CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (07/07)
Next Article >>
Daily League Strategy:... (07/08)

July 7, 2014

The BP Top 50

The Best Midseason Prospects

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

With as many eyes as we can possibly put on the prize, we seek to provide the prospect temperature of the given moment, as we take to the fields night after night armed with our stopwatches, radar guns, and in my case, thermometers. As in previous top 50 updates, we will not be including prospects recently promoted to the majors, nor will we be including prospects recently selected in the amateur draft (further explanation provided below the Top 50 courtesy of Nick Faleris). This is a list of the top prospects currently in the minors, and we use a scouting-heavy approach to support the work, either in the form of our own eyewitness accounts or via our industry sources, although in most cases the rankings are indicative of the blissful marriage between the two.

When putting together this list, I wasn’t interested in where players had been ranked before—although we will document this for the sake of interest—or where they are ranked elsewhere in the prospect world, or how a dramatic rise or fall would be viewed in the name of consistency. As is often the case, we were either too high or too low on a player coming into the season, and I have no fear of adjusting our work to reflect such discrepancies based on developmental progress or regression. As the developmental plan is not always linear, we need to adapt to this and remain fluid in our evaluations in order to stay in rhythm with the shifting climate of the minors.

This is a subjective exercise that saw countless waves of change on the list, particularly in the 35-50 range, where we had about 40 qualified candidates in the mix, each with a strong case for inclusion based on the merits of the profile. But you eventually have to pour the concrete and walk away, leaving the doubts hanging in the air above the work as if moving prospect number #44 to #43 or #52 to #50 really offers anything of significance and will help me sleep better at night. I wanted to change parts of the list yesterday, just as I would likely want to change parts of it tomorrow, but for today, these are the top 50 prospects based on the parameters we set. I hope you enjoy. —Jason Parks

1. OF Byron Buxton (Twins)

Placement on pre-season 101: #1

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Ft. Myers (Disabled List)

Developmental Update: It’s a lost season for the five-tool talent, but the elite upside and premium positional value keep Buxton atop the minor-league ranks. This is all about potential, as Buxton has more physical skill than any prospect in the minors, with 80-grade speed, double-plus defensive chops in center field, an easy plus hit tool with potential for a high batting average, good secondary skills for on-base ability, and power potential that could eventually make him a role 8 player at the highest level. –Jason Parks

2. SS Carlos Correa (Astros)

Placement on pre-season 101: #5

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Lancaster (Disabled List)

Developmental Update: Before the 19-year old Puerto Rican shortstop snapped his ankle sliding into third base, he was crushing the California League, cementing his place among the elite prospects in all of baseball. Not only was he hitting pitching that was nearly four years older, he was playing fantastic defense and showing off baseball acumen beyond his years. Luckily, his injury should heal just fine and he’ll continue his assault on baseballs next season, hopefully in Double-A and possibly the major leagues. Chris Rodriguez

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

3. 3B Kris Bryant (Cubs)

Placement on pre-season 101: #17

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Iowa

Developmental Update: Bryant continues to launch home runs, rack up strikeouts, rake at an eye-popping clip, and show a discerning eye at the plate. Through 371 plate appearances between Double A and Triple A, Bryant is slashing .357/.453/.717 and finds himself knocking on Wrigley’s door. He has proven himself without question to be the loudest bat in the minors and a potential impact mainstay in the middle of the Cubs order for the foreseeable future. –Nick Faleris

4. SS Francisco Lindor (Indians)

Placement on pre-season 101: #6

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Akron

Developmental Update: Another year, another level, another solid showing as one of the younger talents in the league. Lindor’s game remains that of a future plus to plus-plus defender at the six spot with a top-of-the-order on-base and hit profile, positive value on the bases, and makeup for miles. He will be in Cleveland for good no later than Opening Day 2015, and should serve as the face of the franchise for years to come. –Nick Faleris

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

5. SS Javier Baez (Cubs)

Placement on pre-season 101: #4

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Iowa

Developmental Update: Baez has the best bat speed in the minors, and it’s not even close for me; a lethal weapon that could make him the premium power bat in the game. But his approach is below average, and he routinely puts himself in bad hitter’s counts and conditions. With more refinement, the ceiling is cathedral but the risk is still quite high despite the fact that the 21-year-old is more than holding his own at the Triple-A level. –Jason Parks

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

6. SS Addison Russell (Cubs)

Placement on pre-season 101: #7

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Tennessee

Developmental Update: From a skill-set perspective, Addison Russell has the most well-rounded profile at the shortstop position in the minors, with above-average chops in the field (including double-plus hands), and impact potential with both the hit and power tools. Russell has lost half a season to injury, but could challenge for the top spot in the minors with a strong second half. The ultimate upside is a perennial all-star at a premium spot, and the future could start as early as 2015. –Jason Parks

