Rotoworld: Baseball’s Top 100 Prospects

Posted by andrew on February, 1st 2013

Rotoworld BaseballMike Rosenbaum reveals his picks for MLB’s top 100 prospects along with expectations for when each player will make it to the big leagues. All ages listed are as of Opening Day (March 31, 2013).

 

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1. Jurickson Profar

Texas Rangers | SS | 19* | ETA: Early-2013

With five electrifying tools, advanced secondary skills and maturity beyond his years, Profar has the makings of a future superstar and announced it with a no-doubt home run in his first big-league plate appearance late last season. A switch hitter with plus bat speed from both sides of the plate, he shows more power from the left side but will likely always hit for a higher average from the right. At shortstop, Profar’s quick feet and natural instincts lend to his plus range, and he makes it look easy with smooth actions and a plus arm. He’s a player who has always thrived against advanced competition, and should do so once again next season in the major leagues.

 

2. Dylan Bundy

Baltimore Orioles | SP | 20 | ETA: Mid-2013

Bundy developed a legendary reputation this past season (his professional debut) as he began the year at Low-A, made stops at High-A and Double-A, and finished with two late-season appearances out of the Orioles’ big-league bullpen. Although he lacks a classic power-pitcher frame, the right-hander has an insanely strong core and lower half, and understands how to apply his strength in his delivery. Bundy showcases an outstanding four-pitch mix that’s highlighted by a mid-90s two-seamer with exceptional late life, and a four-seamer that will flirt with triple-digits. His curveball is presently a plus pitch, though his command of the pitch leaves something to be desired. His changeup is yet another above-average pitch, as Bundy demonstrates an advanced feel for the pitch. He’ll work in a slider, though it’s not as advanced as his curve. With his polish and arsenal, Bundy has potential to be a true ace and could rank as one of the top pitchers in the game after the 2013 season.

 

3. Oscar Taveras

St. Louis Cardinals | OF | 20 | ETA: Late-2013

The purest hitter in the minor leagues, Taveras apparently never stops hitting. A left-handed hitter, his swing involves considerable effort but he manages to remain balanced. Due to his sensational hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball ability, he keeps the bat head in the zone for a long time without sacrificing his raw power to all fields. He doesn’t walk or strike out a lot, which is largely a product of his ability to drive pitches other hitters can’t. Although he’s more than qualified to play center field in a pinch, he’s more likely to play a corner outfield position on a regular basis. With little left to prove in the minor leagues, the outfielder may be called up sooner rather than later. If his power continues to develop, Taveras could be a .320 hitter with 20+ home run potential, and serve as a big-time run-producer in the middle of the Cardinals’ order.

 

4. Wil Myers

Tampa Bay Rays | OF | 22 | ETA: Mid-2013

After a down year in 2011 in which he was plagued by a knee injury, Myers made up for lost time with arguably the top offensive season in the minor leagues last year. Possessing a slender frame and wiry strength, Myers’ upper body is rich with quick-twitch muscles; the right-handed hitter seemingly flicks his wrists at the ball without comprising his power or knack for hard contact. His plus bat speed and excellent plate coverage cater to his projection for an above-average hit tool and plus-plus raw power. In his prime, Myers could conceivably bat .275+ with 30+ doubles and 30+ home runs over a full big-league season. While there’s a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, it can also be attributed to the more aggressive approach he employed for the first time last year. Originally drafted as a catcher, Myers possesses more athleticism than his frame suggests, and he’s emerged as an average defensive outfielder capable of playing all three positions. After his recent trade to the Rays, Myers projects to be a presence in the middle of their lineup for many, many years, and is a prime candidate for a team-friendly extension after a year or two in the major leagues.

 

5. Taijuan Walker

Seattle Mariners | SP | 20 | ETA: Mid-2014

Pitching the entire 2012 season as a teenager at Double-A, Walker’s struggles and bouts of inconsistency were expected and constructive. With a highly athletic and projectable frame, the right-hander is relatively inexperienced—which only makes his ceiling that much higher. With effortless and fluid mechanics and a rocket arm, the right-hander’s fastball registers between 93-96 mph and will occasionally scrape 97-98 mph. His curve is already a second plus offering, however he tends to overthrow it and frequently spikes it. His changeup steadily improved over the course of the 2012 season, and he also added a promising cutter. Given his age, pure stuff and experience, Walker profiles as a legitimate ace and will be given as much time as needed to develop.

 

6. Gerrit Cole

Pittsburgh Pirates | SP | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

With a large, durable frame, Cole is the epitome of a power pitcher. Despite his size, the right-hander actually did a good job repeating his mechanics and delivery during his professional debut in 2012. His arsenal is highlighted by a plus-plus fastball that sits in the high-90s and routinely touches triple-digits. He complements the heater with a plus slider that’s thrown in the high-80s and features a devastating, wipeout break. Cole completes his elite arsenal with an above-average changeup that can be devastating when around the zone. Despite his three dynamic offerings, Cole didn’t dominate last season as expected. However, with a year of experience under his belt, the talented right-hander is poised for a big season and potentially long career at the front of the Pirates’ starting rotation.

 

7. Zack Wheeler

New York Mets | SP | 22 | ETA: Mid-2013

A tall right-hander with an athletic and projectable frame, Wheeler’s explosive delivery and fast arm add deception to his advanced, four-pitch mix. His fastball will sit around 93-96 mph and appears to jump on opposing hitters—especially right-handers due to the late, arm-side run. His plus curveball is a 12-to-6 downer that both induces whiffs and buckles knees. His slider and changeup aren’t nearly as advanced as the fastball or curveball, but each has the potential to be average-to-above-average offerings, respectively. It’s also worth noting that Wheeler limits the opposing team’s running game with varying looks and a quick delivery from the stretch. The right-hander is one of only a few pitches prospects with true No. 1-starter upside, which should become a reality during the 2013 season.

 

8. Jose Fernandez

Miami Marlins | SP | 20 | ETA: Late-2013

Fernandez asserted himself as an elite pitching prospect in 2012 by dominating older hitters in his full-season debut. With a physically-mature frame that’s built for innings, the right-hander features excellent raw stuff and surprising pitchability. His four-pitch mix is highlighted by an explosive 92-97 mph fastball with late sink, as well as a plus curveball with solid depth and pace. He also throws a wipeout slider and changeup, the latter being the less advanced pitch. Fernandez is a fierce competitor on the mound who prides himself on finishing what he started. Given his present ability and polish, he could reach the major leagues late in the 2013 season.

 

9. Xander Bogaerts

Boston Red Sox | SS | 20 | ETA: Late-2013

Bogaerts has repeatedly thrived as a younger prospect at advanced levels, showcasing the ability to hit for both average and power while remaining at shortstop. While his swing is mostly power-oriented, the right-handed hitter manages to make consistent contact thanks to his plus bat speed and bat-to-ball ability. There’s growing doubt that he’ll be able to remain at shortstop due to his lack of quickness and range, and choppy defensive actions. Regardless, Bogaerts’ highly-promising bat could lead to multiple all-star seasons with a .280+ batting average and 30+ home runs. His future may be at a corner position, but another strong performance at shortstop in 2013 could have him in Boston by the end of the season.

 

10. Jameson Taillon

Pittsburgh Pirates | SP | 21 | ETA: Late-2013

An advanced power pitcher much like his teammate Gerrit Cole, Taillon’s arsenal isn’t quite as electric and advanced. A tall right-hander with long limbs, his mechanics and delivery are still inconsistent and could inhibit his overall command. The right-hander’s fastball sits in the mid-to-high-90s with movement to the arm side, while his curveball is a second plus pitch with sharp, two-plane break. His changeup is currently average at best as he noticeably lacks a feel for the pitch and when to use it. Taillon will need to iron out some minor issues with his mechanics and refine his overall command before reaching the major leagues, but it’s exciting to envision him following Cole in the team’s rotation.

