2014 Top 100 Prospects

This year’s Top 100 Prospects list comes with a warning: This might be the thinest compilation of the top 100 players, in terms of future ceilings, since I’ve been writing about prospects (approximately 10 years).

Most teams are now more willing to save money by entrusting starting roles to rookies, rather than overpay for modest performances from established and overpaid (replacement level or worse) veterans. Although I don’t have specific numbers to back up the following comment, it seems as thought clubs, for the most part, are also more willing to aggressively push their top prospects (especially pitchers) through their systems — with players such as Jose Fernandez, Michael Wacha, Archie Bradley and Robert Stephenson as recent examples.

In the case of the pitchers, it could be a matter of front offices wanting to ensure the players’ most effective seasons occur at the big league level during cost-controlled years while also ensuring the club can closely monitor their investments in an effort to mitigate injuries. It’s also possible that more of the top pitching talents are rising through the minors with premium velocity, which allows them to better hold their own as inexpensive, replacement-level talents (ie. No. 4/5 starters), or better, while working on their secondary offerings and command/control at the big league level.

Click on the players’ names to see their player pages and full stats breakdown.

The Top 10

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Twins: Buxton combines plus athleticism, tools and projection with outstanding results at a young age to earn the distinction as the top prospect in all of baseball.

2. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox: Bogaerts gave baseball fans a glimpse of what makes him so special when he earned a promotion to the big leagues late last year at the age of 20. He also posted an OPS just short of .900 with a 18% walk rate in the playoffs.

3. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals: An ankle injury was probably the only thing that kept Taveras from graduating from the top prospects list in 2013. If the Cardinals can find a spot for him in 2014 then he could be an impact contributor from the get-go.

4. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs: Baez’s defense is surrounded by question marks — as is his ability to make consistent contact — but you can’t find many players that consistently produce the kind of power that Baez does… Plus, he performed exceptionally well in Double-A considering his age and limited professional experience.

5. Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks: Bradley edges Walker for the best pitching prospect in baseball because he’s a little bit safe and, frankly, I’m more fond of his delivery. Bradley, at the age of 21, could probably hold his own in The Snakes’ rotation right now.

6. Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs: If Baez can somehow stick at shortstop, the Cubs could have unreal power output from the left side of the infield beginning in about a year’s time. Bryant could (and perhaps should) have been the top pick in the 2013 amateur draft.

7. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners: Walker could break camp with the Mariners in 2014 and should form a dominating 1-2 punch with current ace Felix Hernandez — although the rookie may face some ups and downs in his freshman campaign.

8. Addison Russell, SS, Athletics: Russell has a chance to develop into a threat on both sides of the ball. In his prime, he could be capable of producing a few 20-20 seasons. He performed well in the Arizona Fall League at the age of 19.

9. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros: Speaking of teenagers, Correa produced an .872 OPS in Low-A ball in 2013 — as an 18 year old. The former first overall selection in the 2012 draft has an advanced (and mature) approach that belies his age.

10. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins: If anyone can claim to have more power than Baez, it might be Sano. The biggest concern with the Twins prospect is his elbow — which some fear might eventually require Tommy John surgery.

Rounding Out the Top 25

11. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds
12. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
13. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals
14. George Springer, OF, Astros
15. Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies
16. Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies
17. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates
18. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets
19. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles
20. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates
21. Albert Almora, OF, Cubs
22. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays
23. Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins
24. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals
25. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles

26-50

26. Mark Appel, RHP, Astros
27. Maikel Franco, 3B/1B, Phillies
28. Corey Seager, 2B, Dodgers
29. Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants
30. Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers
31. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins
32. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins
33. Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals
34. Austin Hedges, C, Padres
35. Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox
36. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles
37. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers
38. David Dahl, OF, Rockies
39. Travis d’Arnaud, C, Mets
40. Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies
41. Matt Wiser, RHP, Padres
42. Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks
43. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates
44. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
45. Clint Frazier, OF, Indians
46. Raul Mondesi, SS, Royals
47. A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals
48. Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates
49. Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs
50. J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies

51-75

51. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox
52. Arismendy Alcantara, SS/2B, Cubs
53. Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves
54. Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers
55. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros
56. Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays
57. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros
58. Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
59. Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox
60. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds
61. Max Fried, LHP, Padres
62. Matt Davidson, 3B, White Sox
63. Justin Nicolino, LHP, Marlins
64. Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks
65. Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins
66. Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox
67. Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros
68. Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles
69. Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins
70. D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners
71. Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers
72. Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox
73. Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers
74. Alen Hanson, SS, Pirates
75. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates

