinney, OF, Chicago Cubs

33. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals

34. Josh Bell, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates

35. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies

36. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies

37. Ozhaino Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves

38. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

39. Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

40. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox

41. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

42. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

43. Jorge Alfaro, C, Philadelphia Phillies

44. Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

45. Mark Appel, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

46. Carson Fulmer, RHP, Chicago White Sox

47. Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies

48. Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

49. Alex Jackson, OF, Seattle Mariners

50. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Miami Marlins

51. Nick Williams, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

52. Grant Holmes, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

53. A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston Astros

54. Aaron Blair, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

55. Jake Thompson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

56. Daz Cameron, OF, Houston Astros

57. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

58. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Bundy still has the talent to be an ace - and he is another year removed from surgery
Bundy still has the talent to be an ace – and he is another year removed from surgery

59. Lewis Brinson, OF, Texas Rangers

60. Carl Edwards, Jr., RHP, Chicago Cubs

61. Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox

62. Francelis Montas, RHP, Chicago White Sox

63. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

64. Alen Hanson, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates

65. Tyler Jay, LHP, Minnesota Twins

66. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves

67. Amir Garrett, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

68. Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Cleveland Indians

69. Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets

70. Duane Underwood, RHP, Chicago Cubs

71. Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS, Minnesota Twins

72. Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota Twins

73. Javier Guerra, SS, San Diego Padres

74. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

75. Forrest Wall, 2B, Colorado Rockies

76. Daniel Robertson, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

77. Trent Clark, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

78. Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets

79. Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres

80. Jonathan Harris, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

81. Garrett Whitley, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

82. Kolby Allard, RHP, Atlanta Braves

83. Gavin Cecchini, SS, New York Mets

84. Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets

85. Jorge Mateo, SS, New York Yankees

86. Cornellus Randolph, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

87. Luis Ortiz, RHP, Texas Rangers

88. Ashe Russell, RHP, Kansas City Royals

89. Mike Nikorak, RHP, Colorado Rockies

90. Tyler Stephenson, C, Cincinnati Reds

91. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs

92. Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins

93. Michael Fulmer, RHP, Detroit Tigers

94. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals

95. Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

96. Keury Mella, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

97. Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies

98. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cleveland Indians

Aiken could be a steal for the Indians, who continue to grow an interesting farm
Aiken could be a steal for the Indians, who continue to grow an interesting farm

99. Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

100. Brian Johnson, LHP, Boston Red Sox

 

2015 Season Previews: Minnesota Twins

Over the next several weeks, The Baseball Haven will be creating season previews for all 30 MLB teams. You’ll find their projected records (based on PECOTA records from Baseball Prospectus, as of 2/15/2015), each team’s top three players (based on Steamer WAR projections from FanGraphs), and some valuable notes on each team, including likely bounce-back candidates, potential breakout players or fantasy sleepers, as well as a look back at offseason transactions which led to each team’s projections. Stop back frequently to see where your favorite team ranks! 

Minnesota Twins

Twins
Courtesy: MLB.com

2015 Projected Record: 70-92 (5th in AL Central, 29th in MLB)

Manager: Paul Molitor (1st season – no prior experience)

Top Three Players: 2B Brian Dozier (2.8), RHP Phil Hughes (2.6), 1B Joe Mauer (2.3)

Bounce-back Player: RHP Ricky Nolasco

When the Twins signed Ricky Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal last winter, he was expected to anchor a staff that was downright awful in 2013 (5.26 team ERA and the 29th ranked rotation ERA of 4.81). Nolasco never met those expectations, going just 6-12 with a 5.38 ERA and 1.52 WHIP over 27 starts and 159 innings, complaining of an elbow injury three months into his horrible performance. Needless to say, with Nolasco’s contract and the Twins “small-market” financial situation, he isn’t going to be traded or forced into the bullpen; however, he won’t need to be, as the 2015 season will likely see a huge improvement. A .351 BABIP (.312 career) is an easy first qualifier to that statement. Additionally, his FIP was 4.30 in 2015, which shows that it wasn’t quite as horrific as the ERA showed. While he won’t ever be an ace, he could settle in nicely within the middle of the rotation as an innings-eating veteran as the Twins slowly add Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios to the mix in the coming season or seasons.

Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia: Slugger Extraordinaire? Courtesy: twincities.com
Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia: Slugger Extraordinaire?
Courtesy: twincities.com

Fantasy Player to Watch: OF Oswaldo Arcia

Though he has parts of two seasons and 788 plate appearances under his belt, Arcia will be just 24 in May. He already has 33 doubles, 34 home runs, and 100 RBI on his resume, but it’s the 244 strikeouts and 31 percent strikeout rate that some may focus on. Sure, he strikes out way too much, but there are positives in his game. He obviously has big power, which is huge for the Twins when you consider that the face of the franchise and payroll paper weight, Joe Mauer, offers so little power production. Arcia, obviously a free-swinger, saw slight improvements in his walk rate in 2014, as well, improving from 6.1 percent in 2013 to 7.6 percent last season. His ISO would have ranked in the top 15 in MLB in 2014, as well, so Arcia appears on his way to being an offensive asset for a team that will see quite a few positive changes in production in the coming seasons, as the arrival of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton to the major league roster will help to make the Twins an offensive juggernaut, and Arcia will help in that charge.

Offseason Overview: The Twins added more veteran leadership to the team this winter, signing OF Torii Hunter to return in right field, while adding RHP Ervin Santana to shore up the top of the rotation, which was lacking in production outside of Phil Hughes’ breakout last season. While the club lost a couple of bullpen arms to free agency, they weren’t really getting much out of them (Anthony Swarzak and Matt Guerrier). While the Twins didn’t go crazy in spending this offseason, they added value without crippling their future, as they are paying Santana slightly more than what they are paying Nolasco per season, while only signing Hunter to a one-year deal.

The Verdict: The Twins only added two major pieces this winter to a team that finished last in the division. Hunter is a nice stopgap in right and will be gone soon to open up another spot for the Twins’ youngsters. The team has a tremendous farm and a very solid core of talent in Dozier, Hughes, Santana, Arcia, and Kennys Vargas to build around; however, it won’t be enough to get this team out of the cellar in 2015. They should be a little better than they were in 2014, even though their PECOTA record suggests an identical record, as they hope to get a better idea of what they have on their MLB roster, while getting looks at Sano, Buxton, Meyer, Berrios, and Trevor May over the course of the 2015 season. This will appear to be another lost season by the end of 162 games, but it will go a long way in the future of the franchise, and this will likely be a better team that what they’re projected to be.

2015 MLB Top 100 Prospects

Cubs super-prospect 3B/OF Kris Bryant
Cubs super-prospect 3B/OF Kris Bryant

1. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 21 -0.8 A–A+-Rk CHC 36 146 128 22 43 14 2 9 32 1 11 35 .336 .390 .688 1.078 88
2014 22 -3.5 AA-AAA CHC 138 594 492 118 160 34 1 43 110 15 86 162 .325 .438 .661 1.098 325
2 Seasons 174 740 620 140 203 48 3 52 142 16 97 197 .327 .428 .666 1.095 413
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Bryant is a mashing star in the making for the Cubs. He is an athletic player, and while there are questions about whether he can handle third defensively, there aren’t any questions about his ability to hit. He’ll be a monster producer for Theo and Co. for years to come. He doesn’t have anything left to prove in the minors, but he’ll likely spend some time in Triple-A to maintain his service time in Chicago. 

2. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 -1.9 Rk MIN 48 189 165 33 41 10 4 5 20 11 19 41 .248 .344 .448 .792 74
2013 19 -3.0 A-A+ MIN 125 574 488 109 163 19 18 12 77 55 76 105 .334 .424 .520 .944 254
2014 20 -2.7 A+-AA MIN 31 137 124 19 29 4 2 4 16 6 10 36 .234 .307 .395 .702 49
3 Seasons 204 900 777 161 233 33 24 21 113 72 105 182 .300 .389 .485 .874 377
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.

Say what you’d like to about Buxton’s inability to stay on the field – it still doesn’t tell me that he’s lost any tools. However, if he has another lost season, it may be time to re-evaluate that view. Power, speed, and elite centerfield defense make him valuable in fantasy and real-life baseball. He has more tools than Lowe’s.

3. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 17 -2.8 Rk HOU 50 204 190 28 49 14 2 3 12 6 12 44 .258 .305 .400 .705 76
2013 18 -3.3 A HOU 117 519 450 73 144 33 3 9 86 10 58 83 .320 .405 .467 .872 210
2014 19 -3.8 A+ HOU 62 293 249 50 81 16 6 6 57 20 36 45 .325 .416 .510 .926 127
3 Seasons 229 1016 889 151 274 63 11 18 155 36 106 172 .308 .389 .465 .853 413
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Correa, like Buxton, missed most of 2014 due to injury. He was having a monster season, and it doesn’t really matter that it was happening at Lancaster in the California League because he is capable of that type of production. It will be interesting to see if his injury leads to any loss of speed, but the large, powerful shortstop deserves the benefit of the doubt, much like Buxton, because of his gifts. 

4. Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 -2.4 Rk-A-A- OAK 55 244 217 46 80 10 9 7 45 16 23 48 .369 .432 .594 1.027 129
2013 19 -4.0 A+-AAA OAK 110 517 442 86 119 29 10 17 60 21 61 125 .269 .369 .495 .865 219
2014 20 -4.3 AA-A+ CHC,OAK 68 280 258 39 76 14 1 13 45 6 19 49 .295 .350 .508 .858 131
3 Seasons 233 1041 917 171 275 53 20 37 150 43 103 222 .300 .379 .522 .901 479
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
With Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, and Javier Baez already in the system, it was pretty shocking to see the Cubs acquire another elite middle infielder when they finally traded Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija to the Oakland Athletics. You can never have too much elite talent, and talent is talent, so it can play anywhere. Russell could be the long-term shortstop due to his ability to handle the position defensively, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in Chicago around the same time that Bryant makes his debut for the Cubs. 
Rangers 3B Joey Gallo
Rangers 3B Joey Gallo

5. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 -1.9 Rk-A- TEX 59 260 206 53 56 12 1 22 52 6 48 78 .272 .412 .660 1.072 136
2013 19 -2.5 A-Rk TEX 111 467 411 86 103 23 5 40 88 15 50 172 .251 .338 .623 .961 256
2014 20 -3.6 AA-A+ TEX 126 537 439 97 119 19 3 42 106 7 87 179 .271 .394 .615 1.009 270
3 Seasons 296 1264 1056 236 278 54 9 104 246 28 185 429 .263 .377 .627 1.004 662
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Elite power makes Gallo a future star and the strikeouts make him a future star who strikes out a lot. There isn’t much to be concerned about here. In the hapless offensive era that MLB is currently enduring, power is power and teams are craving it. While a strikeout, as Moneyball showed, is a wasted at-bat, the potential production that Gallo offers is titillating. He’ll continue to rise through the ranks, and, like Bryant, questions about his long-term position don’t matter much due to the bat. He’ll have a spot somewhere. 

6. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2011 17 -4.1 A- CLE 5 20 19 4 6 0 0 0 2 1 1 5 .316 .350 .316 .666 6
2012 18 -3.6 A CLE 122 567 490 83 126 24 3 6 42 27 61 78 .257 .352 .355 .707 174
2013 19 -4.1 A+-AA CLE 104 464 403 65 122 22 7 2 34 25 49 46 .303 .380 .407 .787 164
2014 20 -5.4 AA-AAA CLE 126 567 507 75 140 16 4 11 62 28 49 97 .276 .338 .389 .727 197
4 Seasons 357 1618 1419 227 394 62 14 19 140 81 160 226 .278 .355 .381 .736 541
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Lindor doesn’t have the size and power that Correa offers, but his glove is what will make him most valuable to the Indians. That isn’t to say that he is clueless at the dish, though, as Lindor has solid gap power, a very advanced approach at the plate, and usable speed on the bases. He’s a perfect top-of-the-order option, and if he isn’t in Cleveland by June 15th, Chris Antonetti and Terry Francona are doing it wrong. 

7. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 -2.9 Rk LAD 46 202 175 34 54 9 2 8 33 8 21 33 .309 .383 .520 .903 91
2013 19 -2.7 A-A+ LAD 101 426 372 55 100 20 4 16 72 10 46 89 .269 .351 .473 .824 176
2014 20 -3.3 A+-AA LAD 118 526 475 89 166 50 5 20 97 6 40 115 .349 .402 .602 1.004 286
3 Seasons 265 1154 1022 178 320 79 11 44 202 24 107 237 .313 .380 .541 .921 553
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014
Kyle’s younger brother has all the makings of a studly offensive shortstop. He may grow out of the position, if he hasn’t already, but his impressive numbers would certainly make the Dodgers lineup that much more feared. It will be interesting to see how far the Dodgers go in negotiations with Hanley Ramirez with Seager waiting in the wings. 

8. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2010 17 -2.3 Rk-FRk MIN 61 241 212 34 65 16 1 7 29 4 24 60 .307 .379 .491 .870 104
2011 18 -2.5 Rk MIN 66 293 267 58 78 18 7 20 59 5 23 77 .292 .352 .637 .988 170
2012 19 -2.6 A MIN 129 553 457 75 118 28 4 28 100 8 80 144 .258 .373 .521 .893 238
2013 20 -3.6 AA-A+ MIN 123 519 439 86 123 30 5 35 103 11 65 142 .280 .382 .610 .992 268
4 Seasons 379 1606 1375 253 384 92 17 90 291 28 192 423 .279 .373 .567 .940 780
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Another Twins’ prospect with a lost season, Sano missed all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. Sano will be 22 in 2015, and while he’ll need to work on timing and get the rust off, he should arrive sometime during the upcoming season. He is a powerful, right-handed bat, and with the Twins looking to head in a new direction after firing Ron Gardenhire, a quick promotion of their future would be pretty intriguing to their fans – but he needs to prove that he’s ready first. 

9. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2014 22 CHC NL 24 97 89 11 26 8 1 5 20 1 6 24 .292 .330 .573 .903 51
1 Yr 24 97 89 11 26 8 1 5 20 1 6 24 .292 .330 .573 .903 51
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 20 -0.7 A-Rk CHC 34 149 134 28 40 7 0 5 25 12 12 19 .299 .369 .463 .832 62
2013 21 -1.8 A+ CHC 55 236 210 38 59 13 1 8 35 5 21 38 .281 .343 .467 .810 98
2014 22 -3.0 AAA-AA-Rk CHC 62 236 200 42 68 23 2 15 57 0 33 48 .340 .432 .700 1.132 140
5 Seasons 151 621 544 108 167 43 3 28 117 17 66 105 .307 .383 .551 .935 300
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Soler is an absolute monster. He has insane power and showcased it during his brief time in Chicago last season. He, like Buxton, just needs to stay on the field to reach his full potential. He should open the 2015 season as the Cubs starting right fielder, likely a favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year award. 

10. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 17 -3.4 Rk WSN 0 0 4.50 1 0 0 2.0 2 1 1 0 1 1.000 9.0 0.0 4.5
2013 18 -2.9 Rk-A- WSN 2 1 1.96 11 0 0 36.2 28 9 8 14 39 1.145 6.9 3.4 9.6 2.79
2013 18 -2.6 Rk WSN 1 1 2.78 8 0 0 22.2 19 8 7 10 25 1.279 7.5 4.0 9.9 2.50
2013 18 -3.3 A- WSN 1 0 0.64 3 0 0 14.0 9 1 1 4 14 0.929 5.8 2.6 9.0 3.50
2014 19 -2.8 A WSN 10 2 2.20 20 0 0 98.0 70 28 24 28 110 1.000 6.4 2.6 10.1 3.93
3 Seasons 12 3 2.17 32 0 0 136.2 100 38 33 42 150 1.039 6.6 2.8 9.9 3.57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
The training wheels were still on Giolito in 2014, but it’s likely a good thing that the Nationals are being so cautious because this kid is likely better than Stephen Strasburg ever was. Sure, he hasn’t reached the majors and he, like Strasburg, has already had elbow surgery, but he’s a huge kid with huge stuff, and he’s capable of dominating nightly. My guess is he starts the season in Double-A and will be up with Washington by July 1st. He’s breaking free of the chains and will show just how impressive he is.

11. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2011 18 -3.5 Rk ARI 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 2.0 1 0 0 0 4 0.500 4.5 0.0 18.0
2012 19 -2.8 A ARI 12 6 3.84 27 0 0 136.0 87 64 58 84 152 1.257 5.8 5.6 10.1 1.81
2013 20 -4.1 AA-A+ ARI 14 5 1.84 26 2 0 152.0 115 40 31 69 162 1.211 6.8 4.1 9.6 2.35
2014 21 -3.9 AA-AAA-Rk ARI 3 7 4.45 18 1 0 83.0 76 43 41 49 75 1.506 8.2 5.3 8.1 1.53
4 Seasons 29 18 3.14 73 3 0 373.0 279 147 130 202 393 1.290 6.7 4.9 9.5 1.95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Injuries and inconsistencies plagued Bradley in 2014. His walks were up significantly and they continue to be what holds him back from being an elite arm; however, I’ve said that before about people, namely Matt Harvey. He has the stuff…he just needs to harness it to reach his potential. 
Dodgers LHP phenom Julio Urias
Dodgers LHP phenom Julio Urias

12. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2013 16 -5.8 A LAD 2 0 2.48 18 0 0 54.1 44 15 15 16 67 1.104 7.3 2.7 11.1 4.19
2014 17 -6.2 A+ LAD 2 2 2.36 25 0 0 87.2 60 25 23 37 109 1.106 6.2 3.8 11.2 2.95
2 Seasons 4 2 2.41 43 0 0 142.0 104 40 38 53 176 1.106 6.6 3.4 11.2 3.32
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Urias should be a senior in high school in 2015…only he isn’t, as he will be in Double-A working on becoming a future elite arm for the Dodgers. His numbers are impressive, but then you see that he’s just 17 and has struck out 11.2 per nine over his first 142 innings and it becomes that much more eye-opening. He is mature beyond his years, mentally and with his stuff, and he’s a player to monitor due to his age, stuff, and insane ceiling. 

13. Carlos Rodon, LHP, Chicago White Sox

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2014 21 -3.5 AAA-A+-Rk CHW 0 0 2.92 9 0 0 24.2 20 9 8 13 38 1.338 7.3 4.7 13.9 2.92
1 Season 0 0 2.92 9 0 0 24.2 20 9 8 13 38 1.338 7.3 4.7 13.9 2.92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
I’m not buying his fall from grace in college. He could have been abused and he could have a poor attitude, but none of those things are going to change the fact that Rodon’s stuff is wicked. His slider is a 100 on a 70 point scale, so if he isn’t able to make it as a starter, he’ll be a dominant relief pitcher. People have questioned the future of other White Sox left-handers and their long-term roles in the past, and Chris Sale says that those people are dumb. 

14. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2014 22 LAD NL 18 38 28 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 9 11 .143 .351 .143 .494 4
1 Yr 18 38 28 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 9 11 .143 .351 .143 .494 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2010 18 -2.1 Rk LAD 3 12 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 .000 .417 .000 .417 0
2011 19 -2.2 Rk-A LAD 84 370 316 58 102 20 2 11 65 26 43 63 .323 .407 .503 .910 159
2012 20 -2.6 A+ LAD 110 499 434 96 136 26 4 18 70 26 51 81 .313 .396 .516 .913 224
2013 21 -3.2 AA LAD 123 519 439 81 122 24 3 22 58 31 70 114 .278 .381 .497 .878 218
2014 22 -4.6 AAA LAD 121 553 445 106 135 17 4 33 78 30 100 149 .303 .435 .582 1.017 259
5 Seasons 441 1953 1641 342 495 87 13 84 271 113 268 412 .302 .405 .524 .929 860
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Do you think that this guy prays nightly for the Dodgers to trade him or another outfielder on their roster? If you didn’t think that he broke out as a star at some point in 2012 or 2013 in the minors, he showed up to Triple-A last year and showed more power (I know the league is notorious for it) and a better approach at the plate. He has power, speed, and he can play all three outfield positions. He would be a tremendous target for anyone trying to match-up with Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers in an offseason deal. He just needs a job to get things going. 

15. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 19 -3.8 A+-A-AA BAL 9 3 2.08 23 0 0 103.2 67 29 24 28 119 0.916 5.8 2.4 10.3 4.25
2014 21 -1.3 A+-A- BAL 1 3 3.27 9 0 0 41.1 38 15 15 16 37 1.306 8.3 3.5 8.1 2.31
2 Seasons 10 6 2.42 32 0 0 145.0 105 44 39 44 156 1.028 6.5 2.7 9.7 3.55
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Bundy lost all of the 2013 season to Tommy John surgery and he pitched well in his return last season, though he wasn’t nearly as dominant as he was in 2012. It’s all part of the process and he dealt with a lat muscle injury during the 2014 season, so he needs some time. He was handled much like Giolito was during his first full season (2012), but you can’t really save an arm that way – he needs to rebuild stamina and prove that he still has the stuff to be a future ace, which I’m banking on. 

16. Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2013 21 -1.4 A+-Rk COL 4 0 1.93 9 0 0 37.1 25 11 8 8 51 0.884 6.0 1.9 12.3 6.38
2013 21 0.0 Rk COL 0 0 4.05 4 0 0 13.1 15 8 6 2 15 1.275 10.1 1.4 10.1 7.50
2013 21 -2.2 A+ COL 4 0 0.75 5 0 0 24.0 10 3 2 6 36 0.667 3.8 2.2 13.5 6.00
2014 22 -2.4 AA COL 10 5 3.91 24 0 0 124.1 107 58 54 41 113 1.190 7.7 3.0 8.2 2.76
2 Seasons 14 5 3.45 33 0 0 161.2 132 69 62 49 164 1.120 7.3 2.7 9.1 3.35
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Gray has the task of becoming a star pitcher within the Rockies’ system, while maintaining a level of dominance once he reaches Coor’s Field. It won’t be easy, but he has the stuff to make it happen. His overall numbers weren’t eye-popping in 2014, but he stayed healthy and maintained the electricity on his fastball and slider, which are the keys to his ability to reach his ceiling. It will be interesting to see if the Rockies keep him away from Colorado Springs and return him to Double-A to start the 2015 season, as the PCL can be hellacious on the mental state of young pitchers. 

17. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2010 17 -3.4 Rk TOR 0 1 2.70 5 0 0 13.1 11 7 4 4 6 1.125 7.4 2.7 4.0 1.50
2011 18 -2.9 Rk-A–A TOR 5 2 1.83 13 0 0 59.0 46 14 12 18 68 1.085 7.0 2.7 10.4 3.78
2012 19 -2.8 A TOR 8 5 2.60 27 0 0 103.2 81 41 30 31 122 1.080 7.0 2.7 10.6 3.94
2013 20 -3.8 A+-AA NYM 9 4 3.06 23 0 0 117.2 107 48 40 28 133 1.147 8.2 2.1 10.2 4.75
2014 21 -5.8 AAA NYM 9 7 4.60 26 0 0 133.0 154 77 68 43 145 1.481 10.4 2.9 9.8 3.37
5 Seasons 31 19 3.25 94 0 0 426.2 399 187 154 124 474 1.226 8.4 2.6 10.0 3.82
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
“Thor” wasn’t alone in having injuries and being ineffective in the world of prospects in 2014, but it was still an underwhelming season. His strikeouts per nine fell and his walks rose a bit, but the most alarming item was how hittable he was. With his stuff, you’d expect more, but he was pitching in Triple-A at the age of 21, so he deserves a bit of a break. He’ll start back there in 2015 and show that he’s better than that, very quickly, and reach New York before the All-Star break. 

18. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 18 -2.5 Rk-A- PIT 0 3 1.88 12 0 0 38.1 23 17 8 17 44 1.043 5.4 4.0 10.3 2.59
2013 19 -2.7 A PIT 9 3 2.18 24 0 0 111.1 54 35 27 61 164 1.033 4.4 4.9 13.3 2.69
2014 20 -3.2 A+ PIT 12 5 1.74 23 0 0 124.1 74 29 24 57 157 1.054 5.4 4.1 11.4 2.75
3 Seasons 21 11 1.94 59 0 0 274.0 151 81 59 135 365 1.044 5.0 4.4 12.0 2.70
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Glasnow is his own worst enemy. He has only allowed FIVE hits per nine innings in his career, but it’s the 4.4 walks per nine that are worrisome. It stems from an electric fastball that he needs to control to become even better than the 1.94 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 274 career innings have shown. He could be better than Gerrit Cole when all is said and done. 
Reds RHP Robert Stephenson
Reds RHP Robert Stephenson

19. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 19 -2.7 A-Rk CIN 3 4 3.18 15 0 0 65.0 54 34 23 23 72 1.185 7.5 3.2 10.0 3.13
2013 20 -2.4 A-A+-AA CIN 7 7 2.99 22 0 0 114.1 92 49 38 35 136 1.111 7.2 2.8 10.7 3.89
2014 21 -3.4 AA CIN 7 10 4.74 27 0 0 136.2 114 81 72 74 140 1.376 7.5 4.9 9.2 1.89
3 Seasons 17 21 3.79 64 0 0 316.0 260 164 133 132 348 1.241 7.4 3.8 9.9 2.64
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Stephenson took a step back in 2014 by allowing more walks and home runs than at any point in his career. He spent the whole season in Double-A and he’s still young enough to rebound, but the questions about the “straightness” of his fastball could be the reason that he was greeted so unforgivingly by his opponents. The Reds need to see an improvement due to the possible departures of Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, and Aroldis Chapman to free agency after the 2015 season – someone needs to be in their rotation! 

20. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2013 18 -2.6 Rk MIN 0 0 1.35 7 0 0 20.0 13 7 3 4 24 0.850 5.8 1.8 10.8 6.00
2014 19 -3.0 A MIN 3 5 2.59 19 0 0 87.0 75 36 25 24 62 1.138 7.8 2.5 6.4 2.58
2 Seasons 3 5 2.36 26 0 0 107.0 88 43 28 28 86 1.084 7.4 2.4 7.2 3.07
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Stewart has incredible stuff, but, like many other Twins’ prospect, dealt with an injury in 2014. Stewart struggled with the dreaded “shoulder soreness” that cost him several starts, and the Twins will hope that he gets back on track in 2015 and can remain injury-free. An upper-90’s fastball was his calling card coming out of high school, and he’ll need to regain the strength in that shoulder to keep his stock this high (or higher). 

21. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2014 23 MIA NL 0 3 5.83 7 0 0 29.1 32 19 19 7 20 1.330 9.8 2.1 6.1 2.86
1 Yr 0 3 5.83 7 0 0 29.1 32 19 19 7 20 1.330 9.8 2.1 6.1 2.86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 21 -0.3 A-Rk MIA 1 2 4.33 6 0 0 27.0 32 17 13 6 30 1.407 10.7 2.0 10.0 5.00
2013 22 -1.5 A+-AA MIA 9 3 1.60 19 1 0 95.1 76 22 17 26 89 1.070 7.2 2.5 8.4 3.42
2014 23 -2.9 AAA-AA MIA 9 6 3.28 24 1 1 137.1 120 61 50 36 143 1.136 7.9 2.4 9.4 3.97
3 Seasons 19 11 2.77 49 2 1 259.2 228 100 80 68 262 1.140 7.9 2.4 9.1 3.85
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
A quick-rising arm out of Oklahoma State, Heaney was able to get to the Marlins within 24 months of being drafted. He has a fastball that can touch the mid-90’s and a very good slider. He likely won’t ever replace Jose Fernandez as the Marlins’ ace, but he can become a very useful arm right behind him in the rotation. A developing changeup is likely his key to success. 

22. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2013 18 -2.9 Rk-A- BAL 0 1 1.78 8 0 0 25.1 21 6 5 6 33 1.066 7.5 2.1 11.7 5.50
2014 19 -2.8 A BAL 7 5 3.18 17 0 0 87.2 66 39 31 33 106 1.129 6.8 3.4 10.9 3.21
2 Seasons 7 6 2.87 25 0 0 113.0 87 45 36 39 139 1.115 6.9 3.1 11.1 3.56
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Harvey and Giolito were able to battle a couple of times during their time in the SAL in 2014, and Harvey was capable of matching him. If that doesn’t tell you what Harvey is capable of, I don’t know what will. He could easily be where Dylan Bundy is on this list, quite capable of becoming a better long-term option, but he, like so many others, was shut down due to an injury, as Harvey dealt with an elbow strain. If he can rebound from the arm injury, he’ll head to High-A and stay on the fast track to the majors. 

23. Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2010 17 -1.5 FRk TEX 48 187 172 18 38 5 2 1 23 1 5 48 .221 .278 .291 .569 50
2011 18 -3.3 A- TEX 45 171 160 18 48 9 1 6 23 1 4 54 .300 .345 .481 .826 77
2012 19 -2.7 A TEX 74 300 272 40 71 21 5 5 34 7 16 84 .261 .320 .430 .750 117
2013 20 -1.5 A-Rk-A+ TEX 113 459 404 72 107 24 1 18 61 18 32 122 .265 .346 .463 .809 187
2014 21 -2.1 A+-AA TEX 121 536 486 75 127 26 5 17 87 6 29 123 .261 .323 .440 .763 214
5 Seasons 401 1653 1494 223 391 85 14 47 228 33 86 431 .262 .326 .432 .758 645
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Alfaro is a free-swinging, athletic catcher with very good power, and an even more powerful throwing arm. It wouldn’t be surprising for this young man to get comps to Ivan Rodriguez due to climbing the ranks in the Rangers system and being so capable on both sides of the dish, but he likely won’t be the hitter that “Pudge” was. That doesn’t make him any less worth some hype, though. He’ll likely spend some more time in Double-A before a quick promotion to Triple-A, but he won’t be up for good until 2016. 

24. Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2014 21 TOR AL 0 0 5.40 5 0 0 6.2 5 4 4 5 4 1.500 6.8 6.8 5.4 0.80
1 Yr 0 0 5.40 5 0 0 6.2 5 4 4 5 4 1.500 6.8 6.8 5.4 0.80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 19 -1.6 Rk-A- TOR 2 4 8.44 13 0 0 42.2 58 44 40 18 43 1.781 12.2 3.8 9.1 2.39
2013 20 -1.9 A-A+ TOR 2 7 3.97 24 0 0 90.2 85 46 40 46 100 1.445 8.4 4.6 9.9 2.17
2014 21 -3.3 A+-AA-AAA TOR 12 2 2.53 26 0 0 124.2 96 37 35 43 163 1.115 6.9 3.1 11.8 3.79
3 Seasons 16 13 4.01 63 0 0 258.0 239 127 115 107 306 1.341 8.3 3.7 10.7 2.86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
Norris finally reached his potential in 2014, and it led to the young left-hander pitching at four levels, including the majors. His strikeout rate was a career-best, and the walks were down, as were the hits. He really seemed to figure it out, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Norris get a long, long look in spring training. 

25. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox

Year Age AgeDif Lev Aff W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2012 19 -2.6 A BOS 12 5 4.87 23 0 0 101.2 100 58 55 47 130 1.446 8.9 4.2 11.5 2.77
2013 20 -3.2 A+-AA BOS 11 6 2.67 26 0 0 135.0 84 47 40 68 169 1.126 5.6 4.5 11.3 2.49
2014 21 -4.1 AA-AAA BOS 17 5 2.94 26 3 2 159.0 121 53 52 59 170 1.132 6.8 3.3 9.6 2.88
3 Seasons 40 16 3.34 75 3 2 395.2 305 158 147 174 469 1.211 6.9 4.0 10.7 2.70
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2014.
He doesn’t hit the upper-90’s, but Owens knows how to pitch. He can locate his pitches and keep hitters off-balance. While many would link him to Tom Glavine due to that, but it’s the awkward angle that seems to get the best of his opposition. As he continues to climb the ranks, you’ll need to watch to see if his stuff or his motion is what is the cause for the impressive totals to this point. 

26. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox

27. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies

28. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

29. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Twins' RHP Jose Berrios
Twins’ RHP Jose Berrios

30. Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins

31. Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

32. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Miami Marlins

33. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

34. Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota Twins

35. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians

36. Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds

37. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

38, D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B, Seattle Mariners

39. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

40. Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants

41. Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies

42. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals

43. Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves

44. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros

45. A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals

46. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox

47. Josh Bell, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

48. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

49. Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Chicago Cubs

50. Michael Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros

51. Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees

52. Kevin Plawecki, C, New York Mets

53. Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres

54. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Nationals OF Michael Taylor
Nationals OF Michael Taylor

55. Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals

56. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

57. Domingo Santana, OF, Houston Astros

58. Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres

59. Rusney Castillo, 2B/OF, Boston Red Sox

60. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs

61. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

62. C.J. Edwards, RHP, Chicago Cubs

63. Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals

64. Maikel Franco, 1B/3B, Philadelphia Phillies

65. Christian Bethancourt, C, Atlanta Braves

66. Jose Peraza, 2B/SS, Atlanta Braves

67. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

68. Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets

69. Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

70. Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers

71. Aaron Blair, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

72. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees

Rockies OF Raimel Tapia
Rockies OF Raimel Tapia

73. Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies

74. Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers

75. Alen Hanson, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates

76. Hunter Dozier, 3B, Kansas City Royals

77. Kyle Freeland, LHP, Colorado Rockies

78. Steven Moya, 1B/OF, Detroit Tigers

79. Micah Johnson, 2B, Chicago White Sox

80. Alexander Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

81. Jorge Polanco, 2B, Minnesota Twins

82. Trea Turner, SS, San Diego Padres

83. Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets

84. Rosell Herrera, SS, Colorado Rockies

85. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

86. Billy McKinney, OF, Chicago Cubs

87. Justin Nicolino, LHP, Miami Marlins

88. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Kansas City Royals

89. Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics

90. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox

91. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

92. Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres

93. Alex Jackson, C/OF, Seattle Mariners

94. Marco Gonzales, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals

Rangers OF Lewis Brinson
Rangers OF Lewis Brinson

95. Lewis Brinson, OF, Texas Rangers

96. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

97. Grant Holmes, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

98. Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland Indians

99. Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals

100. Sean Newcomb, LHP, Los Angeles Angels

2014 Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects

At the halfway point of the 2014 season, it is time to take a look at some of the top prospects who are still hanging out on the farm developing their trade. Below, you will find the top 50 mid-season prospects for the 2014 season, with links to their statistics and a brief summary of their outlook. Enjoy. Share. Love.

 

Twins OF Byron Buxton
Twins OF Byron Buxton

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins: Wrist injuries have hurt him this season, but the tools are still there to be a five-tool stud.

2. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs: The power is incredible, but not nearly as incredible as the overall numbers. Will he end up at third or the outfield? It doesn’t really matter where he ends up, he’s a star.

3. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros: Correa’s season has been destroyed by a broken leg after he destroyed opposing pitchers in the California League. He was just about ready for a promotion to Double-A, so the timing was quite unfortunate. He remains a future star in Houston.

4. Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs: It doesn’t matter who he plays for, Russell can hit, hit for power, show patience at the dish, and field his position. While the landing spot of the recent trade leads to a lot of questions, Russell’s overall skills could make him the best option at short for Chicago.

5. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs: The power and bat speed are tools that all others envy, but until Baez makes some adjustments with his all or nothing approach, he isn’t the top shortstop prospect in the minors – but where he ends up with a crowded Cubs’ system means little if he doesn’t start making more consistent contact and taking a few more pitches.

6. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians: He may not possess the power that the other prospects offer ahead of him, but Lindor will have plenty of value for the Indians, showcasing an elite glove, solid speed, an excellent approach, and more pop than you’d expect based on his frame (5’11”, 175 pounds).

7. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals: The fastball and curveball, right now, could dominate at the major league level. If he can stay healthy, he could supplant Stephen Strasburg as the Nats ace, not because Strasburg is aging – he is capable of being better.

8. Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies: Gray still has the fastball and slider that could dominate and he continues to refine the change. Just because he’s a Rockies’ pitcher, he shouldn’t be discounted. He has the stuff to throw the Coors effect out the window.

9. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles: The injury is damning but the results and stuff seem to be back already. Bundy’s velocity isn’t there, but the command is there, which is typically the last thing to return after TJ surgery. Four plus pitches and pitching intelligence make Bundy a frontline starter for the O’s.

10. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins: Sano is going to miss the entire 2014 season due to TJ surgery. His power is elite and he should get a long look next spring for a Twins club that is desperate for some offense.

 

Rangers 3B Joey Gallo
Rangers 3B Joey Gallo

11. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers: The power was considered an 80 and it’s there. The plate discipline, however, has shown up and made Gallo an absolutely scary talent, especially when you consider the hitter-friendly nature of his home ballpark if he stays in Texas. Can he stay at third? Another guy who it shouldn’t matter for due to the bat playing anywhere.

12. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds: With three pitchers set to reach free agency after the 2015 season, Stephenson appears to be a solution, especially with strong results as he continues to climb through the Cincinnati system.

13. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: The injury led to some stumble here, but Bradley, if healthy, just needs to get a firm grasp on his command to be a No.1 starter. It wasn’t always elite results for Matt Harvey and Gerrit Cole, so don’t sell him short due to the numbers this season.

14. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: He’s 17 and in the California League dominating hitters. Urias has stuff and command to be a front-of-the-rotation arm, but with projection involved, the sky is the limit. Everything could get better for him as he matures.

15. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets: Yet another injury-ravaged arm in 2014, “Thor” should be on the mound for the Mets at some point by the end of the season to gain some experience. He should be a very good No.2 starter for years to come, featuring electric stuff and top notch command.

16. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers: A slugging shortstop, who may not stay at the position, in a system that continues to develop and acquire elite talent, Seager would be talked about a lot by teams who didn’t have Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw around. Now, with Urias dominating at such a young age, Seager continues to not get the praise he deserves for the skills. California League or not, 1.037 OPS at the age of 20 is nothing to sneeze at.

17. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies: A five-tool talent in Colorado…we’ve seen that before with Carlos Gonzalez and it’s nice. Dahl has the same type of potential.

18. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins: He’s a large man with No.2-No.3 stuff that could be No.1 stuff if he continues to show the type of command that he has in 2014. With the improvements that he has shown this season, he should be higher, but the shoulder issues that he had scare me off a bit.

19. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: Pederson would likely be starting for half of MLB this season. Instead, he is depth due to the presence of Puig, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford. The strikeouts are up a bit this season, but he is showing more power, speed, and patience (which is confusing but the walks are up).

20. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles: Harvey will likely move very quickly for a high school arm, as he has shown electric stuff in his first full season for the O’s Low-A affiliate. Along with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, Harvey gives Baltimore one of the most, if not the most, prolific arms in the minors.

21. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox: A switch-hitting catcher with some pop and solid plate discipline skills who is getting better after a jump to Double-A, Swihart has established himself as one of the top catching prospects in the game, redefining his previous outlook with an excellent season.

22. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox: While Owens isn’t going to replace Jon Lester at the top of the Boston rotation anytime soon, he should settle in as a very useful arm, capable of owning opposing batters with a strong fastball and very, very good change from the left side.

23. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres: Hedges’ offensive game still needs a lot of work, but he could step behind the plate and be an effective game manager tomorrow. Could he hit enough to be an everyday catcher? Well, Ryan Hanigan has…and Yadier Molina wasn’t always the offensive monster that he is today. Things can change. He’s young enough to get the complete package together, but even if he doesn’t hit, he’s a Gold Glove catcher.

24. Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Norris has jumped to Double-A after dominating the Florida State League in his first 13 starts of the season. He has the stuff to be an ace, and this ranking appears to be much lower than what he deserves considering the stuff and results, but there are a lot of solid arms ahead of him.

25. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates have a lot of very good, young arms in their system, and Glasnow could be the best if he finds a way to limit the walks. He’s big with big stuff, and just harnessing it would make him a top 10 prospect.

Cubs INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara
Cubs INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara

26. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Chicago Cubs: It’s unfortunate that it has to be repeated, but Alcantara’s future position in Chicago will be decided at some point between the Starlin Castro/Addison Russell/Javier Baez/Kris Bryant shuffle between second, third, and short, while Alcantara’s recent move to the outfield (he has played 10 games in center) could be a sign of the demise of Junior Lake, and the solution for the crowd – as far as how it impacts this very talented, 22-year-old speedster.

27. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins: Likely to move slow due to the organizational philosophy, the Twins haven’t had a power arm like this that they drafted and developed as far back as I can remember. He is working on his secondary stuff in the Midwest League this season, so the numbers don’t show dominance like the stuff suggests. He’s still just 19 and he will be a huge part of the Twins system, settling in nicely behind Alex Meyer as a No.2 starter.

28. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Sanchez would likely be pitching in Toronto right now if he had the ability to harness the stuff. Instead, he has walked 55 in 92.1 innings as of July 8. If he can grasp some concept of command, he could be the top pitcher on this entire list. As is, he’s a work in progress and a huge chip if the Blue Jays were to go all-in despite their recent tumble in the AL East.

29. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates: The results haven’t always matched the hype, but we’ll have to wait another year to see how Taillon’s stock fluctuates given his TJ surgery that has forced him to miss the entire 2014 season.

30. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies: Crawford has jumped to the Florida State League after a solid run in the Sally League, showing a tremendous approach for a 19-year-old at either level. He has surprising gap power and tremendous speed and he could be the next Jimmy Rollins in Philadelphia with a slightly better approach and a little less pop.

31. Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies: Tapia’s ceiling is anyone’s guess, but he’s a 20-year-old in his first attempt at full-season ball, posting an .830 OPS with 19 stolen bases and 27 extra-base hits (as of July 8). He can barrel up practically anything and he could develop power with his 6’2″, 160 pound frame. He could be better than Dahl if everything clicks, but the worst case scenario could be a Dexter Fowler at his peak as his norm.

32. Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers: A catcher who can run, hit for extreme power, and throw absolute seeds from behind the dish aren’t the norm in baseball, which makes Alfaro a future stud. He has some holes in his swing, but he is just 21 and he has a huge ceiling due to the power and defensive prowess.

33. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs: Almora hasn’t lived up to the offensive expectations this season, but he still brings a lot to the table with his elite defensive skills in center. After playing in only 61 games in Low-A last season due to injuries, the Cubs were aggressive in assigning the 20-year-old to the High-A Florida State League. He hasn’t been totally over-matched, but an improvement in his production would keep him as an option in the cluttered Cubs’ future.

34. Raul Adalberto Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals: Mondesi is an interesting prospect due to the bloodlines and the fact that he is just 18 (until July 27) and he is playing in the High-A Carolina League in the Royals system. It’s the defensive skills and the speed that make him capable of being elite. While he likely won’t develop the power that Russell, Baez, and Correa bring to the prospect list, he can utilize that speed in the same way that Billy Hamilton has for the Cincinnati Reds to become a factor in all facets of the game.

 

Reds OF Jesse Winker
Reds OF Jesse Winker

35. Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds: Winker will be a left fielder due to his arm, but he has the hit tool, the power, and the patience to be a very useful player in Cincinnati. He may have several seasons of All-Star production, while settling in as a productive, sweet-swinging lefty in the middle of the Reds’ order.

36. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Shipley has a solid fastball and change already, but he has hit a bump with the numbers in the hitter-friendly California League. He has very little experience as a pitcher (he was a former shortstop), but still projects as a mid-rotation starter for the D-backs…if Kevin Towers doesn’t trade him because he hates young players (huge generalizations are always fun).

37. Hunter Dozier, 3B, Kansas City Royals: What seemed like a reach in the 2013 MLB Draft looks to be another wise decision by Dayton Moore and Company in K.C. Dozier looks to be the long-term solution at third with Mike Moustakas failing like a man with no arms trying to remove corn from his teeth. You’d like to see more power from a future corner man, but Dozier could transfer some of those doubles into bombs as he continues adjusting to the wooden bat throughout his maturation.

38. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians: Frazier has Baez-like bat speed, which could result in huge amounts of power as he matures. The red-headed stepchild of the Tribe system, Frazier has shown glimpses of his potential while striking out in large quantities as a 19-year-old in full season ball. The Indians would be wise to continue being aggressive with him, allowing him to make adjustments and becoming the potential All-Star, a title that his bat could very well carry him to.

39. Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins: Berrios could be the best of the group between himself, Meyer, and Stewart, but he doesn’t get as much love, likely, due to his size. Just touching six feet, Berrios falls into the “short pitcher” label that has haunted the likes of Yordano Ventura, Carlos Martinez, Johnny Cueto, and Pedro Martinez, but stuff will outweigh the oppression, and Berrios has plenty of it.

40. Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Pompey has made huge strides this season in his production, showing his typical speed and solid plate discipline, while driving the ball more consistently. It has led to a promotion to Double-A (where he has struggled) for the 21-year-old center fielder. He looks like a nice piece for Toronto to build around, especially if they lose Colby Rasmus to free agency after the season (though, Pompey won’t be called upon just yet for that role in 2015).

41. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros: Appel has had difficulty adjusting to the pitching methods that Houston employs in the minors, but maybe it’s an attitude thing more than a stuff thing…or an injury. Who knows at this point, but the Astros should be concerned if the stuff is there and the results are this horrific. He’s here because of that stuff, but he needs to get things going before he becomes a bust…yes…already.

42. Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees: The Yankees have a prospect! Severino isn’t just a hype-machine type of guy, he has a fastball that can touch 97 with a slider and a change that could be above-average. The 6’0″, right-hander will battle the “small” label, but the stuff could be special.

43. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates: A future mid-rotation, innings-eater with solid stuff who is close to making an impact, Kingham may get lost in the Cole, Taillon, and Glasnow hype, but he should be a very useful arm for the Pirates in his own right.

44. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: Piscotty looks to be a potential clone of Allen Craig, possessing impressive contact skills without taking many walks, while not striking out absurd amounts, and not showcasing power numbers that would make them an ideal corner bat. Still, Piscotty can double his way into credibility, and he will be a nice option to play alongside Oscar Taveras for several seasons in St. Louis.

45. A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals: Cole has rebounded with his return to Washington’s system. He didn’t take too kindly to his time in the California League for the Oakland A’s, but he still has the stuff of a potential No.2 or No.3 starter. He isn’t Giolito by any means, but he has legit stuff and may not get the love that he deserves due to the flip-flopping in trades the last couple of seasons.

46. Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets: Nimmo’s on-base skills make him the Joey Votto of the minor leagues. He has control over his at-bats, which isn’t the norm for most 21-year-old position players in Double-A. Still, the Mets have to hope that he develops power along with the patience, as they are in desperate need of impact talent at the major league level.

Rangers' OF Nick Williams
Rangers’ OF Nick Williams

47. Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers: This kid can hit. He may not have a clue about how he can barrel up the ball, as the strikeouts show, but Williams has the talent to become an All-Star level outfielder due to his tools, athletic ability, and successful aggressiveness. There is power in his game, as well as speed, but he will settle in as a corner outfielder in Texas, though, there could be some severe learning curves.

48. Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: Bell is a switch-hitting corner outfielder who can hit for power from both sides, he has a strong grasp of the strike zone, and he has rewarded the Pirates, who made a $5 million investment in him after choosing the Texas-native in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft, with impressive production after an injury-filled start to his career. He should see some time in Double-A this season, while turning 22 in August.

49. Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres: Wisler’s numbers in the Pacific Coast League are pretty horrific, but he’ll be reaping the benefits of pitching in San Diego in due time. Mostly working on his change this season, Wisler continues to work his way to the majors, and the results don’t matter as much as continued health and innings. He should be a solid No.2 or No.3 for the Padres in coming seasons.

50. D.J. Peterson, 3B, Seattle Mariners: Peterson’s overall numbers were likely aided by playing at Inland Empire in the California League, but he was a top selection in the 2013 MLB Draft and is continuing his offensive outburst after a recent to Double-A. The Mariners could use a productive right-handed hitter, but his future is likely not at third with Kyle Seager becoming an All-Star caliber player for Seattle. He could be a first baseman or the Mariners could give him a look in left, but they may need to cover him up with an elite-level defensive center fielder.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs; Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Cincinnati Reds; Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres; Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals; Miguel Almonte, RHP, Kansas City Royals; Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals; Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox; Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals; Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates; Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants; Lewis Brinson, OF, Texas Rangers;

 

 

 

 

Spring Stars and Surprises

Spring statistics don’t really mean much to anyone, that is, of course, unless those numbers are being used to determine a position battle. I like to see young players who are getting long looks and veterans coming off of injuries prove their health and worth by admiring their feasting on lesser competition. While there are many out there that think that spring training is a waste of time and that the statistics don’t mean anything, they do mean a little something – especially to these players. (Statistics as of 3/20/2014)

Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos
Tigers 3B Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers

.396/.412/.667, 19 H, 7 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB, 5:2 K:BB in 48 AB

Why Spring Matters for Castellanos: The rookie third baseman is going to need to pick up some of the offensive production that was lost when the Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for a non-Arlington-version of Ian Kinsler. Kinsler has a career .242/.312/.399 line away from the spacious confines of the Ballpark at Arlington and a .304/.387/.511 line at home. Comerica Park is NOT  Globe Life Park in Arlington, and with the injury to Jose Iglesias (who may or may not be offensively capable), the Tigers need more players to step up to allow Miguel Cabrera to be an MVP candidate again in 2014. Castellanos doesn’t have the prospect shine of Byron Buxton or Xander Bogaerts, but he is going to hit. He always has. The fact that he is hitting while re-adjusting to playing third base, having been switched to the outfield just two years ago from the hot corner, is a positive sign. Additionally, he just turned 22 at the beginning of March. Castellanos may never hit 30 home runs and he may struggle to hit .300 due to contact and discipline questions, but if the Tigers are going to maintain solid offensive production, they’ll need this young man to hit the way that he has this spring. There may be some growing pains, but this production is very encouraging.

