Prospects, Prospects, Prospects! Get your 2014 Top 50 Prospects here!
Unlike many years ago, there are now plenty of options when trying to find prospect profiles and rankings. It is also growing more and more common for prospects to be drafted in all types of drafts.
Knowing this trend, and the growing popularity of prospects, you need to make sure you are in the know come draft time.
You also need to be able to disregard some of the hype, and not draft prospects with the hopes of them all becoming Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.More often than not, when it comes to prospects, that simply is not the case.
It is also important to know what kind of rankings you are actually reading, and what they are composed for. My point is, if you are using an MLB top 100 prospects list for example, you will have a great list, but you may also be seeing players that will be great “Major Leaguers,” but perhaps average Fantasy Players.
Hopefully, that makes sense. You may also find lists with players ranked in top 30, but they may not actually break into the majors until 2016! In Dynasty leagues, that is fine, but if you are looking to snag prospects with late-season impact, or short-term profit, you need to know their likely arrival date as well.
Bottom line — do your research, lower expectations, and have fun. Prospects are easily one of my favorite aspects of Fantasy Baseball, and baseball in general. Knowing how to balance your fake teams to compete now, while taking risks with some prospects can be beneficial, and critical to your squads long-term success.
I am not going to say my rankings are the best there is, but I think they will help, and it is a solid list of players who will have an impact in the next season or two. Only a few players projected to arrive after 2015 are in there, and I still deem them valuable — or draft-able — in dynasty/keeper leagues, simply because of their cheap value.
I also wrote short breakdowns because I am hoping to have more in-depth profiles on all of my top 50 throughout the offseason and regular season. In fact, here you can find profiles for Nick Castellanos and Javier Baez.
More to come, and as always stay tuned for more rankings, and Fantasy Baseball content at davidgonos.com.
2014 MLB Top 50 Prospects
[table id=45 /]
Jose Abreu, 1B, CHW: The White Sox invested a lot in the unproven slugger, but if this Cuban import follows after his counterparts, he will do just fine, providing plenty of pop in the middle of the lineup for years to come. ETA: 2014 (starter)
Miguel Almonte, RHP, KC: The Dominican righty has two very good pitches already, with his fastball, and changeup. He is working on a third pitch, the curveball, at the age of 21 in 2014. Polished and promising as a No. 3 or even No. 2 starter. ETA: 2015
Albert Almora, OF, CHC: Only 19, the youngster has impressed already with a high batting average, solid speed, and great defensive ability. He is young, and may be a ways away, but the Cubs may feel pressure to call his name soon enough. ETA: 2015
Mark Appel, RHP, HOU: Big fastball and a knee-buckling slider, Appel did very well in his first season in the Astros system. He could see some time in the bigs as soon as late 2014, but not likely. ETA: 2015
Javier Baez, 3B/SS, CHC: Big-time power, and gaudy numbers make Baez a star simply waiting his turn, likely at third base, if he gets the call this season. ETA: 2014
Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS: He looked like a veteran after his call to Boston late in the 2013 season, and in the World Series. Great hitter, with 15-20 home run power will be starting in 2014. ETA: 2014 (Starting)
Archie Bradley, RHP, ARI: Most say he is the best pitching prospect in baseball. His talent helped Arizona move Tyler Skaggs in a trade, as well. He sports a 93-96 mph fastball. Shouldn’t be in Triple-A for too long. ETA: Late 2014
Jackie Bradley, OF, BOS: With Jacoby Ellsbury gone to New York, Bradley should be the starting center fielder. He has the tools to become a solid four-category Fantasy player, if he develops as planned. ETA: 2014 (Starting)
Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC: The 2013 No. 2 overall pick did nothing to disappoint in his first season of pro ball. Not much blocking him at third, unless Baez gets the call. ETA: 2015
Eddie Butler, RHP, COL: Dominant three-pitch prospect in Colorado, who will dominate plenty of batters in the majors. A 99-mph fastball has plenty of fans and scouts in Colorado excited. ETA: 2014
Byron Buxton, OF, MIN: The nearly unanimous No. 1 prospect in 2014 has all the tools to become a superstar. Comparisons to Mike Trout are never a bad thing. ETA: 2015