76-100

76. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Twins
77. Pierce Johnson, RHP, Cubs
78. C.J. Edwards, RHP, Cubs
79. Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets
80. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals
81. Phillip Ervin, OF, Reds
82. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Orioles
83. Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Royals
84. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Rays
85. Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves
86. Alex Colome, RHP, Rays
87. Stephen Piscotty, OF, Cardinals
88. Enny Romero, LHP, Rays
89. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays
90. Reese McGuire, C, Pirates
91. Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers
92. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Rays
93. Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins
94. Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets
95. Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals
96. Brian Goodwin, OF, Nationals
97. Luis Sardinas, SS, Rangers
98. Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox
99. Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox
100. Mitch Nay, 3B, Blue Jays

The Breakdown

Catchers

Austin Hedges, Padres
Travis d’Arnaud, Mets
Gary Sanchez, Yankees
Jorge Alfaro, Rangers
Blake Swihart, Red Sox
Christian Bethancourt, Braves
Reese McGuire, Pirates

Notes: The Mets’ d’Arnaud is the only catcher on the list that figures to receive significant playing time at the big league level in 2014. With that said, if the Padres’ incumbent catcher, Yasmani Grandal, struggles to rebound from knee surgery, Hedges could become an intriguing freshman to watch during the coming season. With Brian McCann now in the Bronx, Sanchez could become tantalizing trade bait should the Yankees need to fill a hole in the roster later this year.

First Basemen

Jonathan Singleton, Astros
D.J. Peterson, Mariners
Dominic Smith, Mets 

Notes: First basemen are few and far between on the Top 100 list with both Peterson and Smith making the list as 2013 first round draft picks with high offensive ceilings. Singleton continues to be the best first base prospect in the game for a second straight season despite his struggles both off and on the field in 2013.

Second Basemen

Rougned Odor, Rangers
Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Jonathan Schoop, Orioles
Kolten Wong, Cardinals

Notes: Like with first basemen, it’s not easy to impress the fickle prospect ranking crowd if you’re a second baseman. Only four players made the cut in 2014 — the exact same number as in 2013. Both Schoop and Wong were on last year’s list while Odor and Betts are newcomers and have quite the momentum building for their young careers. 

Third Basemen

Kris Bryant, Cubs
Miguel Sano, Twins
Maikel Franco, Phillies
Nick Castellanos, Tigers
Garin Cecchini, Red Sox
Matt Davidson, White Sox
Colin Moran, Marlins
Mitch Nay, Blue Jays

Notes: Anthony Rendon and Jedd Gyorko moved positions (both to second base interestingly enough) and graduated from the ’13 list. Frankly, it’s a much stronger list this season than last. Nay is probably the biggest surprise in the entire Top 100 (you probably won’t find him on anyone else’s list) but I’m going out on a limb with him much like I did with Michael Wacha last year and that worked out pretty well. Nay has a chance to be something very special with the bat and should hold his own defensively.

Shortstops

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Javier Baez, Cubs
Addison Russell, Athletics
Carlos Correa, Astros
Francisco Lindor, Indians

Notes: A whopping 13 shortstops made the Top 100  list in 2014 and the Top 5 have the potential to be superstars — much like the impressive wave of shortstop talents when the likes of Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter all came into the league in and around 1995. Bogaerts has a chance to be the best all-around player of the quintet (but don’t count out Correa) while Lindor could have the slickest glove and Baez the most potent offense. 

Corey Seager, Dodgers
Raul Mondesi, Royals
J.P. Crawford, Phillies
Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs
Chris Owings, Diamondbacks
Alen Hanson, Pirates
Hak-Ju Lee, Rays
Luis Sardinas, Rangers

Notes: The second tier of shortstops begins with Seager, who will likely move to third base, and Mondesi, who needs a little more polish to his game — but you can hardly blame him considering he’s just 18 with two pro seasons already under his belt. Lee could be the one player that really surprises the general baseball fan base; outside of his below-average power he features four potentially plus tools if he rebounds from serious knee surgery.

Outfielders

Byron Buxton, Twins
Oscar Taveras, Cardinals
George Springer, Astros
Gregory Polanco, Pirates
Albert Almora, Cubs 

Notes: For me, the top tier of outfielders includes the five names above with Buxton as the clear, undisputed No. 1. The Top 4 names could all reach the Majors in 2014 at various times throughout the season with Taveras being the most MLB ready.

