Ranking the Top 25 MLB Prospects Heading into 2014
Ranking the Top 25 MLB Prospects Heading into 2014
Prospects are the pride and joy of every single Major League Baseball organization. From the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Washington Nationals, they have a group of young players that they believe hold the key to the future of their baseball club. Some organizations do a better job than others at building talent though it should be mentioned that some of that is possibly due to certain teams having the top few picks in the MLB Draft every season.
In their crop of good young players, each MLB farm system includes a top tier of players in their top 10 prospects list. Even that adds up to 300 players from the minor leagues. This list is going to focus only on the top 25 from all of baseball. That doesn’t mean every team is represented in this list, as a matter of fact the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and others are here multiple times.
There isn’t a ton of drop from the first name on this list to the 25th name on the list as far as where each player stands after last season in their minor league careers. Some of them are nearly ready for the majors while others are only finishing their first or second year. Potential however is what is ranked here along with their performance from the year prior. Each slide will also include the change each player saw between their preseason 2013 ranking and the current ranking. Feel free to leave a comment down below if you have something to add.
25 – Mark Appel – Houston Astros
Appel is a starting pitcher who made good on his professional debut after being drafted a short time ago. He went from unranked to the 25 spot on the list. This is but the first of many Astros prospects in this list. Each of them represent why the future is bright for that franchise.
24 – Danny Hultzen – Seattle Mariners
Hultzen might not be quite as high on this list as his fellow minor league Mariners starter, whom you will see towards the top of the list, but he had just as good of numbers in the minors while he played in 2013. Providing he stays healthy, an issue that possibly is what dropped him from 18 to 24, he has a chance to be every bit as electrifying in a possible 2014 debut as his counterpart.
23 – George Springer – Houston Astros
No one in the entire minor leagues had more impressive power numbers than Springer in 2013. He served notice that the outfield in Houston might very well find it difficult to keep him in the minor leagues in 2014. He has to work on strikeouts but should be a big bat when he gets his first MLB shot after vaulting from 58 to 23 in the rankings.
22 – Albert Almora – Chicago Cubs
The minor leagues are hot with good outfielders right now and Almora is one of the best. He is headed towards Double-A in all likelihood this upcoming season with as much promise and potential as anyone in baseball at this position. He rose from 39 to 22 in the rankings over the past season.
21 – Aaron Sanchez – Toronto Blue Jays
Sanchez is the starting pitching prospect that makes it not quite as hurtful that the Blue Jays have traded away so much talent over the last couple of seasons and has risen from 35 to 21 in the rankings. He has it all from the mound right now but has a lot to prove when he hits the next level, likely Double-A in 2014.
20 – Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets
Some question whether or not d’Arnaud can hold up at the catcher position in the majors but it seems he is plenty strong enough and young enough to stick there for a while. It did drop him from 6 to 20 in the rankings but he is the top ranked catcher in the minor leagues and is sure to begin 2014 as the Mets starting catcher.
19 – Jonathan Singleton – Houston Astros
Singleton is Astros prospect number three on the top 25 if you are keeping score. He might have had an issue or two along the way but he still rose from 27 to 19 in the past season so something keeps going right for him. Look for even more to go right for him when he gets the call to the majors, likely in 2014.
18 – Addison Russell – Oakland Athletics
Russell could have had a better year in 2013 but even at that still jumped from 48 all the way to 18 in the rankings. He probably has another season in the minor leagues to iron things out but when he hits the A’s starting line-up he is bound to stay there for a while.
17 – Robert Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds
Stephenson had a big jump from 51 to 17 this past season thanks to a great showing. He is heading to Triple-A more than likely and could see his star rise even higher with continued success.
16 – Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds
After the MLB debut that Hamilton had in September of 2013 it might be odd to some that he dropped in the rankings from 11 to 16. As good as his debut in the majors was, it was only after a 2013 that dropped a tad from the record setting 2012 season before it. Regardless of the drop in the rankings, Hamilton looks to make sure no one misses Shin-Soo Choo in Cincinnati.
15 – Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
Bundy was the number 2 prospect in all of baseball in the preseason rankings and had the world at his fingertips. An elbow injury that had to have Tommy John surgery stole his 2013 season from him. Even still he only dropped to the number 15 spot in the rankings which should tell you that the world is still right there for him to grasp.
