Profile: Sean Manaea had positioned himself to be a top-five pick and perhaps even go first overall entering last spring. Sadly, his college season didn’t go as planned. Manaea had some performance issues and dealt with various injuries this year. He fell all the way in the draft to the second round, where the Royals happily stopped his freefall. Manaea ended up needing surgery for a tear in his hip labrum, but the prognosis for recovery is good. When healthy, Manaea works in the low 90’s and touches higher with a sneaky fastball from a deceptive delivery. His slider flashes well when he stays on top of the pitch but he often gets around the side of it from his low three-quarters delivery and the pitch flattens out into a slurve. His best offering is a diving split change that mystifies batters. Manaea is a big, strong kid with great makeup, strong stuff and the ability to miss bats. He has the potential to develop into a number two starter and his floor is probably a mid-rotation type with his present stuff. He would also fit quite well in the pen and could feature as a late inning option if injuries persist and his command falters. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Regarded as one of the top talents in the draft entering the Spring, Manaea fell due to inconsistent performance and injuries. When healthy, Manaea has the stuff to be a mid to front of the rotation starter. If he shows up healthy in 2014 he’ll quickly return to top prospect status.
Martin Agosta 
Profile: Agosta is an undersized right-handed pitcher who was a late riser in the 2013 draft. He typically works in the low 90’s with a lively fastball, which he complements with a slider and a harder cutter. His size, lack of an offspeed offering, and command problems all suggest an eventual move to the pen, but he still has time to make the necessary adjustments. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Agosta is an undersized college pitcher who was San Francisco’s second round pick in 2012. He’ll return to A-Ball in 2014 where he’ll try to find an offspeed offering and improve his command.
Profile: Last season, Alcantara started about 75% of his games with Double-A Tennessee at shortstop up until July sixth, and then only about 10% of them from that date forward (with the remaining 90% coming at second base). The significance of that date? It marks the debut of the Cubs’ other, more celebrated, shortstop prospect with that same club. Javier Baez is impressive, indeed. Alcantara isn’t chopped liver, however, or any other sort of chopped bovine organ. After a promising 2012 season as just a 20-year-old at High-A, Alcantara produced another fine season in 2013, combining power, speed, and some control of the strike zone. The presence of Baez — along with Starlin Castro in the majors and then a couple of promising third-base prospects — conspires to create something less than a clear path to the parent club. Alcantara has demonstrated promise on his own accord, however. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Alcantara isn’t Javier Baez — mostly because that’d be weird. He is a decidedly promising infield prospect, however, who’s posted above-average offensive seasons even while skewing young for his levels.
Jorge Alfaro 
Profile: Alfaro’s bandied about as one of the game’s top catching prospects, and it’s not hard to see why: he has incredible athleticism for the position, a plus arm, and a very quick bat. Still, a repeat of Low-A brought only incremental progress, as he still had major issues with chasing pitches (111 strikeouts and 28 walks in 104 games) and receiving them (26 passed balls in 84 games caught, as well as countless other dropped or mishandled pitches). Alfaro certainly has a special blend of talents, but it’s an open question whether they coalesce into a productive ballplayer or just an athletic enigma. He’s not 21 until June, so he still has plenty of time to turn tools into skills. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Alfaro has a rare blend of talents: he’s a fast catcher with a huge arm and bat speed to burn. His poor plate discipline and receiving ability threaten to impede the ability of his other skills to shine, though, so he’ll need significant improvement to escape the trappings of players like J.P. Arencibia and Miguel Olivo.
Stetson Allie 
Profile: This wild flamethrower-turned-first baseman didn’t seem like he was going anywhere after 2012, when he hit just .213/.314/.340 as a 21-year-old at the lowest level of U.S. pro ball. Then, suddenly, he morphed into one of the most fearsome power bats in the minors in the first half, hitting .324/.414/.617 in Low-A with 17 big flies in 66 games. A mid-season promotion to High-A saw him collapse to .229/.342/.356, and he struck out 28.3% of the time on the season, but his swing is workable and he showed a strong batting eye, working 77 walks and managing a two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio after his promotion. His strength and discipline are big pluses, but the pressure on his bat is obviously heavy because of the high offensive demands of his position. Some have wondered if he would be a fit behind the plate with his strong arm, but that’s just a fantasy for now. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Allie seemed like a lost cause after transitioning from pitching to first base, but he suddenly exploded in Low-A this year, though his bat slowed after a mid-season promotion. With raw strength and a surprisingly advanced batting eye, Allie has a shot at success in his new career, though he’ll have to overcome contact issues and meet high offensive standards at first base.
Miguel Almonte 
Profile: Almonte enjoyed a strong full-season debut in 2013, with a 3.10 ERA, 2.76 FIP, and 132/36 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s armed with a 93-94 mph fastball that holds its velocity deep into games, a change up that already is a plus offering, and a workable curve, and he throws strikes with an easy, repeatable motion. A relatively complete pitching prospect for a 20-year-old, Almonte still has projection remaining, but he’s looking more and more like he projects as a third starter with number two upside. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Almonte threw very well in Low-A in 2013, showing off an excellent three-pitch mix and solid pitchability. Somewhat overshadowed in the Royals system, he’s an excellent prospect in his own right who projects as a mid-rotation arm and possibly more.
Albert Almora 
Profile: Almora is an elite outfield prospect who earned shimmering praise entering the 2013 season  and did little to lose that luster during the season. He blasted Single-A pitching to the tune of .329/.376/.466 with three homers, and he looks more than ready for some promotions in 2014. That being said, Almora — a slick defender and all-around sort of talent — might be a better real-life prospect than a fantasy prospect . He certainly has not made the outfield walls feel very close, hitting only six homers through 100+ pro games, but since he will be only 20 in 2014, there’s still plenty of time for his liners to blossom into dingers. But is he worth sitting on for another year or two in hopes of that happening? Probably not. (@BradleyWoodrum )
Quick Opinion: Real world teams may be jealous of the Cubs’ young outfielder, but his limited power display in the low minors combined with his relatively young age make him an unlikely fantasy prospect in the near term. Give him more time before considering stashing him away on your roster.
Japhet Amador 
Profile: Japhet Amador is listed at six-foot-four and 220 pounds, which is why you should always eye listed height and weight numbers with suspicion. Here’s a picture of Japhet Amador . Now you know. None of that is incredibly germane to his baseball skill, even if there is evidence that heavier players break down faster. We want to know if he can even play in the pros. That’s an open question. His dominant minor league stats have come in the Mexican league, which is listed as Triple-A but features uneven parks and competition. The Astros will probably start him in the minors, but he may get a chance ahead of Jonathan Singleton. After all, he’s already 27, and may make more contact (with lots of power) than the more touted prospect. Might as well go with the guy closer to his peak and see if he can produce value, even if it is in trade. Don’t treat Amador as a legit prospect — he hasn’t shown on any lists — but his power, and that home park, could make him relevant. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: Expect to see this large man in Houston this year. When, for how long, if he can play first base defense, and how much contact he’ll make while he’s there… these are the questions that make him a deep dynasty name instead of a mixed leaguer.
Tim Anderson 
Profile: The 17th overall pick in the 2013 draft had a solid if unspectacular pro debut in Low-A, hitting .277/.348/.363. He struck out far too much (25.9%) for a player without impact power or plate discipline, and will need to make significant strides in that area over time, though he doesn’t turn 21 until late June and still has time on his side. Anderson is athletic and went 24-for-28 on the bases in 68 games, though he’s still inconsistent defensively and may fit best at second base long term. It’s too early to judge him, though he needs to establish a broader base of skills in 2014 to establish himself as a top prospect. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Anderson’s performance after being selected 17th overall in the draft was okay but perhaps a bit underwhelming, thanks to the combination of low power and high strikeouts. He’s athletic and has some potential on both sides of the ball, but he hasn’t yet proven he can do anything well other than steal bases; he’ll need to show something more in 2014.
Brett Anderson 
Profile: By most accounts , pitchers have a hard time throwing curveballs in Colorado. Brett Anderson has one great pitch, and some call it a slurve. Hopefully, it’s just a slider with a little extra vertical drop, and hopefully Anderson will retain that bite on the pitch. Because it is that bite that makes the pitch work for both whiffs and grounders. If Anderson successfully makes the transition, it’ll be because he can still command the ball and get grounders, which were both things that he was able to do before a house full of injuries fell on him. Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe it was just Tommy John surgery and a bad ankle that had him average 54.1 innings over the last three years. Maybe it was just two big injuries. But past disabled list time begets future DL time, and he throws that elbow-stressing slider  very often, so even an optimistic Anderson projection can’t ask for many more than 100 innings or so. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: The caveats have piled up: Brett Anderson can be good if healthy, if the National League can donate him a strikeout per nine, if the slurve retains the same bite in the thin Colorado air. At this point, he’s not much better than a dollar bet in any league.
Mark Appel 
Profile: Appel was the first overall selection in the 2013 draft and the Stanford alum has the talent to warrant the lofty status. The right-hander has a strong repertoire and could eventually have three plus offerings with his mid-90s fastball, slider and change up. He’s worked to find the right mix with both his two-seam (for ground-ball outs) and four-seam fastballs (for strikeouts) for a balanced approach. The added year in college — he failed to sign in the 2012 draft — gave him time to refine the change to the point where it now flashes plus. The Texas native is probably advanced enough to open 2014 in Double-A, which would allow the organization to skip the talented pitcher over the potent California League. Depending on how aggressive Houston is, Appel could taste big league action by the end of 2014. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Appel should eventually justify his first-overall draft selection and could anchor the Astros’ starting rotation for years to come.
Javier Baez 
Profile: Already a highly-regarded prospect, Baez broke out in a big way with his plus power when he slugged 37 home runs in 130 minor league games last season. His aggressive nature at the plate leads to both low walk rates and high strikeout rates, which negatively impact both his on-base percentage and his batting average. The Puerto Rico native split the 2013 season between High-A and Double-A and a strong spring could push him up to Triple-A to open the ’14 season. A slow start to the year by shortstop incumbent could push the club to relocated the veteran (to a new location on the field or to a different organization) and make room for the freshman. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Baez has a chance to be a fantasy stud with 30+ home run pop, a run-producing slot in the lineup and some stolen bases sprinkled in for good measure. He won’t hit for a crazy-good average, but he won’t embarrass himself, either. (Marc Hulet)
Trey Ball 
Profile: The Indiana prep lefty is a fantastic athlete that some teams preferred as a position player last Spring — and he would’ve graded out as a first rounder in the field, too. Big (6’6″) and athletic, Ball does everything you’d like to see in a high school pitcher and has the makings of a starter with three well above average pitches. The ceiling is front of the rotation but probably more of a number two starter. Ball needs to mature physically and continue to improve his baseball skills to get there. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Ball is a big and athletic high school left-hander with front of the rotation potential. He’s still growing into his body and Boston will likely take him along slowly.
Matt Barnes 
Profile: 2013 was billed as a disappointing year for Matt Barnes. The University of Connecticut product was very hittable in 108 Double-A innings, posting 9.3 hits per nine and a .357 batting average on balls in play. One could argue that Barnes was unlucky, that his defense failed him and batted balls had eyes. Alternatively, one could argue Barnes pitched poorly and his results support that argument too. Frankly, your spin doesn’t matter. From a scouting perspective, Barnes still possess the tools to be a mid-rotation workhorse. He’s long with a low to mid 90s fastball which he couples with an average curveball and change up that he can throw for strikes. Barnes’ command will never be a strength, limiting his ceiling despite good stuff. The Red Sox are rarely afraid to rely on their prospects and Barnes could see time in the rotation due to injury, but it’s more likely he’ll be used out of the bullpen late in the season. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: After a hittable year in Double-A, it’s important to remember that Matt Barnes still has the tools to be a mid-rotation workhorse. Three average or better pitches suggest he can stay in the rotation, even as his command limits his ceiling.
Franklin Barreto 
Profile: Barreto has one of the better hit tools in the low minors but he ranks below a few other top shortstop prospects because he’s not likely to stick at the position. The Venezuela native has a short, stocky frame and struggles with his actions at the position suggesting he’ll eventually move to the outfield, or possibly second base. At the plate, he has surprising pop for his size (.529 slugging percentage in 2013) and a quick, short stroke. He’s currently an above-average runner but may slow down relatively quickly due to his build. Barreto, 17, is advanced enough to move up to full-season ball in 2014 but don’t look for him to arrive in the majors until late 2016, or mid 2017. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Barreto is a long way from realizing his full potential but he could eventually develop into a 15-15 (homers-steals) in the majors with a strong batting average. The big question with the young hitter, though, is where he ends up defensively.
Christopher Beck 
Profile: Beck had an awful 11.4% strikeout rate in High-A in his full-season debut, the sort of number that paints him as a vanilla finesse pitcher. It’s deceptive, though, because Beck is a very real pitching prospect. His low-90s heater has exceptional sink, and his curveball and change up should be average pitches down the line. His three-pitch mix, ground-balling ways, and effortless motion paint him as a solid innings-muncher down the line, and he took a major step forward in a late-season look in Double-A (22/3 strikeouts to walks, zero home runs in 28 innings). He’ll never be the flashiest pitcher in the world, but Beck has a high floor and should evolve into a workhorse. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Despite a very low strikeout rate in his first full season of pro ball, Beck has quite a bit going for him thanks to his control and the sink on his fastball. A late-season surge in Double-A bodes well, pointing toward a career of eating innings and getting grounders.
Josh Bell 
Profile: After missing almost all of the 2012 campaign with knee issues, Bell put in his first full season of work in 2013 with a solid .279/.353/.453 line. The 20-year-old flashed excellent plate coverage and a solid stroke, and he stung 37 doubles while walking 10% of the time and keeping his strikeouts at a reasonable 17.3%. He needs to continue to hit, though, because he appeared well over his listed 195 pounds throughout the season and showed poor range and defensive instincts in the outfield. The switch-hitter may face a move to first base down the line if he doesn’t regain mobility, which would put more pressure on his bat to put up big slugging numbers. He remains an intriguing prospect with several potential impact offensive skills, but his bat will have to carry him. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Bell’s first full season brought solid production at the Low-A level, with solid zone control, contact ability, and gap power. However, he proved himself to be a very limited defensive player and will need to hit all the way up the ladder to make an impact in the big leagues down the line.
Jose Berrios 
Profile: Berrios was a late riser in the 2012 draft out of Puerto Rico. He’s an undersized power arm who works up to the mid 90’s with life. Berrios shows two quality secondaries and holds his velocity, but many talent evaluators project him for the bullpen. He does have some reliever qualities on the mound, but similar to Marcus Stroman, his athleticism allows him to recover from and mitigate many of the pitfalls of his size and delivery. The command and control isn’t spectacular and Berrios’s short stature causes him to leave pitches up. Working up will get punished by major leaguers in the form of extra base hits and home runs, but it also can lead to strikeouts. That’s the bottom line on Berrios: he misses bats, and that’s a quality that gives him value in real life and in fantasy whatever his role. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Berrios has electric stuff but his future role (rotation or bullpen) is uncertain. He has the potential to make the adjustments and stick as a starting pitcher. If he does, his upside there would be significant, but in either role he’ll miss a lot of bats and hold fantasy value.