Mariners OF Dustin Ackley
Mariners OF Dustin Ackley

Dustin Ackley, OF, Seattle Mariners

.457/.490/.696, 21 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 6:3 K:BB in 46 AB

Why Spring Matters for Ackley: After hitting .304/.374/.435 in the second half of 2013 (208 plate appearances), Ackley deserved a long look this spring. When the Mariners signed Robinson Cano and Corey Hart and traded for Logan Morrison, it was worrisome that the M’s could have squeezed their former top pick the way that they have their current middle infielders with the Cano signing. An already crowded, though hideous, outfield could still be impacted if Morrison and Hart man the corners with Justin Smoak at first, but the hope for all baseball enthusiasts is that Ackley gets 500 at-bats while playing a single position, something that the former top prospect hasn’t had an opportunity to accomplish in his very shifty career. The month of March has been very kind to Ackley and he should be locked into an everyday role, especially with Franklin Gutierrez out for the year (not shocking) and Michael Saunders floundering last season so badly. His gap power and on-base skills will make him a surprisingly valuable asset in the Mariners push towards contention in 2014.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals

.450/.521/.875, 5 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB, 6:6 K:BB in 40 AB

Why Spring Matters for Moustakas: Moustakas’ career appeared nearly dead when the Royals signed a perfect platoon partner, Danny Valencia, to pair up with the former top prospect. Then, Moustakas went and played winter ball and worked on his swing…and now this. Maybe it was the fire under the sphincter that Moose needed to get his career on track, maybe the alterations were enough,  or maybe he’s a late bloomer like the man that he replaced at the hot corner, Alex Gordon. Gordon was nearly out of the league until a breakout in 2011 at the age of 27, but Moustakas, 25, doesn’t deserve to be given up on just yet, either. Perhaps Moustakas has found the swing that led to 36 home runs and a .999 OPS at the age of 21 in 2010. He may still have some issues against the toughest of left-handed pitchers, but this could be the year.

hamilton3
Reds CF Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton, CF, Cincinnati Reds

.325/.413/.450, 13 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 9 SB, 12 R, 6:6 K:BB in 40 AB

Why Spring Matters for Hamilton: He’ll never replace Shin-Soo Choo and his ability to get on base, but when Hamilton gets on base, he’s nearly a lock to score. I am not sure how he managed to hit a home run, as the Reds should be instituting push-ups like Willie Mayes Hayes from the great American classic Major League. Hamilton’s wheels will make him a game-changing talent until an injury is to arise. It is highly unlikely that he’ll hit at this rate in 2014, but even a .250/.310/.325 line would afford him enough opportunities on the base paths to score close to 100 runs while stealing 50 or more bases. It may not seem mathematically realistic, but you need to see Billy run in person to gain an understanding of his actual speed. The walks and contact rate is encouraging, and while Great American Ballpark doesn’t have the thin air of the desert, it is still a launching pad – Hamilton just needs to keep the ball on the ground to better utilize his legs and to avoid the push-ups.

Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants

0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 17 IP, 10 H, 16:2 K:BB

Why Spring Matters for Bumgarner: Spring doesn’t really matter much for Bumgarner, I just hope that people see this and realize that he is capable of winning the 2014 National League Cy Young award. The 2014 season is his age-24 season and he already has incredible numbers. His hits per nine fell to a career low in 2013 (6.5) and his strikeouts per nine were a career high (8.9). The dominance in his 17 spring innings will be what you’ll see in 2014. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stole the award from Clayton Kershaw. There weren’t eight pitchers in the NL better than him, regardless of the Cy Young voting.

Hector Santiago, LHP, Los Angeles Angels

2.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 11 H, 19:6 K:BB

Why Spring Matters for Santiago: Thanks to Joe Blanton being terrible and the Angels minor league system being even worse, Santiago was a lock for the rotation when he was acquired from the White Sox in the Mark Trumbo deal. Santiago, though, is a very interesting pitcher in 2014. He has some friendly ballparks in the American League West and he has the stuff to post nearly a strikeout per inning. Add in an impressive offense and Santiago could be one of the more surprising No.4 starters in baseball. He has shown the strikeout stuff and how hard he is to hit this spring, and if he can cool the walks a bit, which have always been an issue for him, the 26-year-old will continue to be effective for the Halos.

Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez
Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

1.76 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 8 H, 9:3 K:BB

Why Spring Matters for Martinez: The Cardinals just aren’t fair. Joe Kelly, who only went 9-3 with a 2.28 ERA over 15 starts in 2013, is battling one of the club’s former top prospects for the No.5 spot in the Cards’ rotation. Nicknamed “Little Pedro” due to his stature and stuff being similar to future Hall of Fame right-hander Pedro Martinez, this 22-year-old Dominican future star has shown just how unhittable he is when he can manage to control his impressive arsenal. Many will wonder if his best long-term role will be the bullpen due to injury risks and how his stuff plays up in short bursts, but Martinez is much more valuable over 200 innings, and the Cardinals continue to have the depth to plug him into the rotation and reap the benefits of their minor league system. Martinez won’t look like Michael Wacha did down the stretch last season, but that is because he’ll be making a name for himself on his own in 2014.

2014 MLB Top Prospects: Final Revision

Buxton

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins; 12/18/1993

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 2 Lgs Rk 48 189 165 33 41 10 4 5 20 11 19 41 .248 .344 .448 .792 74
2013 19 2 Lgs A-A+ 125 574 488 109 163 19 18 12 77 55 76 105 .334 .424 .520 .944 254
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Buxton is the minor league version of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. He has tools across the board and could continue to move quickly, likely reaching Target Field by the end of the 2014 season. While he isn’t the pure hitter that Taveras could be, Buxton has the skill set that will fill stadiums and force Minnesota into contention…if they could get some solid pitching.

2. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Boston Red Sox; 10/1/1992

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2010 17 DOSL FRk 63 280 239 39 75 7 5 3 42 4 30 37 .314 .396 .423 .819 101
2011 18 SALL A 72 296 265 38 69 14 2 16 45 1 25 71 .260 .324 .509 .834 135
2012 19 2 Lgs A+-AA 127 532 476 71 146 37 3 20 81 5 44 106 .307 .373 .523 .896 249
2013 20 2 Lgs AAA-AA 116 515 444 72 132 23 6 15 67 7 63 95 .297 .388 .477 .865 212
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.
Year Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2013 BOS AL 18 50 44 7 11 2 0 1 5 1 5 13 .250 .320 .364 .684 88 16
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Bogaerts forced himself into the Red Sox immediate plans and has played a major role for the Sox in the 2013 postseason. The young infielder could take the everyday job at short in 2014 with Stephen Drew reaching free agency, and his production up the middle could make him one of the top fantasy shortstops this side of Troy Tulowitzki.

Courtesy: stlouiscardinalsbaseball.com
Courtesy: stlouiscardinalsbaseball.com

3. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals; 6/19/1992

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2009 17 DOSL FRk 65 272 237 35 61 13 8 1 42 9 28 36 .257 .338 .392 .731 93
2010 18 2 Lgs Rk 60 260 241 40 73 14 3 8 45 9 13 46 .303 .342 .485 .828 117
2011 19 MIDW A 78 347 308 52 119 27 5 8 62 1 32 52 .386 .444 .584 1.028 180
2012 20 TL AA 124 531 477 83 153 37 7 23 94 10 42 56 .321 .380 .572 .953 273
2013 21 2 Lgs AAA-Rk 47 188 174 25 54 13 0 5 32 5 10 22 .310 .348 .471 .819 82
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Taveras is the best pure hitter in the minors, but he needs to stay on the field to show his true abilities. With Carlos Beltran headed towards free agency, it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals handle Taveras going into the 2014 season. With Matt Adams producing solid numbers in a limited role, it could force Allen Craig to the outfield, which would force Taveras to Triple-A or to center field in place of Jon Jay. Wherever he is, expect big things.

4. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins; 5/11/1993

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2010 17 2 Lgs Rk-FRk 61 241 212 34 65 16 1 7 29 4 24 60 .307 .379 .491 .870 104
2011 18 APPY Rk 66 293 267 58 78 18 7 20 59 5 23 77 .292 .352 .637 .988 170
2012 19 MIDW A 129 553 457 75 118 28 4 28 100 8 80 144 .258 .373 .521 .893 238
2013 20 2 Lgs AA-A+ 123 519 439 86 123 30 5 35 103 11 65 142 .280 .382 .610 .992 268
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Sano has amazing power and he has maintained his power production as he has climbed the minor league ladder. With Sano and Buxton, the Twins have a new duo that will likely outproduce the numbers that Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer put up in their prime, and with Sano having hit 90 home runs before his 21st birthday in the minors, it will be very hard for the offensive-starved Twins to wait for his massive power ability.

Walker

5. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners; 8/13/1992

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 17 ARIZ Rk 1 1 1.29 4 0 0 7.0 2 3 1 0 3 9 0.714 2.6 11.6 3.00
2011 18 MIDW A 6 5 2.89 18 1 0 96.2 69 33 31 4 39 113 1.117 6.4 10.5 2.90
2012 19 SOUL AA 7 10 4.69 25 0 0 126.2 124 70 66 12 50 118 1.374 8.8 8.4 2.36
2013 20 2 Lgs AA-AAA 9 10 2.93 25 0 0 141.1 112 56 46 11 57 160 1.196 7.1 10.2 2.81
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.
Year Tm Lg W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 SEA AL 1 0 3.60 3 0 0 15.0 11 7 6 0 4 12 1.000 6.6 7.2 3.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Walker is a freakishly gifted athlete as a pitcher, and if he can maintain consistency in repeating his mechanics and release, he could supplant Felix Hernandez as the Mariners’ No.1 starter at some point over the next few seasons. He has tremendous stuff and once he gains a better understanding of how to pitch with it, he will soar. He has very little left to prove in Tacoma and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start the season with Seattle, especially after the Mariners seem all-in after signing Robinson Cano. Keep in mind, Walker has put up these solid numbers after becoming a pitcher in his senior year of high school, which was a little over three years ago now.

6. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks; 8/10/1992

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2011 18 PION Rk 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 2.0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0.500 4.5 18.0
2012 19 MIDW A 12 6 3.84 27 0 0 136.0 87 64 58 6 84 152 1.257 5.8 10.1 1.81
2013 20 2 Lgs AA-A+ 14 5 1.84 26 2 0 152.0 115 40 31 6 69 162 1.211 6.8 9.6 2.35
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

A lot of Bradley’s success had to do with his ability to throw more strikes. He went from walking 5.5 per nine in 2012 to 4.1 in 2013, and if he maintains that type of growth in the upper minors, he’ll be ready for Chase Field in no time. With the stuff that he has, you’d like to see him allow fewer base runners, but there was a time that I doubted Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw for the same reasons. I won’t be doing that again.

7. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros; 9/22/1994

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 17 2 Lgs Rk 50 204 190 28 49 14 2 3 12 6 12 44 .258 .305 .400 .705 76
2013 18 MIDW A 117 519 450 73 144 33 3 9 86 10 58 83 .320 .405 .467 .872 210
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Correa has a great skill-set, one that prompted a lot of Alex Rodriguez comparisons when he was the No.1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Unfortunately, the comparisons may never stop for Correa, who may have to be linked to Buxton, who was taken No.2 overall in the 2012 Draft, over the rest of his career. Fortunately for Correa, he is also capable of All-Star level production, so this won’t become a Sam Bowie versus Michael Jordan issue for the Houston Astros. Correa is likely in for an absolutely incredible breakout in 2014 as the doubles head over the wall and he continues to make solid adjustments at the plate. Like Bogaerts, he could be as elite as they come at shortstop, likely arriving by mid-2015.

Baez

8. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs; 12/1/1992

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2011 18 2 Lgs Rk-A- 5 18 18 2 5 2 0 0 1 2 0 4 .278 .278 .389 .667 7
2012 19 2 Lgs A-A+ 80 321 293 50 86 13 6 16 46 24 14 69 .294 .346 .543 .888 159
2013 20 2 Lgs A+-AA 130 577 517 98 146 34 4 37 111 20 40 147 .282 .341 .578 .920 299
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Swinging hard and quick, Baez unravels his coiled body and creates impressive power…which comes with impressive strikeout totals, as well. With Starlin Castro signed long-term, Baez is going to likely be moved off of shortstop, but he has the stick to play third or an outfield corner. The Cubs are aggressive in how they handle their prospects, but we’ll have to see if the Theo Epstein regime is going to be wise with the cost-efficiency and service-time issues that could arise by allowing Baez to get some time in at Wrigley in 2014. He could force their hand, though.

9. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics; 1/23/1994

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 3 Lgs Rk-A-A- 55 244 217 46 80 10 9 7 45 16 23 48 .369 .432 .594 1.027 129
2013 19 2 Lgs A+-AAA 110 517 442 86 119 29 10 17 60 21 61 125 .269 .369 .495 .865 219
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Generated 10/23/2013.

The A’s were SUPER aggressive with Russell in 2013, starting the season with the California League (high-A) affiliate after getting just 58 at-bats for the club’s low-A squad in 2012 and getting all of 217 at-bats in his first professional season. He did so well in 2013 that he was bumped to Triple-A to assist with Sacramento’s playoff push, and while he was over-matched, it shows just how highly Oakland thinks of him. He may get lost in the dynamic shortstop shuffle, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Russell in the majors first, producing solid overall numbers and bringing life to the Oakland lineup.

10. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians; 11/14/1993

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2011 17 NYPL A- 5 20 19 4 6 0 0 0 2 1 1 5 .316 .350 .316 .666 6
2012 18 MIDW A 122 567 490 83 126 24 3 6 42 27 61 78 .257 .352 .355 .707 174
2013 19 2 Lgs A+-AA 104 464 403 65 122 22 7 2 34 25 49 46 .303 .380 .407 .787 164
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Lindor will have tremendous value for the Indians with his above-average defensive skills, but it won’t stop there. While Lindor won’t be a middle-of-the-order talent like Bogaerts and Correa, he has the skill-set to be a very effective leadoff hitter, while having the contact skills to be a great No.2 hitter, setting the table for Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana, likely by mid-2014.

11. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles; 1/6/1991

Year Age Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 22 AL 3 5 5.66 20 5 0 0 47.2 51 30 30 8 13 49 1.343 9.6 2.5 9.3 3.77
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.
Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G GF SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 21 2 Lgs A+-A- 0 1 3.60 5 0 0 15.0 11 6 6 3 1 13 0.800 6.6 0.6 7.8 13.00
2013 22 2 Lgs AA-AAA 3 6 3.51 16 1 0 82.0 80 37 32 4 14 82 1.146 8.8 1.5 9.0 5.86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

Gausman wasn’t on my original list because I assumed that he had been rostered by the O’s for too long to still qualify; however, you know what happens when you assume…Gausman is an absolute monster, capable of hitting triple-digits while working 95-98 with his fastball. His slider is an out pitch, as are the two variations of his changeup. Due to being a college arm with such electric stuff, Gausman could easily receive comps to Justin Verlander, and while those are high expectations, it wouldn’t be hard to envision that type of production if everything clicks. As is, he’s quite capable of being the top pitcher from this list.

12. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets; 8/29/1992

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G GF SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 17 GULF Rk 0 1 2.70 5 0 0 13.1 11 7 4 0 4 6 1.125 7.4 4.0 1.50
2011 18 3 Lgs Rk-A–A 5 2 1.83 13 1 0 59.0 46 14 12 1 18 68 1.085 7.0 10.4 3.78
2012 19 MIDW A 8 5 2.60 27 2 0 103.2 81 41 30 3 31 122 1.080 7.0 10.6 3.94
2013 20 2 Lgs A+-AA 9 4 3.06 23 0 0 117.2 107 48 40 11 28 133 1.147 8.2 10.2 4.75
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Generated 10/23/2013.

The stuff is off the charts, at least the fastball, and with further development of his secondary stuff, Syndergaard will be a tremendous No.2 starter for the Mets. The haul from the R.A. Dickey trade certainly took a major bump upwards when Syndergaard showed such drastic improvement, and after reaching Double-A in 2013 and the injury to Harvey, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the tall right-hander get a shot before the All-Star break in 2014.

13. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds; 2/24/1993

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 19 2 Lgs A-Rk 3 4 3.18 15 0 0 65.0 54 34 23 6 23 72 1.185 7.5 10.0 3.13
2013 20 3 Lgs A-A+-AA 7 7 2.99 22 0 0 114.1 92 49 38 10 35 136 1.111 7.2 10.7 3.89
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Stephenson’s numbers were absurd in 2013. I saw a start in Dayton that he looked like he was toying with the opposition, but that seems to be the norm for him. He has a tremendous fastball, touching triple-digits several times during the 2013 campaign, and he earned promotions (a quick one from the pitching-deadly California League) by succeeding. The Reds will likely slow down the process and keep him in Double-A most of the 2014 season, but he could be a reliable starter by 2015, just in time for the possible loss of Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto.

14. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; 11/18/1991

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2011 19 SALL A 2 3 3.98 23 0 0 92.2 89 45 41 9 22 97 1.198 8.6 9.4 4.41
2012 20 2 Lgs A+-AA 9 8 3.55 26 2 0 142.0 120 60 56 10 38 116 1.113 7.6 7.4 3.05
2013 21 2 Lgs AA-AAA 5 10 3.73 26 0 0 147.1 143 70 61 9 52 143 1.324 8.7 8.7 2.75
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Gerrit Cole has taken the reigns from Taillon as the Pirates’ No.1 starter, but he does have the skills to help guide Cole and the Bucs to another postseason appearance in 2013, likely joining the rotation mid-season like Cole and developing the final touches on his stuff at the major league level. Taillon doesn’t look to have the ceiling that Cole does, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t special. The 2013 season was a bit disappointing statistically, so the 2014 season will go a long way in determining the long-term outlook on this young man.

15. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates; 9/14/1991

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2009 17 DOSL FRk 63 261 221 34 59 8 6 0 24 12 33 50 .267 .370 .357 .727 79
2010 18 GULF Rk 53 200 188 21 38 5 1 3 23 19 9 41 .202 .245 .287 .532 54
2011 19 2 Lgs Rk-A- 51 213 179 34 41 4 4 3 35 18 24 35 .229 .322 .346 .669 62
2012 20 SALL A 116 485 437 84 142 26 6 16 85 40 44 64 .325 .388 .522 .910 228
2013 21 3 Lgs AA-A+-AAA 127 536 470 66 134 30 2 12 71 38 52 73 .285 .356 .434 .791 204
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Like the Pirates need another gifted outfielder. With Andrew McCutchen in center and Starling Marte in left, Polanco will likely man right, providing Pittsburgh with three outfielders capable of playing center field while producing solid numbers across the board. Polanco, though, looks like a better all-around player than Marte, showing gap power, speed, and a very good approach at the plate. He may not be an MVP candidate like “Cutch”, but he’ll provide value in Pittsburgh for quite some time as a definitive upgrade over the Jose TabataGarrett Jones, and Travis Snider parade that has provided very little value over the last several seasons.

16. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs; 4/16/1994

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2012 18 2 Lgs Rk-A- 33 145 140 27 45 12 1 2 19 5 2 13 .321 .331 .464 .795 65
2013 19 MIDW A 61 272 249 39 82 17 4 3 23 4 17 30 .329 .376 .466 .842 116
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Almora, like Baez, has tools and skills to become an elite talent at the major league level, although, unlike Baez, Almora is more of a contact and gap-power hitter and not the light-tower power that his counterpart possesses. In a small sample, he showed something that a lot of Cubs’ prospects don’t…plate discipline. With his ability to make solid contact, he looks like a solid top-of-the-order player, but he could very well grow into something much more. If nothing else, Almora will provide Gold Glove defensive ability.

Castellanos

17. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers; 3/4/1992

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2010 18 GULF Rk 7 29 24 5 8 2 0 0 3 0 4 5 .333 .414 .417 .830 10
2011 19 MIDW A 135 562 507 65 158 36 3 7 76 3 45 130 .312 .367 .436 .803 221
2012 20 2 Lgs AA-A+ 134 584 537 72 172 32 4 10 57 8 36 118 .320 .365 .451 .815 242
2013 21 IL AAA 134 595 533 81 147 37 1 18 76 4 54 100 .276 .343 .450 .793 240
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Generated 10/23/2013.
Year Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2013 DET AL 11 18 18 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .278 .278 .278 .556 51 5
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Castellanos did take a few more walks in 2013, so that is a great step in his development, as his long swing and inability to take a walk was a concern for many prospect graders in the past. With the trade of Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers, it looks like Castellanos will move back to third base, with Miguel Cabrera sliding back across the diamond to first. As a corner outfielder, Castellanos’ production was likely a bit lacking, but with just a few consistent producers at the hot corner, a young player like this capable of 15-20 home runs and 30-plus doubles is a nice addition to the field. If he maintains his improved approach, Castellanos could be a real candidate for the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year.

18. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros; 9/19/1989

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2011 21 NYPL A- 8 33 28 8 5 3 0 1 3 4 2 2 .179 .303 .393 .696 11
2012 22 2 Lgs A+-AA 128 581 506 109 153 21 10 24 87 32 62 156 .302 .383 .526 .908 266
2013 23 2 Lgs AA-AAA 135 589 492 106 149 27 4 37 108 45 83 161 .303 .411 .600 1.010 295
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Like Castellanos, Springer takes some shots due to his strikeout totals; however, his all-around game could still allow for success at the major league level. Just three home runs shy of posting a 40/40 season in 2013, Springer would have likely had a bigger impact on the Astros winning games than any of the group of Brandon Barnes, J.D. Martinez, L.J. Hoes, Robbie Grossman, and Trevor Crowe that helped Houston lose 111 games in 2013. While it seems unreasonable to expect 40/40 production in the majors, Springer could provide seasons of 25 HR/25 SB annually, which will be quite valuable once the club’s elite prospects join him in Houston and the Astros begin contending in the next few years.

19. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies; 11/5/1991

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 21 2 Lgs A+-Rk 4 0 1.93 9 0 0 37.1 25 11 8 0 8 51 0.884 6.0 12.3 6.38
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Despite taking some medication for ADHD and looking like a potential slider in the 2013 MLB Draft, the Rockies jumped at the chance to draft Gray and his incredible fastball and the results were nothing short of sexy. Coor’s Field will continue to be a question mark when it comes to the ceiling of pitching prospects for Colorado, but I can’t remember a time that the Rockies have had a pitcher like this. Lockdown, shutdown stuff like Gray’s will be very useful if the Rockies are ever going to contend in the NL West. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Gray in the top five at the end of next season, possibly even the mid-season lists, and his electric fastball and slider should suit him well in the thin, Denver air.

20. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals; 9/21/1991

Year Age Tm W L ERA G GF SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 21 STL 2 1 5.08 21 5 0 1 28.1 31 16 16 1 9 24 1.412 9.8 2.9 7.6 2.67
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.
Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 18 DOSL FRk 3 2 0.76 12 12 1 0 59.0 28 8 5 1 14 78 0.712 4.3 2.1 11.9 5.57
2011 19 2 Lgs A+-A 6 5 3.93 18 18 0 0 84.2 76 41 37 3 44 98 1.417 8.1 4.7 10.4 2.23
2012 20 2 Lgs AA-A+ 6 5 2.93 22 21 0 0 104.1 91 39 34 6 32 92 1.179 7.8 2.8 7.9 2.88
2013 21 2 Lgs AAA-AA 6 3 2.49 16 16 0 0 79.2 65 25 22 4 28 72 1.167 7.3 3.2 8.1 2.57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

Martinez has earned a lot of Pedro Martinez comparisons due to his size and being a Dominican Republic native, but the stuff is also involved in those comps. Carlos Martinez is quite capable of dominating in the majors in 2014, but he still needs a rotation spot, and that is the lone reason for his ranking. The Cardinals depth is scary, as Trevor Rosenthal and Martinez appear bullpen bound for the next several seasons with Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, and Jaime Garcia ahead of them on the depth charts, and while a trade seems easy to say as a bystander, why would you deal any of those guys? Martinez will be dominant in whatever role he fills, but he slides to 20 due to his unknown future role.

21. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays; 4/1/1992

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 17 2 Lgs Rk-A- 0 3 2.16 10 0 0 25.0 23 15 6 1 17 37 1.600 8.3 13.3 2.18
2011 18 2 Lgs Rk-A- 3 3 5.30 14 0 0 54.1 53 33 32 4 26 56 1.454 8.8 9.3 2.15
2012 19 MIDW A 8 5 2.49 25 0 0 90.1 64 33 25 3 51 97 1.273 6.4 9.7 1.90
2013 20 FLOR A+ 4 5 3.34 22 0 0 86.1 63 40 32 4 40 75 1.193 6.6 7.8 1.88
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Generated 10/23/2013.

Sanchez is the pitching equivalent to Oscar Taveras: Electric, game-changing stuff…he just can’t stay on the field. In 2013, it was the shoulder, which is always scary when it comes to a pitcher with a high-90’s fastball, that led to Sanchez missing time. Beyond the injuries, the walks are also an issue. The issues are obvious in Sanchez and his inability to reach his ceiling, but the fact that he has the stuff to be a No.1 starter and he is entering his age-21 season, they’re worth holding out for. The Jays will hope that this is the year that he puts it all together.

Giolito

22. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals; 7/14/1994

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 17 GULF Rk 0 0 4.50 1 2.0 2 1 1 0 0 1 1.000 9.0 0.0 4.5
2013 18 2 Lgs Rk-A- 2 1 1.96 11 36.2 28 9 8 1 14 39 1.145 6.9 3.4 9.6 2.79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2014.

After having Tommy John surgery, Giolito came back with a vengeance in 2013, showcasing the electric arm and stuff that made him the 16th overall pick in 2012, despite possessing said cranky elbow at the time of his selection. Giolito has No.1 stuff, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington be very aggressive with the 6’6″, 225 pound right-hander, likely starting him in Low-A Hagerstown, with a brief appearance for High-A Potomac by years end.

23. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles; 11/15/1992

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 19 3 Lgs A+-A-AA 9 3 2.08 23 0 0 103.2 67 29 24 6 28 119 0.916 5.8 10.3 4.25
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.
Year Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 BAL AL 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 1.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.200 5.4 0.0 0.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Bundy missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he was near the top of everyone’s lists prior to the injury. With the going success rates of the surgery, Bundy could jump right back to where he was when he returns this season. The Orioles will be very cautious with him, but he should be looked at a lot like Stephen Strasburg was – he was an ace-level talent who was hurt, had surgery, and was thought of an ace again once healthy.

24. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals; 9/13/1991

Year Age Lg Lev W L ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 20 2 Lgs A-Rk 3 3 2.04 9 1 1 39.2 39 16 9 1 8 42 1.185 8.8 9.5 5.25
2013 21 2 Lgs A+-AA 6 9 4.32 22 1 1 108.1 91 58 52 11 36 140 1.172 7.6 11.6 3.89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Zimmer struggled for some time last season before everything just clicked and he was an absolute monster. There is an adjustment period in many prospects, and the Zimmer who was electric and dominant is the pitcher that the Royals and the rest of us should expect going forward. If the Royals are competitive in 2014, Zimmer will be a viable option to guide them to the playoffs down the stretch.

25. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs; 1/4/1992

Year Age Lg Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 21 3 Lgs A–A+-Rk 36 146 128 22 43 14 2 9 32 1 11 35 .336 .390 .688 1.078 88
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/23/2013.

Bryant’s long-term position remains a mystery, but wherever he ends up, he will likely be producing All-Star level numbers, with a whole lot of swing and miss ability. The Cubs have quite a few middle infield options (Junior Lake, Javier Baez, Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, Darwin Barney) and someone will be moved to third (likely Baez), but Bryant at first, left, or right is just as potent. The transition to a different position could lead to some offensive struggles, but the fans on Sheffield Avenue and Waveland Avenue will see quite a few home runs starting sometime in 2014, as Bryant quickly rises through the Cubs strong offensive system. .

"Cubs

26. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs; 2/25/1992

27. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates; 5/3/1995

28. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles; 12/9/1994

29. Yordano Ventura, RHP, Kansas City Royals; 6/3/1991

30. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers; 4/27/1994

31. Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets; 2/10/1989

32. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres; 8/18/1992

33. Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds; 9/9/1990

34. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros; 7/15/1991

35. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros; 9/18/1991

36. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins; 1/3/1990

37. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers; 4/21/1992

"Indians

38. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians; 9/6/1994

39. Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres; 9/12/1992

40. Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers; 2/3/1994

41. Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres; 1/18/1994

42. Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants; 11/30/1992

43. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins; 6/5/1991

44. Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies; 3/13/1991

45. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox; 4/20/1991

46. Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins; 10/1/1992

47. Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox; 4/19/1990

48. Michael Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros; 10/7/1991

49. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins; 10/7/1994

50. Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays; 5/1/1991

51. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Baltimore Orioles; 4/7/1993

52. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; 8/23/1993

"Mariners

53. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners; 11/6/1988

54. Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals; 10/10/1990

55. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals; 7/27/1995

56. Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers; 6/11/1993

57. D.J. Peterson, 3B, Seattle Mariners; 12/31/1991

58. Phillip Ervin, OF, Cincinnati Reds; 7/17/1992

59. Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves; 5/10/1994

60Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees; 12/2/1992

61. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox; 7/21/1992

62. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals; 8/3/1992

63. Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers; 9/8/1993

64. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs; 10/29/1991

65. Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds; 8/17/1993

66. C.J. Edwards, RHP, Chicago Cubs; 9/3/1991

67. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers; 8/12/1996

68. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians; 1/17/1991

69. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/SS, Baltimore Orioles; 10/16/1991

70. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies; 1/11/1995

71. Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals; 2/1/1992

72. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays; 3/27/1990

73. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox; 4/3/1992

74. Erik Johnson, RHP, Chicago White Sox; 12/30/1989

75. A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals; 1/5/1992

76. Alen Hanson, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates; 10/22/1992

77. Alberto Tirado, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays; 12/10/1994

78. Lance McCullers, RHP, Houston Astros; 10/2/1993

79. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Minnesota Twins; 9/28/1991

80. Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets; 10/17/1990

81. Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers; 9/13/1991

82. Miguel Almonte, RHP, Kansas City Royals; 4/4/1993

83. Enny Romero, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays; 1/24/1991

84. Victor Sanchez, RHP, Seattle Mariners; 1/30/1995

85. Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox; 6/17/1990

86. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies; 4/1/1994

87. Reese McGuire, C, Pittsburgh Pirates; 3/2/1995

88. Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals; 11/2/1990

89. Jake Marisnick, OF, Miami Marlins; 3/30/1991

"Phillies

90. Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies; 8/26/1992

91. Alex Colome, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays; 12/31/1988

92. Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox; 9/9/1989

93. Chris Owings, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks; 8/12/1991

94. Joey Gallo, 1B/3B, Texas Rangers; 11/19/1993

95. Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals; 6/4/1993

96. Mike Olt, 1B/3B, Chicago Cubs; 8/27/1988

97. Dorssys Paulino, SS, Cleveland Indians; 11/21/1994

98. Trey Ball, LHP, Boston Red Sox; 6/27/1994

99. Clayton Blackburn, RHP, San Francisco Giants; 1/6/1993

100. Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers; 6/5/1989


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