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Top 100 Prospects

by Mike Rosenbaum
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Mike Rosenbaum is bleacherreport.com's Lead MLB Prospects Writer.


*Ages reflect player’s age for 2014 season, not DOB

 

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Buxton, the No. 2-overall pick in the 2012 draft, emerged as baseball’s top prospect in his first full professional season, posting monster numbers between both Class-A levels as a teenager. He is a supremely gifted athlete with 80-grade speed and the potential to be an elite defender in center field. At the plate, the right-handed hitter’s combination of explosive bat speed and hand-eye coordination will help him reach the major leagues quickly, while his mature approach and pitch recognition could make him one of the game’s top hitters. And while he’s already an extra-base machine thanks to his wheels, Buxton also has the raw power to produce 20-plus home runs. Buxton has the ceiling of an MVP-caliber player in his prime, with five potentially plus tools and a feel for making in-game adjustments. Assuming he opens the 2014 season at Double-A, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him finish the year in the major leagues.

 

2. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Boston Red Sox

Age: 21 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

The 2013 season couldn’t have gone better for Bogaerts, as he made stops at Double- and Triple-A before finally reaching the major leagues only to emerge as the starting third baseman on Boston’s World Series-winning team. While Bogaerts has always projected to be a plus hitter in the major leagues, he’s raised the bar over the last year by adding strength and sharpening his approach. With lightning-quick bat speed and preternatural bat-to-ball skills, the 20-year-old could easily sell out for power if desired, but he instead stays short and quick to the ball and utilizes his tremendous plate coverage. However, as Bogaerts matures, both physically and as a hitter, he should be capable of hitting 20-25 home runs in a given season. Bogaerts is an outstanding athlete with slightly above-average speed and similar range at shortstop, and he improved his long-term projection at the position last season with better body control and more accurate throws across the infield. Scouts still remain divided about his chances of remaining there, but there’s no question that he has the glove and arm strength for the left side of the infield. Bogaerts has the ceiling of one of baseball’s top players, with the potential to offer star-level production at a premium position. Even if he’s forced to slide over to the hot corner, Bogaerts’ potent bat should make him a perennial All-Star.

 

3. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

Age: 19 | ETA: Mid-2015

 

Correa, the No. 1-overall selection in the 2012 draft, proved to be more advanced than expected last year as one of the younger everyday players at a full-season level, showcasing impact potential on both sides of the ball and an overall mature feel for the game. The right-handed hitter has a simple, direct swing with which he attacks the ball and utilizes the entire field. However, it’s the advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition that already makes him a special hitter. Correa possesses plenty of raw power but doesn’t swing for the fences, employing an approach geared toward consistent, hard contact and getting on base instead. Despite his large frame, the teenager is an excellent athlete with above-average speed and the tools to stick at shortstop, including soft hands, good range and a legitimate plus-plus arm. Correa is a physically blessed player with the potential for five above-average or better tools with maturity. Amazingly, he may not require much more time to refine his game in the minor leagues, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be a top-tier shortstop with legitimate MVP potential in his prime.

 

4. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 21 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

After flashing enormous potential during his full-season debut in 2012, Bradley dominated older hitters at Double-A last season and nearly reached the major leagues as a September call-up. An excellent athlete with a durable and projectable frame, the right-hander repeated his delivery with greater consistency last season, which in turn improved both his control and command. Bradley arguably boasts the deadliest two-pitch combination among minor league pitchers, with a heavy fastball in the mid- to upper-90s and a power curveball with 12-to-6 shape and sharp downer bite. Even though both offerings already grade as plus offerings suitable for the major leagues, they each have the potential to improve a grade with further refinement. The right-hander’s feel for a changeup noticeably lags behind that of his two other offerings, but it flashes above-average potential and should serve as a third weapon in time. Bradley will compete for a spot in the big-league rotation next spring, though it’s likely he’ll open the season at Triple-A. Regardless, the Diamondbacks’ recent history of promoting top pitching prospects ahead of schedule suggests that Bradley will spend most of the 2014 season in the major leagues.

 

5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Lindor’s rapid ascension through the minor leagues continued in 2013, as the teenager finished the season with a strong showing at the Double-A level. Regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the minor leagues, Lindor is an absolute wizard with the glove and has the potential to be an elite defensive shortstop in the major leagues. Even if the switch-hitter’s bat doesn’t develop as expected, he has the potential to enjoy a long, successful career in the major leagues based on his defensive prowess, superb instincts and ability to control the speed of the game. However, he shows all the signs of becoming an average or better hitter with an advanced approach and smooth stroke from both sides of the plate. Lindor has a realistic ceiling of the top defensive shortstop in the game and could conceivably blossom into a frequent All-Star.