Mookie Betts 
Profile: With Boston’s incumbent second baseman Dustin Pedroia signed to a hefty contract through 2018, things don’t look good for Betts’ future with the Red Sox. If the organization can’t find a spot for him, though, another club will quite happily provide the talented prospect with a full-time gig when he’s ready. And he might be ready than expected after a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League after a strong performance in A-ball during the ’13 season. Even with an accelerated timeline Betts won’t see the majors in 2014 but ’15 is realistic. He has solid pop for a middle infielder and is also capable of stealing 30+ bases thanks to his good speed and impressive on-base rates (81 walks compared to just 57 strikeouts in 2013). Look for him to open the 2014 season in Double-A. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Betts could provide help to fantasy managers in a variety of categories beginning as early as 2015. However, Pedroia is a significant roadblock to the prospect’s future playing time in Boston.
Jesse Biddle 
Profile: A Philadelphia prep arm, Biddle is now the best pitching prospect on his hometown team. The southpaw has good size and arm strength, but has some trouble repeating his delivery that results in command and control problems. His curveball has great shape and spin, but it’s really only effective as a chase and he has trouble throwing it for strikes. Biddle can be a number three starter if he improves his fastball command and the underlying delivery issues. He has the athleticism to correct those problems. Even if he can’t make the leap, Biddle still could find a role as an up-and-down, durable, back of the rotation starter. Philly has some similar arms in rotation spots and ahead of Biddle in the minors right now (Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick, Jon Pettibone, Adam Morgan, etc…). Still, Biddle may be the most talented and it’s conceivable he passes enough of them to garner starts for the Phils in 2014. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: A big, athletic lefty with arm strength and a plus curve, Jesse Biddle is one of the more promising young arms in the Philly farm system. If he can repeat his delivery better and improve his fastball command he could become a number three starter. The Phillies have a number of similar arms around, but Biddle could still work his way into the rotation this season.
Jabari Blash 
Profile: A native of the Virgin Islands, Blash didn’t play a lot of baseball as a youth. As such, there are reasons to suspect that his development curve might differ from those of his peers. The final month of the 2013 season, following an early August promotion to Double-A Jackson, provided some insight into his potential upside. Blash hit nine homers in 120 plate appearances while recording very reasonable plate-discipline figures (16.7% walks, 23.3% strikeouts). Both his his size (6′ 5″, ca. 220 pounds) and assorted scouting reports suggest that power could be a real tool for Blash. It’ll probably have to be, given that he’s confined to an outfield corner defensively. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: His month-plus in Double-A last year demonstrated his offensive upside. Confined to a corner outfield spot, he’ll need it to continue demonstrating it.
Chris Bostick 
Profile: This former 44th-round pick found his power stroke in 2013, ripping 14 homers and posting a .170 isolated slugging percentage, an excellent mark for a 20-year-old middle infielder. Bostick doesn’t have one outstanding tool, but he does some of everything, with the aforementioned homer total joining 25 steals, 25 doubles, eight triples, and 51 walks in 129 games this past year. Traded to Texas in the Craig Gentry deal, Bostick isn’t going to unseat Jurickson Profar or Rougned Odor, but he’s a talented young second baseman in his own right who could make for a surprisingly solid everyday player a few years down the line. He should be a utility asset at the least. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Bostick posted solid numbers across the board in his full-season debut, then was traded to Texas in the offseason. Players who do a little of everything are often undervalued, and Bostick falls into that camp, but his package of skills could lead to broad success as an everyday player, or at least a quality bench player.
Lewis Brinson 
Profile: The Rangers’ first round pick in 2012, Brinson hit a decent .237/.322/.427 in his full-season debut with 21 homers and 24 steals, but that disguised an ugly 38% strikeout rate. He changed his stance seemingly every week throughout the year in an effort to reduce the whiffs, ending the year in an extreme hunch that looks like a bizarre amalgamation of Sammy Sosa and Jeff Bagwell, but no amount of stance-shifting could eradicate the real problem: Brinson can’t hit anything that bends or anything below the waist. A premium athlete who should stick in center field and has plus bat speed, Brinson could be a B.J. Upton-type player if he fixes his issues, but there isn’t much precedent for a player striking out this much at age 19 and finding success later. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Brinson has a lot of raw talent and athleticism, but his helplessness against breaking stuff and low pitches led to an astronomical 38% strikeout rate in his first full season. As intriguing as his talents are, he has a long road ahead of him in curbing the whiffs before he projects to fulfill his potential.
Kris Bryant 
Profile: If not in 2014, then Chicago could field an extremely potent left side of the infield in 2015 with Javier Baez at shortstop and Bryant at the hot corner. The latter prospect has the raw power to hit the ball out of any part of the stadium but there are some concerns over his ability to make consistent contact against top pitching talents. Bryant didn’t have any problems during his pro debut, though, as he hit .336 with a 1.078 OPS over three levels and did a respectable job of keeping his strikeout rate in check (for a power hitter). The second overall pick of the 2013 amateur draft also steamrolled over the pitchers in the Arizona Fall League hitting .364 with a 1.184 OPS. He could open the coming season in Double-A and shouldn’t need too much polish. If he moves off of third — a distinct possibility, given some of his troubles at the position — he might be ready for the big leagues right now. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Bryant is one of the top power-hitting prospects in the game and could be in Chicago in the second half of 2014. Neither Luis Valbuena not Mike Olt are much of a roadblock to one of the top third base prospects in the game.
Anthony Bucciferro 
Profile: Bucciferro never really comes up on prospect lists, but he does come up on FIP leaderboards, leading the minors in that statistic among pitchers with at least 80 innings (1.74; 96 strikeouts and six walks in 90 2/3 innings, mostly in Low-A). He’s not a flamethrower, but he works at 88-91 mph with good sink and has a solid slider/change combo, and he’s extremely adept at working both sides of the plate to both lefties and righties. A senior sign in 2012 as a 14th-rounder, he’s behind the age curve and turned 24 in the offseason, so he needs to move quickly, but he might have enough control, sequencing, movement, and moxie to carve out a career as a strike-throwing groundballer. Don’t look at the numbers and get too excited, but don’t write him off either. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Bucciferro put up arguably the best pitching stat line in the minors in 2013, but he was old for Low-A and doesn’t get much prospect consideration. Still, he has fantastic control, good movement, and a sound three-pitch mix, making him a potential back-end MLB starter.
Billy Burns 
Profile: It’s possible, without much in the way of mathematical gymnastics, to make the case that Burns was the best base-stealer in all the minor leagues in 2013. That distinction, in conjunction with the .315/.425/.383 (.355 batting average on balls in play) slash-line he posted in over 500 plate appearances between High- and Double-A, all serves to suggest that Burns has some promise. Given the promise of the players already on the actual Oakland roster (to which team Burns was traded from Washington this past offseason), it’s unlikely that the very fast outfielder will record much in the way of major-league playing time in 2014. He’d probably be better than replacement level were he do that, however. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Given his talents for getting to first base and then stealing second once there, Burns probably has something to offer a major-league club. Given the A’s outfield depth, however, that might not happen in 2014.
Eddie Butler 
Profile: Butler blew through three levels in 2013, his first full pro season, making small improvements to his strikeout rate and significant cuts to his walk rate with each promotion, an impressive feat indeed. Equally impressive is his fastball, a huge 92-97 mph offering with all sorts of late run and sink. He only allowed nine homers all year despite pitching in some pretty impossible environments. Butler’s diverse mix of offspeed pitches lags behind the fastball but still functions solidly, and he finds the zone at an impressive clip despite his unorthodox long arm action, a testament to his physical coordination. Some question his durability due to his relatively thin frame, but he hasn’t had any major issues as a pro. As long as he’s healthy, Butler should be the rare Colorado pitcher to post strong raw numbers. He’s not far behind baseball’s elite pitching prospects. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Butler put up a dominant year across three levels in 2013, getting better and better along the way. His fastball is an easy plus offering, and the rest of his game is solid. His ground-ball ability and overall skill should make him the rare successful Colorado hurler.
Byron Buxton 
Profile: The State of Georgia continues to pump out incredibly talented outfielders and Byron Buxton might have the loudest tools of any of them. The term “five tool player” was coined for players like Buxton. He’s one of the fastest player in the minors and a World Class athlete. He throws bullets from the outfield (and indeed, was a hard throwing prep pitcher). His bat is lighting quick and with his size and strength, he projects for at least average power. Buxton has all the makings of a future superstar, but will still have to refine his swing and approach to reach his ceiling. The Mike Trout comp gets thrown around a lot, but that’s terribly unfair to Buxton. He could easily have a Hall of Fame career and not reach Trout’s level until his mid 20’s. Buxton is on the fast track and may even begin the year at Double-A. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Buxton is the real deal: a five tool monster and potential superstar in the making. His fantasy potential is enormous.
Mauricio Cabrera 
Profile: Starting pitchers who can touch 100 mph have a tendency to get noticed, and Cabrera is in that rare group, as he works consistently in the mid-to-upper-90s; he reached as high as 101 mph in 2013. He didn’t get great results, though (4.18 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 107 strikeouts, 71 walks in 131 1/3 innings), because his command and offspeed offerings are not sharp at this stage in his career. He did do an excellent job of limiting extra-base hit damage, allowing just three homers and an .099 isolated slugging percentage. He tends to tip his breaking ball by raising his arm slot, and he needs to find more consistent mechanics to eliminate this issue and improve his command. Cabrera is just 20 and has a golden right arm, and it’s easy to imagine him as a closer; how much he improves in 2014 will shed a fair amount of light on whether he can avoid a bullpen fate. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Cabrera has a huge arm, reaching triple-digits at times and reaching 99 mph deep in starts, but his first year in full-season ball brought mixed results due to inconsistent mechanics and offspeed pitches. He has a huge ceiling in a perfect world, but it’s easier to imagine this erratic live arm as a late-game reliever down the line.
Jose Campos 
Profile: One could say Campos had the best year of the four players included in the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade, but that says a lot more about that disastrous deal than it does about Campos, who bounced back from 2012 elbow woes to turn in a solid 2013 campaign, with 77 strikeouts against 16 walks in 87 innings. He showed a solid low-90s heater and playable offspeed stuff, but wasn’t the sort of imposing power pitcher he was advertised as at the time of the trade two years ago. A big guy with a clean motion, he does project to throw strikes consistently and doesn’t look like an elevated re-injury risk. Kept on an extremely short leash throughout the year as he worked his way back to health, he has much more improvement to make before he projects as anything more than a fourth starter. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: A highly-touted power arm when he was included in the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade, Campos suffered through elbow troubles in 2012, but rebounded with a solid 2013 in Low-A. His stuff was more average than imposing, though, with his biggest positive at this point being his control. He could still have a career, but he’ll need to improve a lot more to rekindle thoughts of his original upside.
Garin Cecchini 
Profile: There could be some impressive third base prospects graduating to the majors in 2014 with the likes of Miguel Sano, Kris Bryant and Cecchini. The Red Sox prospect cannot come close to matching the other prospects’ power output but he could more be a little more well-rounded, as well as a little more consistent from the get-go. Cecchini should provide a strong batting average, impressive on-base percentage and even a handful of stolen bases for good measure. Just don’t look to him to provide power numbers — his seven home runs in 129 games in 2013 were a career high and his swing is geared to hitting line drives as opposed to home runs. Will Middlebrooks’ rebound season last year will ensure that Cecchini’s claim to the third base job will not go unanswered. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Cecchini does a lot of things well that could be coveted by fantasy managers but he’ll have to beat out Will Middlebrooks for playing time in Boston.
Luis Cessa 
Profile: The rare converted position player who takes up starting instead of relieving, Cessa has transformed into a pitching prospect to watch. He touches 95 mph and has a solid slider and change up, and he knows where to put all three, as evidenced by his 124/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 130 innings. If he stays healthy and maintains his form at higher levels in 2014, he should make a big jump up prospect lists, and he has the potential to be a quality third starter at the big league level. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: This converted infielder had a breakout campaign in 2013, dominating the South Atlantic League with his three-pitch mix. He doesn’t get a ton of press in a stacked Mets system, but he deserves it and could develop into an above-average starting pitcher.
A.J. Cole 
Profile: Cole’s easy to like for scouts and sabermetricians alike. The stats are there: he struck out over four times as many people as he walked in both High-A and Double-A, and he was even more dominant after moving up to the higher level. The tools are there, too: Cole’s a strapping, projectable 6’4″ 21-year-old with an easy motion who throws a moving fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90s. Neither his curveball nor his change up are out pitches, and he’s consistently been a flyball guy, but Cole’s velocity and command alone could make him a solid major league starter. If his offspeed stuff can take a step forward, he could emerge as Washington’s newest flame-throwing stud, and he might sniff the majors in late 2014. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Cole turned in an excellent campaign between High-A and Double-A, featuring a dominant strikeout-to-walk ratio. A tall, projectable arm with a massive fastball, he already has a lot going for him and could be an impact pitcher with further improvement in his offspeed offerings.
Carlos Correa 
Profile: The first-overall pick in the same draft that also produced überprospect Byron Buxton, Correa is crazy promising — and, as a member of the Houston Astros, is also perhaps closer to the major leagues than might otherwise be the case were he affiliated with any of baseball’s other 29 organizations. To this point, he appears likely to become the sort of player who can handle a premium defensive position while also producing not unimpressive offensive lines. Entirely valuable, in other words. Precisely when he starts doing that is a separate matter, however. “Not 2014,” is the simplest answer for now. “Maybe not even 2015,” is another reasonable response. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: The first-overall pick in the 2012 draft, Correa has continued to develop excellently. His arrival date is probably beyond 2014, however.
J.P. Crawford 
Profile: Crawford eschewed his commitment to USC to sign with the Phillies as the 18th overall selection of the 2013 amateur draft and the decision paid immediate dividends. The athletic shortstop performed well in the field while posting a .908 OPS in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He showed an advanced eye at the plate with an equal number of walks and strikeouts (25) in 39 games. Crawford, 18, doesn’t project to hit for much home-run power but he shows the ability to bang out extra base hits and he also flashed above-average speed with 12 stolen bases in 17 attempts. He was advanced enough as a teenager to earn a late-season promotion to Low-A ball where he played another 14 games. The California native should return to that level to begin the 2014 season and likely won’t reach in the majors until 2016 at the earliest. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Crawford is still a long way away from having an impact at the big league level for the Phillies but he’s definitely someone that should be targeted in keeper leagues. The young prospect should stick at the premium position while showing the ability to hit for average, gap power and steal some bases.