 

11. Travis d’Arnaud

New York Mets | C | 23 | ETA: Mid-2013

Had it not been for a season-ending knee injury after only 67 games in 2012, d’Arnaud would have likely made a late-season, big-league debut with the Blue Jays. With four above-average-to-plus tools, it’s easy to understand why d’Arnaud ranks as the top catching prospect in the game. With above-average bat speed, loose wrists and an overall feel for the strike zone, the right-handed hitter could develop into one of the top offensive backstops in the major leagues. Both his power and frequency should translate as well, as most of his raw power is derived from the lift and extension after contact. He moves well for his size behind the plate, demonstrating advanced defensive skills and a plus arm. He’s still raw in some regards and may always be, but his offensive potential (.275+ batting average, 20+ home runs) should outweigh those concerns.

 

12. Francisco Lindor

Cleveland Indians | SS | 19 | ETA: Early-2015

The top defensive shortstop prospect in the game, Lindor’s calling card will always be plus defense. With above-average range, smooth hands and actions, and tremendous instincts, his defensive prowess will make him a big leaguer for a long, long time. However, it’s Lindor’s bat that may ultimately drive him into all-star territory, as the switch hitter’s bat has the potential to be above-average with plenty of doubles and triples but few home runs.

 

13. Christian Yelich

Miami Marlins | OF | 21 | ETA: Early-2014

A tall, lanky left-handed hitter, Yelich possesses one of the more projectable hit tools among all prospects. Employing a balanced and fluid swing, he’s able to consistently barrel the ball. As a hitter who seemingly has a plan for each at-bat, Yelich relies on his advanced pitch recognition to track balls deep in the zone and use the entire field. Because he keeps the bat in zone for so long, his present power is only average, but should be good for 15+ home runs in the major leagues on top of an annual .300+ batting average.

 

14. Shelby Miller

St. Louis Cardinals | SP | 22 | ETA: Early-2013

After a dismal first-half of the 2012 season at Triple-A, Miller, a right-hander, was absolutely dominant over the final two months and finished the year on the Cardinals’ playoff roster. Employing a smooth and repeatable delivery, he bursts towards the plate after a quiet foot strike. His fastball is surprisingly straight in the 91-95 mph range, but his effortless release and delivery on a downhill plane induces excessive swing-and-misses. His curveball is only an average offering, but is effective when sequenced off his well-located fastball. His change is also an average offering, but stands to improve with more experience. Despite finishing the 2012 season in the team’s bullpen, Miller should receive an opportunity to join the starting rotation next season.

 

15. Billy Hamilton

Cincinnati Reds | OF | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

Although he’s always showcased other worldly speed, Hamilton took a huge step forward as a prospect last season by narrowing the gap between his raw athleticism and lacking baseball skills. His game-changing speed is an absolute rarity, and I’ve never seen anything like it on a baseball field. The switch hitter demonstrated a more consistent approach from both sides of the plate last season, which in turn improved his contact rate and on-base skills. There will continue to be concern regarding the utility of his hit tool—especially from the right side—but it may not matter with his wheels. A shortstop since he was drafted in 2009, the Reds recently moved Hamilton to center field. Even if he’s raw out there, he has the athleticism and speed to overcome a poor read or route. He’ll likely make his big-league debut at some point during the 2013 season, though he may not receive regular playing time until the following year.

 

16. Miguel Sano

Minnesota Twins | 3B | 19 | ETA: Early-2015

In possession of arguably the most raw power in the minor leagues, Sano’s swing is geared towards power frequency. A right-handed hitter, the combination of his pure strength, quick wrists and a leveraged swing suggest the potential for 35+ home runs in the major leagues. His hit tool is only fringe-average at the moment, as his free-swinging approach also yields a high strikeout total. Currently a third baseman, Sano’s defense at the hot corner is sloppy and discouraging, and could force a move to either first base or right field down the road.

 

17. Javier Baez

Chicago Cubs | SS | 20 | ETA: Late-2014

A physically-strong, right-handed hitter, Baez showcases elite bat speed that yields hard contact and plus-plus raw power—especially to his pull side. His approach is reckless and pitch recognition will require extensive seasoning, but the hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball ability is outstanding. The Cubs will continue to develop him as a shortstop, but there’s a chance he outgrows the position and shifts to third base. He’ll be challenged at higher levels, but his bat is definitely special.

 

18. Tyler Skaggs

Arizona Diamondbacks | SP | 21 | ETA: Mid-2013

The top left-handed pitching prospect in the game, Skaggs struggled following a promotion to the major leagues in late August. Although he has good stuff, a projectable frame and clean, repeatable mechanics, he still battles inconsistency like most young pitchers; Skaggs tends to rip open his front shoulder which, in turn, makes his delivery less explosive and causes him to frequently miss the zone to his arm side. His above-average fastball isn’t overpowering and needs to be thrown on a downhill plane. His curveball is absolutely filthy as a plus-plus pitch when he’s throwing it from a consistent release point. The changeup is fringy at the moment, but should be another at least average pitch. He’s still young and lacks experience, so don’t lose hope that he can become a No. 2 starter.

 

19. Nick Castellanos

Detroit Tigers | OF/3B | 21 | ETA: Mid-2014

After opening the 2012 season on an absolute tear at High-A, Castellanos came down to earth at Double-A where his plate discipline was challenged. A pure hitter with advanced bat-to-ball skills, the right-handed hitter employs an inside-out swing and hits the ball hard the other way. At the same time, said approach prevents him from turning on balls and tapping into his raw power. He’s prone to chasing sliders low and off the plate—a tendency that will surely be exploited at higher levels. Developed as a third baseman until halfway through the 2012 season, the Tigers moved Castellanos to the outfield with the hope of expediting his arrival in the major leagues. His average defensive tools and below-average speed don’t project favorably in the outfield, but he should be able to offer at least average defense with more reps. If his power ultimately develops, he should reach his ceiling as a potential all-star caliber player; if not, he should still be a force as a No. 6 or 7 hitter.

 

20. Mike Zunino

Seattle Mariners | C | 22 | ETA: Mid-2013

After a storied amateur career at the University of Florida, Zunino slugged his way to Double-A in his professional debut and followed it with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. A right-handed hitter, his lone plus tool is power; Zunino’s extension after contact allows him to drive the ball from line-to-line with backspin carry. His swing can get lengthy and he’ll swing through his share of pitches, though he still barrels the ball with consistency and projects to have an average hit tool. Although his catch-and-throw skills and arm strength are above-average, his blocking is still relatively raw. A long-shot to break camp with the team, it shouldn’t take long for Zunino to reach the major leagues.

 

21. Anthony Rendon

Washington Nationals | 3B | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

Rendon’s professional career got off to an inauspicious start when the third baseman fractured his ankle during the second regular-season game at High-A. Because this was his fourth major injury in as many years, the annual mishaps can no longer be attributed to bad luck. A right-handed hitter, he still owns one of the more promising hit tools in the minor leagues. His plus bat speed and loose wrists allow him to track pitches in the zone without sacrificing hard contact. Rendon’s power remains a question mark due to his inability to stay on the field, though he should be capable of launching 15-20 in a given season. His plate discipline and pitch recognition continues to impress and should always give his offensive tools a chance to play up. He’s somewhat undersized and lacks the physicality associated with the hot corner, but he handles the position with a solid glove and excellent instincts. His arm isn’t as strong compared to his first two years at Rice, but it should be enough to remain at the position.

 

22. Trevor Bauer

Cleveland Indians | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2013

After coasting through the minor leagues last season, Bauer struggled in his six starts with the Diamondbacks. His stuff looked fine, but his hesitancy to attack hitters was obvious as he picked at the corners of the zone and seemingly tried to trick batters. With a five-pitch mix of average-to-plus offerings, including a plus fastball and curveball, he still has the upside of a No. 1 or 2 starter. Bauer’s fresh start with the Indians may be exactly what he needs, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he spent the entire 2013 season in the team’s starting rotation.

 

23. Mike Olt

Texas Rangers | 3B | 24 | ETA: Mid-2013

A physically strong right-handed hitter, Olt features plus power to all fields, and should hit 25+ home runs as an everyday player. He’s comfortable working counts in his favor, will foul off tough, two-strike offerings, and patiently waits for something that fits his approach. Although he may see time at first base or at a corner outfield position, Olt will wind up at the hot corner where he’s an above-average defender with natural instincts and a strong, accurate arm.