Jackie Bradley, Red Sox
David Dahl, Rockies
Clint Frazier, Indians
Austin Meadows, Pirates
Jorge Soler, Cubs
Joc Pederson, Dodgers
Billy Hamilton, Reds 

Notes: After Mitch Nay, Dahl could be the second most shocking ranking. Despite the 2013 injury and makeup concerns (which I believe are somewhat overblown considering he’s a teenager and teens do stupid things) his tools are impressive and he has an advanced hitting approach for his age. Both Frazier and Meadows could be big movers on this list within a year’s time.

Jake Marisnick, Marlins
Eddie Rosario, Twins
Phillip Ervin, Reds
Jorge Bonifacio, Royals
Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals
Brian Goodwin, Nationals

Notes: Piscotty is probably the one outfielder that I’m most uncomfortable with in terms of where he ended up in the ranking — He might be too low. However, I’m just not sold that he’s going to hit with enough authority to develop into a premium corner outfielder. 

Pitchers

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks
Taijuan Walker, Mariners
Robert Stephenson, Reds
Lucas Giolito, Nationals
Eddie Butler, Rockies
Jonathan Gray, Rockies
Noah Syndergaard, Mets
Dylan Bundy, Orioles
Jameson Taillon, Pirates
Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays

Notes: The Top 10 is loaded with potential No. 1 and 2 starters. And about seven of those arms could graduate to the Majors in 2014 (excluding Giolito, Bundy, and Sanchez). The Rockies could have a nasty 1-2 punch in Butler and Gray, and I can only assume they don’t get more press because everyone expects them to falter due to the elevation. For me, Butler has a greater chance to succeed at home in Colorado because of his impressive ground-ball tendencies, whereas Gray is more of a fly-ball pitcher which doesn’t bode well for his splits. Out of the Top 10 arms, Taillon continues to be the most underrated but you really have to dig into the Pirates’ organizational philosophies to fully understand why his numbers aren’t quite as eye-popping as you might expect from someone with his stuff.

Alex Meyer, Twins
Kyle Zimmer, Royals
Kevin Gausman, Orioles
Mark Appel, Astros
Kyle Crick, Giants
Andrew Heaney, Marlins
Kohl Stewart, Twins
Yordano Ventura, Royals
Eduardo Rodriguez, Orioles
Jesse Biddle, Phillies

Notes: For me, the three names that could really come on strong in 2014 and see their prospect values skyrocket are Zimmer, Stewart and Rodriguez. The Royals prospect almost got pushed further up the list but I decided to temper my enthusiasm — for now. The majority of these arms have a shot at graduating to the Majors in the coming season.

Matt Wisler, Padres
Braden Shipley, Diamondbacks
Tyler Glasnow, Pirates
A.J. Cole, Nationals
Lucas Sims, Braves
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
Mike Foltynewicz, Astros
Max Fried, Padres
Justin Nicolino, Marlins
Vincent Velasquez, Astros 

Notes: In a year from now, Foltynewicz’s ranking could seem low… Wisler, Shipley and Glasnow are three guys that I’m excited to follow in 2014. Both Wisler and Glasnow had breakout campaigns in ’13 while Shipley is a first round draft pick who is fairly new to full-time pitching and has crazy athleticism. Stroman’s lower-than-expected ranking is due to my continued expectation that he’s not long for starting (although I fully expect Toronto thinks he can remain a starter long term). 

Zach Lee, Dodgers
Henry Owens, Red Sox
Julio Urias, Dodgers
Nick Kingham, Pirates
Pierce Johnson, Cubs
C.J. Edwards, Cubs
Hunter Harvey, Orioles
Jake Odorizzi, Rays
Alex Colome, Rays
Enny Romero, Rays

Notes: It just so happened that I went on a run of four Rays pitchers in a row and Colome is an underrated arm. I might be light in my rankings on both Urias and Edwards but neither pitcher has much project ability left due to their respective frames. Owens, Kingham and Harvey have solid chances to see their values drastically increase in 2014.

Taylor Guerrieri, Rays
Jimmy Nelson, Brewers
Jose Berrios, Twins
Rafael Montero, Mets
Miguel Almonte, Royals
Matt Barnes, Red Sox
Erik Johnson, White Sox

Notes: Guerrieri would be much higher if not for his surgery and makeup concerns (much more troubling than Dahl’s). I like Nelson’s chances to be a significant contributor to the Brewers’ starting rotation over the next five or six years more so than sophomores Wily Peralta and Tyler Thornburg. Berrios and Almonte could be two pitchers to watch in 2014.