Kyle Crick 
Profile: There are few career closers in baseball which is why Kyle Crick’s value is higher in fantasy leagues than real life. Crick, a flamethrower who struggles to find the strike zone at times, may find his success in the bullpen eventually. Especially if he can’t smooth out his mechanics. The San Francisco Giants have developed Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in recent years so they have to be confident in their development program. If the rotation doesn’t work out for Crick, his erratic control may be a blessing for fantasy owners who bought in early. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: Big velocity and great breaking stuff make Kyle Crick a front-line starting pitching prospect. His future home park and the development team around him are a positive, too. His mechanics and command, however, say the bullpen is still a possibility.
Tyler Danish 
Profile: A second-round pick in 2013 who got $1 million to sign out of high school, Danish is a decidedly odd pitcher. He has a low-three-quarters delivery with a very strange short-arm motion that, along with his small frame, makes it difficult to imagine him holding up for 200 innings a year. The motion does give his fastball some violent sink, though his heater only operated at 86-90 mph after signing. Danish has a solid slider with tilt and a decent change up, and he pitched well after signing (28/5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 innings, mostly in relief), but his odd mix of attributes lends question to whether he fits best as a starter or reliever in the long run. If injury woes don’t make the decision on their own, it likely will come down to if Danish can return to his pre-draft low-90s velocity and if he can effectively ward off lefties, to whom his motion is far less deceptive. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: This 2013 second-round draftee is viewed by some as a performance sleeper, but others are scared away by his unusual motion. A sinker specialist with two solid secondary offerings, Danish saw his velocity fall after signing; his upside depends on its return and his durability.
Rafael De Paula 
Profile: The rare Dominican to not make his professional debut until after his 21st birthday, the touted De Paula finally came stateside in 2013 as a 22-year-old and immediately greeted his league by striking out 37.5% of the batters he faced, only to see his ERA and FIP more than double (from 2.94 and 2.03 to 6.06 and 4.63) upon a midseason promotion to High-A. He has solid stuff — a moving fastball that touches 94 mph, a sweeping slider that’s unhittable at times, and a decent change up — but rarely keeps everything working all the way through a start. Some of his late-season fade can be chalked up to stamina issues in his first full season; a more consistent performance in 2014 would establish him as an excellent prospect. He has number two starter upside in a perfect world, but there are also some signs pointing in the direction of the bullpen. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: De Paula’s first full season of pro ball started on a high note, as he blew away Low-A hitters, but he ran into trouble in High-A in the second half. He’s a promising pitcher with high upside but is in need of more consistency if he’s going to fulfill his potential.
Delino Deshields Jr. 
Profile: DeShields could eventually become a very valuable fantasy contributor if he can shake the makeup the concerns (surrounding a lack of consistent effort) that prevent people from getting super-psyched about his big league potential. We all know about the Reds’ Billy Hamilton but DeShields also stole more than 100 bases in 2012 and followed that up with 51 swipes in 69 attempts in 2013. The young hitter is built quite solidly and should produce some decent gap power at the big league level, and he could also take a solid number of free passes. After spending the past few seasons at second base, the Astros prospect will reportedly move back to his natural position in the outfield in 2014. However, the versatility could help him with the Astros down the road, which could in turn increase his value to fantasy managers. After spending the 2013 season in High-A ball, he’ll move up to start the year in Double-A. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: DeShields doesn’t come with the same hype as Billy Hamilton, but he has the potential to steal 60+ bases and is more likely to produce an average or better hit tool.
Edwin Diaz 
Profile: A third-round pick in 2012, Diaz blitzed through the Appy League in 2013 with a 1.43 ERA and a 79/18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 68 2/3 innings. The skinny Puerto Rican right-hander gave hitters fits with his fastball, which works at 90-95 mph with lots of late running action. His offspeed pitches are in their development stages and his strikeout rate will drop next year if they don’t improve, but the raw arm strength, fastball life, and control are enviable for a pitcher at this stage of his development. Like almost anyone without full-season experience, Diaz comes with plenty of risk and plenty of additional refinement needed, but he’s a very interesting arm who could develop into an impact pitcher if things go smoothly. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Diaz absolutely dominated the Appy League in his first full year mostly thanks to a plus fastball and advanced control for his age. Everything else needs plenty of work, but that can be said of almost any pitcher without full-season experience. He’s far away but has a high ceiling.
Hunter Dozier 
Profile: Dozier was considered an overdraft in the first round of the 2013 draft (eighth overall) but you wouldn’t know it from his offensive numbers after he turned pro. The third baseman slugged 37 extra base hits — including 30 doubles — in 69 games and he could eventually add more over-the-fence pop. He also walked more than he struck out (35-32 walks to strikeouts). Defensively, Dozier has experience at shortstop and could provide some versatility for fantasy managers. The Royals could eventually have quite an impressive left side of the infield with Dozier and Raul (Adalberto) Mondesi starting next to each other. Dozier could open 2014 in High-A ball and should be on the fast track to Kansas City. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: If he continues on his current development path, Dozier could start adding pressure in 2014 to incumbent third baseman Mike Moustakas and his impotent bat.
Taylor Dugas 
Profile: If they ever misplace the picture of David Eckstein that accompanies the entry for “pest” in the dictionary, perhaps they can replace it with one of Dugas, whose short stroke and outstanding eye make him almost impossible to strike out. He went down just 9.9% of the time in Low-A and cut that to 6.5% after a midseason promotion to High-A, walking over twice as much as he struck out at the higher level (15/32 strikeouts to walks in 55 games). He’s 5’8″ and has a career .058 isolated slugging percentage, but he’s capable of ripping liners, and he excels at laying off of borderline balls while fouling off borderline strikes, working very deep counts with no fear of the K. He’s a dark-horse candidate for a future leadoff job, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to enjoy a similar rise to that of current Yankee rock Brett Gardner. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Dugas owns a career .427 on-base percentage thanks to tremendous discipline and contact skills, and he has just enough line-drive punch and speed to make him more than just a one-trick pony. An intriguing sleeper, he may rise above the extra-outfielder ceiling many peg him for.
C.J. Edwards 
Profile: C.J. Edwards has a career 1.72 ERA and 1.83 FIP in 183 1/3 innings across three pro seasons — not bad for a 48th-round pick. His dominance in 2013 and inclusion in the Matt Garza trade have many discussing him as one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, but he doesn’t have the body or raw stuff to quite back up those claims. At 155 pounds, he’s had issues holding his velocity deep into games, touching 95 early but working in the upper 80s later on, and his fastball lacks much life. His feel for pitching and three-pitch mix make him a solid starting pitcher candidate, but with his curveball as his sole standout offering, it’s difficult to see him as more than an interesting fourth starter. Expect some statistical regression as he hits the upper minors in 2014. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Edwards was dominant in 2013 and received plenty of exposure through his great numbers and his inclusion in the Matt Garza trade. However, his stuff doesn’t match the numbers, with one plus pitch and two average ones and significant stamina issues brought on by his small frame. He’s a good prospect, but projects more as a quality fourth starter than a front-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Michael Feliz 
Profile: Feliz established himself on the prospect landscape with a breakout 2013 in the New York Penn League. He’s a live-armed two-pitch right-hander with reliever mechanics and reliever command and control. Still a teenager, there is plenty of room for improvement left here. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Feliz is a live-armed teenager who impressed in short season ball. He’s a project on the mound who most likely ends up in the bullpen.
Kendry Flores 
Profile: Flores is a great example of why you can’t scout a statline. His 2013 numbers — a 2.73 ERA and 137/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 141 2/3 innings in Low-A — paint the picture of a precise hurler who still has strikeout stuff. In reality, though, Flores is a pitch-mixer who lacks a standout attribute, working at 87-91 mph and chucking three garden-variety offspeed offerings. Clearly, the 22-year-old gets as much out of that stuff as can reasonably be expected, but he’s unlikely to maintain the gaudy production as he advances. He could turn into a Rodrigo Lopez-style back-of-the-rotation survivor, but there’s little reason to expect more. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: While Flores had a huge statistical season, his stuff trails far behind his numbers, with none of his four offerings rating better than average. He’s likely to lose a lot of his strikeout ability at the upper levels and will need to retain precise command to have an innings-eating career.
Mike Foltynewicz 
Profile: If you love velocity readings, then Foltynewicz is your man. The big, strong right-hander can tickle the upper 90s with his heater and also produces heavy sink. The development of his secondary pitches is holding him back a bit from realizing his full potential but he spent much of the 2013 season in Double-A. Foltynewicz, 22, will spend much of 2014 in Triple-A awaiting an opening in the Astros’ starting rotation. He has the skill set to develop into a number two or three starter if his breaking ball and changeup can become even average offerings for him. There’s an outside chance that he may end up pitching at the big league level as a high-leverage reliever, especially with the solid starting pitching depth working its way through the Astros’ minor league system. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: With some of the best velocity in the minors, Foltynewicz is a name you’ll likely hear a lot more about in the coming year as gets closer and closer to making an impact at the big league level for Houston.
Nolan Fontana 
Profile: Fontana seemed to be pigeonholed as a utility player entering his draft year at the University of Florida. A strong spring changed some minds. While he still may very well end up fitting best in a utility role, he’s now seen as having a chance to be an every day shortstop or second baseman. The tools aren’t electric, but Fontana has a little pop in his bat and solid-average speed that plays up due to his baseball instincts. Fontana doesn’t look like he’ll ever be an exciting fantasy option, but he can be a surprising help in a few categories while qualifying (presumably) at shortstop. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Fontana’s stock continues to rise with strong performances, but he’s never going to be an exciting fantasy option.
Maikel Franco 
Profile: Franco emerged as the Phillies’ top prospect in 2013. With a savage swing and tremendous power, the Domincan third baseman projects to hit for plenty of power at the big league level. His approach at the plate is largely unrefined and aggressive, but his ability to barrel up balls (even outside the strike zone) compensates some for his free-swinging ways. Franco doesn’t move all that well, but has a good first step and covers enough ground to play third base in the majors. He is a far superior talent to incumbent third baseman Cody Asche, so he may get his chance in 2014. Franco could be a middle of the order third baseman who hits 25 homers or more in a full season. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Franco projects as a run producing third baseman who could hit 25 or more homers in a full season. With only Cody Asche ahead of him he may get a chance in 2014.
Clint Frazier 
Profile: One of the top prep hitters in the 2013 amateur draft, Frazier was snatched up by the Indians with the fifth overall pick. He’s considered a true five-tool talent and showcased that in the rookie Gulf Coast League after he signed his pro contract. The athletic center fielder may struggle a little bit early on during his first taste of full-season ball in 2014 because he needs to improve his pitch recognition and handling of breaking balls, as witnessed by his 61 strikeouts in 44 games. The 19-year-old Georgia native should be ready to take over the Indians’ center field job on a full-time basis in 2017, right around the time newly-acquired free agent Michael Bourn’s contract runs out. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: He still has a long climb to make through the minors but Frazier could eventually become everything (and more) the Indians had hoped the recently-purged Drew Stubbs would be.
Max Fried 
Profile: San Diego made Max Fried the seventh overall selection of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft. The southpaw quickly vaulted to the top of the Padres’ organizational prospect lists thanks to his three above-average offerings paired with advanced command. FanGraphs’ own, Marc Hulet, indicates  the 19-year-old appears to be headed to High-A Lake Elsinore to start the 2014 season to further polish his already impressive repertoire, but could find himself on the hill in Double-A San Antonio before too long. Dynasty and deep keeper leaguers need consider Fried during their upcoming auction or draft, but redraft leagues need not apply considering the left-hander may need see the big leagues until 2015. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Polished for a prospect that hasn’t yet seen High-A, Fried could move fast through the Padres organization. Not fast enough for 2014 redraft leagues though.
Joey Gallo 
Profile: Power like this comes along once in a generation: Gallo slugged 40 homers as a teenager despite missing almost a month of the year on the disabled list. Unfortunately, that power comes courtesy of one of the longest swings you’ll ever see, leading to a ghastly 37% strikeout rate. Gallo has the sort of special power and enough defensive acumen that he might be able to be valuable in the big leagues whiffing over 30% of the time, but it will take significant work for him to reach that level, as he has a variety of swing and approach issues to iron out. His upside is Chris Davis-ian, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how close he will get to that ceiling. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Gallo’s numbers present a dilemma: which will win, the 40 homers in 111 games or the 37% strikeout rate? He has a lot of work to do on his exceptionally long swing and approach, though his upside is understandably enormous.
Lucas Giolito 
Profile: Giolito appeared in just one professional game before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012 but the 16th overall selection of that draft returned with his nasty repertoire in the second half of 2013. He made 11 starts but was used with kiddy gloves and pitched just 36.2 innings. The right-hander has some of the best raw stuff in the minor leagues and could develop into an absolute beast. Upon his return to pitching in ’13, Giolito posted a strikeout rate of more than nine per nine innings and batters struggled to lift the ball into the air against him. Along with his ability to work in the upper 90s with his fastball, the teenager also has a potentially-plus curveball. He’ll likely open 2014 in Low-A ball, but the organization may continue to be cautious with his innings total. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Giolito has the stuff necessary to develop into a number one starter at the big league level but he has yet to pitch in full-season ball and is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Tyler Glasnow 
Profile: A relatively unknown commodity heading into 2013, Glasnow exploded onto the prospect map by striking out 36.3% of batters he faced with Low-A West Virginia. Any time a 6′ 7″ teenager does that, he gets attention pretty quickly, and Glasnow deserves a lot of it — he has a plus fastball that works at 90-94 and touches 96, and his curveball is potential plus offering as well. Scarily, he attained his 2013 numbers in spite of working extensively on his poor change up at the expense of the curve — one wonders what he could have done throwing the breaking ball more frequently. Glasnow is still quite raw — the change needs a lot of work, as does his command (13.5% walk rate) — but time is on his side, plenty of projection remains, and the sky is the limit if he stays healthy and develops at a good clip. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Glasnow was one of the most dominant pitchers in his full-season debut, striking out over a third of opposing batters as a teenager. He’s rawer than the big numbers make him look, but the projectable behemoth has big stuff and a very high ceiling.
Luiz Gohara 
Profile: Luiz Gohara is a 6′ 3″, 220 lb, 17 year old Brazillian with shoulder problems. He’ll show up on a lot of prospect lists for the Seattle Mariners, but the road is long to get him to the major leagues. He’s liked by a lot of the prospect maven types, so you may want to stash him in keeper leagues — assuming you plan on hanging on to that team for another four years or more. There’s no help here for your fantasy squad in 2014. (Michael Barr )
Quick Opinion: A candidate for your keeper squad, this kid is quite literally still a kid. His experience to date is 21.2 innings pitched in the Appalachian league as a 16-year-old. Maybe wait until he has to join the dollar shave club before you start thinking about what kind of contributions he’s capable of.
Jonathan Gray 
Profile: There was some debate prior to the 2013 draft over who was the better pitching prospect: Mark Appel or Gray. The future Astros’ product eventually went first overall while the Rockies nabbed the latter pitcher with the third overall pick. Gray throws easy cheese and can hit triple-digits with his fastball but his secondary stuff is not as developed, causing some talent evaluators to project him as a future high-leverage reliever. The Rockies, though, will give him every opportunity to establish himself as a number two or three starter. He was dominant in five High-A ball starts in 2013 and a strong spring showing could vault him to Double-A to begin the year. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Colorado hasn’t developed many high-ceiling, in-house products on the mound. Gray will look to reverse that trend. If he shows improved secondary stuff he could solidify a big league role by mid-2015.