 

24. Jonathan Singleton

Houston Astros | 1B | 21 | ETA: Late-2013

Although he’s a first-base-only prospect, Singleton offers a blend of average and raw power that emerged in a big way at Double-A in 2012. With plus bat speed, tons of natural strength and mature secondary skills, the left-handed hitter has the potential to hit .270 with 30+ home runs, and should reach the major leagues later this season. But before then, he’ll have to show improvement against left-handed pitching.

 

25. Archie Bradley

Arizona Diamondbacks | SP | 20 | ETA: Mid-2015

Possessing excellent athleticism for his size, Bradley features an active delivery that allows him to throw each pitch on a downhill angle. Although his command left plenty to be desired during his full-season debut in 2012, Bradley’s pure stuff is undeniable good. The right-hander’s fastball registers in the low-to-mid-90s and is thrown with weight and located down in the zone. His curveball gives him a second plus pitch; it’s a legitimate hammer with a last-minute dive out of the zone. He made progress with the changeup last season, which should be at least an average pitch with late fade. Once Bradley gains a better feel for both his arsenal and the strike zone, he’ll be on the fast track to the front of the Diamondbacks’ rotation.

 

26. Aaron Sanchez

Toronto Blue Jays | SP | 20 | ETA: Late-2014

Kept on a short leash by the Blue Jays until the 2012 season, Sanchez’s shaky command and inconsistent delivery can be chalked up to inexperience. With three above-average-to-plus offerings, the right-hander’s pure stuff makes him a high-level pitching prospect. His fluid delivery and quick arm can make his 93-98 mph fastball appear effortless, while his curveball is a hammer that draws swing-and-misses even when bounced in front of the plate. His changeup has a good speed differential and projects to be above-average. With improved pitchability, Sanchez could become an ace. If his command issues continue, he still has a high ceiling as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

 

27. Carlos Correa

Houston Astros | SS | 18 | ETA: Early-2016

The No. 1-overall selection in the 2012 draft, Correa is a tall, athletic shortstop with raw tools and a high ceiling. He moves well at the position, showcasing fluid actions and above-average range, as well as plus-plus arm strength. A right-handed hitter, Correa has plus bat speed that should yield 25+ home runs and plenty of doubles. Having turned 18 in September, there’s a wide gap between the present and future. And don’t be surprised if it takes him some time to get there.

 

28. Jackie Bradley

Boston Red Sox | OF | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

In his professional debut in 2012, Bradley quickly proved to be more advanced than expected. Thanks to exceptional plate discipline and a consistent approach, the left-handed hitting outfielder is an on-base machine who works deep counts and laces the ball from line-to-line. His hit tool realistically projects to be slightly above-average, but should always play up a grade due to his secondary skills. Bradley may also win a few fielding awards in center field, where he relies on his exceptional instincts and high baseball IQ to compensate for a lack of outright speed. His blend of baseball skills and sharp defense are a commodity in the major leagues, and should get him to the major leagues ahead of schedule in 2013.

 

29. Trevor Story

Colorado Rockies | SS | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

Although none of his tools are electric, Story is one of the more well-rounded, up-the-middle prospects in the game. With above-average range, natural actions and a plus arm, he should have no problem remaining at shortstop. At the plate, the right-handed hitter’s balanced swing and plus bat speed allow him to drive the ball to all fields with backspin carry. His plate discipline is advanced for his age, though he’ll be forced to eliminate some of the swing-and-miss in his game at higher levels. Story’s combination of mature tools and baseball skills at an elite position give him all-star potential.

 

30. Danny Hultzen

Seattle Mariners | SP | 23 | ETA: Mid-2013

Regarded as the most polished arm in the 2011 draft class, Hultzen, who still features the quintessential University of Virginia-inspired mechanics, was on pace to make his major-league debut late in 2012 before unexpectedly losing his command at Triple-A. When he’s at his best, the left-hander’s fastball sits in the low-90s with arm-side run. He throws his changeup with deceptive arm speed, but tends to catch too much plate. While his slider flashes above-average potential, he tends to get around it and make it slurvy. Hultzen will likely reach his ceiling as a No. 2 or 3 starter, but has plenty to prove before reaching the major leagues.

 

31. Byron Buxton

Minnesota Twins | OF | 19 | ETA: Early-2016

In addition to elite athleticism, Buxton boasts one of the finest collections of tools among all prospects. His plus-plus speed plays in games on both sides of the ball, while his plus arm and instincts project favorably in center field. Even though he already possesses plus power, his hit tool and approach are both incredibly raw. With such a high ceiling comes an equally high level of risk. But if all comes to fruition, Buxton could develop into one of the top players in the game.

 

32. Julio Teheran

Atlanta Braves | SP | 21 | ETA: Mid-2013

Teheran entered the 2012 season as one of the top pitching prospects in the game. However, the right-hander regressed across the board while repeating Triple-A. His fastball still showed good life at 91-95 mph, but was flatter than the previous season and frequently left up in the zone. His changeup was the same plus offering that it was the year before, but considerably less effective given his overall control problems. Teheran also throws a curveball and slider, though neither pitch is particularly advanced or effective. A small mechanical tweak this winter led to immediate results in the winter leagues, though that’s no guarantee it will translate in the major leagues. Although he’ll have to prove that the 2011 season was a fluke, Teheran still projects as a high-upside No. 3 starter.

 

33. Gregory Polanco

Pittsburgh Pirates | OF | 21 | ETA: Early-2015

An incredibly raw but athletic prospect headed into the 2012 season, Polanco’s outstanding tools and secondary skills seemingly came out of nowhere this past season. Although he’s still young, the left-handed hitter has the potential for an above-average hit tool in the major leagues. He showcases excellent bat speed and bat-to-ball ability, and is already comfortable driving the ball to all fields. Polanco always swings to drive the ball, which helps explain his improved power utility. Due to his plus athleticism, speed and range, he projects to remain in center field where his bat, power and speed are a premium.

 

34. Taylor Guerrieri

Tampa Bay Rays | SP | 20 | ETA: Mid-2015

Another potential frontline starter to emerge from the 2011 draft class, Guerrieri was exceptional in his professional debut in 2012 as he showcased an advanced arsenal and sound, repeatable mechanics. With a durable frame, strong upper body and broad shoulder, the right-hander’s arm is long on the backside as he masks his pitches with a slight cross-body deception. Guerrieri has pitchability and the makings of three average-to-plus pitches in a heavy low-to-mid-90s two-seam fastball, a swing-and-miss breaking ball and an average changeup. He has the upside of a No. 2 starter, but will be developed slowly considering all the pitching talent ahead of him in the Rays’ system.

 

35. Kyle Zimmer

Kansas City Royals | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2014

Zimmer turned in an impressive professional debut in 2012, though his season ultimately ended prematurely when surgery was required to remove bone chips from his elbow. A late-bloomer on the mound, the right-hander lacks mileage on his arm and employs a fluid and repeatable delivery. Prior to the surgery, Zimmer’s fastball sat in the low-to-mid-90s while his fast arm made it explode out of his hand. In college, he was known to scrape 96-98 mph. His curveball already grades as a plus pitch with sharp, downer break out of the zone. He also throws a changeup and slider, both of which are only average offerings but give him a deep arsenal. Provided that he stays healthy, Zimmer could serve as one of the organization’s top starters as early as next year.

 

36. Alen Hanson

Pittsburgh Pirates | SS | 20 | ETA: Late-2015

Hanson enjoyed an unexpected breakout season in 2012 at Low-A, as he showcased a combination of exceptional tools and developing baseball skills. The switch hitter has the potential for a plus hit tool due to his quick bat and ability to drive the ball across the entire field. While he projects for solid-average power, Hanson is more likely to amass lots of doubles and triples. A plus runner, he definitely has the defensive actions, range and glove to remain at shortstop. However, because his arm strength is only average, he’s more projectable as a second baseman. Regardless, his bat is good enough to play anywhere.