7. RHP Lucas Giolito (Nationals)

Placement on pre-season 101: #13

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Low-A Hagerstown

Developmental Update: The training wheels are nearly off in terms of development with Giolito. On his best nights, he flashes two elite offerings in the fastball and curveball. Both pitches are capable of doing extreme damage in the majors, with the curveball one of the best pitches currently in the minors. Giolito has the makings of a front-end starter with the giant frame and fastball/curve combo, but there is still some risk in terms of long-term health and the development of the changeup. Regardless, this is the prospect in the minors that offers the highest ceiling and could very well solidify a Washington rotation with top-end talent. Tucker Blair

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

8. RHP Dylan Bundy (Orioles)

Placement on pre-season 101: #15

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Frederick

Developmental Update: Recovering from Tommy John surgery takes away critical development time for a pitching prospect. Bundy has finally returned to live action, pitching rehab stints with Aberdeen and Frederick. His velocity only sits 91-94 currently, but he is a polished prospect who simply needs to build up arm strength again. There are not many pitchers in the minors capable of flashing four plus pitches to go along with confidence, cognizance and extreme pitchability. This was an important year for the righty, and he is nearly back to his old form outside of the velocity.—Tucker Blair

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

9. RHP Noah Syndergaard (Mets)

Placement on pre-season 101: #11

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Las Vegas

Developmental Update: This promising right-handed starter has hit some resistance so far in Triple-A, but at only 21 years old and just one season removed from High-A that’s more than understandable. Speed bumps are part of development. The high-octane fastball paired with his crisp secondary stuff projects to miss a lot of bats at the highest level, and as Syndergaard builds on this learning experience of the importance of more precise command it’s ready for takeoff. There’s no change here. Chris Mellen

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

10. RHP Robert Stephenson (Reds)

Placement on pre-season 101: #22

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Pensacola

Developmental Update: With only four starts of Double-A experience under his belt, Stephenson returned to the level to start the 2014 season, and has continued to rise through the ranks as one of the top young arms in the game. With plus athleticism and elite arm strength, the 21-year-old righty profiles as a frontline starter, with a double-plus fastball/curveball combination and a projectable changeup that could push him into the Reds’ major-league rotation at some point in 2015. –Jason Parks

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

11. RHP Jonathan Gray (Rockies)

Placement on pre-season 101: #16

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Tulsa

Developmental Update: The third overall pick in the 2013 draft seems to be a forgotten man in the prospect world, perhaps because of the specifics of his developmental plan, which seems to limit the flame-throwing righty from always displaying flame-throwing qualities, focusing more on pounding the lower zone and inducing weak contact. But this is a future frontline arm with bat-missing stuff, and once the training wheels come off at the highest level, this ranking will look too conservative. –Jason Parks

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

12. RHP Alex Meyer (Twins)

Placement on pre-season 101: #32

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Rochester

Developmental Update: Meyer is a 6-foot-9 right-hander with a big arm who has had a lot of problems in the past repeating his delivery and commanding his fastball. While Meyer is very athletic for his size, he often couldn't time his lead shoulder and hip consistently, and that caused his release point to drift. His stuff and velo have always been premium. It's a common meme in baseball that it's dangerous to give up on big pitchers as they can put it together late and make you look foolish... and indeed, 2014 has seen the former Kentucky Wildcat turn a corner. Meyer is throwing more strikes this year—low strikes. He suddenly looks the part of a potential front-of-the-rotation piece, and we could see him turn up in the Twin Cities in the second half. - Al Skorupa

13. 3B Joey Gallo (Rangers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #95

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Frisco

Developmental Update: This is what happens when 80 grade raw power starts to actualize, as Gallo jumped 82 spots from the offseason top 101. Gallo has hit 30 homers and 48 extra-base hits already this season, with an 18.4 percent walk rate in 342 PA between High-A and Double-A. Our own Ryan Parker highlighted Gallo's improvements, namely a quieter swing with less movement that allows him to use his core. While Gallo still presents extreme risk due to big strikeout numbers, the gap between his potential and current skill set has started to close, and the ceiling is that of a perennial 40-homer and on-base monster. –Jordan Gorosh