14 – Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles
Gausman wouldn’t look like too good of a prospect if you only looked at his spotty MLB time in 2013. Luckily that doesn’t show the best of what he is capable of. Look for him to hit the ground running in Spring Training this season ready to take a full time rotation spot from Opening Day on. His promising potential saw him rise from 37 to 14 in the rankings.
13 – Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates
Does anyone reading this think Andrew McCutchen is a pretty good outfielder? I think the recent MVP award speaks fairly well of his skills. The Pirates have someone in Polanco that could be every bit as good as Cutch when he hits the majors, possibly this season after making a huge leap from 65 to 13 in the rankings this past season.
12 – Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets
Those Blue Jays fans that are sick to their stomach over recent years’ talent loss are probably thinking about Syndergaard. Nothing against R.A. Dickey but this kid was a high price to pay and has the potential to be every bit as good as Dickey if not better when he hits the majors this upcoming season at some point. His ranking went from 29 to 12 this past season.
11 – Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
Castellanos was sent back to the minors for one more season after Spring Training in 2013 and all he did was rise his ranking from 21 to 11 in the process of another great year. For his efforts he gets to take over the starting third base job for the MLB club in 2014. Look for him to do a splendid job.
10 – Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon is the second of the one-two minor league punch the Pirates have waited on for a few years. The other part of the due is Gerrit Cole who has clearly already punched his ticket for a 2014 rotation spot. Taillon went from 15 to 10 in the rankings and could hit the starting rotation early in 2014 himself.
9 – Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs
Another Cubs player and another shortstop who went from 16 to 9 in the rankings over the course of the season. Baez looks to be a very promising figure for the Cubs in the coming seasons as he is headed to Triple-A in 2014.
8 – Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
Correa has quickly gone from someone thought to be a safe-money #1 Draft Pick to one of the more promising players in the game. His ranking shot upwards from 30 to 8 in the past year as more and more experts jump aboard the Correa express headed straight for the majors in a few years. He could very well be one of the top few shortstops in the game the first time he sees a major league field.
7 – Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks
Bradley leaped from 24 to 7 in the rankings and is likely one of the main reasons the DBacks felt they could part ways with Tyler Skaggs. Bradley looks to be ready very soon and is headed to Triple-A in 2014 eying a possible late season call to the majors if he is needed. He isn’t the second ranked pitching prospect in baseball for nothing after all.
6 – Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
Bogaerts went from a high ranking prospect to someone who needs no introduction thanks to his postseason performance in 2013. Nonetheless he has only seen a few regular season games and will be a rookie when he hits the field at either shortstop or third in 2014. His ranking went from 20 to 6 over the past year.
5 – Francisco Lindor – Cleveland Indians
The long and impressive list of top shortstop prospects tops off right here with the Indians future pride and joy. Lindor needs a little more time for sure but he is most certainly on his way, having risen from 14 to 5 in the rankings. Triple-A is waiting for him more than likely in 2014.
4 – Taijuan Walker – Seattle Mariners
It is fitting for Walker to be the top pitching prospect in baseball after he had probably the best September call-up of any of the group in 2013. He was great last season as well but still rose from 5 to 4 in the overall rankings. Look for him to bust the majors wide open in 2014.
3 – Miguel Sano – Minnesota Twins
For a while the Twins were set at first base and catcher and now have a great hitter at first base. They might soon be set just as strongly at third base with Sano. He went from 12 to 3 in the rankings this season showing himself as probably the most promising offensive prospect in the top group. He will be headed to Triple-A in 2014 most likely.
2 – Oscar Taveras – St. Louis Cardinals
For all of their moves the Cardinals might want to leave a spot open on their roster for Taveras. He went from 3 to 2 in the rankings this past season and is as ready as anyone for an everyday shot in the majors.
1 – Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins
Buxton is the top prospect in baseball in most areas. The Twins probably have themselves their next big time center fielder in this kid. He has all of the tools and probably a little more time left to develop them. When he hits the majors, as long as he keeps on his current path, he should be something special. He rose from 19 to 1 in the rankings in 2013.