 

37. Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets | SP | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

An imposing presence on the mound, Syndergaard, boasts a power pitcher’s frame and corresponding arsenal. The right-hander’s fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s with late, boring action, and sometimes nears triple-digits. He uses his height, throwing the pitch on a hard, downhill plane and inducing lots of groundball outs. His changeup is his least dynamic offering, though his command of the pitch was vastly improved last season. Considering his size, Syndergaard repeats his mechanics surprisingly well, and is adept to pounding the lower-half of the strike zone with entire arsenal. He has a very high ceiling as a No. 2 starter, which is based on his ability to retain command at higher levels and improve his secondary pitches.

 

38. Carlos Martinez

St. Louis Cardinals | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2014

Still a young and relatively inexperienced prospect, Martinez responded favorably to an aggressive, mid-season promotion to Double-A. The right-hander is undersized with a wiry frame, but features an electric arsenal and lightning-quick arm. His fastball typically sits in the mid-to-high-90s and jumps on opposing hitters—especially right-handed hitters. When he’s throwing his curveball from a consistent release point, it’s an easy above-average pitch with tight spin and late biting action. Considering his arm speed and overpowering velocity, Martinez’s changeup could develop into a major weapon and aid his projection as a No. 2 starter by the time he reaches the major leagues.

 

39. Albert Almora

Chicago Cubs | OF | 18 | ETA: Early-2016

With maturity and awareness uncommon in a player his age, Almora is considerably more advanced than most of his peers in the 2012 draft class. With the exception of his hit and power, none of his tools are exceptional. However, he’s well-rounded with the ability to remain in center field. Beyond his above-average defense, Almora has the potential to bat .300 and maybe go 20/20. He should reach the major leagues before most other players his age.

 

40. Jake Odorizzi

Tampa Bay Rays | SP | 23 | ETA: Mid-2013

A highly athletic right-handed pitcher, Odorizzi was the other top prospect traded to the Rays in exchange for James Shields. Employing a repeatable delivery and clean arm action, his fastball typically sits at 92-95 mph with natural sink to his arm side. Because he will frequently get under the pitch and leave it up in the zone, Odorizzi must learn to work on a downhill plane and keep the ball out of the air. His curveball is an above-average pitch with a big shape and steady pace, and he also mixes in a slider and changeup—both of which need refinement. Odorizzi’s command still has plenty of room for improvement, which will only enhance his profile as a potential No. 3 or 4 starter.

 

41. Matt Barnes

Boston Red Sox | SP | 22 | ETA: Early-2014

With a tall frame and physical strength, Barnes dominated lower-level hitters with an arsenal of three average-to-plus offerings. The right-hander’s best pitch is his 92-96 mph fastball, which is thrown with weight on a downhill plane and features late run. His curveball flashes plus potential when he located with consistency, but is an otherwise raw pitch. The emergence of his changeup was a pleasant surprise last season, and caters to his projection as a No. 2 or 3 starter in the major leagues. Even though his overall command needs refinement, and he’ll have to learn how to more appropriately sequence his pitches, Barnes is seemingly already on the fast track to the big leagues.

 

42. Jorge Soler

Chicago Cubs | OF | 20 | ETA: Late-2015

Although his experience was limited last season after signing in the early summer, Soler still showcased an assortment of tools and better-than-expected secondary skills. It may take some time to gauge the potential of his hit tool; his plus bat speed and present raw power should help him adapt. He moves well in the outfield for his size and features a strong arm ideal for right field. If the hit tool develops, then Soler should have no problem batting in the heart of the Cubs’ order for years to come.

 

43. Jake Marisnick

Miami Marlins | OF | 21 | ETA: Mid-2014

Marisnick’s tremendous athleticism and raw tools may always obscure the quality of his baseball skills (think Drew Stubbs). With plus speed, tons of range and a very strong arm, he profiles as a center fielder, but could also see more time at both corner spots to get his bat in the lineup. The question is whether Marisnick will ever reach his offensive potential; his swing involves too many moving parts and his bat can drag through the zone, especially when beat by an elevated fastball or breaking ball in the dirt. If he can improve his plate discipline, Marisnick could have 20/20 potential at a premium position.

 

44. Justin Nicolino

Miami Marlins | SP | 21 | ETA: Late-2014

Nicolino doesn’t feature the pure stuff of a frontline starting pitcher, however the left-hander’s pitchability and pinpoint command give him a bright future as a No. 3 or 4. His fastball velocity is average in the high-80s/low-90s with natural sink to the arm side, which makes his plus changeup all the more effective. Thrown with convincing arm action in almost any count, it’s a pitch that keeps both right- and left-handed hitters off balance. Nicolino is comfortable mixing in a curveball, though it’s the least advanced in his arsenal.

 

45. Adam Eaton

Arizona Diamondbacks | OF | 24 | ETA: Early-2013

He may be diminutive in stature, but Eaton’s four above-average-to-plus tools are very real and big-league-ready. A left-handed hitter, he has both the tools and secondary skills to be an excellent leadoff hitter in the major leagues. Comfortable working counts in his favor, his plus hit tool yields loud contact to all fields and he’s learned to put the ball in play to utilize his plus speed. The only down tool is his power; however, he’s still capable of notching 50 doubles and double-digit triples, all while stealing upwards of 50 bases. His excellent speed is also an asset in center field where his instincts and aggressive style give him plus range. Eaton should get a chance to break camp as the Opening Day center fielder, and could also be a fantasy monster.

 

46. Kevin Gausman

Baltimore Orioles | SP | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

An athletic pitcher with an ideal frame for adding strength, Gausman does a nice job repeating his delivery; he utilizes his lower half rather than relying on pure arm strength. The right-hander’s arm is loose and whippy, and generates easy velocity with a mid-90s fastball that scrapes 97-98 mph. His two-seamer registers a few ticks slower, but also features more late life to the arm side. Gausman’s polished changeup is a second plus pitch, and he rounds out his projectable arsenal with a curveball and slider. While both pitches grade as average at the moment, the slider has the potential to be a more effective pitch in relation to his plus fastball-changeup pairing. It shouldn’t take the right-hander much time to reach the major leagues, and he’s only a few years away from sliding in behind Dylan Bundy as the team’s No. 2 starter.

 

47. Luis Heredia

Pittsburgh Pirates | SP | 18 | ETA: Late-2015

A large, physical right-hander, Heredia is yet another power pitcher in the Pirates’ loaded system. Although he’s still only a teenager, his fastball already reaches the mid-90s and he’s adept to manipulating it for additional movement. He utilizes his height by throwing the pitch on a steep downhill plane that usually results in weak contact. Heredia’s curveball is still raw and lacks overall consistency, though he’ll have plenty of time to refine it over the upcoming seasons. His changeup is relatively advanced and features late fade, and his overall pitchability could make him a No. 2 or 3 starter in a few years.

 

48. Matt Davidson

Arizona Diamondbacks | 3B | 22 | ETA: Mid-2014

A physically strong right-handed hitter, Davidson handled the jump to Double-A well last season and even improved across the board in each offensive category. His plus raw power to all fields is a product of his strong forearms and wrists, as the ball absolutely jumps off his bat with loud contact. Considering his age relative to the level, his plate discipline and pitch recognition should continue to improve with more experience. Davidson moved back to the hot corner last season where he’s still raw, though he does stand to make significant improvements in his second-straight year at the position in 2013. The Diamondbacks may continue to challenge him, but he won’t be rushed to the major leagues. When he does arrive, Davidson’s 25+ home run power should be a force in the middle of the lineup.

 

49. Jesse Biddle

Philadelphia Phillies | SP | 21 | ETA: Late-2014

After ironing out some mechanical issues and modifying the cross-body action in his delivery, Biddle’s control and command steadily improved over the course of the 2012 season. With an Andy Pettitte-like frame, the left-hander throws everything on a consistent downward plane and doesn’t miss over the plate as he did in 2011. He’ll spot his 90-93 mph throughout the strike zone which sets up an above-average curveball with tight spin and downer bite—a legitimate out pitch. His changeup also showed progress last season and should serve as at least an average third pitch. With a three-pitch mix and ability to eat innings, Biddle profiles as a solid No. 3 starter.