 

6. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 22 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Taveras headed into the 2013 season as the top-ranked outfield prospect but was limited to only 46 games at Triple-A after suffering an ankle sprain in May that ultimately required season-ending surgery. A physically strong left-handed hitter, Taveras has all the makings of a future batting champion, with a controlled but violent, torque-oriented swing that results in consistently loud contact to all fields. His extension through the ball generates backspin carry and should always amass a significant number of extra-base hits in a given season. Though Taveras has plenty of strength, his in-game power is mostly a product of being a pure hitter. A majority of his playing time in the minor leagues has come in center field, but he’s better suited to play a corner position in the major leagues. Provided that he’s healthy next season, Taveras is a safe bet to rake upon reaching the major leagues and could potentially run away with the National League Rookie of the Year award. Spring training will help determine where he opens the year, but expect Taveras to play regularly once he reaches the majors.

 

7. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners

Age: 21 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

Walker went through a learning year in 2012 when he struggled as a teenager at Double-A. However, his ability to make adjustments and work through mechanical issues paid huge dividends last season, which concluded with an impressive showing in the major leagues. Walker is a top-notch athlete with a highly projectable frame, and he’s shown the ability to handle a sizeable workload throughout his young career. The right-hander’s fastball explodes out of his hand and consistently registers between 93-96 mph, and he’ll dial it up to 97-98 on occasion. The Mariners introduced a cutter into his arsenal in 2012 and he’s quickly adopted a feel for the pitch, throwing it in the low-90s with excellent slicing action to his glove side. The right-hander’s curveball is still inconsistent and leaves something to be desired, though it has good shape and downward bite when he’s on. Finally, his changeup has come a long way over the past year and could surpass initial projections with further development, though it’s still a fringe-average offering at the present. Walker will audition for the starting rotation next spring and will probably win a spot based on the virtues of his stuff. However, his command, especially as it relates to his secondary arsenal, will be challenged as will his ability to make adjustments against major-league hitters.

 

8. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

There may not be a more exciting offensive prospect than Javier Baez, who led all minor-league hitters in both extra-base hits and RBI last season, and tied for second in home runs. A right-handed hitter, Baez generates obscene raw power with his extremely strong wrists, elite bat speed—the best in the minor leagues—and violent swing. He still struggles with pitch recognition and flails at too many breaking balls out of the zone, though it doesn’t detract from his overall production. Baez is an impressive athlete with smooth, natural defensive actions and a plus arm that’s ideal for the left side of the infield. However, he struggles to control his body and slow down the game at shortstop, which helps explain the high error totals in the early stages of his career. While he may always be a little rough around the edges, Baez has the upside of the game’s most productive hitter during his prime, with the potential to put up 30-plus home runs annually. However, with fellow prospects Kris Bryant and Arismendy Alcantara also competing for a spot on the Cubs’ future infield, it’ll be interesting to see where the team fits Baez’s bat into the lineup.

9. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Acquired by the Mets in the R.A. Dickey deal, Syndergaard dominated in his first season with the organization, showcasing command of a powerful arsenal and reaching Double-A. The tall right-hander has a physical presence on the mound, throwing everything on a steep downhill plane and pounding the lower portion of the strike zone. Syndergaard’s plus-plus heater sits in the mid- to upper-90s with late, arm-side life, and he frequently flirts with triple-digits. His curveball also has plus-plus potential, and his command of the pitch improved last season after adding a slider to his already impressive arsenal. He throws his changeup with good arm speed and confidence, and it could serve as a third plus-or-better offering at maturity. Syndergaard has one of the highest ceilings among all pitching prospects, with the pure stuff and command to pitch at the front of a rotation. Assuming he opens the 2014 season at Triple-A, the right-hander could be ready to debut around midseason just as Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler did in previous seasons.

 

10. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2014

 

After an outstanding professional debut in 2012, Russell continued to develop quickly last season despite an aggressive assignment to High-A. Russell has the makings of an All-Star shortstop, with four above-average or better tools that will only improve with experience. The right-handed hitter’s combination of plus bat speed and a deep point of contact should produce above-average power at the highest level, if not more, and given his ability to use the entire field, Russell should always tally a high number of doubles and triples. His game features some swing-and-miss at the present, though that can at least be partially attributed to his status as a teenager facing advanced pitching. Russell is a plus runner with the athleticism, range and arm strength to stick at shortstop, as well as the instincts to swipe 20 bags annually. Assuming he opens the 2014 season in Double-A, it's very likely that Russell will debut as the A's big-league shortstop before his 21st birthday.

 

11. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

It was a busy 2013 season for Gausman, as he was rushed to the major leagues as a starter in May before finally finding success as a reliever in September. The athletic right-hander has easy velocity at 94-99 mph with his four-seam fastball, and his two-seamer registers a few ticks slower but features more arm-side run. Gausman’s changeup is a legitimate plus-plus pitch in the low- to mid-80s with devastating, splitter-like drop, and he’s made noticeable strides improving his slider over the last year. His development of the breaking ball will be crucial to his success moving forward, as a viable third pitch to complement his fastball-changeup combo could make him a front-of-the-rotation force for years to come. In general, Gausman’s electric arsenal and plus command profile give him an insanely high ceiling, and with a more consistent and effective breaking ball, he could realize that potential in a hurry.

