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b31c's Top 75 Prospects For 2014 (26-50)

The journey continues...

26. Kevin Gausman RHP/BAL - Gausman had a successful 2013 campaign, for the most part. He was terrific in Double-A and then pitched fairly well in Triple-A, but the big club rushed him up after 15 collective starts in the minors. His command really took a step back during his debut, and it led to his downfall, posting a 5.66 ERA in 20 games, five of which he started. He continued to punch out guys at a good rate, but it was pretty clear that he needed more time in Triple-A, where he was actually a bit hittable. The stuff is still there, as he boasts a tantalizing FB-CH combo. The fastball is a tick under plus-plus, as it will sit in the 94-96 range, and touch higher. The changeup is his money pitch, as it's easily a plus offering presently, and could develop further into a borderline plus-plus one in the future. He's fiddled with both a curveball and a slider, but it seems like the slider is the best bet going forward. It's a mediocre pitch at-best right now, with the potential to be a solid 3rd offering with further improvement. The control is good, but the aforementioned command still needs work. He's a frontline starter if he puts it all together. ETA: 2014

27. Jackie Bradley, Jr. OF/BOS - This may be a tad bit high for some people, but I've been a long-time JBJ fan. His plate discipline is excellent, and his knowledge of the strike zone is impressive. Getting on base is what he does best, other than play defense. The glove is special out in CF. Easily plus right now and as Bradley matures it could end up as a plus-plus one. The arm is behind, but it's above-average and shouldn't devalue his defense at all. He's got sneaky power and could hit as many as 15, maybe even 20 HRs in his prime, but I'd bet on the former as his ceiling. The speed is good, and it should be safe to pencil him in for 15-20+ stolen bases per season. He struggled at the plate in his 95 ABs in the bigs last season, but it's not a concern for me in the least. Bradley possesses a very high floor as well as a high ceiling. With Jacoby Ellsbury's departure, he is Boston's man in CF. ETA: 2014

28. Alex Meyer RHP/MIN - I've always been a bit skeptical of Meyer, but he really pitched well in 2013. The fastball is a borderline plus-plus pitch, and his slider is a true out-pitch. The changeup continues to develop and it could turn into a solid to slightly above-average offering in the future. The control is much-improved, and his command also took a step forward. Has always been very tough to hit off of, which I like in pitchers. He's a huge guy at 6'9" 220, and he's had his fair share of injury troubles, but he's a special talent. Could be a number 2 starter, maybe even more, if everything works out for him, including staying healthy. We'll see how Triple-A treats him. ETA: Mid-late 2014

29. Corey Seager 3B/LAD - Kyle Seager's little brother dominated the Midwest League in 2013 and was rewarded with an aggressive promotion to High-A before the season's end. He did struggle in High-A, even with it being the hitter-friendly California League, but he was super young for the level, and in reality it was a SSS, as he only tallied up 100 ABs. People in the industry expect the Dodgers to keep Seager at SS for as long as possible, in the (blind) hope that he somehow overcomes his size. His future is ultimately at 3B, where he could play solid to above-average defense with the glove while possessing an above-average arm. The bat is what obviously makes him special. He's a big guy at 6'4" 215, and he has the potential to hit for both average and power. His plate discipline is advanced for someone his age, and he understands the importance of having a patient approach and not being an Edward Salcedo-like hacker. The Dodgers recently re-signed Juan Uribe to a 2-year deal, which should give Seager enough time to rise through the ranks. Could potentially be a perennial All-Star at 3B when it's all said & done. ETA: Late 2015

30. Alen Hanson SS/PIT - The clear long-term option at SS for Pittsburgh, Hanson was up & down in 2013. He was terrific in the pitcher-friendly FSL, but his production dropped when he reached Double-A and generally struggled there. His contact skills are tremendous, and his plate discipline is also very good. He has plus speed on the basepaths, and his defense also has potential, as he has a plus arm and a potentially above-average to plus glove at SS. The power is his weakest tool, but I wouldn't be that surprised if he musters up some 10-15 HRs seasons, as he's a well-built guy. If Hanson bounces back in Double-A in 2014, and maybe even reach Triple-A, he'll shoot up this list. ETA: 2015