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

14. RHP Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks)

Placement on pre-season 101: #9

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Mobile

Developmental Update: Bradley dodged a bullet with a major arm injury, but the gap in development time cost him some spots in this update. The 21-year-old is back and healthy, pitching in Triple-A with early returns that have been uneven (likely due to having to ramp back up and do so at a new level). He entered the year with a lofty ceiling and the challenge of pushing his command another step. That’s still the case, along with the view that he’s an arm set to make an impact in the near future. –Chris Mellen

15. LHP Julio Urias (Dodgers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #35

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Rancho Cucamonga

Developmental Update: The youngest prospect on the Top 50 at just 17, Urias has not only earned his accelerated path to the big leagues, he’s flourished, striking out more than a batter an inning and flashing above-average stuff. He’s still working on some things, like his fastball command and comfort with the changeup, but he could get a taste of Double-A before the season is done. As long as he continues to show progression, the Dodgers will continue to challenge him. He has earned a spot as the no. 8 pitching prospect in the game. –Chris Rodriguez

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

16. 3B Miguel Sano (Twins)

Placement on pre-season 101: #14

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A New Britain (Disabled List)

Developmental Update: Sano was a tough rank due to Tommy John surgery, and he slid a couple of spots from the offseason list. However, do not sleep on the upside here; it's likely that a healthy Sano was going to see some major-league playing time this season at 21. Even though the injury clouds his future at third base for the time being, the offensive upside could be a franchise altering middle-of-the-order bat. Armed with legitimate 8 grade raw and improving feel for the barrel, Sano has 40-plus HR upside and a coin flip's chance of sticking at third. –Jordan Gorosh

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

17. OF Joc Pederson (Dodgers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #50

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Albuquerque

Developmental Update: In any other organization, he'd already be in the majors and accruing major-league service time on the DL for his current shoulder injury, but the Dodgers crowded outfield situation has Pederson blocked. With long-term effects not a major concern, the profile once thought to have some "tweener" qualities has now shown enough power and plate discipline to play every day, even if it's on a corner, and enough defense to handle center when called upon. –Jeff Moore

18. 2B Arismendy Alcantara (Cubs)

Placement on pre-season 101: #83

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Iowa

Developmental Update: I’ve always liked Alcantara, but I was too low on him coming into the season, despite a skill set that has three-way impact potential at the highest level (hit/glove/run). Now that the 22-year-old has taken his talents to Triple-A, and exceeded expectations at the plate and on base, the future first-division player has jumped the list and emerged as a top 20 prospect in the game. --Jason Parks

19. SS Corey Seager (Dodgers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #44

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Rancho Cucamonga

Developmental Update: The 6-foot-4 shortstop has done nothing but impress after a brief hiccup the last month of the 2013 season. The debate over whether he’s a first or second division player is quickly evaporating with each line drive in the gap. The question now becomes whether he can stay at shortstop, and by some accounts, including my own, it appears he can—for the time being, at least. His glove is above average and he plays the position with the smoothness of a seasoned veteran, not of a 20-year-old. Put all of this together and you get a top-20 prospect. –Chris Rodriguez

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

20. C Austin Hedges (Padres)

Placement on pre-season 101: #18

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A San Antonio

Developmental Update: I’ve been insanely high on Hedges from the jump because I’m a sucker for premium defense behind the plate, and the 21-year-old has the best combination of skills at the position I’ve scouted at the minor-league level. The bat has played down in his first full Double-A season, but you can’t scout the stat line to determine his present status and you can’t lose sight of what the profile could look like at the highest level, a perennial Gold Glove contender behind the plate with a bat that will be good enough to keep him in the lineup despite lacking big impact potential. –Jason Parks

21. RHP Hunter Harvey (Orioles)

Placement on pre-season 101: #58

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Low-A Delmarva

Developmental Update: Harvey has continued to build upon last season’s burst onto the professional scene, not only flashing the high caliber stuff, but also showing tangible progress sharpening that arsenal in his full-season debut. The quality of the fastball-curveball combo, along with the mentality and advanced maturity, points toward a quick ascent into the upper levels. The changeup does still need work, but this arm is rapidly becoming one of the better ones in the minors. –Chris Mellen

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

22. C Blake Swihart (Red Sox)

Placement on pre-season 101: #73

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Portland

Developmental Update: The switch-hitting catcher has shown strong developmental progress polishing his skills on both sides of the ball, while making the ever difficult dump into Double-A this year. There’s been a serious dent put into the gap between the now and future. The previous gaze off into the horizon of a potential first-division regular is rapidly becoming a reality, which is driving this prospect’s sizable jump up the rankings. –Chris Mellen