 

12. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2015

 

Almora’s full-season debut was bookended by a pair of injuries, but it didn’t stop him from emerging as one of the top hitters in the low minors. A premium athlete with a frame that leaves room for projection, Almora showcases five average-or-better tools and extremely advanced baseball skills for a player his age. The right-handed hitter has a quiet and efficient swing with preternatural barrel control and a knack for consistently staying inside the ball. His power should develop as he matures, and he has the potential to be above-average by the time he reaches the major leagues. Defensively, he has slightly above-average speed and demonstrates excellent instincts in center field through his reads, jumps and positioning. Almora is an incredibly well-rounded player for his age with sneaky All-Star potential, and he could start moving quickly next season so long as he stays healthy.

 

13. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Hedges is the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues, with elite, game-changing chops that would play in the major leagues right now. The quickness and efficiency of his footwork is unparalleled among his peers, and his elite catch-and-throw skills, insanely quick transfer and plus arm strength allow him to essentially shut down the running game. Meanwhile, Hedges’ knowledge of and ability to handle a pitching staff provides unquantifiable value to the organization and their crop of talented pitching prospects. However, the right-handed hitter’s bat will ultimately determine whether he becomes the superstar people expect. His approach has translated favorably at advanced levels, suggesting that he’ll hit for average with further experience and development. Power has never been Hedges’ calling card, and probably never will be, though he does have the consistent gap pop to be a doubles machine. If he continues to make strides at the plate next season, presumably back at Double-A, it’s not crazy to envision the Padres offering him a late-season cup of coffee.

 

14. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Sano’s prospect stock exploded in 2013 thanks to significant improvements made on both sides of the ball at a pair of advanced levels. No prospect in the minor leagues has as much usable, in-game power as Sano. A physically strong right-handed hitter with a linebacker build, Sano showcases effortless elite power to all fields, effortlessly lofting the ball out of the park with big-time backspin carry. With legitimate 80-grade power, he has the potential to be one of baseball’s best sluggers upon arriving in the major leagues and is more than capable of hitting 35-plus home runs in his prime. It’ll be interesting to see whether the elbow injury he suffered this offseason affects his start to the 2014 season. With a clean bill of health, Sano could be dropping tape-measure bombs in the major leagues sometime after the All-Star break.

 

15. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals

Age: 19 | ETA: Late-2015

 

Giolito received consideration for the No. 1-overall pick in the 2012 draft before an elbow injury cost him the entire high school season. The right-hander then re-injured his elbow during his first professional start later that summer and subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery. However, Giolito made up for the lost time after returning to action last July and loudly announced his presence as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. With an ideal power-pitcher’s frame, the right-hander’s fastball will range anywhere from 94-99 mph, and he sustains the velocity deep into starts. His curveball is another potential plus-plus offering that buckles right-handed hitters and draws endless whiffs. Meanwhile, Giolito’s changeup was a borderline plus pitch before the injury and should be excellent as he regains a feel. With three monster offerings, Giolito has the ceiling of one of baseball’s best pitchers. However, expect the Nationals to proceed cautiously given his recent elbow surgery.

 

16. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros

Age: 24 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

In 2013, Springer became the first prospect to have a 30-30 season in the minor leagues since Grant Desme in 2009, and he ultimately fell three home runs shy of joining the 40-40 club. Few players in the minors are as naturally gifted as Springer, who showcases four plus tools (power, speed, glove, arm) on a given night. For that reason, there are even fewer players with as high of a ceiling as the Astros’ future outfielder. Springer’s game-changing power-speed potential should make him an impact player in the major leagues. However, the ongoing development of his hit tool and plate discipline will ultimately determine whether he’s an All-Star-caliber player or a major-league regular. Either way, expect the toolsy outfielder to see significant playing time in The Show in 2014.

 

17. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Age: 21 | ETA: Early-2015

 

After climbing from Low-A to the major leagues in 2012, Bundy was expected to spend a majority of the 2013 season in the Orioles’ starting rotation. However, the right-hander battled elbow soreness in spring training before eventually requiring Tommy John surgery in late June. When healthy, Bundy boasts an advanced four-pitch mix that’s highlighted by a mid-90s two-seam fastball with exceptional run and a four-seamer that reaches the upper-90s. The right-hander’s changeup represents his most consistent secondary offering, though he also throws a curveball with above-average potential and a slider that doesn’t lag too far behind. With a combination of physical strength, stuff and pitchability, Bundy is the definition of a future ace. However, expectations should be tempered next season following his return, as it could take some time for the right-hander to regain a feel for his craft after a year-and-a-half absence.