Teams With the Most Top 100 Prospects

1t. Red Sox (7)
1t. Cubs (7)
1t. Pirates (7)
4t. Twins (6)
4t. Astros (6)
6t. Rays (5)
6t. Orioles (5)
6t. Royals (5) 

Teams With the Fewest Top 100 Prospects

30: Angels (0)
29t: Yankees (1)
29t: Tigers (1)
29t: Athletics (1)
29t: Brewers (1)
29t: Giants (1)
24t: Indians (2)
24t: White Sox (2)
24t: Mariners (2)
24t: Braves (2)

Teams with the Most Pitching Prospects

1t. Rays (4)
1t. Orioles (4)
3t. Royals (3)
3t. Twins (3)
3t. Astros (3)
3t. Pirates (3)

Teams with the Most Hitting Prospects

1t. Red Sox (5)
1t. Cubs (5)
3. Pirates (4)
4t. Twins (3)
4t. Astros (3)
4t. Rangers (3)
4t. Cardinals (3)

Most Prospects by Division

1t. AL East (21)
1t. NL Central (21)
3. NL West (17)
4t. NL East (16)
4t. AL Central (16)
6. AL West (12) 

Below are links to all the lists that have been published to date. Click on the names to follow a link to each individual list.

National League East

Miami Marlins

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves–still to come

Washington Nationals–still to come

National League Central

Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers

Chicago Cubs

St. Louis Cardinals–up next

Pittsburgh Pirates–still to come

National League West

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

Colorado Rockies

Arizona Diamondbacks

Los Angeles Dodgers–still to come

American League East

Toronto Blue Jays

New York Yankees

Baltimore Orioles

Tampa Bay Rays

Boston Red Sox–still to come

American League Central

Chicago White Sox

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers–still to come

American League West

Los Angeles Angels

Houston Astros

Seattle Mariners

Oakland Athletics–still to come

Texas Rangers–still to come




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


115 Responses to “2014 Top 100 Prospects”

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  1. Graham says:

    Would it hurt too badly to put the player’s organization next to his name in the actual list?

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  2. Los says:

    I have a feeling Gregory Polanco is going to make a lot of people mad they didn’t rank him higher. He isn’t being slighted because basically everyone has him in the 10-30 range but he is borderline top 5 and definitely top 10 for me.

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  3. semperty says:

    Why did the top 100 come out before the final 10 teams?

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    • Jayjay says:

      There’s still 10 teams left!?! Wow. Spring training starts, like, next week.

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    • Vlad the Impaler says:

      It’s been a painfully slow, haphazard process.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      To try and keep the Top 100 release around the same time as MLB.com, BP.com and ESPN.com… It’s better to have them all out around the same time so lists can be compared and lead to fun conversations… I do the best I can with the schedule but it’s just me producing these and each list is probably 15,000 words long and require a lot of work before even starting the writing process… And I only do this part-time so two a week is a stretch at times although I’m going to try and have the final (now) nine hit the site before the end of Feb… At least the early Top 100 gives fans of the final nine teams an idea of how the Top 10s might breakdown at the top…

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      • vince says:

        Good point about when to release the top 100. It is out of order though and that is a bit of a problem. You may change your mind after visiting the last 10 teams in more depth. At least, I would hope that you might… Everyone is dragging their feet this year. Hopefully next year will be better

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      • Imtheo says:

        You’re doing a great job Mark. Thanks for all the hard work.

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  4. semperty says:

    Also, can you elaborate as to why Wong fell? The dude posted a 120 wRC+, improved his walk rate and ISO, while not increasing his strike out rate, his defense (from what I’ve heard) stayed very good as well. It seems as though he improved in just about every area of the game, yet he’s falling on almost every prospect list. Did the prospect community, as a whole, really just get THAT much better over the last year, or is there something his numbers don’t indicate?

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    • Jonathon paquin says:

      Well, maybe it has something to do with not really being a prospect anymore. We are getting to know his ceiling quite well, and I believe his ranking is the writers showing you that they feel the 50+ names above him have higher ceilings…maybe. Just going out on a limb here.

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      • Frank says:

        There is something weird about ranking unproven prospects above low-ceiling guys who’s bottom floor still seems to be a decent major league starter, given that over half of those prospects will bust and never really play. Not that it’s wrong, it’s just it doesn’t feel like it quite makes sense either.

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        • Simon says:

          Plenty of people in Wong’s position now still end up as utility players or not working out for whatever reason.

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    • Radivel says:

      No particular reason other than the only direction he can go is the Wong one.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Yeah, it has to do with other players around him getting better or new prospects coming onto the scene and favoring ceiling over a modest (but more advanced) projection.

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  5. wjylaw says:

    Urias is 17, so how can you say he doesn’t have “much projectability left because… of his frame?” It would seem that he’s got a chance to grow another inch or two and will probably fill out a decent amount. If anything, I’d think he’d have a potential upside for projectability in that regard.