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

23. RHP Braden Shipley (Diamondbacks)

Placement on pre-season 101: #62

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Visalia

Developmental Update: Athleticism is a key word when it comes to Shipley who is a converted shortstop working his way through a starter’s load of innings. He has a clean delivery and intriguing stuff that allows for projection given both his inexperience and present ability. The fastball-changeup combo works well, as both pitches can be plus-plus. A role as a very good no. 3 starter is starting to come into focus. Mauricio Rubio

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

24. OF David Dahl (Rockies)

Placement on pre-season 101: #100

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Low-A Asheville

Developmental Update: Dahl is a true five-tool talent finally getting a full taste of full-season ball after a year lost to injuries. The 10th overall pick is showcasing his skills on both sides of the ball. His defense is outstanding while his offensive skill set features a huge ceiling and marked improvement over the course of this season. Dahl has a legitimate shot to become an all-star. –Ryan Parker

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

25. C Jorge Alfaro (Rangers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #41

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Myrtle Beach

Developmental Update: Only a handful of prospects in the game have the necessary tools to profile as all-stars at the highest level, and Alfaro can stand with any of them when it comes to physical characteristics: plus speed, elite arm, double-plus power potential. The 21-year-old has been slow and steady in this developmental path, and the anticipated breakout has yet to occur, despite pockets of brilliance that get lost and forgotten in the inconsistency of his overall body of work. If and when the breakout comes, Alfaro could emerge as a top tier talent in the game, but the risk that accompanies this profile is still very high. –Jason Parks

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

26. RHIP Jameson Taillon (Pirates)

Placement on pre-season 101: #19

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Indianapolis

Developmental Update: The former second overall pick still makes the cut despite the lost season to Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-7 Taillon has ideal workhorse size and strength to go along with an advanced four-pitch arsenal. He was able to find success last season in Double-A and Triple-A thanks to his easy mid-90s fastball and a downright filthy curveball. Taillon also sports a two-seamer that has tons of sink and can be relied upon to induce groundballs or miss bats, whichever you prefer. His changeup is bringing up the rear of his repertoire, but it was coming along before the injury and should grade out to be average at worst. There is still a huge amount of potential here and he remains the top arm in a deep Pirates system. Chris King

27. RHP Kohl Stewart (Twins)

Placement on pre-season 101: #54

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Low-A Cedar Rapids

Developmental Update: Stewart is building momentum as he works through the less-than-hospitable Midwest League, focusing on changeup development and fastball command. The Twins have slowly geared him up and should be set to let him loose by the end of the summer, with 2015 likely to bring with it our first real look at an unrestrained Stewart and his full power arsenal. The upside remains that of a good no. 2 starter. –Nick Faleris

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

28. SS Raul Adalberto Mondesi (Royals)

Placement on pre-season 101: #29

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Wilmington

Developmental Update: The slick fielding, switch-hitting shortstop has shown how dynamic he can be in all aspects of the game while developing as an 18 year-old at the High-A level this year. There’s a sizable gap between his current skills and what his end game could be. There is also a gap between the top-flight shortstop prospects and where Mondesi is now, but with him being as young as he is and already at the High-A level there is reason to believe he could close the gap. The biggest surprise has been how dynamic has has been on the basepaths. He grades out as a double-plus runner now, clocking sub-4.0 to 4.1 times to first from home. Despite his struggles, a potential first-division regular/all-star caliber shortstop ceiling is a real reality, and is the driving force for his status in the inclusion in the top 50. CJ Wittmann

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

29. RHP Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays)

Placement on pre-season 101: #31

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Buffalo

Developmental Update: It’s been a familiar tune for the right-handed starter this season: electric overall stuff clouded by concerns as to whether the fastball command is going to grow enough to lead to consistency at the highest level. Sanchez has moved a few spots, but given graduations to The Show his status has probably moved a bit backward. This arm tends to tease visions of a legit frontline arm with his stuff, but the clear-headed line of sight points to a mid-rotational starter. –Chris Mellen

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

30. OF Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals)

Placement on pre-season 101: #66

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Memphis

Developmental Update: The old "hitters hit" adage directly applies here. For the third straight year since being drafted, Piscotty is hitting right around .300. The Stanford alum doesn't struggle against lefties, and should have no problem as an everyday fixture on a corner of the Cardinals outfield. He manipulates the barrel, keeps it in the zone for a long time, and can hit to all fields. The profile is more of a doubles hitter than a true HR threat. On top of the hit tool, Piscotty has a big time arm and is solid-average on defense. –Jordan Gorosh