 

18. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

After opening the year in the Double-A rotation, Martinez spent the second half of the season working out of the Cardinals’ major-league bullpen before emerging as the team’s go-to setup man in the postseason. Despite his limited physical projection as an undersized right-hander, Martinez’s explosive arm speed yields a fastball that registers in the upper-90s, as well as a heavy sinker that comes in a few ticks slower. His slider is his preferred secondary offering, thrown in the low-80s with excellent tilt and sharp break. And while his mid- to upper-80s changeup was considered his best weapon in previous years thanks to his ability to replicate the arm speed of his fastball, Martinez threw it less often out of the bullpen. However, with the news that he’ll report to spring training as a starter, the pitch will be crucial in his efforts to neutralize left-handed hitters next season. Even if Martinez doesn’t win a spot in the starting rotation, he’s already proven to have a high ceiling as a late-inning arm.

 

19. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

Age: 22 | ETA: Mid-2015

 

The No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 draft, Bryant has the potential to move quickly through the Cubs’ system thanks to an advanced approach and robust, 80-grade power. A better hitter than given credit for, Bryant’s line-to-line approach and pitch recognition could make him a .270-plus hitter at the highest level. While there’s some uncertainty as to whether he’ll remain at third base or move to a corner outfield spot, Bryant’s bat could have him in the major leagues (in some capacity) by the end of the 2014 season. He should serve as a force in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup for years to come, with the potential to hit 35-plus home runs in his prime.

 

20. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Stephenson was put on the fast track to the major leagues in 2013, seeing time at three different levels and finishing the season at Double-A. He’s a durable right-hander with a projectable frame and huge arm strength andboasts a plus-plus fastball in the 94-98 mph range, occasionally bumping triple digits. His secondary arsenal is headlined by a potential plus-plus curveball that serves as an out-pitch with true 12-to-6 break. He’ll also work in a changeup in the high-80s that’s on the firm side, though his improved feel suggests it may improve a grade. Though Stephenson could be ready for the major leagues at some point next season, he’s unlikely to receive an audition unless there’s an injury. However, expect the right-hander to assume a spot in the Reds’ starting rotation in 2015.

 

21. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies

Age: 22 | ETA: Late-2014

 

The No. 3-overall pick in the 2013 draft, Gray is what a front-of-the-rotation starter should look like, with a large, durable build, electric arsenal and aggressive approach. Owner of the best pure stuff in the 2013 draft class, the right-hander boasts a near-elite fastball that registers in the 94-98 mph range and touches triple digits early in starts (he topped out at 102 mph this spring). He also features a plus slider that sits consistently between 85-88 mph with late, wipe-out break, sharp tilt and excellent pace. His straight changeup represents his weakest offering and will need refinement, as it’s currently an average pitch with decent fading action to the arm side. Gray could probably handle the major leagues right now, though the Rockies obviously have no need to rush his development. But as long as he can stay healthy, it may be difficult for the organization to keep him in the minors next season for more than a few months.

 

22. Yordano Ventura, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

Ventura took a huge step forward last season in terms of both his consistency and command, and it paid dividends in the form of a September call-up in the heat of a playoff race. Ventura has always possessed a lightning-quick arm and fastball in the mid- to upper-90s, but it’s the strength he’s added over the last year that’s led to him effortlessly touching triple digits deep in starts. Meanwhile, his curveball has the makings of a second plus pitch with consistent downer break, and he’s become increasingly comfortable throwing it in any count. And though his changeup is currently an average offering, his natural arm speed should make it another weapon as his feel for the pitch improves. Ventura’s undersized, wiry frame will always raise questions about his long-term durability. However, his transformation from a thrower to a pitcher last season helped ease some of the doubt and has him poised to make an impact in the Royals’ 2014 starting rotation.

 

23. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 22 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Polanco followed his breakthrough full-season debut with an even better showing in 2013, as the toolsy outfielder excelled at three levels and finished the year in Triple-A. Polanco, a left-handed hitter, has a mature approach and gets excellent plate coverage thanks to his lanky build and long arms. His swing will get lengthy on occasions and impedes his ability to handle velocity both on the hands and up in the zone, but that’s really only a minor gripe. Overall, Polanco projects as an above-average hitter in the major leagues with enough raw power to hit 15-plus home runs. His tools and feel for the game are both impressive for a player of his age and experience, though he’s still rough around edges with room to improve in all facets of the game. However, the potential is there for a first-division standout at maturity, and it might not be long until he joins Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte to form the most exciting outfield in baseball.

24. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros

Age: 22 | ETA: Late-2014

 

The No. 1-overall pick in the 2013 draft, Appel has been tabbed as a future ace since the beginning of the 2012 season and shouldn’t require much time in the minor leagues. As a tall and durable right-hander, Appel’s fastball sits consistently in the 93-97 mph range with some sink and arm-side run. His slider registers around 84-88 mph with a consistent pace, though he can get around the pitch at times and generate slurve-like spin. Appel’s changeup has come a long way over the last year and shows plus potential in the 83-85 mph range with fastball-like arm speed and late fade. While his arsenal ranks as one of the more advanced and polished among pitching prospects, Appel’s approach and feel for sequencing may need to be adjusted as he climbs the ladder. The Astros won’t need him at the major-league level in 2014 but, at the same time, they won’t be afraid to challenge him if it makes sense.

25. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Age: 22 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Zimmer has the potential to be a monster with four impressive offerings and above-average command, as well as knowledge of how to attack hitters and exploit weaknesses. The only thing that could seemingly prevent him from excelling in the major leagues is an injury—something that has already been an issue early in his career. Employing a clean and repeatable delivery, Zimmer’s fastball works comfortably in the mid-90s with late life, and he has the ability to reach back for something in the 96-98 mph range as needed. His curveball is a second plus pitch with excellent pace and a sharp downer break, which will work nicely as an out pitch in the major leagues. He’ll also mix in an average slider with tight spin and decent depth, as well as a changeup with late, fading action out of the zone. Zimmer will open the 2014 season back at Double-A and, provided he remains healthy, should reach the major leagues sometime after the All-Star break.

 

26. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2015

 

The younger brother of Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager, Corey has a physical, big-league frame with room to tack on additional strength. A left-handed hitter, Seager has the potential for above-average-or-better hit and power tools at maturity, as he already exhibits all-around good habits at the plate rarely seen in most young hitters. He has an easy, direct swing that allows him to sting the ball from line to line with impressive power to the opposite field. However, at times he can over-stride and drift with his hips, which in turn prevents him from keeping weight on the backside and makes him vulnerable to quality secondary pitches. As a shortstop, Seager’s range is only average but enough to remain at the position short term, and he’ll likely physically outgrow the position and shift to third base before reaching the major leagues. Regardless, it’s Seager’s left-handed bat that drives his future projection as a first-division regular.

 

27. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

After improving his plate discipline and showing more consistent power at Triple-A, Castellanos reached the major leagues as a September call-up and received several starts in left field. Castellanos is a natural hitter with advanced bat-to-ball skills and an inside-out swing that suggests he’ll be a .300-plus hitter in the major leagues. While he’s always been a consistent source of extra-base hits during his career, the right-handed hitter’s line-drive-oriented swing limits his home-run power. However, as he continues to develop physically and learns to turn on the ball, he should grow into more over-the-fence pop. Drafted and developed as a third baseman until mid-2012, Castellanos was moved to the outfield as a way to potentially get his bat to the major leagues ahead of schedule. However, following the Tigers’ offseason trade of Prince Fielder, he’s expected to open the season as the team’s third baseman (his strongest position) with Miguel Cabrera moving back to first base.

 

28. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 22 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Selected as the No. 2-overall pick in the 2010 draft after Bryce Harper, Taillon is a true power-pitcher with a tall, durable frame and live arm. The right-hander’s fastball sits in the mid- to upper-90s with late movement to the arm side, and his velocity tends to play up due to the extension generated by his long arms. His curveball is a potential plus-plus pitch with tight spin and sharp, two-plane break, and he also throws an average changeup with decent fading action out of the zone. Some people soured on Taillon last season after he failed to take a step forward developmentally in the high minors. However, the reality is he actually improved both his strikeout and groundball rates against advanced competition. Taillon could join Gerrit Cole, the team’s former top prospect, in the major leagues by the end of the 2014 season.

 

29. Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets

Age: 25 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

Acquired by the Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade last offseason, d’Arnaud finally made his highly-anticipated major league debut in 2013, though it occurred later than expected due to yet another significant injury. As a result of the missed time, d’Arnaud struggled to establish timing at the plate and was overmatched by sequencing. The right-handed hitter has plus bat speed and a short path to the ball, creating impressive extension after contact so as to generate backspin carry and power to all fields. D’Arnaud uses his agility behind the plate to offer the umpire a good look at the pitch, with an ability to frame fastballs at the bottom of the strike zone that draws rave reviews from pitchers. After enduring so many significant injuries before even reaching the major leagues, health will always be a serious concern for the duration of d’Arnaud’s career. However, despite the checkered medical history, he still has the all-around ability and potential to be a solid major-league regular.

 

30. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals

Age: 18 | ETA: 2016

 

The son of the former big leaguer of the same name, Mondesi was the youngest everyday player at the full-season level in 2013. The switch-hitter has a clean swing from both sides of the plate, as well as an advanced approach that could result in an above-average-to-plus hit tool at maturity. While it’s hard to get a read on his power potential at the moment, Mondesi has the present bat speed and in-game gap power to be a consistent extra-base threat at the highest level. Defensively, Mondesi is raw at shortstop but has the athleticism, loud tools and instincts to develop into an impact player at the position. The youngster will need a few more years in the minors to refine his skills on both sides of the ball, but his ceiling of an All-Star shortstop should make it worth the wait.

31. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs

Age: 22 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Soler suffered a season-ending injury in late June when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left tibia after fouling a pitch off his leg. Otherwise he’d probably rank higher on the list. A physically imposing right-handed hitter, Soler generates plus bat speed and big-time raw power to all fields. However, his swing features a slight hitch at the top that affects his overall timing and limits his in-game power. He has the ideal profile of a big-league right fielder with average range and plus arm strength. Even though Soler lacks stateside experience and suffered an unfortunate setback this season, he has the natural ability and loud tools to get to the major leagues in a hurry.

 

32. Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Odor enjoyed the breakout campaign in 2013 that many expected, thriving as a teenager against considerably older competition and finishing the season on a tear at Double-A. An undersized left-handed hitter, Odor stands out for his high-end combination of plus hit-tool potential and present plus speed. He has above-average power relative to the position and shows it in games and is generally an extra-base machine that drives the ball with authority to all fields. Odor’s above-average range at second base, soft hands and strong arm all are a clean fit at the position, and he’s an intense, hard-nosed ballplayer with excellent instincts on both sides of the ball.

 

33. Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 23 | ETA: Early-2014

 

After serving a 50-game PED suspension to begin the 2013 season, Stroman surpassed expectations with a strong showing in the Double-A rotation. The athletic right-hander possesses tons of arm strength despite his diminutive build, with an explosive fastball in the mid-90s and cutter that has above-average potential. Stroman’s best secondary offering is a near-plus-plus slider that’s thrown with serious velocity (courtesy of his lightning-quick arm) in the upper-80s and helps him pile up the strikeouts. And though his changeup is technically his lesser offering, his arm speed and consistent release point should make it a weapon. With questions about his durability and ability to log 150-plus innings in a season, Stroman’s long-term future as a starter will be up for debate until he proves otherwise—which he will in 2014. The right-hander’s slight build offers an unusual look for opposing hitters, which, when combined with his electric stuff, could help him reach his ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter in relatively short order.

 

34. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Age: 24 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Acquired from the Nationals prior to the 2013 season, Meyer impressed with his electric stuff last season at Double-A despite missing two months with a minor shoulder injury. One of the tallest pitching prospects in the minor leagues at 6’9”, the right-hander has a massive frame with long limbs but demonstrates a better feel for his mechanics than most pitchers of that size. Working on a steep downhill plane toward the plate, Meyer’s fastball registers between 93-97 mph and flirts with triple digits in shorter bursts. He also features a filthy plus slider in the 84-87 mph range with sharp, wipeout break, and he also improved his changeup last season to the point where it projects as another above-average-or-better offering. The right-hander’s impact arm strength and ability to miss bats will get him to the major leagues in 2014, where the Twins will give him every opportunity to stick in the starting rotation. Even if his mechanics and command don’t translate at the level, Meyer still has enormous upside as a top-tier closer.

 

35. Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2015

 

Alfaro has always shown tremendous athleticism and the potential to have five impact tools, but it was the emergence of his baseball skills in 2013 that has his stock soaring. Alfaro has as much upside as any catcher in the minor leagues, as he’s incredibly agile and aggressive behind the plate with legitimate 80-grade arm strength. However, his blocking and receiving is inconsistent and even sloppy at times. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has the bat speed to turn around velocity but struggles to recognize spin and keep weight on his backside. Alfaro’s above-average speed is a major weapon and makes him a rare dual-threat catching prospect, with the potential for 20-plus home runs and double-digit stolen bases in his prime. While his long-term projection as an All-Star-caliber backstop still involves considerable risk, Alfaro should continue to make significant developmental strides next year and could conceivably reach Double-A by season’s end.

 

36. Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in ‘13

 

Hamilton’s off-the-charts speed is the most dynamic tool among all major-league players, and he finally showcased it to a national audience last season as a September call-up. A switch-hitter, Hamilton has quick wrists from both sides of the plate and generates above-average bat speed. However, his overall inconsistency is concerning, as Hamilton struggles to keep his weight back and will lunge at too many offerings within the strike zone. Slated to open the 2014 season as the Reds’ center fielder, the organization desperately needs him to be something other than a fourth outfielder or pinch-runner. If he comes remotely close to reaching his sky-high ceiling, Hamilton could become a frequent All-Star, not to mention one of baseball’s premier up-the-middle players.

 

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

Age: 21 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Franco’s prospect stock exploded in 2013, as his improved contact rate and in-game power translated in a big way at a pair of advanced levels. A physically strong, right-handed hitter, Franco’s strong wrists and plus bat speed fuel his plus-plus power projection, which could manifest in the form of 30-plus home runs at maturity. While he continued to feast on fastballs last year, his improved secondary recognition helped him control the strike zone and strike out less often. Even though Franco is a below-average runner, he has decent lateral range at the hot corner to go along with good hands and above-average arm strength. Expected to open the 2014 season at Triple-A, Franco’s potent bat could have him hitting in the middle of the order for Philadelphia sometime after the All-Star break.