 

50. David Dahl

Colorado Rockies | OF | 18 | ETA: Late-2015

Dahl flashed five average-to-plus tools in his professional debut last season, as well as polished baseball skills. With a frame capable of adding strength, the left-handed hitter has the potential for a plus hit tool; his line-drive oriented swing is fluid and allows him to utilize the whole field. His plus speed makes him an extra-base threat at the plate, though its utility on the basepaths is yet to be seen. He may hit for only average power, though that won’t matter given the likelihood of his career in center field. Dahl could bat .300/.375/.450 with plenty of doubles, stolen bases and runs scored in the major leagues.

 

51. Alex Meyer

Minnesota Twins | SP | 23 | ETA: Early-2014

With height that’s better suited for a career in the NBA, Meyer’s combination of a 93-97 mph fastball and sharp, late-breaking slider rank among the best in the minor leagues. Given his size and three-quarters arm slot, the right-hander throws everything on a steep, downhill plane and is difficult to barrel. If his changeup and overall command continue to progress as they did last season, Meyer should reach his ceiling as a No. 2 or 3 starting pitcher.

 

52. Kaleb Cowart

Los Angeles Angels | 3B | 20 | ETA: Late-2014

A switch-hitting third baseman, Cowart improved across the board last season between two minor-league levels. From his natural right side, he showcases a more consistent, line-drive oriented swing, while his left-handed swing is geared more towards power. His vastly improved plate discipline should give him a chance to hit for more average than originally expected. With excellent instincts at the hot corner, Cowart has above-average range and a solid glove. And although his arm stroke is lengthy, his plus arm strength across the diamond makes it a non-issue. If he continues to make adjustments as he did in 2012, Cowart may arrive in the major leagues ahead of schedule.

 

53. Martin Perez

Texas Rangers | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2013

Despite an inconsistent season that featured several trips between the minor and major leagues, Perez still has plenty of upside given his age and experience. Having been rushed through the system, the left-hander’s stuff has regressed over the last two years. However, he now features a deep, five-pitch mix after the addition of a two-seam fastball and slider last season. His curveball has lost some shape, but still grades as a plus offering. Perez still profiles as a No. 3 or 4 starter with the chance for more if he can consistently miss bats as he did in 2010.

 

54. Addison Russell

Oakland Athletics | SS | 19 | ETA: Early-2015

A dynamic player with loud tools and advanced baseball skills, Russell raked at three different levels in what was an outstanding professional debut. A right-handed hitter, he laces the ball across the entire field and consistently barrels the ball. His combination of present strength, bat speed and raw power suggest the potential for above-average power at a premium position. A plus runner, Russell is also a smart basestealer who gets good jumps. At shortstop, his above-average arm and range will allow him to stick at the position. By the time he reaches the major leagues, Russell could be a monster player with the chance to hit .300+ and go 20/20.

 

55. Austin Hedges

San Diego Padres | C | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

Arguably the top defensive catcher in the minor leagues, Hedges’ prowess behind the plate is special—he can do it all. Already an advanced receiver and blocker, it’s nearly impossible to identify a flaw in Hedges’ defensive package. With a plus arm and quick catch and release, he stifles opponents’ running game. The backstop has also received praise from both his pitchers and managers for his game-calling skills and ability to slow everything down. Even if he never hit, there was still a strong chance that Hedges would reach the major leagues. Therefore, the fact that his bat came to life last season makes him that much more premium. If he can ultimately bat .250+ with 10+ home runs, he’ll be a sure-fire all-star.

 

56. Mason Williams

New York Yankees | OF | 21 | ETA: Late-2014

Williams was in the midst of an impressive professional debut in 2012 when he suffered a dislocated shoulder—which subsequently required season-ending surgery—while diving for a ball in late July. The athletic outfielder has plus speed and range in center field, though his routes can be shaky at times. A left-handed hitter, Williams’ solid approach accentuates his projectable hit tool. And although he showed more power against advanced pitching, he’s likely to hit only 10-15 home runs in the major leagues. The concerns regarding his immaturity should begin to fade as he moves through the system.

 

57. Trevor Rosenthal

St. Louis Cardinals | SP | 22 | ETA: Early-2013

Rosenthal opened the 2012 season with an excellent showing in the Double-A rotation before receiving a mid-season promotion directly to the Cardinals’ big-league bullpen. The hard-throwing right-hander captured national attention by lighting up the radar gun and fanning hitter after hitter in the postseason. As a starter, the right-hander boasts a mid-to-high-90s fastball with substantial sink and arm-side run. As he showcased in October, Rosenthal is capable of sitting at 98-101 mph in shorter stints. His breaking ball is a second plus pitch with late diving action out of the strike zone. His changeup is average at the moment and will be crucial towards his projection as a mid-rotation starter. The Cardinals prefer to develop him as such and will be patient, but, at the same time, it’ll be hard to deny him a spot in the Opening Day bullpen.

 

58. Rymer Liriano

San Diego Padres | OF | 21 | ETA: Late-2013

A physically mature player with tons of raw strength, Liriano boasts at least average tools across the board. However, now he needs to establish consistency. Although his hit tool will never develop into anything beyond average, the toolsy outfielder’s plus bat speed and raw power suggest that he has plenty of untapped power. He does a good job keeping his hands inside the ball, but his extensive plate coverage results in too many weakly hit outs. Due to his plus speed and strong, accurate arm, Liriano has a clear future in right field, though he’ll need to feature more power for a favorable long-term projection. Either way, Liriano is a raw talent loaded with upside. However, there’s a large, pre-existing gap between the present and future.

 

59. Yasiel Puig

Los Angeles Dodgers | OF | 22 | ETA: Late-2014

In addition to his muscular physique, Puig’s wrists and forearms are loaded with quick-twitch muscles that create plus bat speed and a power-oriented swing. Thanks in part to a lofty bat path, the right-handed hitter showcases easy raw power to all fields and a decent hit tool. There’s some swing-and-miss in his game that stems from a lack of patience and propensity to over-commit on breaking balls, but should improve with experience. His defense in right field is shaky, as he takes too many poor routes and lacks an instinctual first step. It’s difficult to determine his ceiling without more exposure, but his power should translate in the major leagues.

 

60. Kyle Crick

San Francisco Giants | SP | 20 | ETA: Late-2015

Crick, who features an athletic frame and strong lower-half, has the potential to be the Giants’ next homegrown, frontline pitching prospect. However, it may take him longer than expected to reach that ceiling. The right-hander has a fastball that sits around 93-97 mph and he can hold velocity deep into starts. His slider is a raw pitch that flashes plus potential but can get too slurvy, while his changeup continues to develop ahead of schedule. Given his lack of experience on the mound, Crick understandably lacks consistency and a legitimate feel for his arsenal. With a few more seasons in the minor leagues, he should be able to reach his ceiling as a No. 2.

 

61. Gary Sanchez

New York Yankees | C | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

Sanchez once again flashed his offensive potential in 2013, leading all minor-league catchers in home runs while improving his plate discipline and contact rate. However, because he spent half of the season repeating a lower level, his overall production should be taken with a grain of salt. While his plus raw power and average hit tool project favorably in the major leagues, it’s highly unlikely that Sanchez will remain behind the plate. All of his defensive skills are raw and need considerable refinement, though he may physically outgrow the position before that occurs. The right-handed hitter will probably reach the major leagues as either a first baseman or designated hitter with 25+ home run potential.

 

62. Dan Straily

Oakland Athletics | SP | 24 | ETA: Early-2013

The pop-up prospect of the year, Straily emerged as a legitimate strikeout artist behind his above-average command of a four-pitch mix. The right-hander’s fastball works in the low-90s with late, arm-side action, while his changeup and slider are both above-average pitches that induce lots of swing-and-misses. He’ll occasionally mix in a curveball, too, though it lags behind his other offerings. Although his pure stuff isn’t overpowering, it’s both consistent and projectable, and should be an asset at the back end of the A’s starting rotation.