31. RHP Tyler Glasnow (Pirates)

Placement on pre-season 101: #42

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Bradenton

Developmental Update: Most young pitchers are waiting for something to click, but few of them can anticipate a ceiling as high as Glasnow can. With long arms, premium velocity and an extreme downward plane, hitters simply don't square Glasnow up. He only gets himself in trouble when he puts extra runners on base, something he does with relative frequency. When he learns to limit the free passes and pound the strike zone, the sky is the limit. Jeff Moore

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

32. RHP A.J. Cole (Nationals)

Placement on pre-season 101: #53

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Syracuse

Developmental Update: Even though Cole was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, it seems like the big right-hander has been on the prospect landscape for a decade, and I think that fatigue is the reason his status is forgotten or dismissed. The 22-year-old arm was recently promoted to the Triple-A level after a strong return trip to Double-A to start the year, showing off his trademark double-plus fastball and strike-throwing ability. He needs to refine his overall command and secondary utility to his ceiling, but Cole has the size, strength and stuff to develop into a quality mid-rotation starter, and this ranking reflects that upside. –Jason Parks

33. LHP Daniel Norris (Blue Jays)

Placement on pre-season 101: Just missed the cut

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A New Hampshire

Developmental Update: Norris took a developmental step forward in 2013 and has built upon that through the first half of this summer. He is now consistently tapping into the front-end stuff he’d always teased, and that growth in consistency has catapulted him up the prospect rankings. After stymying Florida State League bats over 13 starts, he has continued his dominance through his first three Double-A outings and is showing no signs of slowing. –Nick Faleris

34. RHP Mark Appel (Astros)

Placement on pre-season 101: #21

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Lancaster

Developmental Update: The supposed “can’t miss” no. 1 overall pick hasn’t done nearly enough to warrant the selection. The stuff has been inconsistent at best, and when the stuff was good he lacked the command you would expect from a polished arm. Questions about his makeup are legit ones, and you can’t help but ask if he’s hiding an injury. He’s back in High-A now after the Astros sent him to extended spring training for a couple of weeks to sort things out, but the questions remain and are serious enough to push him down the rankings, hopefully just for the time being. –Chris Rodriguez

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

35. OF Raimel Tapia (Rockies)

Placement on pre-season 101: #97

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Low-A Asheville

Developmental Update: Tapia is an extremely interesting prospect. His thin frame and unique stance do not scream future first-division player but that is exactly what Tapia has a shot to become. Tapia is extremely quick out of the box and uses that speed and his good instincts to cover ground in the outfield despite average top-end speed. The bat is his calling card, earning the rare double-plus (70) future grade. He can drive the ball even if the pitcher hits a spot. It’s an extremely special tool. –Ryan Parker

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

36. SS J.P. Crawford (Phillies)

Placement on pre-season 101: Just Missed the Cut

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Clearwater

Developmental Update: While Crawford doesn't offer the enormous ceiling of some other prospects in the top 50, the floor is considerably higher. He has the ability to play shortstop at a plus level, and impact the game myriad ways, with some speed and on-base ability. Crawford is incredibly polished for a teenager, from his actions in the field to his approach at the plate. While the power might never materialize, his hit tool, coupled with his diverse skill set, makes him a very valuable commodity as an up-the-middle-player. –Jordan Gorosh

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

37. OF Albert Almora (Cubs)

Placement on pre-season 101: #25

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Daytona

Developmental Update: Almora’s had a rough start to his season. His lack of production in half a season at High-A as a 20-year-old shouldn’t obfuscate the tools he still has. Almora makes loud, consistent contact and plays a very good center field due to his ability to make early reads off the bat. The baseball IQ is high and it helps the other tools play up. He’s not the sexy name in the Cubs system, but don’t forget about him. –Mauricio Rubio

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

38. SS Tim Anderson (White Sox)

Placement on pre-season 101: Just missed the cut

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Winston-Salem (Disabled list)

Developmental Update: Anderson sticks out like a sore thumb in low-minors ball; his smooth actions and athleticism jump off the field. The ball makes a different sound off his bat, and the power projection is real. Outstanding wrists and hand-eye coordination have helped this raw athlete turn into a bona fide baseball player. While he's out of position at SS and will likely move to CF in the near future, Anderson offers a multitudinous tool set as a player who can impact the game in multiple ways. Although he's still a high-risk proposition, especially considering his lack of reps as a baseball player, the ceiling is immense. –Jordan Gorosh

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

39. OF Josh Bell (Pirates)

Placement on pre-season 101: #77

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Bradenton

Developmental Update: Bell has rewarded the organization for its sizeable $5 million investment with a breakout in the Florida State League this summer. The former second rounder is hitting with authority from both sides of the plate, generating hard contact, and showing no delta in his left-right production while seeing his numbers improve each month through June. Bell is on an upward trajectory, and another bump in his prospect value, along with a promotion to Double-A Altoona, are on the horizon. –Nick Faleris