 

38. Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies

Age: 23 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Butler quickly jumped on the major-league radar in 2013 with a stellar, full-season debut across three levels. The right-hander has three pitches that grade as plus or better, as well as a vastly underrated feel for pitching. Butler’s fastball sits in the mid- to upper-90s with exceptional sink and run to the arm side, and he complements it with a swing-and-miss, wipeout slider in the upper-80s. Lastly, Butler possesses a filthy changeup in the same velocity range that dives off the table and evades barrels. While his strenuous arm action and low release point will always provoke questions about his durability as a starter, Butler has passed every test so far and may not be long for the minors in 2014.

 

39. Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2015

 

Fried has one of the highest ceilings of all left-handers in the minor leagues, with a durable build, repeatable mechanics and potential front-of-the-rotation arsenal. He’ll work in the low-90s with his fastball and touch 95, but his projectable frame suggests there’s more velocity to come. Fried shows two curveball variations, both unique and impressive in their own right, and the overall pitch could grade as a plus-plus offering at maturity. The left-hander’s changeup is his least advanced offering, but he already demonstrates a feel for turning it over to create late fade. Fried will require a few more seasons in the minors to clean up his mechanics and polish his arsenal, but the potential is there to be an impact No. 2 or 3 starter.

 

40. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

 

A first-round selection in the 2013 draft, Shipley is an athletic and projectable right-hander with a power arsenal and advanced feel for pitching. Working from a high-three-quarters arm angle, Shipley throws his fastball in the mid-90s and creates good finish on the pitch with his extension toward the plate. His changeup already ranks as one of the best in the minor leagues, as it’s a plus-plus offering with huge tumbling action and good speed differential. The right-hander also throws a hard curveball that projects as another plus offering at maturity, and its development could help him move through the minor leagues at an accelerated pace. Shipley may endure a few growing pains next season at High-A, but his outstanding athleticism and electric three-pitch mix should have him in Double-A by the end of the year.

 

41. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Coming off a breakout campaign in 2012, Sanchez failed to take the huge step forward last season that many expected, as he spent more than a month on the disabled list with shoulder soreness. However, the right-hander is still one of the more projectable right-handers in the minor leagues, with a ridiculously athletic frame and effortless, drool-worthy arm action. Sanchez’s fastball is a plus offering in the mid-90s that seemingly jumps on opposing hitters with exceptional late life. Although the command of his secondary arsenal is still fringy, the right-hander made noticeable strides with both his changeup and curveball this year in the Arizona Fall League. The Blue Jays have no need to rush Sanchez to the major leagues, but even the slightest improvement to his control and command could result in a late-season call-up.

 

42. Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Crick has the potential to be the Giants’ next great homegrown starter, with a strong, durable build and the arsenal to pitch at the front of the rotation. The right-hander has effortless fastball velocity at 93-96 mph and will reach back for 97-98 mph, but his control and command of the pitch remains inconsistent and will require further refinement. Crick’s changeup is a second plus pitch, thrown with excellent arm speed and considerable fade. He throws a pair of breaking balls: an inconsistent curveball with plus potential and a late-biting slider that should serve as a viable fourth pitch at maturity. Although the right-hander has a sizeable gap between his present ability and future potential, a strong showing at Double-A and better feel for his arsenal could have him in the major leagues by the end of the season.

 

43. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 17 | ETA: Late-2015

 

In what would have been his sophomore year of high school, Urias became the youngest player to see time at a full-season level in 2013. The left-hander emerged as a can’t-miss prospect, showcasing a truly special combination of stuff and pitchability. Utilizing a repeatable delivery and smooth arm action, the southpaw’s fastball already sits in the low-90s and bumps 94-95 mph. Urias’ secondary arsenal is equally promising, with a potential plus curveball that he’ll throw in any count and a fading changeup that steadily improved during the 2013 season. Given his age and highly-advanced developmental state, Urias has legitimate front-of-the-rotation upside, and there’s a realistic chance he’ll be pitching in the major leagues as a teenager.

 

44. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians

Age: 19 | ETA: Late-2016

 

The No. 5-overall pick in the 2013 draft, Frazier’s wrists and forearms are loaded with strong, quick-twitch muscles that help generate off-the-charts bat speed and one of the more explosive swings in the minor leagues. Although the right-handed hitter’s pitch recognition is raw and leads to some swings and misses, he has the potential for an above average or better hit tool and plus in-game power. Frazier’s offensive ceiling is especially valuable should he remain in center field long term, however, his projection as a .275-plus hitter with 25-plus home runs at maturity will more than suffice at a corner spot.

 

45. Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2015

 

An athletic right-hander with a live arm and little mileage, Sims made developmental strides in 2013 after moving into the Low-A starting rotation for the second half, showcasing an impressive and underrated combination of stuff and polish. Sims has the makings of an advanced four-pitch mix, with a low- to mid-90s fastball, swing-and-miss breaking ball that has a big shape and heavy downer, serviceable slider and changeup that flashes average. Sims already knows how to pitch at a young age, and he could start to move quickly in 2014 with a strong start at High-A.