Nick Castellanos, 3B, DET: With the trade of Prince Fielder in the offseason, a cozy spot at the hot corner is open for the young Tigers prospect. He should fit in nicely, with a bump in defensive ability. ETA: 2014 (Starting)
Carlos Correa, SS, HOU: I didn’t want to list too many players who aren’t going to impact teams in 2014, or even 2015. Correa is too good not to consider, and if you have a spot to stash him, do so. Houston will likely need him very soon. ETA: early/late 2015
Kyle Crick, RHP, SF: Powerful, big righty who will zip his 96-98 mph fastball past plenty of bats now and in the future; some control issues need to be resolved, however. San Francisco has some promising arms in their farm system. ETA: 2015
Mike Folytnewicz, RHP, HOU: Nice curveball, and high-90s fastball make him an attractive pitcher. Put him in Houston, and he is a NEEDED pitcher. ETA: late 2014
Maikel Franco, 3B, PHI: Well-learned hitter, with some aggressive tendencies. His power says it all, however, hitting 36 home runs and 31 doubles last season. He’s just waiting for something to open up at first or third base. ETA: Late 2014
Clint Frazier, OF, CLE: Another stash-and-wait talent for deep keeper leagues, or dynasty leagues. Amazing bat speed, he will continue to develop in the minors for Cleveland, until ready. ETA: 2016
Kevin Gausman, RHP, BAL: Didn’t fare so well after the call in 2013. He does have filthy stuff, so another shot in 2014 isn’t a stretch by any means. He will not be perfect, or dominant, but he will develop into a No. 2 starter. ETA: 2014
Lucas Giolito, RHP, WAS: Throws absolute heat, 100-mph fastball, and he has recovered from Tommy John surgery already. The Nationals don’t really have room for him yet, so they will be patient, but when he does make it, he should be worth the wait. ETA: 2016
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, PIT: Dominant K-rate in 2013, he has good command, and doesn’t make too many mistakes. Of course, he has a few kinks to work out, his walk rate for example, but he could see the bigs this year. ETA: 2014
Jonathan Gray, RHP, COL: Gray and Butler will be a force to be reckoned with in Colorado for years to come. With a deadly slider, and three-digit fastball, it makes him an exciting pitcher to look forward to. He will develop even more this season. ETA: 2015
Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN: He will be the Opening Day starter for the Reds this season, and if he can find ways to get on base, as he did in the minors, there is no reason he won’t be leading the league in steals for years to come. ETA: Starting 2014
Andrew Heaney, LHP, MIA: He has No. 2 stuff, especially on the Marlins, as a left-hander who misses bats with three “plus” pitches (fastball, slider and changeup). He will complement Miami’s ace Jose Fernandez nicely. ETA: late 2014
Austin Hedges, C, SD: He has the pedigree to be a fantastic defensive catcher, his offensive ability needs plenty of work, however. If he can improve to be a .250 hitter, he could have Fantasy value.
Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE: Much like Hedges, he will be a fantastic MLB player, but Fantasy value may not be as certain, He won’t have much power, but his skill set leaves plenty of hope for a leadoff hitter, with great plate discipline.
Carlos Martinez, RHP, STL: He should eventually be a starter in the majors, but alas, St. Louis is so bloated with talent, he is left to work in the bullpen. Don’t let his high era in 2013 concern you. He is an amazing talent, and worth the wait in dynasty formats. Can help redraft leagues in need of RPs, as well. ETA: Starting 2014
Alex Meyer, RHP, MN: Has mechanical issues occasionally due to his tall frame, but with three pitches (close to four) that stifle hitters, Meyer should be the future Twins ace for years to come. ETA: mid-2014
Raul Mondesi, SS, KC: One of the Royals’ top prospects, he is only 19, but dazzled last year with his defense, and his hitting abilities. Plenty of ups and downs expected, but he should be something special for the Royals. ETA: 2015/2016
Rougnad Odor, 2B- TEX: Another young talent at 20 years old, he is blocked by two other talents in Texas. Odor plays great defense, and has a very good hitting skill set. If he gets moved, he could move into the majors sooner than expected. ETA: 2015/2016
Joc Pederson, OF, LAD: A borderline five-tool player, who is capable of being a star in the majors. He got blocked by another phenom last year with Yasel Puig, but with the Dodgers’ aging and injury-prone outfield, Pederson could get his chance. ETA: 2014
Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT: A five-tool prospect who has a few things to work on, seeing all pitches, and some defensive opportunities. Otherwise, he is destined for stardom, and will look great next to Andrew McCutchen in the Pittsburgh outfield. ETA: 2015