Joan Gregorio 
Profile: While other arms stole the headlines in Augusta, Gregorio might be the most intriguing pitcher on the GreenJackets’ 2013 staff. A lanky 6’7″ right-hander, he missed half of the year with injury problems but was dominant when healthy, with an 84 strikeouts against 17 walks in 69 2/3 innings. He works in the low 90s and has a good, tight slider to go with his heater, and he could add more velocity as he fills out his frame. He doesn’t have much of a change up but limited lefties to an absurd .140/.216/.210 line anyway, allaying concerns he might have to move to relief. Gregorio’s combination of stuff, deception, and control give him considerable promise. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: A huge, lanky right-hander with two good pitches and plenty of room to improve, Gregorio blitzed through his league in 2013. He’s an intriguing sleeper who could be primed for a breakout campaign, and has a higher upside than many give him credit for.
Taylor Guerrieri 
Profile: When Guerrieri burst onto the NY-Penn scene, I was there to watch. The Rays’ right-hander flashed above average velocity and an accurate, tight curveball. A year later, Guerreri struggled on the mound and battled his body throughout the campaign. Today, Guerreri is recovering from Tommy John surgery and should be fully recovered at some point in 2015. He is a mysterious prospect. Prior to his draft, he was considered a fireballer, but for some reason or another his velocity dropped when he turned professional (I suggest the cause for most pitchers is increased pitching frequency). Though, in this case, maybe the velocity dip is due to nagging elbow injuries. Unless you’re overwhelmed by an offer, I suggest holding onto Guerreri to see what he looks like after he recovers. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: Guerrieri’s minor league career has had ups and downs. After Tommy John surgery, he’s obviously near the bottom — if you own him now, you might as well hold on to see what he looks like upon return. Otherwise, check back next year.
Jandel Gustave 
Profile: Talk about premium arm speed. Gustave was a total nobody entering 2013 — in three career seasons, all in Rookie ball, he had struck out 68 and walked 94 — but reaching triple-digits on the radar gun and gaining some semblance of control got him firmly on the radar, even though he still hasn’t thrown a pitch in a full-season league. The skinny 21-year-old whips the ball at 95-99 mph, touching 100, with a slingy motion that imparts a touch of running life as well. His slider is inconsistent and his change up is little more than a 91 mph fastball right now, but pitchers who can reach triple digits in starting roles are rare indeed, and Gustave’s inclusion on that list marks him as an arm to watch. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: An extremely raw power arm, Gustave slings an upper-90s heater that touches 100, and he may still add velocity. His control went from unplayable to merely poor in 2013, and his offspeed pitches need a ton of work, but it’s tough to write off a pitcher who just turned 21 and has this grade of arm speed.
Ronald Guzman 
Profile: A Dominican bonus baby who enjoyed a banner stateside debut as a 17-year-old in 2012, Guzman only got into 49 games in 2013 due to injuries, hitting .272/.325/.387 in Low-A at age 18. A big, stiff 6’5″ first baseman who is already a bottom-of-the-scale runner, Guzman’s value will be determined by his ability to hit. He has outstanding plate coverage and contact skills, striking out just 14% of the time despite his youth, but he has yet to show much in-game power, and his 2013 walk rate was also below par. He has room to fill out his frame and should clear fences more regularly in time, but the offensive bar is set in the stratosphere for first base prospects, and it remains to be seen if he will be able to clear it. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Limited to 49 games in 2013 due to various injuries, Guzman acquitted himself well for an 18-year-old in Low-A, but his lack of athleticism and defensive value puts a lot of pressure on his bat, and he’ll need to prove he has enough secondary skills to meet that challenge.
Alen Hanson 
Profile: After wowing with his tools en route to a .309/.381/.528 performance as an 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League in 2012, Hanson couldn’t replicate his success in the more pitcher-friendly environment of the Florida State League, with a .281/.339/.444 line. Still, he continued to walk about half as often as he struck out and maintained a reasonable power stroke with a .163 isolated slugging percentage — not bad for a 20-year-old athletic middle infielder in a tough place to hit. Hanson still has rawness to work through, as evidenced by his caught-stealing (16 in 46 attempts) and error (32) totals, as well as a walk rate that fell to around five percent in late-season looks in both Double-A and the Arizona Fall League. Still, he has four very impressive tools and a reasonable idea of how to put them to use, and further refinements are quite possible. Despite his statistical downturn, Hanson still projects as a first-division player with 20-20 potential, though his fringy arm may push him to second base. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Hanson’s raw numbers in 2013 were a step back from his gaudy 2012 output, precluding him from jumping into the ranks of the truly elite prospects, but there’s still plenty of reason for optimism thanks to a broad base of tools and a still-solid age-20 showing in High-A.
Courtney Hawkins 
Profile: No matter how you slice it, a .178/.249/.384 line is putrid. Hawkins had no business being in High-A in 2013; his busy hitting mechanics made it tough for him to consistently center the ball, and he showed no ability to lay off breaking stuff. Still, high school draftees are almost never asked to start their first full year in High-A, so in some ways it’s unfair to judge Hawkins for not being ready. He did show the ability to slug, with a .206 isolated slugging percentage, and played a surprisingly quality center field despite his big 220-pound frame. Hawkins’ star has understandably fallen, and he should probably start 2014 a level lower than 2013, but he’s just 20 and still has plenty of tools, so he’s not a lost cause just yet. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: It was an abysmal first full year for Hawkins, who put up one of the worst batting lines in minor league baseball after entering the year with his stock on the rise. He needs massive work, but he has plenty tools and could still make something of himself if he’s placed on a more reasonable timetable.
Andrew Heaney 
Profile: While none are the quality of last year’s National League Rookie of the Year, the Marlins have a strong group of pitching prospects, of which Heaney is probably the most promising. Taken ninth overall in the 2012 draft out of Oklahoma State, the left-hander doesn’t possess elite velocity, but reports suggest that he commands all three of his pitches — suggestions which are further supported by the numbers he’s posted as a professional. One concern perhaps is this: Heaney’s strikeout rate dropped about 10 points following his promotion to Double-A Jacksonville last season. Not necessarily foreboding, that. Still, it’s a reminder that he probably has some more work to do in the minors despite his promise. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Probably the most promising pitching prospect currently in the Marlins system, Heaney will still likely need at least a half-season’s worth of innings at Double-A before visiting the majors.
Austin Hedges 
Profile: The day Hedges plays his first big league game he might become one of the top five defensive catchers in the majors. Yes, he’s that skilled behind the plate, and he makes the pitchers he catches better. Unfortunately, his defensive contributions aren’t going to help fantasy managers (unless they own Padres pitchers, too) and his offense isn’t really much to write home about. He’s not a terrible hitter but he’s likely to be fringe-average early in his career with a chance to be average to slightly-above-average in his prime. Hedges, 21, has some gap power and might hit for a respectable average (.240-.260) but he’s an aggressive hitter who neither walks much nor strikes out a ton. After finishing 2013 with 20 games at the Double-A level, the young backstop will likely return there to open up the ’14 season. He could eventually make Nick Hundley expendable in San Diego while pairing with Yasmani Grandal (who’s coming back from ACL injury) as potentially one of the best catching tandems in baseball. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Hedges’ best attributes won’t translate to fantasy baseball so don’t let the hype cause you to overrate him as a contributor.
Rosell Herrera 
Profile: Herrera is a shortstop who hit .343/.419/.515 in 2013, which sounds huge until you hear that a) he was repeating the level, b) his home park features the silliest outfield dimensions in organized baseball (including 372 feet to center, 320 to right center, and 297 to dead right) and c) he hit .384/.455/.635 in said silly park and just .308/.386/.411 on the road. That road line is still impressive, though, and he was just 20 years old, so it’s not as if he’s a non-prospect, but he may outgrow shortstop down the line and move to third, putting more pressure on his bat to hit for power in normally-sized parks. Herrera has a broad array of skills, with a solid batting eye, gap power, and decent speed, and could be an intriguing two-way third baseman down the line, but he still has a lot left to prove. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Herrera had a huge statistical year in 2013, though it’s not as good as it looks because he was repeating the level and got massive inflation from Asheville’s absurd home park. Still, he has reasonable ability in all five tool areas and a solid approach, giving him significant long-term potential if he can prove his breakout year isn’t a park-based mirage.
Dilson Herrera 
Profile: Traded for Marlon Byrd in August, Herrera is a dynamic second base prospect who could evolve into a quality regular. He hit .265/.330/.421 as a 19-year-old in full-season ball. His swing imparts good backspin to the ball, giving him above-average power despite his short stature, and he has solid athleticism and should mature into a solid defender at second. His plate discipline at the moment is more adequate than advanced, and its development will make the difference between his turning into an all-around contributor or just a fringe starter or utility player. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Herrera enjoyed a solid year in Low-A at age 19, showing off a diverse skill set including average hitting skills, good power for a middle infielder, and solid athleticism — enough to make him the return for Marlon Byrd in August. He has the potential to mature into a solid starting second baseman if he can improve his approach.
Danny Hultzen 
Profile: The second overall pick in 2011 out of the University of Virginia, Danny Hultzen was seemingly on the fast track to Seattle a year ago. Sadly, he required surgery to his labrum and rotator cuff and will miss all of 2014. His long term prognosis is unknown at this time, but those are very bad injuries for a pitcher. Probably best to watch for positive news about his recovery and rehab this season before investing in him for 2015. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Danny Hultzen will miss all of 2014 and perhaps more following surgery on the rotator cuff and labrum in his throwing shoulder.
Luke Jackson 
Profile: Jackson’s always flown under the radar a bit in a traditionally stacked Rangers system, but he’s finally getting recognized as one of their top prospects. He’s never had good control, but his walk rate is slowly getting less and less problematic as he advances, declining at every stop along the minor league chain. He has premium arm speed, unleashing a fastball that sits at 92-96 mph and touches 98, and his curve and change are solid offspeed pitches that allow him to miss bats at high clips. He doesn’t quite have ace upside, but it’s not hard to imagine him having A.J. Burnett’s career. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Jackson and his power arsenal continued to make small strides forward in 2013, culminating in 27 outstanding Double-A innings to close the year. With a huge fastball, two solid offspeed pitches, and control that is veering from “problematic” to “average,” he’s primed to be an exciting mid-rotation starter in a few years, and isn’t too far from contributing.
Micah Johnson 
Profile: Micah Johnson certainly can run, as evidenced by his 84 steals and 15 triples in 2013. He has enough gap power and plate discipline to potentially avoid the Tony Womack trap, though neither skill was on display much after a midseason promotion from Low-A to High-A. An athletic but rough defender at second base, he may face a move to center field if he can’t improve his reads, though he would likely be solid at that position. Johnson has a shot at becoming a leadoff hitter at either spot, but failure to maintain his batting eye or keep the bat from being knocked out of his hands would leave him with little more than a pinch-running career.
Quick Opinion: Johnson ran all over the South Atlantic League and Carolina League, but the non-speed elements of his game are works in progress, as his extra-base punch, plate discipline, and defensive focus seem to ebb and flow. He flashes enough across the board to be more than a speed novelty, but needs a strong 2014 season to prove he projects as a solid regular.
Nicholas Kingham 
Profile: This workhorse turned in an excellent year between High-A and Double-A at age 21, causing many to take notice. While his ERA improved at the higher level (3.09 to 2.70), his strikeout-to-walk ratio fell dramatically (75/14 to 69/30), as he found upper-level hitters a bit more difficult to put away. A big, durable pitcher with a clean delivery, Kingham has a good fastball/curve combination, but his change up has always lagged behind. His ceiling is probably that of a very good fourth starter, but he’s fairly likely to reach it. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Kingham enjoyed a rise up prospect lists in 2013 thanks to an excellent campaign that saw him dominate High-A and hold his own in Double-A at 21. With two good pitches and good command, he projects as a durable innings-eater who fits well in a number four slot.
Matthew Koch 
Profile: The Mets’ third-round selection in 2012 posted a 68/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 1/3 innings in his full-season debut, a staggering number. He’s more than just a control pitcher, though, with a fastball that touches 96 and a solid change up. His season ended on a horrifying note when he was struck in the head with a line drive in August; here’s hoping he makes it back in full health and fine form. He needs a stronger breaking ball to be an impact bat-misser, but his precision and velocity alone should be enough to make him an effective command-oriented starting pitcher. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Koch cruised through his first full season with a 68/4 K/BB, using an effortless motion to place his 91-96 mph fastball with pinpoint command. His combination of arm strength and the ability to locate make him a good candidate to be an effective major league control pitcher, and improvement to his breaking stuff could make him a strikeout compiler as well.
Thomas La Stella 
Profile: La Stella swings a mean stick but his defensive shortcomings at second base may prevent him from playing everyday at the big league level. Chances are good that he’ll develop into an offensive-minded utility player capable of filling in at the keystone and possibly first base. The left-handed hitter had an excellent 2013 season in Double-A where he hit .343 with an .896 OPS. He makes excellent contact and often walks more than he strikes out. His power is of the gap variety and he’s a smart enough base runner to add five to 10 steals a year, even with sporadic playing time. La Stella’s strong hitting may earn him some regular playing time at second base, at least for a season or two, but it will be tough for him to see much time at the position in 2014 with Dan Uggla and his hefty contract in the way. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: La Stella’s ability to hit for strong batting averages could really help your fantasy team, but he’s not likely to receive enough playing time to warrant an inclusion on your roster — barring an injury, trade, or release involving the Braves’ incumbent second baseman Dan Uggla.
Zach Lee 
Profile: Zach Lee received a huge $5.25 million dollar bonus in 2010, but that was never all that indicative of his talent. That bonus was the result of the old draft system that allowed the Dodgers to spread out his well over slot recommendation bonus due to his being a two sport athlete. Lee had committed to playing quarterback at LSU before signing with Los Angeles. The bonus gave many the impression Lee was a transcendent talent and that’s never really been fair to him. He’s a very good athlete and his baseball skills were advanced for a two sport prep kid. Yet Lee was more about present skills than projection and fits best as a mid-to-back rotation type. He has size, low 90’s velocity and a solid three pitch mix. He’s going to be a useful major league starter, but he doesn’t have electric stuff or a real out pitch. Expect good but not great rates and a mediocre strikeout total once he gets a chance. Dodger Stadium will help his cause, but Lee remains more of a complementary piece in a fantasy rotation. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Lee lacks premium stuff and velocity but does a lot of things well that will help the Dodgers in the mid-to-back of the rotation. Los Angeles doesn’t lack pitching depth, but Lee could be a useful fantasy piece when he gets a shot.