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    • E-Dub says:

      He doesn’t have the type of build that indicates he’ll grow another two inches. Can’t say it won’t happen, but if you’ve seen him much, you’d know why it seems unlikely.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      He’s already filled out and actually has to watch and make sure he doesn’t get too heavy… You can look at a player’s shoulders, hips, etc and get an idea of whether or not they might continue to grow.

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  6. illinibob says:

    Astros have 6 of AL West’s 12? Things WILL get better in H-Town!

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  7. pmacho says:

    Poor angels

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    • I. P. Freely says:

      Same thing was said in 1999 when they were ranked dead last by BBA. Like that 99 team, they have most of the pieces in place to at least be competitive, so they have a window to get the farm right. Looking at the guys they have traded away, it’s not like they have done a poor job of scouting or developing talent.

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  8. JJ says:

    Yeah, I would really have liked the organization next to the players name. Really annoying to just have name / stats, I love tracking prospects but outside of my favorite teams and the cream of the crop its easy to lose track of whose playing for who!

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  9. gus-bus says:

    I know it’s boring to ask about my own favorite pet prospects, but were Paxton and Hultzen left off the top 100 because you think Paxton has poor control and Hultzen’s shoulder makes him that much worse of a gamble to return than other players who’ve been hurt and returned?

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    • Nathaniel Dawson says:

      No way that a pitcher who just tore up his shoulder is going to be rated as a top prospect. There’s no way to know if he’s going to make a full recovery, never pitch professionally again, or anywhere in between. He’s a wild card right now with a very uncertain future.

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    • Balthazar says:

      Except that Hultzen HAS been included on other 2014 Top 100s. Just a difference in philosophy, one supposes. I don’t have big problem with Hultzen being left off; he’s going to miss a full year, and who knows what he’s got until when and if he’s back on a mound. But leaving James Paxton off strikes me as ridiculous. Here’s a guy who has three plus pitches, and has already dominated major league hitters. Yeah-yeah-yeah, small sample; the point is he’s already shown he CAN do it. He’s older, and the control has been an issue. Ranking guys who’ve never thrown a pitch in the high minors yet way up a list and leaving off somebody of ability who’s produced just seems to me . . . strange.

      But they, I don’t put too much credence in any Top prospect list. They’re more about who’s getting love than who’s producing on the field, to me. Let ‘em play, and then you know who you’ve got. Not very ‘scientific’ but neither are broadbrush guesstimates. (I mean no disrespect to Marc in saying that. Prospect rankings are a labor of love, and I’m glad to have the input I get from this and others.)

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      The risk of Hultzen coming back at the same level he was before is low, so he was excluded… Paxton was probably in the next 10-12 prospects.

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  10. Adam says:

    Christian Bethancourt’s 2013 stats from this list are really impressive.

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  11. Ace says:

    Could someone explain the pirates developmental philosophy with Taillon and why that affects his stats?

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    • repper says:

      They focus on fastball placement above all else and makes the pitchers throw mostly all fastballs in games. I don’t have the exact percentage but it is certainly high. You saw this with cole, when he first reached the majors he still had him throwing mostly fastballs and you saw the k rate reflect that. Then after a handful of starts they took off the chains and really let him throw his slider and curve ball and you saw that k rate rise.

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    • RetireNutting says:

      Yep. They put young pitchers through a “fastball academy” focusing on command and control of that pitch and pitching to contact. Pitchers aren’t allowed to just go for the strike out. They often give a pitcher a set number of secondary pitches to throw per game. As they advance they slowly introduce a changeup and tend to not be big fans of the slider.

      You won’t see gaudy video game numbers from most Pirate pitching prospects. http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/03/what-has-the-fastball-academy-produced.html

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      • Xmus Jackson Flaxon-Waxon says:

        I think another thing in Taillon’s case is that the Pirates limited his best pitch – his curve – while asking him to throw his changeup more often and in counts that aren’t necessarily “typical” changeup situations. For a A-AA hitter struggling with Taillon’s velocity, a change might be a welcome sight.

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    • Pirates Hurdles says:

      The “fastball academy” has mostly been dumped by the Bucs, but they do still preach fastball command and favoring a 2 seam ground ball approach. A large factor is the organizational belief that the minors are for MLB development, not for success at each level. They tend to judge promotions on meeting developmental goals and not in game goals. They have strict inning pitch counts and such. This approach is a big reason why Glasnow did not get promoted despite obliterating A ball hitters, they never felt he met the command goals and they like to see HS pitchers spend a full year at A ball. They usually then let talent dictate the A+/AA transition.

