Ranking the Top 25 MLB Prospects Heading into Spring Training
Ranking the Top 25 MLB Prospects Heading into Spring Training
Every year as the winter months drag on we get closer and closer to one of the most exciting parts of Major League Baseball; Spring Training. What a fitting time of the year for baseball to start, right around the start of the spring season where all things are made new again. Many teams are hoping all of their luck is made new in 2014 while some teams hope the magic strikes twice. Whether non-roster invitees or young prospects, everyone gets a new start.
For our purposes today we are going to focus on the prospects. More specifically, we will look at the top 25 MLB prospects heading into the new season. This is a list that changes a couple of time each year but the looming new list from the official experts is due out before the end of January. Looking at the top prospects from last year and the already released team rankings for this year by Baseball America, we can make a nice educated prediction as far as what the list will look like.
Some names will look very familiar as they haven’t given any reason for me to think they should be dropped from the top 25. Other names will be brand new to the top 25 for any number of various reasons. One name not on the top 25 this year for me at least is Kevin Gausman. To use him as an example; he still has loads of promise but didn’t have the best year and struggled in his MLB starts.
He will be in the top 100 for sure but for me he falls below the 25 best because of his minor struggles as well as the good seasons of others. Whatever comments you have, please feel free to write them in the section below designated for that. Without further delay, here are the top 25 MLB prospects heading into spring training.
25 – Andrew Heaney – LHP Miami Marlins
Heaney should top the Marlins impressive group of prospects. The lefty is yet one more promising starting pitcher that is part of a very good future pitching staff in Miami.
24 – Jonathan Singleton – 1B Houston Astros
Singleton should still be towards the top of the Astros loaded prospect list. He looks to be a promising power bat manning first base for the future for the Astros.
23 – Aaron Sanchez – RHP Toronto Blue Jays
Sanchez is the top prospect of many Blue Jays starting prospects. He is the one that is untouchable but that every team keeps calling about. Stick to your guns ‘Jays. He should prove worth the wait.
22 – Jose Abreu – 1B Chicago White Sox
Abreu is new to the top prospects list because of course he was only recently signed into a minor league system. Technically he is a prospect heading into the season but he should prove worthy of the opening day roster if the hype proves true.
21 – Dylan Bundy – RHP Baltimore Orioles
We have Bundy just hanging on to a top 25 spot even though he was injured for most of 2013. He is still their top prospect and should prove worthy of MLB time this season at some point as long as he bounces back from his injury.
20 – Kris Bryant – 3B Chicago Cubs
Bryant moved leaps and bounds forward in the Cubs’ system because he burst onto the scene with purpose. He was even one of the biggest stars in the Arizona Fall League despite being less experienced than many of those players.
19 – Robert Stephenson – RHP Cincinnati Reds
Stephenson should hold pretty steady as the Reds seem to have a good future hurler on their hands with this right hander. Look for him to stick on the list and maybe even move up it soon.
18 – Mark Appel – RHP Houston Astros
Appel is one of the promising newcomers to the Astros system. He is further proof that these guys know what they are doing. They have a plan and they are executing it well so far.
17 – Addison Russell – SS Oakland Athletics
A somewhat downer season should drop Russell down the shortstops list and therefore down this list a little bit as well. Shortstop is one of the more loaded positions in the minors right now.
16 – George Springer – OF Houston Astros
Some of the guys on this list just blew away triple-A in 2013 and should get a long look at the majors this season. Springer is definitely one of those. His power and outfield potential is off the charts.
15 – Jameson Taillon – RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon might get things started in the minors this season but look for him to join his buddy Gerrit Cole in the majors before the year is out.
14 – Billy Hamilton – OF Cincinnati Reds
After the record-setting 2012, Hamilton’s 2013 while good was actually a step downward. His showing in September proved the excitement that everyone has for his debut is well deserved. He should go wire to wire in 2014 with the Reds.
13 – Gregory Polanco – OF Pittsburgh Pirates
How would you like to clone Andrew McCutchen and place another one with his ability beside him in the outfield? Yeah, I think that would be cool too. Polanco is about as close as they could hope to doing that. Look for a long MLB look this year.
12 – Nick Castellanos – 3B Detroit Tigers
Though Castellanos has played other positions, it is third base where he will get the chance to win the job in spring training. The Tigers officially hope he does win the job but Brad Ausmus is handing out no guarantees.
11 – Jonathan Gray – RHP Colorado Rockies
You want to talk about a noisy debut? This guy looked like he might have been MLB ready by the end of his first professional season. He’ll get more time to develop but the Rockies could potentially have a very good one in Gray.
10 – Francisco Lindor – SS Cleveland Indians
One of the Indians’ hopes for the future is Lindor. Don’t look for them to sign a big name free agent infielder when they have this kid coming up. He probably drops a little bit this year as he fell down the shortstops rankings as well.
9 – Noah Syndergaard – RHP New York Mets
Syndergaard is one of those pitchers that the entire franchise puts faith in. He could be the next Matt Harvey and even claim the level of Clayton Kershaw if he fully realizes potential. His potential is actually that high. Don’t be surprised if you see him win a rotation spot at some time during the 2014 season.
8 – Carlos Correa – SS Houston Astros
Correa has about proven every single doubter wrong by this point. He has risen to third among all shortstop prospects. There is still a little time left for him to develop but he looks to be extremely special in the infield.
7 – Taijuan Walker – RHP Seattle Mariners
Walker might be the most needed of any top pitching prospect. If he could leap to the MLB level with great stuff, it would put three top starters at the front of the Mariners rotation. They really need that.
6 – Javier Baez – SS Chicago Cubs
Though the Cubs might be behind the Astros in overall system depth but they aren’t far back in the top prospects area. Baez leaped ahead of everyone except the Red Sox promising young shortstop that we all know so well now. Baez along with Bryant could soon make a very powerful combination on the Cubs’ left side of the infield.
5 – Xander Bogaerts – SS Boston Red Sox
Here he is. Bogaerts might top the shortstop prospect list but that doesn’t guarantee him a starting spot there. If the Sox re-sign Stephen Drew the he is likely to displace Will Middlebrooks at third.
4 – Oscar Taveras – OF St. Louis Cardinals
Taveras has hung around the top five prospects for a while now and there is little reason to expect anything different this year. He also could get some MLB looks this season and could stick there if all goes well.
3 – Archie Bradley – RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
Want to know why the DBacks felt good about trading Tyler Skaggs? Here is one huge reason right here. Bradley was already one of the top pitching prospects in the baseball world but leaped even higher after a dominant 2013.
2 – Miguel Sano – 3B Minnesota Twins
Here they come. The Minnesota Twins aren’t new in the fact that they have one of the best minor league systems in baseball. I think this season they will have the top two spots heading into spring training. Sano and his top ranked counterpart could slide a little in expert rankings but I see no real reason for them to do so.
1 – Byron Buxton – OF Minnesota Twins
Pick your favorite Twins outfielder in recent memory and you can bet Buxton has the chance to be every bit as good as every one of them and better than some as well. He will get the chance to fully develop as is the Twins custom, but when he is deemed ready we should all pay close attention to what happens.