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

40. LHP Henry Owens (Red Sox)

Placement on pre-season 101: #69

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Portland

Developmental Update: The tall, lanky left-hander is showing that he’s beyond Double-A via improved fastball command and a bat-missing changeup that pushes plus-plus. The further mastery of his heater is the marker that triggers the jump into the Top 50. This isn’t a front-of-the-rotation arm, but one with the stuff and poise to be successful in a starter’s role over the long run. That’s valuable. –Chris Mellen

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

41. RHP Jose Berrios (Twins)

Placement on pre-season 101: #75

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Ft. Myers

Developmental Update: With some of the the best stuff of any minor-league pitcher, Berrios is only this low because of concerns other than talent. His size is not optimal, though that stigma is not what it once was, but it is concerning considering he lost velocity toward the end of last season. That's a common problem for young pitchers in their first year, and as soon as he shows he can make it through a full season without diminished stuff, he'll shoot even higher up our list. –Jeff Moore

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

42. OF Jesse Winker (Reds)

Placement on pre-season 101: Didn’t make the cut

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Pensacola

Developmental Update: After assaulting California League pitching to the tune of a .317/.426/.580 line over the first two months of the season, Winker was aggressively promoted to Double-A Pensacola in mid-June. Initial struggles in the Southern League notwithstanding, all signs are trending upward for the 20-year-old in a league where the average age of competition is four years his superior. A pure hitter from the left side with an advanced knowledge of the zone, Winker employs a smooth lefty stroke and has the potential to be a plus hitter with above-average to plus power at the highest level. Developmentally speaking, he will need to maximize his offensive tools, as he's a left fielder all the way with a fringe-average arm and below-average speed. Despite the pressure on the bat in an age-advanced league, Winker has the type of makeup to handle failure initially and come out stronger for the wear. Ethan Purser

43. RHP Nick Kingham (Pirates)

Placement on pre-season 101: #80

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Triple-A Indianapolis

Developmental Update: Lacking the ceiling of some of his fellow listmates, Kingham makes up for that with a high floor and proximity to the majors that could see him called upon late this year or early next. He's built to handle innings and has the arsenal to do it, and he should slide into the middle of the Pirates’ rotation whenever they make room for him. –Jeff Moore

44. OF Hunter Renfroe (Padres)

Placement on pre-season 101: Just missed the cut

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A San Antonio

Developmental Update: Previously left off the preseason Top 101, the stocky outfielder exploded in the California League thanks to plus-plus power potential that’s already showing its face in game action. He can impact the game on the other side of the ball as well, with a solid defensive profile and a weapon in his arm. His rapid ascent into the premier crop of outfield prospects has earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he’ll continue to hone his future average hit tool and developing approach. –Chris Rodriguez

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

45. OF Brandon Nimmo (Mets)

Placement on pre-season 101: Didn’t make the cut

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Binghamton

Developmental Update: I’ve been low on Nimmo so far in his professional career, but with more looks at him in game action, I’ve come around to his value, especially watching his progress in the field, where he looks the part of a capable center fielder. I don’t love the bat because the bat speed isn’t high-end, but his approach will keep him in favorable hitting conditions, and he should be able to hit for some average, some power, and reach base at a high clip. That’s a first-division profile if everything clicks, and the defensive value in all three outfield spots gives him a high floor even if the projected power never shows up. –Jason Parks

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

46. OF Nick Williams (Rangers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #88

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Myrtle Beach

Developmental Update: Center field will not be an option, but Williams offers one of the best hit tools in the minors. He displays tremendous hand control, constantly barreling the ball and using his plus-plus bat speed to provide impact this season for Myrtle Beach. The raw power is plus, and will likely begin to show more in game if he gains a better understanding of the strike zone. His speed on the bases is also evident, as he displays a terrific second gear capable of clocking 8.0 times from home to second. Overall, this is a prospect who will hit a lot and provide an impact bat in the corner outfield. –Tucker Blair

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

47. RHP Michael Lorenzen (Reds)

Placement on pre-season 101: N/A

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Pensacola

Developmental Update: After working almost exclusively in relief prior to this year, 2014 has been a revelation for Lorenzen through 16 Double-A starts. The power stuff is impressive, but even more encouraging is his ability to work into the fifth and sixth innings without seeing a big drop in quality or execution. Lorenzen is winning over evaluators with every strong start and could grow his prospect value further as he logs innings and continues to refine. –Nick Faleris