 

46. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 20 | ETA: 2016

 

Glasnow opened eyes with his full-season debut in 2013, as the tall, projectable right-hander dominated hitters in the South Atlantic League and missed bats with ease. While he struggles to keep his lanky frame and long limbs in-sync during his delivery, Glasnow showcases tantalizing stuff when he’s at his best, with an explosive fastball in the mid-to-upper-90s, swing-and-miss curveball that flashes plus potential, and a nascent changeup for which he’s steadily developing a feel. The Pirates have no need to rush his development, so expect the young right-hander to spend several years in the minors so as to refine his arsenal and delivery.

 

47. Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 23 | ETA: Early-2014

 

The Cardinals expected Wong to make quick work of the minor leagues when they popped him in the first round of the 2011 draft. That turned out to be the case, as Wong was called up in mid-August but failed to capitalize on the opportunity and ultimately struggled at the plate. He’s an ideal top-of-the-order presence with solid on-base skills, slightly above-average speed and a left-handed bat capable of hitting for average. In addition to his feel for the strike zone and knack for using the entire field, Wong’s high baseball IQ allows him to make in-game adjustments. He won’t offer much over-the-fence power but should amass plenty of doubles and triples. Wong’s defense at the keystone is big-league-ready, and, in the wake of the David Freese deal this offseason, he’ll likely have every opportunity in spring training to prove he’s ready for an everyday gig in the major leagues.

 

48. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 21 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Coming off a breakout 2012 campaign in the hitter-friendly California League, Joc Pederson proved he was for real last season with an even more impressive showing at Double-A. Pederson is an impressive athlete with quiet strength, showcasing five average-or-better tools and good secondary skills. Pederson projects to be a slightly above-average hitter at the highest level, with a mature approach and line-drive-oriented swing, and he already demonstrates a feel for working counts and getting on base. While the Dodgers’ outfield is stacked with talent, Pederson’s ability to play all three positions should get him to the major leagues at some point during the 2014 season. And if his game power translates against big-league pitching, Pederson could carve out a role as an everyday player in the major leagues.

 

49. Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres

Age: 21 | ETA: Mid-2014

 

Wisler continued his quiet surge through the minor leagues in 2013, showcasing an intriguing blend of stuff and poise while excelling as a 20-year-old in the Double-A starting rotation. An athletic and projectable right-hander, Wisler pounds both sides of the plate with a plus fastball in the low- to mid-90s and will run it as high as 95-96 mph with a lot of late life. His slider is another plus offering and is utterly devastating against same-side hitters, thrown with excellent depth and two-plane break in the 82-87 mph range. He’ll also mix in a firm changeup and serviceable curveball. Wisler’s feel for pitching and command of a deep arsenal has him on the fast track to the major leagues, and he conceivably could debut by mid-season with a hot start at Triple-A.

 

50. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox

Age: 21 | ETA: Mid-2015

 

After scratching the surface of his potential during a promising professional debut in 2012, Owens took a huge step forward last season and finished his sophomore campaign with an impressive showing at Double-A Portland. The tall left-hander does a good job repeating his mechanics, working from a consistent high-three-quarters arm slot and on a downhill plane. Owens’ fastball works in the 88-92 mph range with sink, and his changeup is a future plus offering thrown in upper-70s with late sink and fade to the arm side. Owens’ curveball flashes average potential when he’s around the plate, though it’s his least consistent offering. He’ll need to show better control and command of his three-pitch mix before the Red Sox offer him a crack at The Show.

 

 

Prospects 51-100

 

 

51. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins

52. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros

53. Chris Owings, SS/2B, Arizona Diamondbacks

54. Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals

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

56. Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers

57. Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox

58. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins

59. Miguel Almonte, RHP, Kansas City Royals

60. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

61. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox

62. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

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

64. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees

65. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros

66. Jake Marisnick, OF, Miami Marlins

67. Enny Romero, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

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

69. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox

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

71. Alberto Tirado, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

72. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Baltimore Orioles

73. Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres

74. Arismendy Alcantara, SS/2B, Chicago Cubs

75. Erik Johnson, RHP, Chicago White Sox


76. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

77. Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Los Angeles Angels

78. Pierce Johnson, RHP, Chicago Cubs

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

80. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox

81. Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

82. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners

83. Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox

84. Eddie Rosario, 2B, Minnesota Twins

85. Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox

86. Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets

87. Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins

88. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies

89. Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals

90. Jesse Biddle, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies

91. Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets

92. Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

93. Rosell Herrera, SS/3B, Colorado Rockies

94. Jose Ramirez, RHP, New York Yankees

95. Phil Ervin, OF, Cincinnati Reds

96. Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

97. Edwin Escobar, LHP, San Francisco Giants

98. Joe Ross, RHP, San Diego Padres

99. Tyrone Taylor, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

100. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates