Ranking the Top 15 MLB Hitter Prospects Heading into 2014

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Ranking the Top 15 MLB Hitter Prospects Heading into 2014

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It is said that good pitching beats good hitting every time in Major League Baseball. While that might be true from many points of view, it isn’t totally true. That’s because unless at least one good hitter beats a good pitcher, a pitching duel would go on forever. Whichever way you slice it, every MLB team needs good hitters to win baseball games. That seems quite obvious but still needs to be said I suppose.

Can a team win without good hitting? It is possible but a team with no good hitters will not get far into any postseason play. Obviously then, hitters are important. Where do they come from, these great hitters? Clearly the answer is that they come from the minor league systems all around the game of baseball. There are so many good hitters in the minor leagues it would take forever to list them all but this isn’t about all of the good hitters.

This is going to take a look at the best of the best hitting prospects in the game. To be specific we are about to venture through the top 15 MLB hitter prospects heading out of 2013 and into 2014. A few quick facts might be fun before we get started. Two teams tied for the most players in the top 15. The Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs each have three prospects in there.

Position-wise there are more outfielders than anything with eight of the group manning an outfield spot. That might not be surprising but it could be surprising that shortstop provides the second most hitters in the list with five. This has been compiled based on info from the 2013 season as well as the overall projections of the prospects. Feel free to leave a comment below if you feel the need.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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15 – Jorge Soler OF – Chicago Cubs

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Soler had an injury shortened campaign in 2013 but the 55 games he played in proved his promise. He returned for Arizona Fall League action and proved that his injured leg was a problem no more. He is one of the brightest stars in the Cubs growing farm system.

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14 – Albert Almora OF – Chicago Cubs

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The outfield of the Cubs looks to have a pretty good future with these two guys. Almora continues to have one good season after another. He very well could be labeled a 5-tool player if everything keeps developing the way it has so far.

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13 – Jonathan Singleton 1B – Houston Astros

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Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Considering the power expected at the first base position it is a little surprising not to see more of them in the top 15 but this is it. Singleton has had suspension issues but his overall potential is steady and intact. He is just one of many the Astros have waiting to become the face of their franchise.

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12 – Addison Russell SS – Oakland Athletics

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Russell is good enough potentially that he could have been higher on this list if it weren’t for a slightly down period in 2013. No worries for his potential up-side though. He’ll probably be one of the best shortstops in the game offensively when he hits the big leagues in a year or so.

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11 – Billy Hamilton OF – Cincinnati Reds

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds really have known they had something special for a while in Hamilton. He showed the entire world what the Reds already knew during his short September call-up when he batted well over .300 and stole 13 bases. If he consistently hits, and it looks like he will, this guy will be a game-changer for sure.

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10 – Gregory Polanco OF – Pittsburgh Pirates

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Polanco has every tool anyone could want in an outfielder. He could potentially be just as good as Andrew McCutchen when his time arrives to take the field next to him in Pittsburgh. Even as good as he has been, there is still likely more to arrive for Polanco as he gets older.

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9 – George Springer OF – Houston Astros

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Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Springer could hit the MLB diamond in 2014 and already be one of the more dangerous power hitters in the league. Though there surely will be an adjustment period when he does hit the big time, he will probably be up there with the best rookies in baseball.

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8 – Nick Castellanos OF/3B – Detroit Tigers

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Castellanos could have been given an MLB nod after 2013 spring training but the Tigers wisely waited and he just got that much better. Now he will get his big chance with Miguel Cabrera moving to first base. Don’t be surprised when he competes for Rookie of the Year.

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7 – Javier Baez SS – Chicago Cubs

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There are many things that can be said about how promising Baez is for the Cubs. Instead of going into all kinds of descriptive detail however, just check this out. In 2013 he had 37 home runs and 20 steals. I think that about says it.

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6 – Carlos Correa SS – Houston Astros

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Correa might not be a huge base stealing threat. Other than that he has every possible good thing going for him. He is just getting started but he should be something quite special when he hits the major leagues.

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5 – Xander Bogaerts SS/3B – Boston Red Sox

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Though he might not have the most power on this list, Bogaerts has proven to everyone not only that he can hit but he can do so in pressure situations. What he did in the postseason should set him up for a solid rookie campaign.

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4 – Francisco Lindor SS – Cleveland Indians

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Lindor has been the best prospect for the Indians for a while and he hasn’t disappointed. The only thing that isn’t readily produced for him is a ton of power. All other offensive tools are there and are going to probably get better.

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3 – Oscar Taveras OF – St. Louis Cardinals

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Taveras has all of the tools. Only a slightly down season with injuries drops him down the list a tiny bit. He is probably going to be the best or second best offensive weapons on this list when all is said and done.

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2 – Byron Buxton OF – Minnesota Twins

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Buxton is the top overall prospect in the majors. That is considering all categories however, not just hitting. When it comes to offense he falls just slightly behind his fellow Twins farmhand who sits at the top of this list.

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1 – Miguel Sano 3B – Minnesota Twins

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sano is the third overall prospect in the game but offensively he jumped to the top of the list this past season. He absolutely crushed the ball. Overall he might fall behind the previous two prospects but offensively there was no question he was the best of the top few prospects this year. Just like Buxton, the Twins are anxiously awaiting his arrival at the major league club.

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