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

48. RHP Luis Severino (Yankees)

Placement on pre-season 101: N/A

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Tampa

Developmental Update: Not many guys go from a mostly unknown to a top 50 prospect in less than a year, but here we are. Even with concerns about his size or lack thereof and a delivery that ranges from mid- to high-effort, Severino has quieted lots of critics with his electric right arm. His fastball sits easily in the 93-96 range and is topping out at 97 this season. While the fastball is his meal ticket, his secondaries are on the rise, especially his changeup. He's showing the ability to maintain good arm speed, which allows him to disguise this pitch and the late arm-side action on it. There is still some debate about whether his future is in the rotation or out of the pen, but if his slider comes along as his changeup has, the odds of him sticking as a starter will greatly increase. No matter which way you view his future role, Severino is a legit talent and one of the most enjoyable arms to watch in any farm. –Chris King

49. RHP Alex Gonzalez (Rangers)

Placement on pre-season 101: #70

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: Double-A Frisco

Developmental Update: The former first round pick has shown strong development and polish of his skills. Gonzalez flashes a four-pitch mix with an electric fastball helping all of his off-speed arsenal play up. Starting at the High-A level, he improved his command within the strike zone and ability to control the zone with his improved curveball. This led to his promotion to Double-A in his age-22 season. A mid-rotation-starter ceiling with a back-end-starter floor makes him a very intriguing prospect. –CJ Wittmann

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

50. RHP Miguel Almonte (Royals)

Placement on pre-season 101: #46

Current MiLB level/Affiliate: High-A Wilmington

Developmental Update: The right-handed starter has shown development in his skills and is becoming more of a polished arm while pitching at the High-A level as a 21 year-old. Almonte has a plus fastball and a double-plus changeup that has allowed him to succeed at all levels leading up to this year. Development of a third pitch was the main concern I had with the prospect, and this year he has shown big strides in the development of his curveball. Command improvement within the strike zone, and the ability to be more consistent with his fast mechanics, will allow him to hit his high ceiling as a mid-rotation starter on a playoff-caliber team. Early in the season, Almonte was showing more reliever traits than starter traits but he has had a strong stretch and in recent starts has shown the ability to control the strike zone. –CJ Wittmann

Most recent eyewitness scouting report

***

(In the Top 50 mix: Max Fried, Reese McGuire, Michael Foltynewicz, Clint Frazier, Ryan McMahon, Matt Wisler, Lewis Brinson, Alexander Reyes, Rob Kaminsky, Sean Manaea, insert your favorite prospect [here])

***

After kicking around the question as to whether recent draftees should be considered for the Midseason Top 50, the prospect team ultimately decided against their inclusion this year. While we have an evaluative history with these 2014 draftees, our rankings are a comparative snapshot of professional players based on their evaluated minor-league performances and, accordingly, we thought it best to restrict our rankings to players for whom minor-league reports have been submitted.

That said, we know there is interest in the newest prospects to each organization and we want to give you a general sense as to where a handful of these players might have slotted in were we to go forward with a more in-depth examination of their prospect value as of today. Here are the 2014 draft talents that might have figured into our rankings had they been eligible. –Nick Faleris

Brady Aiken (LHP, Astros)
Where he fits:
Between Daniel Norris (33rd) and Henry Owens (40th)
Projectable prep lefty who also boasts a relatively high floor, Aiken looks like he could fit comfortably as a mid-rotation arm with room to grow into a true front-ender. There are typical high school arm risks due to the extended developmental horizon, and Houston has moved slowly with other high-value arms in the system. If afforded the opportunity, Aiken has the type of profile that could move quickly for a high school arm.

Carlos Rodon (LHP, White Sox)
Where he fits:
Between Jameson Taillon (26th) and Mark Appel (34th)
When everything is clicking Rodon looks like a good no. 2 major-league starter, with a plus-plus slider and solid plus fastball anchoring the arsenal. The command took a step back this spring, and the inconsistent velocity and execution leaves the door open to argue his exclusion from the list altogether. Assuming a fully rested Rodon looks more like the Rodon we saw on the Collegiate National Team last summer, he could establish himself as a top-30ish prospect this offseason after a strong Arizona Fall League showing. If the stuff shows inconsistent at the pro ranks, he might be fighting to find a spot in the 75 to 101 range.