      I guess Hoka Hey is working out all right, lol.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Yup, fastball command is No. 1 and they teach pitchers to pitch to contact and focus on generating ground-ball outs. As a result, things like K-rate and H-rate can suffer…

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  12. andrew says:

    Sanchez over Gausman, funny.

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  13. Lars says:

    I have to say the stat boxes make the formatting pretty tough here. It only shows their final level, so guys like Bogaerts or Castellanos who played a few games in the majors have tiny stat-lines, which isn’t indicative of what they did. Also, an even bigger gripe, the age is last years age not this years’ age.

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  14. Otter says:

    I’ve never seen these guys play live, so I do defer to Marc’s expertise, but why aren’t more people worried about Baez’s strike out numbers? Are we talking Sano (similar K rate) like power which makes up for the high K rate, but even there the ISOs are that close? And then Sano walks at twice the rate Baez does. Just looking at the stats, Baez seems like the biggest boom/bust in the top ten. Is that fair to say?

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    • Roger says:

      Baez is a risk/reward guy, but I think positional adjustment can explain the placement above Sano. It’s very rare power for a SS.

      Baez saw bumps up in BB rate and ISO upon promotion to AA, but also an increased K rate. I think his play in AA left people even more divided about whether he’ll boom or bust.

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      • stan says:

        Baez is a bad SS though. He’s not going to be anything better than adequate in the majors unless he improves dramatically.

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        • Roger says:

          True, but if he moves at worst he goes to 3B where Sano is now, and there have been questions for years about whether Sano could stay there for most of a career. So far Sano looks ok there, but in 5-10 years?

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      • Pirates Hurdles says:

        Baez seems way too high to me as well, largely due to the bust rate for high K, low BB rate prospects. I realize he is only 21 and starting at AAA, but he is most likely a corner OF with a swing and miss problem.

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        • Brian says:

          I really haven’t read a single report that says he’s a corner OFer. Most reports I’ve read about his 2013 work say he improved substantial at SS to the point where the majority of scouts think he could stay there, or handle 2b, or become an above average defensive 3b.

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    • Sean O'Neill says:

      One thing to note with Baez’s K-rate is his “acclimation” tendency. If you look at his monthly progressions, you’ll see he was down to a sub 20% K-rate in High A when he was promoted, and was down in the low 20s in his last month in AA. He showed a similar kind of progression last year. At the same time, he’s also increased his walk rate at every level he’s advanced. The kid has shown very clear signs of improvement, even as he’s faced better competition.

      He may be a boom or bust prospect, but so are all prospects…and Baez’s potential boom is about as loud as it gets.

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      • Brendan says:

        Basically ^

        Shortstops don’t hit for power. Take away ARod from the SS list, and the highest .ISO “SS” is Ernie Banks (.225 ISO).

        This power is rare. MLB, potentially, may see the most powerful SS in history come through with Baez.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      You have to keep in mind that Baez was 20 years old playing in Double-A, which he reached in just his second pro season … His walk rate has also been increasing. A 75/80-grade power tool doesn’t grow on trees so he should have excellent value even if the K-rate causes him to hit .240 with a .320 OBP.

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  15. Fanthed says:

    Damn lot of griping here. It’s dispiriting sometimes to see how online commentators feel their every whim should be satisfied–and IMMEDIATELY! May I interrupt that vibe to thank you Hulet for the list? Need to study it more but based on your consistently thoughtful analysis on Fangraphs, I bet it will be worth my time. I will also ponder your comment that this is the thinnest list you’ve compiled in 10 years; a lot of names jump out to me as having big ceilings even names beyond the top 25–but that’s a gut reaction, maybe even wishful dreaming, not thoughtful analysis. Thanks.

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    • NorDub says:

      I think a lot of the gripes are valid though. It’s fine to critique a list like this when there are several odd issues with the data. I enjoy a prospect list as much as the next guy, but as others have pointed out, the ages are wrong, no team association, the stat lines hardly tell the story for the guys with a few at bats from a late season promotion.

      I do like the analysis at the the bottom with the tiers, but the layout is pretty tough to read with a box for each player.

      I think a lot of the critiques come from everyday readers who have come to respect FG and expect quality articles. This isn’t an everyday, standard article either. This is a cornerstone article that will get continued views throughout the season, and as such, I thought it’d be put together with a bit more QA/QC type stuff. That all said, I like Hulet and his chats. I’m sure a lot of thought went into the list, just not as much to the presentation of this list.