Hak-Ju Lee 
Profile: A year lost to knee ligaments torn at a play at second base has torn Hak-Ju Lee’s prospect stock asunder. But the 23-year-old should recover his health in the joint, and, at some point, be exciting once again to those looking for future value at a tough position. Because it’s a virtual lock that he remains a shortstop defensively, he’ll always be interesting. Maybe he doesn’t have much power, and his true-talent strikeout rate in the bigs is an open question. But he should take a base, and, health permitting, steal a few bags. An iffy batting average, a good on-base percentage, and as many as 30 steals could all be facets of his peak. And since he’s had over 700 plate appearances in the high minors, he’s not far off. Deeper leagues with farm systems need to remember Lee’s name, even if the injury has dropped him off of many prospect lists. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: Don’t forget Hak-Ju Lee just because a bad play at second base stole a year of development time. He’s still young, with a good eye at the plate, speed, and a good glove. These things could add up to fantasy relevance within the year.
Francisco Lindor 
Profile: Lindor joins the Cubs’ Javier Baez as one of the two most anticipated shortstop prospects that could make their MLB debuts in 2014. While the latter is more explosive and swings a powerful bat, the former is more well-rounded despite his modest power. Lindor’s stellar defensive tools won’t help fantasy managers but has a strong eye at the plate and makes good contact — both of which should help him hit for a high average and post solid on-base percentages. The switch-hitter may grow into more gap power and eventually provide 30-40 doubles but don’t expect many homers. Big league incumbent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will play a big part in determining when Lindor receives the call to The Show. If the veteran has another clunker of a season, the rookie could see the majors by the all-star break. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Lindor has only 21 games of experience above A-ball so he’s certainly going to need some additional seasoning before he takes over from Asdrubal Cabrera, whose value is plummeting. Unfortunately, the defensive whiz may be more valuable in real life baseball than in the fantasy realms.
Adam Lopez 
Profile: A 21st-round pick in 2012, Lopez emerged as a prospect in his first full season, posting a 2.14 FIP that ranked fourth in the minors among pitchers with 80+ innings. A big right-hander who works downhill, he has a polished three-pitch mix featuring an 89-94 mph fastball, a solid slider, and an inconsistent but sometimes electric change up. He was old for Low-A at 23, but his stuff and polish are legitimate, and he could move quickly and mature into a durable mid-rotation starter. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Lopez emerged from obscurity to post a dominant stat line in his first full year, and he has the three-pitch mix to be more than just a one-year old-for-the-level wonder. His size, easy motion, and broadly effective arsenal give him a chance to be a mid-rotation pitcher.
German Marquez 
Profile: Here’s an arm almost nobody talks about, though more people should. 18-year-olds who touch 94 mph and have solid power curveballs don’t grow on trees, but Marquez falls into that select group. He pitched decently in the Appy League (4.06 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 38/20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 53 1/3 innings pitched) in his stateside debut, showing an advanced ability to neutralize righties (.224/.278/.302, 31/8 K/BB) but struggling badly with lefties (.244/.340/.427, 7/12 K/BB) due to his inability to claim the inner half against them. That’s a minor concern at this stage, though — Marquez already has a lot of solid attributes at a very young age and plenty of time to get the rest of his game together. He’s a good sleeper who could rise up lists in 2014 with a successful introduction to full-season ball. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Just 18, Marquez already has a good fastball/curveball combination and decent control, putting him well ahead of the age curve and allowing him to hold his own in Advanced Rookie ball in 2013. He’s an intriguing sleeper arm.
Steven Matz 
Profile: This Long Island native was drafted by his hometown team, the New York Mets. That’s as nice as the narrative would be for Matz for three years. Injuries kept the short lefty on the sidelines until 2012 when he debuted at Kingsport. A year later, Matz maintained his high strikeout rate thanks to a good fastball-slider combination. Matz is erratic around the plate but his command has progressed over the past year and his stuff is legitimate. Likely, Matz winds up a dominating LOOGY in the bullpen. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: Lacking a third pitch, Matz might have always been destined for the bullpen. He has improved his control to the point that the majors look like a legitimate destination for him.
Nomar Mazara 
Profile: On a Hickory squad filled with big-name bats, Mazara and his .236/.310/.382 line got a bit lost in the shuffle in 2013, but don’t make the mistake of overlooking him. For one, he was the youngest on the very young team — he didn’t turn 18 until a few weeks into the season — and yet he still stood out as a more polished offensive player than many of his teammates. With a short stroke and a solid approach at the dish, Mazara takes quality at-bats, though he’s still working on driving the ball when he gets a pitch to hit. A lanky 6’4″ outfielder, he has plenty of room to fill out and add to his currently average power, and could mature into a balanced offensive presence who can hit .275 with 25 homers and 60 walks. He’ll need to hit, though, because he’ll never be more than adequate defensively in the outfield corners. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Mazara’s numbers in 2013 don’t jump off the table, but he was incredibly young for full-season ball and showed more polish and offensive potential than it might seem. His sound approach and swing and plus power potential make him a well-rounded offensive prospect, though he does have some athletic limitations.
Lance Mccullers 
Profile: McCullers was one of the most electric arms in the prep ranks as a high school junior and senior. With a lively fastball that could reach the upper 90’s and a devastating slider, the Tampa native certainly looked the part of a future big league star. This was tempered by the expectation of many that his high effort mechanics suggested an eventual move to the bullpen. McCullers went some way towards answering that with improvements in his delivery and stuff last spring, but he still has a ways to go. If he ends up in the bullpen, this is easily ninth inning stuff. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: McCullers is an athletic power arm with a plus power slider. Many talent evaluators still see his high effort delivery and command issues leading to a bullpen role, but he’d definitely have closer potential there.
Reese Mcguire 
Profile: The Pirates acquired some serious prep talent in the 2013 amateur draft thanks to two first round draft picks. Along with the ninth overall selection that was used on outfielder Austin Meadows, the Pirates used the 14th selection on McGuire, the top high school catching prospect in the draft. He is a strong defensive catcher with a powerful arm and good leadership skills. At the plate, the left-handed hitter shows the ability to hit for average — he struck out just 9% of the time in his debut. He doesn’t have much present power but could eventually be good for 10-12 homers. McGuire will likely need about four years worth of seasoning in the minors before taking over as the starting catcher in Pittsburgh and hopefully becoming everything Neil Walker was supposed to be when he was a prep catcher selected in the first round of the 2004 draft. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: As long as McGuire keeps following his current development path, he should be the Pirates’ starting catcher of the future as early as late 2016. He should be a strong contributor on both offense and defense.
Austin Meadows 
Profile: The ninth overall pick of the 2013 amateur draft, Meadows immediately became the second-best offensive prospect in the Pirates’ system behind fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco. The Georgia native had a strong start to his pro debut in the rookie Gulf Coast League by posting a .918 OPS in 43 games. The numbers were a bit of a surprise given that Meadow’s hit tool was considered a work in progress prior to the draft. The 18-year-old athlete could eventually hit for 15-20 home runs per season. People throw around the five-tool tag with Meadows but his arm strength is just fringe-average and there are enough questions about his bat and power potential that I’d hold off on heaping that praise for him… at least for now. He’s about four years away from reaching Pittsburgh. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Meadows is an exciting young player, but he’s by no means a finished product and it will be interesting to see how well he performs in a full season. If everything clicks, though, he could be a star.
Adalberto Mejia 
Profile: Injuries kept Mejia to just 17 starts in 2013 during the regular season. When healthy, though, he pitched well in High-A ball with 89 strikeouts in 87 innings. The southpaw made up for some of the lost innings by making seven appearances in the Arizona Fall League. Mejia has solid stuff and projects as a mid-rotation starter for the Giants. He has a frame that suggests he should be capable of piling up a lot of innings. The Giants have a lot of pitching depth so they have no reason to rush Mejia and can afford to let him develop at his own pace. Chances are good, though, that he’ll be ready for The Show at some point in 2015. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Mejia is still a couple years away from fully establishing himself in the majors but he has solid stuff and could develop into a reliable mid-rotation starter for the Giants.
Alex Meyer 
Profile: Alex Meyer is going to pitch for the Twins, but he’s not a Twin pitcher like you’ve known them in the past. Instead of pin-point control and sub-par stuff, Meyer boasts a 96+ mph fastball, a plus-plus tight curve, and an emerging changeup — and about average control. It’s too bad that he had a shoulder issue last year, and only put up 104.1 innings. That probably means he won’t be able to pitch a full season in 2014 — think about 150 innings as a maximum going in. But that injury did mean the pitcher had to throw in the Arizona Fall League, where Trackman numbers allowed us to know a little more about his arsenal. The RPM numbers on the curve, for instance, were top five in the AFL  and commensurate with pitchers that showed a 13% whiff rate in the major leagues. We also know that he doesn’t get quite the extension you’d expect from a tall pitcher with a big fastball — perhaps working on his stride will allow him to keep some of his velocity as he naturally loses gas to age. You’ll be hearing a lot about Alex Meyer this year, with his no-seam fastball and title as St. Paul Savior. If he has a job coming out of spring training, he’s absolutely a mixed-league worthy sleeper, and he should be owned in all leagues. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: Alex Meyer is a young pitcher with an innings limit and without an established track record coming off shoulder problems in the American League. And yet he’s so awesome that he’s a worthy sleeper in all leagues, despite those issues.
Nestor Molina 
Profile: Molina doesn’t have great upside, with muted stuff and minor league strikeout rates, but his proximity to the big leagues, good command, and a chance at a rotation spot with the White Sox once made him interesting. Now he’s been shut down down for nine months with a shoulder injury and looks like he’s headed to the pen. (Eno Sarris )
Raul Mondesi 
Profile: Mondesi didn’t turn 18 until there were just a few weeks left in the 2013 campaign, yet he still held his own in full-season ball the whole year, with a .261/.311/.361 line in Low-A Lexington. A gifted athlete who could mature into a solid defensive shortstop, the switch-hitter has some offensive potential, with a sound swing from the left side, enough power to sting the ball into the gaps, a reasonably sound approach for his age, and some room to fill out his frame. He struggled to amass extra-base hits away from his home park (.128 isolated slugging percentage at home, .061 away) and from the right side of the plate (.111 ISO batting left, .057 batting right), reflecting both Lexington’s inflated park factors and his choppy, slappy right-handed swing, respectively. There’s plenty of refinement needed if Mondesi is to meet his considerable upside, but time is on his side, and he could develop into a true two-way shortstop with added polish. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Mondesi didn’t set the world on fire in his full-season debut in 2013, but he was absurdly young for his level and retains his broad base of tools. He remains a very high-quality prospect, though he has plenty of areas he’ll need to refine to attain success.
Francellis Montas 
Profile: Montas reportedly touched 102 mph early in the season, which (along with solid numbers in Low-A) made him an integral part of the Jake Peavy trade for the White Sox. Montas didn’t flash that sort of velocity after the trade, working at 91-96 and occasionally scraping 97. His walk rate basically doubled after the trade as well, which could be interpreted in a variety of ways but is probably best attributed to fatigue at the end of his first full season. Montas’ hard slider and surprisingly slow change up are intriguing but inconsistent pitches. In a perfect world, he could put everything together and become an imposing power pitcher, but he needs a lot more consistency across the board to reach those heights. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Montas’ solid introduction to Low-A and big right arm got him into the Jake Peavy deal, though he lost velocity and control following the deal. He flashes potential across the board, but struggles with inconsistency. He’s a high-risk, high-reward pitcher.
Rafael Montero 
Profile: Montero doesn’t quite possess the pedigree of other notable Mets pitching prospects Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler. That said, he also posted more or less the same league-adjusted rates as either of them in 2013. The concern with Montero continues to be that his success is founded less on dominant stuff and more on command and control — a concern which has led to (probably legitimate) questions about how well he might eventually fare against major-league batters. Those questions probably won’t be answered at the very beginning of 2014. Provided he’s healthy, however, it wouldn’t be surprising to find Montero pitching in the majors at some point by the middle of the season. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: While lacking the pedigree of Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, Montero approximated their performances in 2013. The question remains, however, whether his command will make up for his lack of armspeed.
Colin Moran 
Profile: The sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft out of North Carolina, Moran had a solid pro debut, hitting .299/.354/.442 in Low-A. A big, strapping third baseman, he has plus raw power, though at this point his value is more defined by his contact abilities (14.3% strikeout rate). He also showed smooth actions and a strong arm at third base and should stick there long-term. He only hit .213/.282/.267 away from Greensboro’s friendly home park and appeared somewhat low-energy at times, and spending a whole year in the pitcher-friendly confines of the FSL will be a test. Moran could turn into a Chase Headley-type player if it all comes together, but he’s not a sure thing just yet. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Moran boasts strong raw power, an advanced feel for hitting, and solid glovework at third, which made him the sixth overall pick in the draft and allowed him to find success in full-season ball immediately after signing. As polished as he is, though, he’ll need better stamina and more consistent power output to reach his ceiling.
Max Muncy 
Profile: Muncy is a polished college bat but lacks premium power and is likely limited to first base. His thick build belies his surprising athleticism, but there’s no natural every day fit for him at the major league level. He can hit enough to help a team in a more limited role. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: A thickly built first baseman, Muncy lacks the power expected at that position. He’s going to be a solid major league hitter but probably doesn’t have the bat or glove to profile anywhere as an every day player.
Tom Murphy 
Profile: Catchers who hit .288/.385/.590 are exciting, but Murphy did that with Asheville, where everyone posts huge numbers. A late-season 20-game trial in Double-A went fairly well, though, lending some hope that he’s not a park mirage. The backstop certainly has raw strength, and he has above-average athleticism for the position, though he was somewhat old for Low-A and didn’t exhibit a great approach (87/37 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Low-A; 16/4 in Double-A) nor great receiving skills (23 passed balls in 83 games caught). He’ll need to show growth in both areas if he’s going to unseat Wilin Rosario, who is only two years his senior, though it’s easy to see Murphy as an offensive-minded backup catcher even if those improvements don’t come. He’s an interesting prospect, and we’ll learn a lot about his legitimacy in a full year untainted by McCormick Field’s ridiculous dimensions. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Murphy put up huge numbers in 2013, though as with anyone who played half his games in Asheville, their legitimacy is a serious question. He has power, arm strength, and above-average athleticism for a catcher, but he was old for Low-A, struck out a lot, and struggled with receiving. He’ll need to show his strengths are legitimate in 2014; if he can, he’ll be one of baseball’s best catching prospects.
Justin Nicolino 
Profile: Nicolino’s first season in the Marlins system was a success as he pitched well in High-A ball before finishing the year with nine Double-A starts. In total, the southpaw compiled 142 innings of work while displaying his above-average control. On the down side, Nicolino struck out just 95 batters and put a lot of balls into play, which led to 152 hits allowed. He does a nice job of keeping the ball in the park (six home runs allowed) and inducing ground-ball outs. The big knock on the Florida native is his lack of a true out pitch but he’s shown enough to project as a solid-but-unspectacular number three or four starter. Nicolino should open 2014 back in Double-A but the organization has never been shy about promoting prospects to the majors directly from that level. Don’t be shocked to see the lefty in The Show by August, especially with the unpredictability of the Marlins’ unproven starting rotation. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Nicolino is fairly polished for a 22-year-old hurler and his command/control helps his stuff play up a bit but he should have a modest ceiling, even in his prime.