Alex Jackson (OF, Mariners)
Where he fits:
Somewhere after Josh Bell (39th)
Jackson boasts huge raw power and the bat speed and barrel awareness to hit for average upon further development and refinement. His prospect value takes a hit if the switch from behind the plate to an outfield corner proves permanent, but there is enough upside in the stick for him to hang in the deep end of the rankings pool. As was the case with Clint Frazier (OF, Indians) last year, there are developmental hurdles facing Jackson tied to contact ability and power utility, which could easily keep him off the Top 50 entirely. A strong showing this summer and through instructs could land Jackson in the top 40ish prospects when we revisit the rankings for the Top 101 this winter. Otherwise, he could follow a ranking arc similar to The Legend.

Kyle Schwarber (C/OF, Cubs)
Where he fits:
Somewhere after Hunter Renfroe (44th)
Schwarber was the most advanced collegiate bat in the draft class, with an ability to hit for plus in-game power without sacrificing average. He puts together professional at bats, shows well against top competition, and has a general knack for finding his pitch and driving it. At present he’s being permitted to feast upon heavily overmatched Low-A arms, and likely won’t face his first real professional challenge until Double-A (or perhaps the Arizona Fall League if he finds a spot on the taxi squad). The BP Prospect Team loves catchers, so his ranking on the Top 101 might be largely dictated by the position at which the Cubs elect to stick him. If it looks like he is destined for first base, he won’t debut on the Top 101 as high as organization mate Kris Bryant (17th last winter), but he could fit comfortably in the Top 60 or so with a solid 2014 pro showing.

Other Names to Keep in Mind for the Top 101
Here are some other 2014 draftees to keep in mind for this winter’s Top 101

  • Tyler Kolek (RHP, Marlins)—Big, unrefined power righty who can hit triple digits and will flash a hard plus slider.
  • Nick Gordon (SS, Twins)—Advanced prep product with smooth actions at short and a top-of-the-order bat with a bit of pop to boot.
  • Aaron Nola (RHP, Phillies)—Deceptive college righty with a plus changeup and above-average slider, showing impressive command across the arsenal.
  • Touki Toussaint (RHP, Diamondbacks)—Projectable prep righty with nasty power curve and a live arm; boasts perhaps the biggest upside of any arm in the draft class.
  • Derek Hill (OF, Tigers)—Electric, if unrefined, prep outfielder with plus-plus glove in center and a chance for significant hit tool and average pop.
  • Kyle Freeland (LHP, Rockies)—Collegiate lefty who can carve with some funk to both sides of the plate with plus fastball and multiple-look slider and change piece.
  • Grant Holmes (RHP, Dodgers)—High school power arm with potential for high effort plus-plus fastball/breaking ball combo to go with a bulldog mentality and build.
  • Michael Chavis (3B/2B/C, Red Sox)—Top-shelf feel for the barrel produces hard contact and surprising pop with a defensive profile that could play at the hot corner, keystone, or behind the dish.

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Minor Leagues,  Prospect Rankings

83 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (07/07)
Next Article >>
Daily League Strategy:... (07/08)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article The Buyer's Guide: Ian Desmond
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 31, 2015
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: August 31, 2015
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: Don't Mess With Texas
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: August 31, 2015
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Sometimes You Hit the ...
Premium Article In A Pickle: Rookie of the Year Fun Facts

MORE FROM JULY 7, 2014
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of July 3-6
The Week in Quotes: June 30-July 6
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Billy Beane Buys What ...
Fantasy Article The Buyer's Guide: Michael Brantley
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadline Edition, S...
Fantasy Article Closer Report: Week 15
Fantasy Article Interleague Report: Week 15

MORE BY JASON PARKS
2014-07-25 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Chris Taylor
2014-07-22 - Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: What Did I ...
2014-07-21 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: July 21, 2014
2014-07-07 - Premium Article The BP Top 50
2014-07-03 - Eyewitness Accounts: July 3, 2014
2014-06-30 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: June 30, 2014
2014-06-26 - Eyewitness Accounts: June 26, 2014
More...


INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2014-11-24 - Premium Article The 40-Man Additions
2014-10-03 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Daniel Norris, the Debut Ante
2014-09-25 - Premium Article Pitching Backward: Buxton or Beane?
2014-08-08 - Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 8, 2014
2014-08-05 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Javier Baez
2014-07-23 - 2014 Draft
2014-07-14 - Fantasy Article Top 50 Dynasty League Prospects
2014-07-11 - Notes from the Field: Not Jose Fernandez (Bu...
2014-07-11 - Premium Article What You Need to Know: Alcantara Can Stay
2014-07-11 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, July...
2014-07-09 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Arismendy Alcantara
2014-07-09 - Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: Progress Report: Prospect ...
2014-07-08 - Premium Article Moonshot: Survival of the Fittest: Position ...
2014-07-08 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, July 7