Addison Russell, SS, OAK: There are rumblings the A’s expect him to be in the majors in 2014. He is looking good, and progressing fine with his bat and defense. If he continues to improve, 2014 isn’t just hope, but reality. ETA: 2014
Aaron Sanchez, RHP, TOR: Another pitcher with a frontline starter profile, and stuff. However, he also has mechanical issues, and he struggles repeating his form, and this could lead to inconsistency. ETA: Late 2014/2015
Gary Sanchez, C, NYY: Young, with plenty of risk. He has the potential to shine as a player, but also needs to improve on just about everything, and achieve consistent results. Big risk, but potential reward for a catcher. ETA: 2015
Miguel Sano, 3B, MIN: POWER. That should be the first word to describe Sano, and if his potential arm injury doesn’t need surgery, he could reach the majors in 2014. He still needs to polish his defensive abilities, but the young slugger is ready, and needed in Minnesota. ETA: Late 2014/2015
Corey Seager, SS, LAD: Similar skill-set to his brother Kyle Seager, and he profiles for more power. He is learning two positions third and shortstop, so he could be a very useful player in the Dodgers’ future. ETA: 2015
Lucas Sims, RHP, ATL: He is only 20, and has three potential plus pitches. He is working on fine tuning his pitches in the minors, and with no rush for him, he should have plenty of time to do so. ETA: 2015
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU: Highly touted, with all the tools, but getting nailed for drug use (AGAIN) last season, and playing out of shape are concerning. If he gets it together, he could be a huge sleeper in 2014. ETA: 2014
Jorge Soler, OF, CHC: Has some attitude problems, and his season got cut short because of injury/suspensions. He has real power though and the tools to grow into a nice player. ETA: 2014George Springer, OF, HOU: Great speed and defense along with a dominating Triple-A performance in 2013, has all eyes on him this season. He’s a 30/30 caliber player. ETA: 2014
Robert Stephenson, RHP, CIN: Looks to become an elite pitching prospect, working out a few kinks, but has top-of-the-line starter potential. Draft and stash in Keeper/Dynasty leagues with confidence. ETA: 2015
Marcus Stroman, RHP, TOR: Dominating fastball and slider, and a very good change pitch. He will be an impact pitcher as soon as he gets the call. ETA: Late 2014
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, NYM: His stuff is electric, and his curveball is close to being a plus pitch. Considered by many to be ready for the bigs already, keep an eye on him. ETA: 2014
Jameson Taillon, RHP, PIT: Still hasn’t broke in to the majors yet, and he is still a much-hyped prospect. He has a plus fastball and curveball, but he has had command issues in the minors. He could see the majors this season, but not a certainty. ETA: 2015
Oscar Taveras, OF, STL: The uber-talent would be a starter in most systems, but St. Louis is simply too stacked to let him in …. yet. An injury or trade could change things, and Taveras could finally see some daily play time in the majors. He will not disappoint. ETA: 2014
Julio Urias, LHP, MIA: He is very, very young, so this is primarily a deep dynasty league pick. The fact he is ranked, however, shows his talent. Excellent fast ball tops out at 95 and has a plus curve and change-up pitch. He has time and room to grow, but will be a factor. ETA: 2016/2017
Yordano Ventura, RHP, KC: Amazing fastball and stamina to maintain it is a known factor; his secondary stuff is a little more unknown. He should be able to pitch well enough this year, while developing his skill set in the majors. Potential front-line starter in the future. ETA: 2014
Taijuan Walker, RHP, SEA: He will be lethal and here to stay in the majors. He has a fantastic fastball and curveball, and a cutter that is devastating. I am drafting him with confidence in all formats. ETA: Starting 2014
Kolten Wong, 2B, STL: We know he can make contact, but does he have the power potential and speed to reach double digits? That is the real question. Most scouts think so, it just may not be in 2014. ETA: Starting 2014
Kyle Zimmer, RHP, KC: Looks sharp and has four potential plus pitches. He still has refining to do on his offspeed stuff, when he gets the call he should do just fine in Kansas City, as a No. 3 or 4 starter. ETA: 2015
There you have the top 50 prospects entering the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season! A lot of the scouting in this article comes from the fine people at Baseball America, and if you haven’t signed up for their 2014 Prospect Handbook, make sure you do so. It’s what every writer keeps by his side.
[table id=42 /]