Top 15 MLB Infield Prospects Heading Into Spring Training
15 Best MLB Infield Prospects Heading Into Spring Training
With the Super Bowl here, MLB Spring Training is right around the corner. Whether your favorite team is a legitimate World Series contender or a rebuilding franchise far from being competitive, one of the most exciting things about Spring Training is watching the teams' top prospects perform against big leaguers.
Prospects have always been an interesting part of baseball. Every team in the league would love to build their team from within, because it is far and away the most cost efficient way to build a major league roster. Unfortunately, prospects are almost impossible to predict. No matter how impressive physically a prospect is, because of the importance of the mental side of the game, you never know how a prospect will perform at the major league level.
The crop of infield prospects heading into the 2014 season is incredibly impressive, especially at the shortstop position. In the early 2000s, the game was dominated by shortstops. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and others were the best and most recognizable players in the game.
Now, all of those guys are either retired or far from their former selves. There has yet to be a crop of shortstops who have taken the torch from Jeter and company. The position has without a doubt been on the decline the past few years.
I believe this crop of shortstop prospects will take the major league by storm in the not so distant future, and carry the torch for this generation. SS is not the only infield position with good prospects, there is plenty of impressive talent all over the diamond. Here are the 15 best infield prospects in all of baseball.
15. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs
is a bit of an under-the-radar prospect from a loaded Chicago Cubs'farm system. He is a great athlete who can play either middle infield position. Alcantara has great speed, surprising power and elite athleticism. He should start the season in Triple-A, and could easily be the starting 2B in Chicago before the season is over.
14. Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins
Colin Moran was the sixth overall pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2013 draft. He is a solid athlete and good defender at 3B. At the plate, Moran has not shown much power, but he is an elite contact hitter who shows good plate discipline.
13. Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers
Rougned Odor, a 19-year-old 2B prospect with the Texas Rangers, really burst on to the scene in 2013. Odor hit .305/.365/.474 at both the High-A and Double-A levels. He has great contact skills, good plate discipline and nice power, especially for a middle infield prospect. He has solid athleticism and speed, and is a good defender at 2B.
12. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals
Son of a former major leaguer with the same name, Raul Mondesi is a very intriguing SS prospect with the Kansas City Royals. At only 18 years old, Mondesi is far from making an impact at the major league level, but his skills are obvious. He does not have the power of his father, but Mondesi shows good contact skills, has elite speed and incredible defensive skill.
11. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Younger brother to Seattle Mariners 3B Kyle Seager, Corey Seager is an impressive SS prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers' system. He is a solid contact hitter, and shows the bat speed that could generate a ton of power. Seager is solid defensively, but he probably ends up moving to 3B or 2B.
10. Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Kolten Wong may not have the upside of other prospects on this list, but the St. Louis Cardinals' 2B has a much better chance of reaching his ceiling than most young players. Wong shows nice contact skills and plate discipline. He is also a great defender at 2B. Wong's speed and power will never blow scouts away, but he does show the potential to be above average in both departments.
9. Chris Owings, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Owings is an impressive SS prospect with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a good defender who can stick at the position. He has nice contact skills, and shows better pop than you would imagine. Owings is another guy who may not have huge upside, but he should be a solid player for a very long time.
8. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers
With Miguel Cabrera switching to 1B because of the Prince Fielder trade, Nick Castellanos is expected to be the starting 3B for the Detroit Tigers in 2014. He is a decent defender with a strong arm. At the plate, Castellanos has good contact skills, plate discipline and power. He should be a productive player for the Tigers for a long time.
7. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
Addison Russell is a 20-year-old SS prospect for the Oakland Athletics. He is an average fielder with a strong arm who probably ends up moving to 3B eventually. At the plate, Russell has decent contact skills, but his power potential stemming from his incredible bat speed is his best skill as a player.
6. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
Miguel Sano has the most raw power of any player in the minor leagues. He has great athleticism, but some parts of his game are sloppy. There are legitimate concerns about Sano's ability to stick at 3B and he struggles with plate discipline and making contact at times. With his elite power and athleticism, the sky is the limit for Sano, but unless he cleans up his game a bit, the bust factor is huge as well.
5. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Kris Bryant was the second overall pick by the Cubs in the 2013 draft, and he instantly became one of the best prospects in a loaded Cubs' system. Bryant has incredible power and solid athleticism. Bryant's contact skills and plate discipline could use some work, but he is an incredible presence at the plate. Most scouts believe that Bryant can stick at 3B in the majors, but many think he ends up playing RF, where his athleticism and elite arm should make him great.
4. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
Carlos Correa was the first overall pick by the Houston Astros in the 2012 draft. He is the best prospect in a loaded Houston minor league system. Correa is a very athletic player who shows at least solid tools across the board. He is a good defender who should be able to stick at SS, has great contact skills and tremendous power potential.
3. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
Francisco Lindor is the best defensive infield prospect in baseball. He is a whiz with the glove at SS and has a very strong throwing arm. Lindor also has good speed and athleticism. Lindor will never be a big time power hitter, but he is a good contact hitter and shows good on-base skills.
2. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
Javier Baez may have more upside than any prospect in baseball. He is an erratic defender, but he shows incredible defensive skills that make most scouts think he can stick at SS if necessary. Baez has a history of struggling with plate discipline, but he has made improvements in that department over the last year.
Baez has nice contact skills and athleticism, but his power is what makes him such a great player. Between High-A and Double-A last season Baez slugged an incredible .578 with 37 homeruns and 34 doubles in 130 games. He has bat speed that scouts dream of, and as long as he can keep his plate discipline under control, Baez will be a star.
1. Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts was a key component of the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. He started at 3B for the Red Sox throughout the playoffs, and was huge for the team down the stretch. He will be with the Red Sox on Opening Day, but it is unclear whether he will be starting at SS or 3B.
Bogaerts is a smooth defender with a strong arm who can handle SS. He has an athletic frame, solid contact skills and very good power. Bogaerts is the complete package, and will be a star for the Red Sox for many years.