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    • chuckb says:

      I agree. A very difficult list to compile and too many here stop by to make sure everyone’s aware of their 1 gripe out of a 100 person list. Do I wish my favorite team’s players were higher? Of course. But I’m not going to presume that I know more about every prospect in the minors than Marc does and, even if I did, his opinion is at least as valid as mine is.

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  16. JUK says:

    Why do you think Stroman won’t stick as a starter? Please tell me you have a better reason than his height, there were no 6 ft 10 lefties until Randy Johnson and he did OK

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  17. ralph says:

    Regarding the comment about how thin the ceilings are in this prospect class, is that really true? I feel like all the way down to #60 or so you’ve got ceilings to dream on. Do you feel like the cutoff is somewhere else? How would that compare to previous years?

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    • Roger says:

      I find it a bit hard to believe too. Is it down from the last few years when we had Trout, Harper, Strasburg, and the cream of the 2012 draft crop coming through? Absolutely. We were spoiled there for a few years. But this isn’t a decade low in my opinion. In the lower half to a third, probably.

      Also, if you’re going off of ceiling, there are plenty of high ceilings that were left off this list. Jesse Winker, for one. I find him hard to separate in overall talent from Phil Ervin, who’s 81 on this list, and I would say Winker has the higher ceiling. I can also understand why you would omit high ceilings like Bubba Starling, Ronald Guzman, Joey Gallo, etc. for their lack of polish and high risk, but it’s a bit disingenuous to gear a list toward certainty and then criticize it for lack of upside.

      If you’re talking about depth, these things go in cycles and 2014 is supposed to be a deep draft.

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  18. Howie says:

    Thanks for the list. Any chance of getting one that’s fantasy-specific, for those of us in dynasty leagues?

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  19. Philip Christy says:

    I don’t understand why we get no context for the stats you’ve posted. Knowing the level of competition would go a huge way towards understanding the talent of the prospect. Also, when the stats only reflect 12 innings or 61 plate appearances, they are nearly meaningless.

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    • Matt W says:

      “Click on the players’ names to see their player pages and full stats breakdown.”

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      • lesmash says:

        That’s true, Matt W, readers who are so inclined could do that for all 100 players.

        However, the prevailing thought seems to be that most readers would prefer this information, along with the team name, on the main page next to each profile. If 80% of people would prefer it that way, I’m guessing Marc would appreciate getting that feedback as he may well do it that way next time so as to better meet the needs of his readership.

        It’s just feedback; not criticism.

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  20. Giolito at 13? Ballsy. I like it.

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  21. MJ says:

    How can you call Buxton the “clear undisputed #1″ when he hasn’t done anything in the hi-minors? To me, Oscar Taveras has proven FAR MORE and should be #1. He gets screwed because of his lost season In 2013….funny.

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    • Matt says:

      Pretty much every other prospect evaluator who made a top 100 list disagrees with you – and agrees with Hulet that Buxton is the clear #1 guy. He’s a special talent in a loaded top 100 – not really a knock against Taveras as much as it is praise for Buxton.

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    • Bip says:

      Basically everyone everywhere has Buxton at #1. Probably for a reason.

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    • Blount says:

      Change Taveras to Bogaerts and maybe you have an argument. I am kind of shocked that Buxton is virtually unanimously ranked ahead of Bogaerts given the consistent over ranking of shortstop prospects within the industry (not this particular list).

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    • chuckb says:

      Doesn’t his lost season — the most recent one, by the way — play an impact on his ranking? Or is that irrelevant?

      More importantly, what damned difference does it make if Taveras is ranked #1 or #3? Is it that big of an indignity to be ranked as the 3rd best prospect in the majors?

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      • Pat Golden says:

        He’s got taveras on his dynasty league team no doubt.

        It is a great injustice and Hulet most likely punched his elderly grandmother in the left tit as well.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      You have to balance tools, projection and stats together.

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  22. BenRevereDoesSteroids says:

    You will regret Adrian Beltre not making this list.

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  23. Vlad the Impaler says:

    Taylor Guerreri has no business being on this list.
    Far too high on Crick (poor control) and Heaney (stuff won’t play up in majors to match projection, he’s a #4-5)

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  24. jackson says:

    Why so many draftees but no Trey Ball? Did he look horrible or something? Because there are so many draftees he was better than at the time of the draft, and now is behind. He only pitched 7 innings,so those shouldn’t matter.

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  25. Monkeyepoxy says:

    Gary Sanchez over Alfaro sure is… interesting

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    • I. P. Freely says:

      Not really that interesting — one guy has completed AA, the other has three at bats above Low A.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Sanchez is more likely to stick at catcher and has proven more…

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      • Monkeyepoxy says:

        “Sanchez is more likely to stick at catcher”

        Any other writer out there agree with this?