Mike O’Neill 
Profile: O’Neill is confined more or less to left field, has basically nothing in the way of conventional tools, and is unlikely to appear near the top of any notable Cardinals prospect lists from the 2013-14 offseason. What he has done in the minor leagues, however, is control the strike zone in a singular fashion. Consider: only four of the 141 major-league batters to record 500-plus plate appearances in 2013 also produced a positive walk-strikeout differential. Mike O’Neill, meanwhile, is projected to do that exact thing by the Oliver, Steamer, and ZiPS projection systems. While he might never prove integral to the Cardinals at the major-league level, outliers such as O’Neill are a pleasure to follow. He probably doesn’t have much development left, so he’s a candidate for promotion any time the club needs a sort-of-bat-first corner outfielder. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: O’Neill is probably more interesting for his singular plate discipline skills than his actual overall future potential. That said, outliers are difficult to project in every field, baseball included.
Rougned Odor 
Profile: Odor’s been moved through the minors incredibly fast — he reached Double-A at 19 years, five months — especially for a player who isn’t gifted with prodigious tools. He’s responded to challenges as well as anyone could possibly expect, though, hitting .305/.369/.454 in High-A and .306/.354/.530 in Double-A. A doubles machine with a plus hit tool and solid-average speed, Odor is an emotional player who occasionally gets out of control, taking just 35 walks and committing 25 errors in 2013. His physical limitations may preclude him from stardom, but he should have a long career as a solid-average starting second baseman. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Odor had a huge season in 2013, especially when one considers he was as far ahead of the age curve as almost any other player in organized baseball. He’s not necessarily a future star, but he’s an energetic player with a wide base of skills who should be a quality regular for a long time.
Braulio Ortiz 
Profile: Fastballs like Braulio Ortiz’s don’t come around very often — the pitch works 93-97 deep into games and has a ton of late, riding life, and it comes out of a smooth, easy delivery. That’s the sum of the huge Dominican’s skillset right now, as his slider is extremely inconsistent, his changeup barely exists (he added it upon converting to starting in the middle of 2013), and his walk rate went from a poor 14.6% in Low-A to an untenable 17.4% in High-A. Still, going from DSL swingman to High-A starter in a year is the sort of jump that understandably leaves control lagging a bit, and the 22-year-old’s aforementioned sound mechanics give hope that he’ll be able to find the zone more consistently with more experience. He could be a fearsome reliever with more consistency on the slider and control, and still has a shot to start if his offspeed pitches come around. He’s an intriguing sleeper to watch. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Ortiz is an intriguing sleeper prospect thanks to a huge fastball that combines mid-90s velocity with huge movement. Everything else about him is a work in progress, but he has a high upside if things come together.
Roberto Osuna 
Profile: Osuna was a much-heralded Mexican amateur whose stock exploded in 2013 when he carved up the Midwest League as an 18-year-old. His exciting full season debut went off the tracks with a torn UCL that eventually required Tommy John surgery. There were some other questions about Osuna as he’s aleady filled out and is more about present stuff than projection. Still, the present stuff is already major league quality. For an 18-year-old dominating A-Ball he may not get all that much better… but he’s already really good. Osuna is expected to miss most of 2014 but when he returns, he projects as a middle of the rotation starter. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Osuna exploded onto the prospect scene with a dominating performance as an 18 year old in the Single-A Midwest League. Unfortunately he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss much of 2014. When he returns, he projects as a middle of the rotation starter.
Henry Owens 
Profile: Owens is a big (6′ 6″) left-hander who flashed great stuff and velocity in high school but never dominated like scouts thought he should. That all changed when he entered the pro ranks. Owens added strength and his stuff and velo became more consistent. He overmatched hitters in the low minors and made it all the way to Double-A as a 20-year-old this year. At Double-A Portland, he struck out 46 batters in 30.1 innings. Owens doesn’t really possess front line stuff despite his great numbers, though. He has a good low 90’s heater with some life on and from his height it obviously has a good downward plane. His curve and change up have potential to give Owens three above average pitches when he matures. Yet, the raw stuff isn’t really electric. What makes Owens so effective is that hitters have a tremendously hard time picking up the ball out of his hand. Some of it is deception in his delivery — but he’s not funky. He’s just a big kid who stays closed late and hides the ball well. Owens has a chance to be a number two or three starter if he keeps improving and as a downside he could be a very steady and effective number four. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Owens is more about deception, plane and pitchability than raw stuff, but he’s a very good pitching prospect with a chance to be a mid-rotation starter or perhaps a number two.
Joe Panik 
Profile: Panik doesn’t have the flashiest tools on the field and his fantasy profile is fairly limited. He does project as someone who will hit for a high batting average and has a decent chance to play a significant role on a major league team. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Panik projects as a one category contributor (batting average) when he eventually breaks into the majors. He’s a solid ballplayer but won’t add much in most fantasy formats.
Kyle Parker 
Profile: Most writeups about Kyle Parker focus on the negative. For good reason, maybe. He is a little stiff! He doesn’t look good defensively in the outfield! He might not make enough contact! Dunno about the walks! And yeah, the offensive bar for being a contributor in the major leagues at first base is impossibly high. But you know what? The current first baseman in Colorado is approximately eighty years old with a brain that’s about twenty years older. And there’s no real other options coming up behind Parker. So it’s probable that Parker will get a shot at some point, even if it is at first base. And with a home park like he’s got, he’s automatically interesting. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: Any hitter with offensive potential in the Colorado system should get some attention, even if they might strike out a bit much or are headed to first base. Parker’s ETA is probably late this year at best, though.
Joc Pederson 
Profile: Pederson has turned himself into a solid prospect, but the established outfield foursome of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig could make it difficult for an unproven rookie to crack the lineup and earn the faith bestowed upon him by fantasy owners. When the young hitter finally earns his shot — either in 2014 or ’15 — Pederson could be provide a healthy number of home runs and stolen bases, as well as a strong on-base percentage due to his propensity for taking the free pass. He struggles against southpaws at times so a platoon situation (or limited exposure to ) may be warranted — at least early and late in his career. Pederson should open 2014 in Triple-A but is close to ready for his first taste of big league action. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: With Andre Ethier and his hefty paycheck already riding the pine, it might be difficult for Pederson to crack the starting lineup in 2014 — barring an injury. He doesn’t wow with the tools but, with regular playing time, he could provide 15+ home runs and 20+ steals.
D.J. Peterson 
Profile: Peterson is a bit of a rare commodity in that he’s more or less an all-bat, no-glove college player who was drafted in the first round. There’s successful precedent for that type, of course: Mark Teixeira didn’t have great defensive upside, for example, nor Todd Helton before him. Generally, though, clubs prefer selecting players with some margin of error on both sides of the ball. Given the concerns about his third-base defense, however, Peterson doesn’t really offer that. For him to succeed in the majors, he’ll have to hit like a league-average first baseman or better, probably. Will he do that in the big leagues? Perhaps. He hit 50% above league-average at both Low- and Class-A in 2013, which is encouraging. But not in 2014, he won’t. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Peterson will have to develop into a decidedly above-average hitter to compensate for his defensive weaknesses. He remains unlikely to appear in the majors until 2016, at least, though.
Stephen Piscotty 
Profile: According to both the Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, were Piscotty to face a season’s worth of major-league pitching as soon as 2014, he’d probably record something not unlike a league-average batting line. That might seem a bit optimistic for a player who made his first appearance in Double-A only this last June. And yet, inspecting Piscotty’s minor-league resume, it’s not so difficult to believe. He walks, he makes lots of contact, he’s demonstrated serviceable power. Because he’s a corner outfielder, however, Piscotty will eventually be tasked with producing above-average offensive lines, to account for the negative positional adjustment. That might be within his power as soon as 2015. At that point, it will remain for him to contend with Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, Oscar Taveras, and whomever else might have some claim to a spot in the Cardinal outfield. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Piscotty has demonstrated a polished offensive approach and still probably has room before he reaches his personal ceiling. The presence of Oscar Taveras and other corner outfield candidates, however, crowds his path to a major league role.
Kevin Plawecki 
Profile: Kevin Plawecki is the best catching prospect that nobody seems to be talking about. Part of that is that he’s overshadowed in his organization by Travis d’Arnaud, but the gap between the two isn’t as wide as some might have you believe. Offensively, Plawecki boasts tremendous contact skills — he struck out just 10% of the time in 2013, and just 8.8% after being promoted to High-A — and a solid batting eye to go with gap power that manifested itself with 38 doubles. The big, strapping backstop has the raw strength to turn some of those into home runs down the line. Behind the plate, Plawecki is an excellent receiver with soft hands — it’s highly unusual for a catcher to allow just five passed balls in 88 games in his first pro season — and an average arm. Look for him to rise up prospect lists as he hits Double-A in 2014; he could develop into a two-way force behind the plate with lines in the .280/.345/.435 range. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Plawecki mysteriously flies under the radar despite boasting several skills and turning in a .305/.390/.448 performance across the two A-ball levels in his first full season. With a strong approach, gap power that could lead to some home runs down the line, and excellent receiving skills, he’s a big-time sleeper who could evolve into a first-division catcher.
Gregory Polanco 
Profile: In 2013, Pittsburgh gave the starting left-field spot to 24-year-old Starling Marte, who parlayed his above-average athleticism and emerging baseball skills into nearly a five-win season. Reason suggests, given the effects of regression, that Marte’s actual true-talent level isn’t quite that high. Even so, he’s above average. That is, by definition, a valuable thing — and yet, it’s hard not to regard Polanco as nearly identical to Starling Marte, were Starling Marte also to have an advanced understanding of the strike zone. This is what the scouting reports on Polanco suggest. This is also what the numbers, both the minor-league and projected kind, suggest. Precisely when Polanco is given an opportunity to play in the majors, is the question now. Marte, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Tabata are likely to begin the season as Pittsburgh’s starting outfield contingent. Only injury or ineffectiveness will facilitate Polanco’s promotion for the time being. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: “Starling Marte with control of the strike zone” is probably a trite way to describe Gregory Polanco, but it’s also a pretty reasonable one.
Cesar Puello 
Profile: In his minor-league career, Puello has demonstrated the capacity to hit for average and to hit for power and to run and to field and to throw — many of which skills he displayed simultaneously with Double-A Binghamton in 2013. Unfortunately, he also demonstrated the capacity to be suspended for 50 games due to his involvement in the Biogenesis situation. One hopes, for Puello’s sake, that PED-related scandals aren’t a repeatable skill. Certainly, his involvement in same has obscured his achievements of last year. Entering just his age-23 season, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him return to Double-A, at least to begin the season. His next stop after that depends both on his own development and the health/effectiveness of Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, and Chris Young. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: His Biogenesis-related suspension is undeniably a concern. That said, he’s demonstrated a broad range of skills and enters just his age-23 season.
Matt Purke 
Profile: Two years after the Nationals spent $5 million to sign him in the third round, Purke finally made it through most of a season healthy, logging 90 innings across 18 starts and also working 23 AFL frames. The numbers were there, somewhat — a 3.80 ERA and 82 strikeouts to 25 walks in 90 IP isn’t half bad — but the stuff was far removed from his amateur heyday. Purke’s fastball works mostly in the 88-91 range, his curveball is his only standout offering, and his cross-body motion could lead to further shoulder problems down the line. Purke’s strikeout rate fell from 34.8% in Low-A to 15.6% in High-A, another major red flag. At 23, he’s now somewhat behind the age curve, and while he still has a shot at a back-of-the-rotation career, he’s no longer the sleeping giant many expected him to be when he was drafted. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Purke got healthy in 2013 and was fairly effective, but his stuff has regressed from his amateur days and his performance took a major hit after he was moved from Low-A to High-A. He no longer projects as an impact arm.
Neil Ramirez 
Profile: A trade late last season sent Ramirez from Texas to the Chicago Cubs and opened up a little more of a clearer path to future big league starting gig — the Cubs have less pitching depth than the Rangers. The right-hander posted solid numbers at the Double-A level last year and struck out 132 batters with just 78 hits allowed in 107.2 innings of work. Ramirez, 24, has the stuff (low-to-mid-90s heater, potentially-plus curve) to develop into a solid number three starter and he could see big league action before the all-star break with a few unsettled spots in the Cubs’ starting rotation. There is also chance that he could end up in the bullpen if his third pitch (a change up) fails to fully develop. One thing to be conscious of with Ramirez is his injury history — including shoulder problems. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Ramirez should be one of the first pitchers in line to receive a promotion to Chicago in the event of an injury but he probably won’t settle into a permanent starter’s role until 2015.
Anthony Ranaudo 
Profile: Considered a candidate to go in the first few picks of his sraft year, Ranaudo fell after a stress fracture in his elbow cost him much of his college season that was otherwise marred by ineffectiveness. He showed his premium stuff again on the Cape that summer before agreeing to an over-slot deal with Boston. Throughout the minors, Ranaudo still hasn’t been the pitcher he was his sophomore year at LSU. He throws heavy fastballs from a 6′ 7″ frame but they don’t miss many bats and he doesn’t spot them all that well. His curveball flashes plus at times, but other times he loses feel for it and it resembles a tilting slider with little bite. The change up is too firm and Ranaudo doesn’t command it well. His long limbs give him trouble staying in synch and repeating his delivery. Ranaudo keeps the ball down and induces ground balls, but the stuff is more suited to the back of a rotation with maybe a chance at being a number three starter if everything comes together. Boston has a lot of rotation depth at Triple-A Pawtucket, but Ranaudo is already on the 40-man and has a good chance to see some major league innings this season. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Ranaudo these days is more in the mold of a back end ground-ball pitcher. He doesn’t miss a whole lot of bats and the stuff is inconsistent. He can be a useful but unexciting rotation piece for fantasy teams if Boston finds some starts for him this season.
Rangel Ravelo 
Profile: Ravelo has always hit — he’s a career .298 hitter despite being consistently young for his levels. He enjoyed a career year in 2013, ripping the ball at a .312/.393/.455 clip in High-A. It’s tough to like a first baseman who has just seven career homers in 288 games, but Ravelo is a strong kid who has the capability to add to his homer totals with some additional swing loft, and he also is athletic enough to slide across the diamond to third base, where he played prior to 2013. He has the rare ability to swing out of his shoes at pitches while still consistently squaring up the ball, allowing him to keep his strikeout rate down while making consistent hard contact, leading to lots of line drives. He’s a bit of a square-peg, round-hole player, but Ravelo’s bat may be good enough to allow him to become a league-average corner infielder in a couple of seasons. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: A deep sleeper heading into 2013, Ravelo broke out with a .312/.393/.455 line. Considered underpowered for first, he has the potential to add power in the next few seasons, and he may be athletic enough to move to a more challenging position as well. He’s an intriguing sleeper prospect with a gift for hard contact.
