15 Top Prospects Likely to Impact a MLB Roster in 2014
In every MLB organization there is hope. No matter how bad things are or if they are good but fading, hope exists in the top prospects of every team. Unfortunately a lot of prospects that hit the big leagues just do so in a minor fashion. They might spend a few months or even all season with a club without making a real impact. A select few however are the ones who will have a large impact on their team.
That isn’t to say that these prospects will necessarily be the next big stars of the game of baseball. They might have one good week at a critical time or a help in the biggest win of the season. Some will be future stars but the focus here is which top prospects are likely to hit the big leagues at some point in 2014 and leave a mark.
These are guys who will be remembered for several years for that one big moment they had. Jeff Francoeur rose to the bigs for the Atlanta Braves and helped the team win a lot of games with his initial burst onto the scene. Yasiel Puig did the same for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. The career of Puig seems to be more promising than that of Francoeur turned out to be but then so did his after that first season.
That type of impact is what these players are likely to have in the 2014 season for their big league team. This isn’t to say either that these players will make the team out of Spring Training. They might or might not. Take a look through the slideshow and see what you think. Do you agree or disagree with these choices? Leave comment below if you choose.
15 – Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
For the sake of the Tigers, we hope Castellanos has a huge impact for them. It is expected that he will win the third base job out of the spring. While that and everyday playing time is not a guarantee, I would suggest that his having a large impact on this team this season is basically a guarantee.
14 – Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks
It was almost a sure thing that Bradley was going to make the DBacks starting rotation out of the spring season. He is the top pitching prospect in all of MLB for goodness sake. Unfortunately for those hoping for a Jose Fernandez type explosion onto the scene for Bradley, the DBacks kept signing pitchers until it is now unlikely that he will hit the starting 5, though not impossible. Either way, this guy should impact the roster in a big way when he does get the call-up and likely take someone’s spot.
13 – Taijuan Walker – Seattle Marines
Walker is already in the Mariners rotation and isn’t even the back end starter. They think so highly of him that he is thought to be the third or fourth starter behind the big guys. There will likely be struggles for Walker as he gets his career going officially but before the end he’ll have a stake in an AL ROTY vote or two.
12 – Oscar Taveras – St. Louis Cardinals
I don’t see where Taveras could make the Cards starting roster out of the spring but he is going to see some MLB time this season. It could be that he is taken on as an extra bench bat but more than likely he’ll start out in the minors and rise up when the call comes. When that call does come, expect an impact that will make big news.
11 – Matt Davidson – Chicago White Sox
Though it is up in the air whether or not Davidson will make the Opening Day roster, it is not debatable how promising his future is. He is the official third baseman of the future for this team and whenever he gets the starting spot this season; he isn’t likely to give it up for some time.
10 – Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians
Bauer had a rough ride in 2013. Every time he saw the bigs he was schooled. Thankfully he has taken that literally and is in the process of displaying what he has learned to his manager. Look for Bauer to absolutely have a shot in Spring Training to win a job and to be the first call-up when the team needs him. When the call does come, he is probably going to be starting for the rest of his career in the big leagues.
9 – Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds
Though the impact Hamilton had at the end of 2013 might seem to make this a stretch of the term ‘prospect’, he really is far from a finished product. Nobody knows if he is going to hit or get on base on a regular basis at this point. Look for him to be the starter all season though as he will learn on the job and really be an impact player by mid-season.
8 – Jonathan Singleton – Houston Astros
The restraint shown by the Astros organization is admirable. They have a wealth of great prospects that make them the official top farm system in the game and yet have been patient with their call-ups of these players. Look for Singleton to get a chance this season to show what his power can do on the big stage. He isn’t likely to disappoint.
7 – Jackie Bradley Jr. – Boston Red Sox
Bradley might be the one on this list that has more hopes wrapped up in his play than anyone else. All he has to do is take over Jacoby Ellsbury’s spot and do it in a productive way. As long as he can do that well, he’ll be a find fan favorite. Expect some rough patches from Bradley but he is probably going to play so well at points that he actually surprises many.
6 – Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates
Though it is unclear if he will get a big chance at a starting spot out of Spring Training, Taillon might be best suited for a mid-summer replacement anyway. His spot will be there when he is called up as he is likely to settle in for the rest of his career once he arrives.
5 – Kyle Zimmer – Kansas City Royals
Zimmer is the big man on campus for the Royals but is still going to have some Triple-A time ahead of him. With that being said, he is very likely to get a late season call-up this year. Because the Royals are hopeful to be fighting for a playoff spot at that time, look for Zimmer’s arrival to be a big impact on their mound situation.
4 – Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
Though the Orioles have certainly added a plus to their starting rotation by adding Ubaldo Jimenez, they are far from okay. Bundy is expected to be able to join the party at about mid-season in 2014. When he is ready to go, expect the show to be on. He’ll be ready and he’ll be awesome.
3 – Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are seriously waiting on this kid and keeping a spot warm for him. No disrespect to the guys they have in the outfield now but one of those positions is temporary until Polanco takes it over. They seriously refused to bring in a free agent or make a trade for an outfielder because of this fact. Polanco should be just about as close to McCutchen Version-2 as they could ever get.
2 – Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs
The more you look at the Cubs farm system the more excited you can be about their future. They have some of the best in the game arriving soon and they don’t get any more promising than Baez. Even during this spring training season he is drawing rave reviews though most understand he’ll be in the minors to start the year. Do not be surprised when he is called up however because it is very surely going to happen at some point and when it does, it’ll be fun to watch.
1 – George Springer – Houston Astros
If Springer does not at least draw second or third place votes for AL ROTY, I would consider that a bit of a letdown. This guy is expected to be the next big power hitter for the Astros and I mean next after the ‘Killer-B’s’ of years’ past. He and Singleton should be able to gather enough momentum to find themselves some type of creative ‘S’ centered nickname by the season’s end.