 

63. Bubba Starling

Kansas City Royals | OF | 20 | ETA: Early-2016

A premium athlete who’s absolutely loaded with tools, Starling is a present above-average-to-plus runner whose speed plays down on the basepaths. The right-handed hitting outfielder boasts above-average raw power to all fields, but the disconcerting amount of swing-and-miss in his game and his inability to make adjustments forces me to question its utility. At the plate, he has a bad habit of barring his front arm and then dragging the bat head through the zone. Furthermore, Starling regularly brings the bat through the zone on the same plane despite the location of the pitch. He does receive favorable grades for his defense in center field, where he has the speed, range and arm strength to remain at the position. With such a high ceiling, Starling is also a high risk to fail. However, if he even comes close to his overall ceiling, it means that he’ll still be an impact big-leaguer.

 

64. Hak-Ju Lee

Tampa Bay Rays | SS | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

With a glove that’s nearly big-league ready, Lee has both the tools and secondary skills to remain at shortstop. A plus runner, he showcases excellent range at the position that plays up due to his natural instincts. He also has an impressive internal clock on defense, as he knows when to utilize a quick transfer and release. A left-handed hitter, Lee hasn’t matured as a potential top-of-the-order hitter, as he still struggles to work deep counts and chases pitches out of the zone in hitter’s counts. His bat speed is above-average and he makes plenty of hard contact, however his hips and hands occasionally drag and slow down his bat. The Rays are waiting on his on-base skills and hit tool to develop, and he should have no problem assuming duties as the everyday shortstop once they do.

 

65. Tyler Austin

New York Yankees | OF | 21 | ETA: Mid-2014

Austin finally found a defensive home in right field last season—after spending the entire 2011 season as a corner infielder. The positional security allowed the right-handed hitter’s bat to flourish, as he showcased an above-average hit tool with surprising power frequency. More importantly, Austin exhibited a consistent approach as well as a feel for making adjustments between at-bats. Due to his knack for making hard contact and excellent plate coverage, the fact that he shows significant pop the other way is highly encouraging. His transition to the outfield was smooth, as he showcased surprising range, solid instincts and a strong, accurate arm.

 

66. Jon Schoop

Baltimore Orioles | IF | 21 | ETA: Early-2014

Schoop was challenged in 2012 as one of the younger regulars in Double-A. However, despite facing more advanced pitching, the right-handed hitter showcased improved power and knack for making loud contact to all fields. His plate discipline is still raw, but should improve with more experience in the high-minors. While both his hit and power tools have potential to be above-average, he’ll have to make the necessary adjustments along the way. Schoop’s defensive versatility on the infield could expedite his arrival in the major leagues, as he’s capable of playing either shortstop, second or third base. Because he lacks up the middle speed and will probably lose a step as he adds strength, Schoop will likely wind up at third base where his solid glove and strong arm are a clean fit.

 

67. Max Fried

San Diego Padres | SP | 19 | ETA: Mid-2015

An athletic and projectable southpaw with lots of polish for his age, Fried has a smooth delivery and fluid arm action. While his fastball ranges anywhere from 88-93 mph with arm-side action, the left-hander’s curveball is easily his best offering with a big break and the potential to draw lots of swing-and-misses. Additionally, his changeup also flashes at least above-average potential and is thrown with deceptive arm speed. Given his three-pitch mix and overall polish relative to his age, it’s easy to see Fried as a No. 2 starter in a few years, especially in pitcher-friendly PetCo Park.

 

68. Brian Goodwin

Washington Nationals | OF | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

Goodwin shot up the prospect rankings over the course of the 2012 season due to his combination of speed, power and secondary skills. A left-handed hitter, he has quick hands and a powerful swing that suggests the potential for slightly-above-average power—especially to his pull side. With the natural ability to turn around quality velocity, he still tends to get too pull-happy and will pull off pitches on the outer half. Goodwin’s plate discipline is advanced for his age and level of experience, though he still struggles to maintain a consistent approach. His above-average speed, range and smooth defensive actions will allow him to remain in center field, though he has more than enough arm strength for a corner position.

 

69. Nick Franklin

Seattle Mariners | SS/2B | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

Although he appears undersized, Franklin is an above-average athlete with surprising physical strength. A switch hitter, most of his production will come from the left side of the plate where he showcases above-average power and makes consistent contact to all fields. His right-handed bat doesn’t project in the major leagues, and he may consider scrapping hitting from the right side altogether sometime soon. After playing primarily shortstop at each minor-league stop, Franklin saw more playing time at second base last season where his average range and arm strength are a cleaner fit.

 

70. Robert Stephenson

Cincinnati Reds | SP | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

Despite his lack of professional experience, Stephenson has a chance to move through the Reds’ system quickly due to his advanced feel for the strike zone. Employing an athletic delivery, the right-hander’s heater sits in the mid-90s and he commands it aggressively to both sides of the plate. His changeup is another advanced offering that’s disguised by his similar arm speed, and he also throws an inconsistent breaking ball with a promising pace and shape. If he can improve both secondary offerings, Stephenson could be a No. 2 or 3 starter, or maybe more.

 

71. Kolten Wong

St. Louis Cardinals | 2B | 22 | ETA: Mid-2013

When the Cardinals selected Wong out of the University of Hawaii in 2011, he was expected to reach the major leagues quickly due to his advanced baseball skills and overall polish.  The second baseman is on pace to do just that at some point during the 2013 season after a strong showing last season at Double-A. A left-handed hitter, Wong’s bat projects favorably in the two-hole, as his direct bat path and line-drive stroke results in consistent hard contact to all fields. Although his hit tool has above-average potential, he’ll probably only jump the yard 10-12 times in a given season. Wong’s defense at the keystone is nearly big-league-ready, though he lacks the standard range of an up-the-middle player. He should receive consideration to break camp in the major leagues, but would probably benefit from the extra at-bats at Triple-A for a month or two.

 

72. Zach Lee

Los Angeles Dodgers | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2014

An outstanding athlete who was set to attend Louisiana State on a football scholarship (quarterback), Lee, a right-hander, has a projectable build that should allow him to add strength and more velocity. He’s been moved through the Dodgers’ system aggressively, but has responded well to each new challenge. He showcases advanced command of his 88-93 mph fastball and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters on the inner-half. He’s also comfortable adding either cut or sink depending on the situation. Lee’s deep arsenal also features a curveball and slider, with the latter serving as the better present offering, as well as an above-average changeup. Because he lacks one or two legitimate plus pitches, Lee’s realistic ceiling is as a No. 3 starter.

 

73. George Springer

Houston Astros | OF | 23 | ETA: Early-2014

Although he boasts five above-average-to-plus tools, Springer’s overall game lacks maturity. His biggest assets are his plus power-speed potential that could make him a 20/20 threat in the major leagues. However, he struggles to make in-game adjustments and employs a max-effort swing that leads to excessive whiffs. His plus arm is suitable for all three outfield positions, though he’ll offer the most value in center. He’s a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect, and 2013 should be a telling year.

 

74. Chris Archer

Tampa Bay Rays | SP | 24 | ETA: Early-2013

Archer has always featured swing-and-miss stuff, but his below-average control and command prevented him from reaching the major leagues until the 2012 season. With an athletic delivery and quick arm, the right-hander rushes his fastball to the plate at 93-97 mph, and will even sit a few ticks higher out of the bullpen. His slider is a legitimate plus offering that induces swing-and-misses with excellent tilt and two-plane break; he throws a solid-average with deceptive arm speed and late fade, and it could grade even higher with more experience. Although his exact role is undetermined, Archer should spend most of the 2013 season in the major leagues.

 

75. Corey Seager

Los Angeles Dodgers | SS | 18 | ETA: Late-2015

The younger brother of Kyle, who plays for the Mariners, Corey already shows the potential for five average-to-plus tools. With present strength and athleticism, the left-handed hitter should hit for both average and power in the major leagues. An intelligent hitter who rarely wastes at-bats, Seager has an efficient swing that allows him to barrel the ball with regularity and use the entire field. He played his entire professional debut as a shortstop, where his bat has maximum value, and will likely be challenged to remain at the position. It doesn’t matter, though, because his bat should be good enough for any corner position.