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Yes. Plenty do, actually.

          BA had an even bigger gap between Sanchez and Alfaro (34 vs. 54). Alfaro didn’t crack Sickels’ end of season Top 75, while Sanchez was at 42.

          Of the major publications, only Law and MLB.com have Alfaro ahead of Sanchez.

          Which makes sense, considering that Alfaro’s line as a 20 year old in the SAL this year was identical to the one Sanchez put up in a much, much tougher park as a 18 year old.

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  26. Grant says:

    Deep dynasty league decision. Kyle Zimmer or Eddie Butler? Thoughts?

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    • Balthazar says:

      Borrow a penny. It has two sides; they’re different. Throw it in the air, ‘n’ take a look. Works half the time.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Butler has the added disadvantage of playing in Coors… There might be a learning curve although his GB tendencies will help… I’d probably lean towards Zimmer for fantasy…

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  27. rememberthecoop says:

    Don’t agree that Almora should be ranked higher than Soler. Almora may have more certainty but Soler has an outside chance to be a star while Almora’s ceiling is as a solid regular, with good defense but little power or speed. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but he doesn’t have the potential of Soler.

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    • ezb230 says:

      A plus defender and hitter with avg power in CF is a star. And of course the lower ceiling is balanced by the higher floor.

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  28. Leftfield Limey says:

    I know the difference in ranking is minimal but I am curious as to what Archie Bradley has over Taijuan Walker. They are the same age, Walker despite only taking up baseball recently played in 2012 at the levels Bradley played at in 2013 and aside from HR/9, Walker’s numbers for 2013 in AAA were superior to Bradley’s in AA. Is it down to “stuff”?

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  29. Marc Hulet says:

    OK… Teams should be showing for all players… as for the other concerns we will take it under advisement and appreciate all the constructive feedback and will make improvements for next year’s list… For full stats, please just click on the player’s name for their full stats.

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  30. Marc Hulet says:

    And at the bottom of the article you have a link to all the Top 10 lists to date.

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  31. GT says:

    Ah yes, Christian Bethancourt one of the finest pinch hitting prospects of all time.

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  32. Kevin says:

    Come on, 10 bucks says Fried is better than Shipley. Even though you didn’t say anything, seems like your hating on Fried. Although I did get Shipley’s auto rookie card the other day so I”m ok with it, if you were wondering.

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    • Steven says:

      That’s ridiculous to claim he is hating on Fried because he prefers Shipley. Keith Law prefers Shipley and others do as well. I view them as similarly ranked prospects, although I prefer Fried a bit more. Either way, Shipley’s fastball/changeup combo is not matched by Fried and he is more advanced. Fried still has the projectability and much better breaking ball (although it’s inconsistent).

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  33. JT says:

    I have the choice between Kris Bryant and Jose Abreu, in prospect draft, I’m leaning Abreu for his immediate impact, thoughts?

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  34. ivdown says:

    Good top 10, I’m a big fan of Bryant and Sano, I hope these two become absolute superstars.

    “28. Corey Seager, 2B, Dodgers”

    Seager is playing SS currently, should end up at 3B.

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  35. Steven says:

    I really like the Nay ranking. He has a chance to be quite good.

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  36. MsFan says:

    I’ve got to note that naming T. Walker as #2 in a 1-2 punch with King Felix ignores the fact that we’ve got a warrior named Hisashi (rhymes with Musashi!)who actually put up better numbers than Felix last year. While I have the usual spring hope for Walker, he’s number 3 at best on the Ms.

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  37. Slice says:

    Great list, but I personally feel it’s unfair to say that a 17 year-old (Urias) doesn’t have much project ability left. It isn’t a stretch to think a 17 year-old still has room to grow taller/stronger…it’s actually probably safe to assume some amount of growth from his current frame – how many men were full grown at 17? Plus his fastball already sits in the low 90′s, which is plenty from the left side.

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  38. Craig N says:

    Philosophy question….in established keeper league should you prefer a minor league hitter over a similarly ranked pitcher? Are hitters easier to project than pitchers, and do pitchers have the injury factor to fear more than a hitter….

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  39. Shintako Jonas says:

    Where would you rank Carlos Rodon on the list if you were including draft prospects as well?

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  40. Brian says:

    Wheres baby pedro at? Carlos Martinez is a beast didnt see heem on the leest

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  41. Scooter says:

    The name of the #41 prospect on the list, Matt Wisler (presumably), has a typo as lists him as “Matt Wiser.” This causes the link for him to go to Matt Wise instead of Wisler.

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