Tony Renda 
Profile: After an almost unimaginably powerless 2012 debut (.031 isolated slugging percentage), the under-sized Renda spent 2013 justifying his second-round selection in the previous draft, ripping 43 doubles and walking more than he struck out. He also went 30-for-36 on the bases. A fundamentally sound player with a clean stroke and good eye, Renda could move quickly. He’ll have to prove he has enough punch to keep the bat from being knocked out of his hands, but if he clears that hurdle he could find a home as a traditional number two hitter in the Placido Polanco mold. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Renda turned in an excellent 2013 in his full-season debut, showing a combination of a great approach, doubles power, and solid speed and second base defense. He’s a polished prospect who could move quickly and has the upside of a solid starter and top-of-the-order presence.
Hunter Renfroe 
Profile: Renfroe was an interesting player for the Padres to target in the first round of the 2013 draft because his best tool is his power and San Diego’s home park has a tendency to mute over-the-fence pop. The outfielder should be a decent hitter in time but it remains to be seen just how much batting average he’ll produce — he struck out 49 times (with just nine walks) in 43 games. A strong spring might help Renfroe open the season in High-A ball and he could be ready to challenge for a gig at the big league level in late 2015 or by mid-2016. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Renfroe could be a solid source of power in a few years — assuming Petco Park doesn’t wreak havoc on him for 81 games a year.
Alexander Reyes 
Profile: Nobody’s quite talking about him yet because he has a mere 58 1/3 professional innings, all in the lowly Appalachian League, but Alex Reyes is an excellent pitching prospect. The projectable 6’3″ righty unleashes a 91-95 mph fastball with natural cut from an easy motion and backs it up with a curveball that is already a plus pitch. His change up is advanced for his age as well. Everybody’s going to be talking about this guy a year from now if he’s still healthy and hasn’t regressed, and Reyes had the upside of a number two starter and possibly even an ace if things break right. He’s already scarily polished for a teenager and still has a lot of projection left. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Reyes is the next gem in St. Louis’ fabled line of pitching prospects, though as an 18-year-old with no experience above Rookie ball, he’s a long way off. Still, he already has a pair of plus offerings and a third playable one, all from an easy motion. There’s plenty of room for improvement beyond that, too, which makes him a fantastic prospect and very possibly the biggest pitching sleeper in the game.
Eduardo Rodriguez 
Profile: Rodriguez falls into the ‘One of the better arms you’ve never heard of’ category — unless you’re a Baltimore fan, that is. The lefty split the 2013 season between High-A and Double-A while also adding another 14.2 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He pitched almost 160 innings last year despite being just 20 years old with four years of pro experience. The Venezuela native has an above-average fastball for a lefty and shows the potential to develop a plus slider and an above-average changeup. He could develop into a number two or three starter and could give the Orioles an enviable future rotation when combined with fellow pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Rodriguez should open 2014 in Double-A but could taste big league action in the second half if he shows improved command within the strike zone. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Rodriguez may not help out a ton in 2014 but he could be a significant contributor in Baltimore starting as early as 2015.
Amed Rosario 
Profile: Rosario hit just .241/.279/.358 in Rookie ball in 2013, but as a 17-year-old shortstop with a lot of tools, that’s hardly a concern at this point. He has solid infield actions and a plus arm at short, though at 6′ 2″ with room to fill out, he could end up moving to third base down the line. He already shows the power potential for that spot, though, and could have above-average contact skills and power production in a few years as he matures and gains experience. His upside is considerable, but it’s difficult to discern the shape of his potential production because he’s so far away. His first order of business in 2014 should be to learn how to pull the ball — nearly all of his hard contact in 2013 came to the opposite field. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Rosario is eons from the majors — he spent 2013 as a 17-year-old with relatively poor production in short-season ball. Still, he has a wide base of tools and is advanced for his age, making him one of the top prospects in baseball without full-season experience.
Eddie Rosario 
Profile: Rosario is a talented player who lacks front line tools but has found a decent fit at second base. He has good bat speed but doesn’t do himself any favors with his swing. He wraps his hands up behind him and creates a lot of extra distance to the ball. That’s something that more advanced pitchers will exploit as Rosario has precious little time to recognize and adjust to breaking and off speed pitches. Rosario is a solid but unexciting fantasy prospect. Worse, he’s facing a 50 game suspension for his second violation using a drug of abuse. He’s not likely to have any fantasy value in 2014 and his long term prospects have taken a huge hit. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Rosario is suspended 50 games to start 2014 due to his second positive test for a drug of abuse. He’s not likely to have any fantasy value this season and his long term prospects have taken a huge hit.
Ryan Rua 
Profile: Rua came out of nowhere to lead the minors in home runs well into July, a shocking turn of events for a mid-sized second baseman who was a 17th-round pick out of a Division II school. He was a 23-year-old in Low-A and slumped to .233/.305/.384 in a late-season look in Double-A, so Rua isn’t suddenly one of baseball’s top prospects, but he does have above-average power, a reasonably sound approach, and average athleticism, enough to make him a potentially solid regular. He was moved out of Texas’ crowded middle infield picture to third base late in the season, and should mature into a solid defender there. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Few prospects emerged from obscurity in 2013 the way Rua did, as the infielder bashed 32 homers in his full-season debut. He was old for the level and doesn’t have premium tools, but his power output is somewhat legitimate and he has enough supplemental skill to potentially carve out a solid career.
Addison Russell 
Profile: There are indications that Russell could survive in the major leagues as early 2014. Certain of his projections suggest that he’s already capable of playing at the highest level, both offensively and defensively. Most of his scouting reports would appear to echo that sentiment. The question of whether he’s qualified to produce wins at a league-average rate, however, will probably go unanswered for the time being. Between Russell and the starting Oakland shortstop job is Jed Lowrie. After Lowrie stand also Nick Punto and Eric Sogard. Even Andy Parrino, currently on the 40-man roster, might be a possibility. Russell’s debut isn’t imminent, in other words. But when he makes it, he’ll probably be good, is the other point. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Russell could probably produce wins at a league-average rate in Oakland in 2014. He won’t likely get the opportunity, however.
Aaron Sanchez 
Profile: The Jays’ top pitching prospect is either Marcus Stroman or Sanchez, depending on who you ask. The former is more polished than the latter but Sanchez has the higher ceiling if he can add the necessary polish to his game. The California native spent the 2013 season in High-A ball but struggled with a shoulder injury and pitched just 86.1 innings during the regular season. Sanchez added another 23.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League to break the century mark in frames. He has a power fastball and a potentially plus curveball, and those offerings allow him to rack up both strikeouts and ground-ball outs. Double-A will be a stiff test for him in 2014 as he continues to struggle with both his command and his control. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Sanchez has the ceiling of a number two starter if he can improve his command and control, while also sharpening his changeup. He should be ready for the Majors in 2015.
Gary Sanchez 
Profile: It is nearly impossible to not compare Gary Sanchez to former Yankee farmhand Jesus Montero. Both were big, immobile, bat-first Dominican catchers. The similarities are only skin deep. Sanchez has a better bat than Montero. Both have prodigious raw power but Sanchez has a much better idea of what he’s doing at the plate. Behind the plate, Sanchez is a superior receiver, blocker and game caller than Montero — but that’s not exactly high praise. Sanchez doesn’t move well back there and no one would call his hands “soft.” Both Sanchez and Montero have top of the line arm strength, but Sanchez is a much better thrower due to far better throwing mechanics and greater athleticism. What’s the end result? Sanchez is just a poor catcher where Montero was a dumpster fire, but the 21-year-old may very well have to follow Montero to first base anyway. New York’s addition of Brian McCann on a five year deal further puts Sanchez’s future with the team in question. He’ll spend 2014 further honing his craft in the high minors. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Sanchez remains a project at catcher and the addition of Brian McCann puts his future in the Bronx in doubt. He’ll continue to hone his craft in the high minors in 2014.
Victor Sanchez 
Profile: Sanchez was one of the biggest risers among prospects during the 2013 season. Much of that hype is warranted. He successfully pitched in full season A-Ball as an 18-year-old. Teenage debuts in the Midwest League have been a great marker for future success in recent years. Sanchez also has the present velocity and stuff to succeed at that level, but he’s already more of a pitcher than a thrower. He has an advanced feel for sequencing, setting up hitters and locating that are well beyond what you’d expect from someone his age. The downside here is he’s a wide-bodied teen… so it’s difficult to project anything more here. While you might think the sky is the ceiling for a teenage pitcher with this kind of kind of stuff and track record, the feeling is that Sanchez is largely maxed out and may not take any more big leaps forward in his game. What Sanchez can do may be enough for him to succeed as a mid-rotation type, but there’s still a development curve and a good amount of cleanup for him to get there. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Sanchez is very advanced for a teenager and shows present velo, stuff and pitchability you wouldn’t expect at his age. While you might think the sky is the ceiling for a teenage pitcher with this kind of stuff and track record, the feeling is that Sanchez is largely maxed out with his 250 plus pound frame and may not take any more big leaps forward in his game.
Miguel Sano 
Profile: Sano has the best power bat in the minors and represents a premium fantasy asset. He won’t be a Mendoza line hitter, but batting average likely won’t be a regular strength for him given his long arms, the length in his sometimes stiff swing and his propensity for expanding his strike zone. He’s a surprisingly good athlete and defender at third base, though he may stiffen up as he ages. There was some thought Sano would have to move off third, but that no longer appears to be the case — as long as his elbow remains in good shape. There was some worry he would need Tommy John surgery this offseason. Sano turns 21 in May, so there’s no rush here and he should be given the time he needs to polish his approach and the rest of his game. The Twins could potentially accelerate that timeline if the 2014 team turns out better than expected. Once he reaches the majors he’s instantly a must own fantasy option. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: With his prodigious power, Sano will be one of the most exciting fantasy options at third base once he reaches the majors. That’s unlikely to be for any significant amount of time in 2014, but the Twins could accelerate that timeline if they get off to a better than expected start.
Domingo Santana 
Profile: Santana offers one premium skill as a baseball player: the ability to hit for power. That’s a scarce commodity in the majors all of a sudden, and thus Santana will hold fantasy value as a power source. Beyond the homers, Santana’s game is pretty limited. His long arms and long swing won’t be conducive to contact or a high batting average. He likely will do much of his damage as a mistake hitter and against back of the rotation starters. While he’s athletic enough to stay in an outfield corner he doesn’t move or run that well and will be a station to station baserunner. Santana can be a plus in the home run and RBI categories but it will come at the cost of a negative everywhere else. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Santana is a one dimensional power hitter, but he offers premium home run power in a time when that skill is increasingly hard to find. He’ll stick in the outfield but will hurt you in batting average, runs and stolen bases for all the help he offers in home runs and RBIs.
Luis Sardinas 
Profile: This skinny Venezuelan shortstop displayed impressive bat-to-ball skills in 2013, striking out less than 15% of the time in both the Carolina and Texas Leagues as a 20-year-old. The switch-hitter’s power is never going to be a factor, but his athleticism should allow him to play solid shortstop defense and swipe plenty of bases — he was 32-for-42 in 2013. As with many players of this type, his utility will largely be determined by how often he can supplement his hitting by working walks — typically, his walk rates have been in the 7-8% range, but he coaxed just four free passes in a 29-game stint in Double-A to end the season. He looks like he may be able to provide similar production to current Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, though he’s not as advanced as Andrus was at the same age. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Sardinas turned in a solid 2013 on both sides of the ball, showing contact ability, base stealing prowess, and defensive potential. He’ll never be a power threat and still needs improved focus and consistency, but he has enough quality skills to emerge as a solid MLB shortstop.
Corey Seager 
Profile: Seager could become one of the top offensive prospects in baseball in 2014. The young infielder posted a .918 OPS in Low-A ball last year. He earned a late-season promotion to High-A ball and also received a rare Arizona Fall League assignment as a teenager. The North Carolina native was overwhelmed with the final two assignments but it’s not a shock given his lack of experience, having signed out of high school in 2012 as the 18th overall selection. Seager projects to hit for both power and average, while posting walk rates above 10%. He currently plays shortstop but is expected to eventually move over to third base due to his size (6’4” 205 lbs) and modest range/actions. He’ll likely open the 2014 season back in High-A ball but could taste Double-A action before the end of the year. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: The Dodgers prospect may not stick at shortstop but he could develop into a beast with the stick. Just don’t expect him to surface in The Show for regular playing time until late 2015 or early 2016.
Braden Shipley 
Profile: Shipley is a strong athlete who actually entered college as a shortstop before turning to pitching full time as a sophomore. The right-hander is still raw as a pitcher but he’s learning quickly. Both his fastball and his changeup are further along in their development than his curveball. However, the breaking ball has already shown signs of improvement since he turned pro and the organization feels the offering can be average, if not plus. His strong frame could help him throw 200+ innings per season. The 21-year-old hurler finished 2013 in Low-A ball but could move up to High-A to begin ’14 and might see the majors by mid-2015. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Shipley has to add some polish to his overall game but the above-average athlete has the makings of a future number two or three starter for the Snakes.
Lucas Sims 
Profile: The 21st pick in the 2012 draft enjoyed a strong full-season debut as a 19-year-old in Low-A, pitching to a 2.62 ERA and 2.81 FIP with 134 strikeouts against 46 walks in 116 2/3 innings. He has a solid low-90s fastball, a curve that’s nearing plus already, and a playable change up, with plenty of time and room to improve. He’s on track to be a solid mid-rotation starter, with an outside chance at reaching into number two territory. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Sims put up strong numbers and showed above-average stuff as a 19-year-old in his full-season debut. With a broad skillset and few red flags for a player this age, he’s a strong bet to become a quality big-league starting pitcher.
Jon Singleton 
Profile: Singleton is that rare bat first prospect whose bat is enticing enough to excite fantasy owners. Singleton’s calling card is his massive power. With home runs far down across the league from 10, 15 years ago a first baseman who can pop 25, 30, or more long balls is getting hard to come by. Singleton isn’t an Adam Dunn style low average slugger, though. He has the bat control and command of the strike zone to hit for a strong average. Singleton is only capable of playing first base, so his bat is going to have to live up to expectations — but there’s every indication it will. With only Brett Wallace and Chris Carter blocking his path, Singleton isn’t far from establishing himself in Houston. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Singleton is a big time power hitter on the cusp of the majors. With only Brett Wallace and Chris Carter blocking his way, he could be months away from helping your fantasy team’s home run totals.
Dominic Smith 
Profile: Amateur prospects that play first base typically have to be very impressive to warrant a first round pick, given that their defensive contributions are usually limited, putting more stress on their offensive development. Smith was selected 11th overall by the Mets in 2013 but the 18-year-old’s selection was more than justified. He has the defensive skills to eventually develop into a plus fielder and he provides a diverse attack at the plate. Smith has the raw power to hit the ball out of any part of a ball park (even though he gets pull happy) and he has an advanced plate approach that leads to strong batting averages and high on-base percentages. He struck out less than 20% of the time in his debut, which is an excellent sign for a power-hitting prospect. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Smith will open 2014 in Low-A ball and could be a quick mover for a prep draftee. He could soon help Mets fans forget about the inconsistent performances of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.
Jorge Soler 
Profile: Soler is perhaps the most exciting prospect  of the Cubs Big Trio, and he’s already blopped 14 homers and collected 17 stolen bases with only two caught stealings in just 99 pro games. At age 22, it won’t be surprising if Soler manages to surge to the majors for a September cup of coffee. He will likely start the season at Double-A, so do not expect him to help your team quite yet. But those fantasy cats who sat on and then profited from Yasiel Puig  will no doubt know the pleasures of having a polished Cuban slugger magically appear in a lineup and guide the team to a fantasy championship. That is say: Soler should be worth the wait. (@BradleyWoodrum )
Quick Opinion: Soler may be another year away from serious playing time on the northside, but he is the kind of talent worth sitting on for another year, He’s shown power, speed and even decent plate discipline in the minors, meaning he could be the total package upon reaching the majors.
George Springer 
Profile: The Connecticut native could become a fantasy darling in the near future after just missing becoming the only 40-40 (home runs-stolen bases) player in baseball last year. Don’t get too carried away, though; his offensive attack has serious warts. Springer’s batting average from 2013 might give you some false hope because the swing-and-miss tendencies are not conducive similar success when facing veteran hurlers (not to mention his batting average on balls in play was unsustainably high). The athletic outfielder is skilled enough to handle all three positions. When he proves he’s ready, neither Robbie Grossman nor L.J. Hoes is talented enough to qualify as a significant roadblock. Springer could be ready for the majors by mid-2014. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Springer might hit worse than .250 with that strikeout rate, but the 30-30 capability will be highly coveted once he reaches the majors. Playing in the middle of a poor lineup, though, could impact both his RBI and runs scored totals.
Robert Stephenson 
Profile: Stephenson doesn’t get the attention he deserves as one of the Top 10 arms in the minors but that should change in 2014 as he will spend much of the year in Double-A as a 21 year old. The California native pitched at three levels in 2013 and struck out a combined 136 batters in 114.1 innings of work. He also walked just 35 batters and showed above-average control for his experience and age. He needs to rely on his secondary pitches more often — his curveball flashes plus potential. The development of the change up will be key to ensuring he’s able to remain a dominant starter at the big league level. He might see some big league action at the end of 2014 but he won’t be ready to settle into a regular role until 2015. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Stephenson has the ceiling of a number two starter but he’s still a few years away from realizing that potential for the Reds.
Kohl Stewart 
Profile: The Twins have accumulated an impressive collection of prospects and Stewart could rank near the top of the pile in short order. His above average athleticism helps his already above average stuff play up. The 2013 fourth overall draft pick has a chance to have three average or better offerings with his low-to-mid-90s fastball, slider, and change up. Despite focusing on numerous sports in high school, Stewart could move swiftly through the system and might reach Minnesota by the end of 2016 — although the depth will allow them to be patient if need be. He’ll open the year in Low-A ball and has the ceiling of a number two starter. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: If you’re patient with Stewart in keeper leagues, you could be rewarded in a few years when he develops into a top-shelf starter. Just don’t count on him until 2017.
Chris Stratton 
Profile: Stratton had a solid first full year (123 strikeouts against 47 walks, 3.27 ERA in 132 innings), but was overall a bit underwhelming given his first-round draft status. First-round picks are supposed to do a bit more with their age-22 seasons than have solid years in Low-A, and first-round right-handed pitchers are supposed to sit above 90 mph. Stratton wavered in that department — he would work 89-93 one start and 87-91 the next. He doesn’t have much of a change up, allowing lefties to hit .285/.346/.379 in 2013, and benefited from a very friendly home park (he held batters to a .255/.308/.341 line at home but .262/.343/.403 on the road). With a clean delivery and above-average breaking ball as his only standout attributes, Stratton looks more like a potential complementary part than a future integral part of a pitching staff. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: While the 20th overall pick in 2012 posted solid numbers in his first full season, his lack of velocity or a change up is troubling, and he showed nothing that indicated present or future dominance. He could have a career in the back of a rotation or as a reliever, but may not live up to his draft status.
Marcus Stroman 
Profile: Stroman’s season began with a drug suspension, but it ended with a fair bit of hype. The under-sized right-hander made 20 starts in Double-A and struck out 129 batters in 111.2 innings of work. He also showed above-average control by walking just 27 hitters. The big test for the smaller Stroman will be to prove that he can continue to stay on top of the ball and generate enough of a downward plane on his offerings to keep the ball in the yard against the top hitters in the majors. Personally, I think he may spend a few seasons as a starter before spending the majority of his career in the bullpen (possibly as a high-leverage reliever) with a similar career to that of former Royals hurler Tom Gordon. It won’t be for lack of a changeup — his third pitch is plus — but size does often matter, in terms of durability and longevity. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Stroman should be ready to challenge for a big league starting gig with the Blue Jays as early as mid-2014, depending on the health of the starters in the rotation in the majors.
Andrew Susac 
Profile: The former Oregon State catcher has progressed steadily through the minors. Susac doesn’t really have an impact skill set, but as a quality defensive catcher who can hit some and hit for power he’s a rare commodity in baseball. Susac is set to start 2014 at Triple-A Fresno. Right now he’s blocked at the major league level by Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez. If he continues to impress, Susac could force his way into the team’s plans by 2015. He’s also a potentially valuable trade chip. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Susac continues to impress as a quality defensive catcher with a strong bat. He’s blocked in San Francisco right now, but could work his way into the team’s plans with a strong 2014 at Triple-A Fresno.
Blake Swihart 
Profile: Swihart is an athletic catcher and a switch hitter with bat speed from both sides. He was very raw and a project when he signed — both at the plate and behind it. Since being drafted, Swihart has steadily improved in all aspects of his game and is now one of the better catching prospects in the minors. Much of his progress can likely be tracked to the changes he’s made turning a skinny, teenage frame into a man’s body with pro baseball player strength. A patient hitter who controls the strike zone, Swihart projects as a high average hitter. His line drive swing means his power will likely come from bat speed and squaring the ball up, but he’s capable of average power numbers. With good speed for a catcher, Swihart has the potential to be a five-category catcher when he hits the majors. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Swihart continues to get stronger and steadily improve all aspects of his game. He projects as a quality defensive catcher, a high average and high on-base percerntage hitter and someone who can add eventually hit for average or fringe-average power with perhaps a handful of steals.
Jameson Taillon 
Profile: While the Pirates were lodged in a pennant race, their top minor league arm remained at Triple-A Indianapolis. Stocked with arms in their rotation and the bullpen, the Pirates seemingly had no desire to begin the right-hander’s service clock. Unlike last year, Taillon should debut in mid-2014 once the super-two deadline passes, perhaps to supplant Charlie Morton or Edinson Volquez. Like Gerrit Cole, Taillon relies heavily on his two- and four-seam fastballs. Though, Taillon is not as polished as Cole and could struggle during his debut if he fails to develop another offering he can throw for strikes. While Cole features a wipeout slider, Taillon relies on a power curveball, a harder pitch to locate and induce swings. Taillon should debut in 2014, but expect the man drafted between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to offer minimal fantasy value this season. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: Expect Jameson Taillon to debut this season, and expect him to feature his fastballs first and foremost. While Gerrit Cole before him may seem like a road map, Taillon’s breaking stuff isn’t as polished and his premier breaking pitch is harder to harness. It may not go as smoothly.
Oscar Taveras 
Profile: This brief profile of Cardinals outfield prospect Oscar Taveras would probably read somewhat differently had he not been limited by an ankle injury to just 188 minor-league plate appearances in 2013. For example, he might not be a prospect at all, anymore, having perhaps forced a midseason promotion to the majors and losing his rookie eligibility in the meantime. As it is, he’s likely to enter the season near the top of most notable preseason prospect lists — and, following the departure of Carlos Beltran to free agency, might also have a claim to the starting right-field spot. The offseason acquisition of Peter Bourjos, however — along with the return of Allen Craig and emergence, last year, of Matt Adams — suggests that Taveras’s path to a starting role is not without its impediments. When healthy, Taveras still profiles as a batter with considerably above-average contact skills and excellent power on contact — of the line-drive, if not always the home-run, variety. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Is probably ready to become the Cardinals’ starting right fielder. Won’t become that, however, until the Cardinals are ready for him, as well.
Tyrone Taylor 
Profile: Taylor is unique for the Brewers organization, in that he’s a high-ceilinged prospect, having displayed both some tools and (now) some professional numbers about which to get excited. Given what appears to be advanced contact skills, he could perhaps make his way through the minors more quickly than other hitters who are considered somewhat raw. Even were everything to work out perfectly, though, he’s still unlikely to see the majors before 2016. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: Taylor combines exciting tools with what appear to be above-average contact skills. Despite that, he’s still years from the majors.
Julio Urias 
Profile: A lot can happen to a 16-year-old between his first professional contract and making the big leagues. It’s possible Urias continues to shine and still throws 300 more MiLB innings! Young, hyped pitching prospects are the players I love to deal in my leagues. Frankly, they often disappoint. Urias, however, is receiving abnormal amounts of praise by some outlets. An in-person report from Bullpen Banter colleague Jeff Reese detailed an impressive left-hander who works off his refined fastball to set up his slider or change up. Urias doesn’t have the prototypical pitcher’s body today, but how his body transforms over the next five to 10 years is anyone’s guess. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: As exciting as this youngster is, his age means that he’s a long way from the big leagues. So much can happen in between now and then, if then even happens.
Vincent Velasquez 
Profile: The Astros have a few solid pitching prospects that few people know about, including Velasquez. After missing all of 2010 and most of 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, the right-hander pitched a full season last year and compiled 124.2 innings of work. He understandably struggled with both his consistency and his command but he was dominant at times and struck out 142 batters. Velasquez spent the majority of last year in Low-A ball and could split the ’14 season between High-A and Double-A. He should be ready to contribute in the majors in late 2015 and has the ceiling of a number three starter. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: It will be a couple years before Velasquez is ready to permanently join the Astros’ pitching staff but he may very well end up being worth the wait as a talented mid-rotation hurler.
Daniel Vogelbach 
Profile: Despite generally positive reports concerning his first-base defense, it’s impossible to ignore how Vogelbach (listed at 6’0″, 250) bears more than a passing physical resemblance to the letter O. That reality is unlikely to change — which, that’s fine. Given his positional constraints, however, almost all of Vogelbach’s future success depends on the development of his offensive skills. To date, those skills appear considerable. During two-plus seasons of affiliated baseball, Vogelbach has walked nearly as often as he’s struck out and also demonstrated excellent power on contact — all this while playing at advanced levels relative to his age. He’s still a couple years away from realistically laying claim to the Cubs’ first-base job — and will have to contend with Anthony Rizzo (signed through 2019) once he’s ready. For the moment, though, all is promising. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: All signs point to Vogelbach possessing the tools to produce above-average offensive lines in the majors. He’ll have to continue possessing those tools and also somehow off Anthony Rizzo to play first base for the Cubs in 2016 or so.
Nick Williams 
Profile: On a Hickory team filled with high-upside talent, Williams had the most consistent bat of the bunch, ripping the ball to a .293/.337/.543 line with 48 extra-base hits in 95 games. He has the quick wrists to rip liners all over the park and the leverage to clear fences, and could become a plus hitter with plus power in time. His 110/15 strikeout-to-walk ratio is a major black mark, but he’s not as undisciplined as those numbers suggest, rarely getting embarrassed and chasing pitches far out of the strike zone. He should round into form as a passably disciplined hitter. With an exciting offensive package and enough athleticism to be an above-average defender in left field, Williams is a very exciting prospect who could make a serious offensive impact down the line. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Williams pasted the Sally League in his first full season, though his 110/15 K/BB ratio is a major area of concern. Still, the eye test doesn’t reveal huge plate discipline issues, and his all-around skillset could allow him to develop into a major offensive force.
Jesse Winker 
Profile: Winker is a bat-first player, but he does have a potent and advanced bat. Some talent evaluators are down on Winker’s athleticism and glove in the outfield. While he’s no gold glover out there, there are a fair share of worse every day left fielders around baseball. With Joey Votto signed through 2024 it seems a good bet Winker will stick in left field if he stays in Cincy. Winker projects as a strong fantasy option in the outfield. He hits for average and power and likely fits as a middle of the order run producer. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Winker fits as a bat-first corner outfielder. His bat is advanced for his age and he projects to hit for average and power. Winker likely fits as a middle of the order run producer who can help a team in average, homers, and RBI.
Matthew Wisler 
Profile: Wisler, 21, represents excellent scouting by the Padres as a former seventh round draft pick out of an Ohio high school in 2011. Since that time, he’s risen from little known arm to the best pitcher in the system. The right-hander has a low-to-mid-90s fastball with good movement, as well as a plus slider, average change up and developing curveball. One of Wisler’s biggest weaknesses at this point is his work against left-handed hitters (LHBs hit .261 while RHBs batted .188) and he struggles to command the inner half of the plate against them. The Padres’ starting rotation has a number of health question marks so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Wisler receive his first big league call up before the all-star break in 2014. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Wisler is almost MLB ready and has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the system. He has the ceiling of a number two starter and will certainly receive some additional bonuses by pitching half his games at home in San Diego.
Gabriel Ynoa 
Profile: This 20-year-old righty had a big year in his introduction to full-season ball in 2013, with a 2.72 ERA, 2.88 FIP, and miniscule three percent walk rate. He utilizes a smooth delivery with a low three-quarters arm slot, imparting a lot of sink and run on both his 89-93 mph fastball and change up, and he has a decent short slider and even an occasional curveball. Ynoa struck out under 20% of batters he faced in 2013, and he’s not likely to be the sort of high-strikeout arm that typically moves toward the front of a rotation, but his broad arsenal, movement, and command give him a projection as a solid back-end starter. (Nathaniel Stoltz)
Quick Opinion: Ynoa posted a big stat line in 2013, mostly headlined by a tiny walk rate. He doesn’t have top-of-the-line stuff, but he works at 89-93 mph with life and has three offspeed pitches. The sum of the parts could be a solid control-oriented fourth starter.
Kyle Zimmer 
Profile: Kansas City Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore was rewarded with a two year contract extension for the team’s 86 win season. Sadly, Moore’s new job security, his desire to see Wade Davis succeed as a starter, and the guaranteed multi-year contracts of Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas means we are unlikely to see Zimmer contribute to fantasy teams in 2014. While unlikely, Zimmer may be worth stashing on your bench because of his overpowering arsenal and proximity to the show make him one of the best fantasy prospects of 2014. Expect Zimmer to start at Double-A . (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: The major league rotation is somewhat crowded — even Bruce Chen is back — but Kyle Zimmer and his exciting arsenal will push their way in at some point. Some point soon.