 

76. Jedd Gyorko

San Diego Padres | 3B/2B | 24 | ETA: Mid-2013

An offense-oriented prospect, Gyorko possesses excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to barrel the ball with consistency. A right-handed hitter, he does an excellent job keeping his hands inside the ball and adjusting to various pitches throughout the strike zone. His balanced and effortless swing yields hard contact to all fields, and he continues to mash left-handed pitching. While his hit tool projects to be above-average, Gyorko’s power may not translate in the major leagues as it did last season in the Pacific Coast League, which, as a result, hurts his projection as a third baseman. Despite shifting to second base last season, he lacks the up-the-middle tools and skills to project long-term at the position. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he outlives his expectancy at the position thanks to the consistency of his hit tool.

 

77. James Paxton

Seattle Mariners | SP | 24 | ETA: Mid-2013

A tall, long-limbed southpaw, Paxton showcases three average-to-plus offerings, but lacks the command to be consistently effective. In addition to a stabbing arm action on the backside, his glove hand can flail and throw off his overall balance. Paxton’s fastball typically sits in the low-to-mid-90s and is difficult to recognize out of his high arm slot. His secondary offerings consist of a plus curveball with a big shape and downer break, and a changeup with fringy command. He’ll continue to be developed as a No. 3 or 4 starter, but Paxton’s shaky mechanics may ultimately force a move to the bullpen.

 

78. Nolan Arenado

Colorado Rockies | 3B | 21 | ETA: Late-2013

After a monster 2011 campaign in the hitter-friendly California League, Arenado came back down to earth last season following a promotion to a more advanced level. While his hit tool could play as a plus in the major leagues, his power frequency is questionable relative to the position. He’s also showcased a plus arm, but the strides he’s made over the last two seasons should make him an average major-league third baseman. Arenado is on pace for significant exposure in the major leagues in 2013, and, in a full season, should hit for average (.275+) and moderate power (35 doubles, 15-20 home runs) with the help of Coors Field.

 

79. Courtney Hawkins

Chicago White Sox | OF | 19 | ETA: Late-2015

A big, physically strong teenager, Hawkins is an outstanding athlete who moves better than this mature frame suggests. A right-handed hitter, his excellent bat speed results in plus raw power to all fields thanks to a leveraged swing. His pitch recognition and approach is understandably raw, as he tends to commit to secondary pitches too early and over-swing. He’ll have plenty of time to make adjustments, and should have an above-average hit and plus power tool by the time he reaches the major leagues. His above-average speed and athleticism will allow him to remain in center for now, but he could easily outgrow the position and move to a corner spot—especially with his rocket arm. Hawkins has the athleticism, tools and baseball skills to be an all-star caliber outfielder in the major leagues. However, he won’t be rushed through the minors.

 

80. J.R. Graham

Atlanta Braves | SP | 23 | ETA: Late-2013

In a system loaded with pitching prospects, Graham has shot up the rankings after an excellent full-season debut across two advanced levels. He may not be the most attractive prospect as an undersized right-hander, but his potential is undeniable. His best pitch is a sinker that sits in the low-90s and is difficult to lift, and he’ll dial up his four-seamer to 95-97 mph as needed. A tight, late-breaking slider represents a second plus offering, while his changeup is an unused and underdeveloped pitch. Because he gets tilt on each of his pitches, Graham induces as many whiffs as groundball outs. Both his pure stuff and ability to execute pitches could make him an above-average backend starter, or, at worst, a shutdown reliever.

 

81. Didi Gregorius

Arizona Diamondbacks | SS | 23 | ETA: Mid-2013

Acquired from the Reds in the three-team, nine-player deal that included Trevor Bauer, Gregorius is an excellent athlete with a projectable frame that will allow him to add strength. A plus defensive shortstop, he showcases outstanding range in all directions that plays up due to his instincts. His glove is especially slick thanks to his soft, giving hands and excellent hand-eye coordination. The left-handed hitter isn’t nearly as refined at the plate, though he does demonstrate an ability to use the entire field. Still, he drops his hands before the pitch and can have a long swing that’s exploited by above-average velocity. Although he employs a solid approach, Gregorius would benefit from working deeper counts and coaxing more walks.

 

82. Joc Pederson

Los Angeles Dodgers | OF | 20 | ETA: Late-2014

Pederson enjoyed a breakout offensive season in 2012 in the hitter-friendly California League. Although his stats were inflated, the athleticism, tools and baseball skills were real and project well at higher levels. A left-handed batter, he’ll likely hit for average more than power in the major leagues due to his advanced plate discipline and line-drive bat path. However, he does drive the ball with backspin, so it’ll be interested to see how his power translates out of the Cal League. Pederson doesn’t have plus speed, but his hard-nosed style gives him a future as a center fielder. He may never have the power for a corner outfield position, so most of his value will be associated with his projection as a center fielder.

 

83. Cody Buckel

Texas Rangers | SP | 20 | ETA: Mid-2014

An undersized right-hander, Buckel creates a ton of deception through a torque-oriented delivery much like Trevor Bauer’s. Behind a fearless demeanor, he attacks opposing hitters with an advanced four-pitch mix of average-to-plus offerings. Buckel’s fastball registers in the low-90s, though he can reach back for 94-95 mph when throwing it as an out pitch up in the zone. His curveball is a present above-average offering with sharp break and whiff-inducing pace, while both his slider and changeup flash at least average potential. Considering his pitchability and advanced feel for the strike zone, Buckel has the makings of an effective backend starter.

 

84. Delino DeShields, Jr.

Houston Astros | 2B | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

The son of former big-leaguer of the same name, DeShields’ breakout season in 2012 was highlighted by vastly improved plate discipline and a more consistent hit tool. And had it not been for Billy Hamilton’s stolen-base frenzy, his 101 stolen bases would have garnered more recognition. He may be undersized, but the right-handed hitter has a surprising amount of pop with the potential for 10-15 as a leadoff hitter in the major leagues. DeShields defense lags behind the bat and he’s not a lock to stay at second base; center field may be more appropriate.

 

85. Roberto Osuna

Toronto Blue Jays | SP | 18 | ETA: Early-2016

Osuna is already physically mature as a teenager and there are concerns about whether he’ll be able to hold-off additional weight. However, the right-hander’s delivery is surprisingly consistent and highlighted by a quick arm that hinders opponent pitch recognition. He pounds the strike zone with a plus fastball that tops out at 95-96 mph, and complements it with a sharp curveball and tumbling splitter—both of which have above-average potential. If Osuna can stay in shape and improve his secondary pitches, he should reach his ceiling as a No. 3 starter.

 

86. Henry Owens

Boston Red Sox | SP | 20 | ETA: Late-2015

A tall, lanky left-hander, Owens is still years away from contributing in the major leagues with a huge gap between the present and future. As is often the case with tall pitchers, his delivery has too much movement which magnifies his lack of lower-half and core strength. His fastball is an easy plus offering in the low-to-mid-90s that’s also aided by the natural deception in his delivery. He also induces lots of swing-and-misses with his mid-70s downer breaking ball. However, his changeup is a major work-in-progress. If Owens can learn to harness his command and pitch more efficiently down in the zone, a ceiling of No. 3 starter seems realistic.

 

87. Clayton Blackburn

San Francisco Giants | SP | 20 | ETA: Early-2015

Although Blackburn’s physically mature frame doesn’t involve much projection, he’s still an intriguing pitching prospect due to his pitchability and excellent command. The right-hander pounds the strike zone with a 91-93 mph fastball that features late run to the arm side, and carries the velocity well into each start. More importantly, he spots it with conviction to both sides of the plate against right- and left-handed hitters. Although his fastball grades significantly higher than his curveball, slider and changeup, he sequences them well and understands how to pitch to weaknesses. If he continues to improve and builds off his outstanding 2012 campaign, Blackburn should reach the major leagues as a No. 3 or 4 starter.

 

88. Wily Peralta

Milwaukee Brewers | SP | 23 | ETA: Early-2013

A physically mature right-handed pitcher, Peralta has a large, durable frame designed for eating innings. He struggled for a majority of the year at Triple-A, but had a few strong showings in the major leagues later in the season. His arsenal is highlighted by a heavy fastball in the low-to-mid-90s that generates countless groundball outs. He’ll also mix in both a slider and change, though neither grade beyond solid-average. Peralta’s performance at the end of the 2012 season and three-pitch mix should give him a chance to break camp in the starting rotation. If he can showcase more consistency, Peralta will be a solid No. 3 starter capable of handling a larger workload.

 

89. A.J. Cole

Oakland Athletics | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2015

Cole struggled mightily at High-A to open the 2012 season and was eventually demoted to Low-A to rediscover his arsenal and command. A lanky but projectable right-hander, he will benefit from adding strength to both his core and lower half. His fastball registers in the low-to-mid 90s with natural weight and some run, and is complemented by a potentially plus curveball with sharp break. Cole’s changeup was better last season, though he still lacks a feel for it like he does the breaking ball. Because he’s still raw and inconsistent, it may take the right-hander extra time to develop and reach his ceiling as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

 

90. Lucas Giolito

Washington Nationals | SP | 18 | ETA: Early-2016

After sitting in the high-90s earlier in the spring, Giolito began to receive consideration as the No. 1 overall draft pick. However, the tall right-hander injured his UCL in March and was forced to sit out most of the high-school season. He returned to the mound later in the summer and made his professional debut, but re-injured his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter. When healthy, the right-hander has a balanced but explosive delivery that features excellent body control. His fastball will sit in the 94-99 mph range, and he was able to hold it deep into starts as an amateur. His curveball is another true plus-plus offering with knee-buckling break and an outstanding shape. He rounds out his power arsenal with an above-average change for which he has an advanced feel. Once he’s fully recovered, Giolito should revive his projection as a No. 1 starter.

 

91. Yordano Ventura

Kansas City Royals | SP | 21 | ETA: Late-2013

An undersized right-hander with a wiry frame, Ventura features a lightning-quick arm that delivers fastballs in the mid-to-high-90s and touches triple-digits in shorter outings. His sharp, downer breaking ball is a swing-and-miss pitch and gives the right-hander the potential for two legitimate offerings. Although his changeup is fringy at the moment, it could be a third viable weapon if Ventura remains a starter. Despite his electric stuff, he lacks both consistent control and command of his entire arsenal, and, at times, demonstrates a tentative feel for the strike zone. His development of a third pitch will be crucial towards his projection as a starter. If that fails, his power arm would be a welcomed edition to the backend of the Mets’ bullpen.

 

92. Andrew Heaney

Miami Marlins | SP | 21 | ETA: Early-2014

Heaney has the potential to be one of several college arms from the 2012 draft class to move quickly in the coming season. His mechanics and arm action are both clean and easy, though he can lose a feel for his release point at times. The left-hander uses a plus fastball in the low-90s to set up his above-average curveball and average changeup. Given his command of three pitches and overall feel for pitching, it may not take long for Heaney to reach the major leagues as an effective No. 3 or 4 starter.

 

93. Aaron Hicks

Minnesota Twins | OF | 23 | ETA: Late-2013

A toolsy, switch-hitting outfielder, Hicks finally narrowed the gap between his tools and baseball skills in 2012, and took a step towards the major leagues in the process. Although his plus arm would play anywhere in the outfield, his above-average speed and solid instincts is more than enough to remain in center field. He has the power to hit 15+ home runs in the major leagues, though he’s still just beginning to showcase it in games. And while his plate discipline is advanced, Hicks’ hit tool is unproven; he tends to feel for contact rather than swing to drive the ball.

 

94. Michael Wacha

St. Louis Cardinals | SP | 21 | ETA: Late-2014

A tall right-hander with an ideal frame, Wacha dominated at multiple levels in his professional debut, and was nearly unhittable at Double-A to conclude the 2012 season. Despite his long limbs and wiry physique, the right-hander showcased improved velocity as a professional, sitting in the mid-to-high-90s out of the bullpen. As a starter, he’s more likely to sit in the low-to-mid-90s. His plus-plus changeup is a rarity and ranked as one of the better pitches in the entire 2012 draft class. He was slammed for a lack of viable third pitch as an amateur, but flashed an unexpectedly good breaking ball during his pro debut. If the pitch can improve a grade, then Wacha could serve as a No. 3 or 4 starting pitcher.

 

95. Roman Quinn

Philadelphia Phillies | SS | 19 | ETA: Late-2015

Although he’s a younger player, Quinn’s tools and baseball skills are advanced for his age. His best tool is easily his plus speed, which is obvious in all of his actions on the field. A natural right-handed hitter, he made strides as a switch hitter in 2012. Due to his advanced hand-eye coordination and bat speed, Quinn could develop an above-average hit tool (overall) as his plate discipline continues to improve. He’ll never hit for power, but is the type of player capable of leading the league in triples. Quinn has all the tools and athleticism to remain at shortstop, though his bat also profiles at second base or in center field.

 

96. Tony Cingrani

Cincinnati Reds | SP | 23 | ETA: Mid-2013

A closer while at Rice, Cingrani was moved to the rotation upon turning pro in 2011 and enjoyed a meteoric ascent to the major leagues in his full-season debut last season. The left-hander’s best pitch is his above-average fastball in the low-90s with heavy tailing action that’s also aided by the deception in his delivery. Cingrani also throws an average changeup with nearly identical arm speed as his fastball. His slider is average and more of a show-me pitch at the moment; however, its development could make him a solid backend starter who piles up strikeouts. If not, his two swing-and-miss pitches would be a welcome addition to the bullpen.

 

97. Allen Webster

Boston Red Sox | SP | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

The headlining prospect acquired by the Red Sox in their late-season blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, Webster has a projectable frame and arsenal comprised of three advanced offerings. The right-hander throws a heavy, plus fastball in the mid-90s, and complements it with a highly effective plus changeup. His slider has nice depth and a late-break, and gives him a third at least average pitch. Webster’s lack of command will be the only thing that prevents him from reaching the major leagues in 2013. Even if it never develops as hoped, the right-hander would still offer value as a power arm out of the bullpen.

 

98. Jarred Cosart

Houston Astros | SP | 22 | ETA: Late-2013

Cosart continues to be one of the more frustrating pitching prospects in the game. With a fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper-90s, downer breaking ball and fading changeup, the right-hander flashes the potential for three above-average-to-plus pitches. However, despite the excellent stuff, his control and command can both be erratic, and he’s never induced as many swing-and-misses as he should. If he ever learns to harness his arsenal, then Cosart could be a mid-rotation starter. If not, he still has plenty of value as a late-inning reliever.

 

99. Gary Brown

San Francisco Giants | OF | 24 | ETA: Late-2013

Brown, who showcases true plus speed, stands out more for his big-league-ready defense in center field than his offensive potential. For a player that runs so well, he lacks the projectable on-base skills that would make him a threat at the top of the batting order. He’ll accumulate his share of stolen bases in the major leagues, but may do so as a below-average basestealer. Because he starts with his hands so close to his body, Brown frequently casts his hands around the baseball and, in turn, will make too many weak outs. He’ll likely reach the major leagues this season as a fourth outfielder, and could enjoy a lengthy career in such a role.

 

100. Jorge Alfaro

Texas Rangers | C | 19 | ETA: Late-2015

A younger prospect who’s repeatedly held his own in advanced leagues, Alfaro may be the most exciting catching prospect in the game with a combination of outstanding tools and developing baseball skills. An agile defender with a plus-plus arm, his blocking, receiving and game-calling skills are all raw but should improve with experience. At the plate, the right-handed hitter’s free-swinging approach leads to excessive strikeouts. However, with plus bat speed and raw power, it’s only a matter of time until he taps into the potential. Once he does so, Alfaro could emerge as one of the more dynamic catchers in the game.

 

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