31. Eddie Butler RHP/COL - Butler may have had the most successful 2013 season out of anyone in the Rockies' system. His fastball sits in the 94-96 area with terrific sink, and his mid to upper 80s slider is a wipe-out pitch. The changeup needs to develop a bit more, but it looks promising. Control and command are both decent, but they'll need to be better since he'll be pitching at Coors Field. Could be a number 2 starter. ETA: Mid-late 2014

32. Garin Cecchini 3B/BOS - This guy can flat-out hit. He's not a huge athlete, but he's got some good speed on the basepaths, and should hit 15-20+ bombs in the future while hitting for a high average. His plate discipline is just spectacular, as he drew 94 walks while striking out 86 times in 2013. When his hit tool and OBP skills are combined, it just blows your mind. Could very well have an OBP at or above .400 when he establishes himself in the bigs. The defense is nothing special, but he has a solid glove and solid arm over at the hot corner. Will be interesting to see how Boston handles him and Will Middlebrooks. ETA: Mid-late 2014

33. Max Fried LHP/SD - Was thinking of putting Fried a few more spots back, but one thing that I took into account was how many lefties like him come around, which is very few. The fastball is plus right now, as it'll sit in the low 90s and will touch higher. Could be an electric pitch once he fills out his athletic, 6’4" frame. His curveball is his go-to pitch right now, and it projects to be a plus one. The changeup is further behind but it will flash, and many people in the industry think it could be an above-average pitch. He's a little unique in the sense that his command is already solid, but his control is the problem. Usually it's the other way around. He has his moments when his control is in line and he looks very good, but he's also a little prone to losing the strike zone. Nevertheless, Fried is still very young and has already done very well in Low-A, and I expect the control to get better as he matures. Going to be interesting to see how the Padres handle him in the California League next season. ETA: Late 2015

34. Austin Hedges C/SD - Struggled quite a bit with this ranking. I think there are others who are more worthy of being ahead of Hedges, but the reality is that catcher is the most premium position today, and Hedges has the rare potential to make an impact as a catcher both offensively and defensively. The defense is definitely his strength now, and likely will be throughout his career. The arm is easily plus, if not borderline plus-plus, and the glove is definitely plus as well. His plate discipline could use some more work, but he can get away with it for now due to having such good contact skills. As he continues to develop, he could hit for a solid average while getting on-base at a decent clip. His power was almost non-existent last season, but a lot of the industry still believes he has 15-20+ HR potential, as do I. Even if he ends up as a guy who only hits in the .250s and gets on base in the .320 area, he'll still likely slug .400+ and play outstanding defense. In today's league, that's not common for a catcher. ETA: Mid-late 2015

35. Lucas Giolito RHP/WAS - Giolito has the type of tantalizing upside that could land him at the very top of this list in a few years, but for now, he remains in the 30s for me. The fastball sits in the mid 90s right now and could eventually be a true plus-plus offering in time. Going to be an exciting prospect once he matures and fully fills out his 6'6" frame. He possesses a potentially devastating curveball, as it just takes a nosedive once it reaches the plate. The changeup is farther behind, but with further development, it could be a solid to above-average pitch. For someone who throws as hard as he does, he's displayed solid control. What makes it more impressive is that he doesn't turn 20 until mid-August next year. He's one of the few guys on here who possesses true ace potential, but with his well-documented injury history and short season resume, he has a low floor. If he can stay healthy and have success for a full season next year, he could definitely jump up at least 15-20 spots, if not more. ETA: Mid-late 2016

36. Jonathan Singleton 1B/HOU - Far & away the best 1B prospect in baseball, Singleton's 2013 season was doomed when he was suspended 50 games for smoking marijuana. He did eventually arrive at Triple-A, but he was nothing more than mediocre. To his credit, he carried a good .340 OBP at OKC, but that was the only positive of his year. His hit tool has regressed a bit over the past few seasons, but his power has taken a big step forward. He has the potential to hit in the .270s with a very good OBP, and slug 25+ HRs a year while playing respectable defense at 1B. He may need some more time in the minors, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he tears it up in ST and ends up as the opening day 1B for the Astros. ETA: 2014

37. Raul Mondesi SS/KC - Mondesi had an up & down 2013 year production-wise, but very few shortstops his age have his skills. That's not a knock on his tools, because he does have an impressive array of them. The arm is a plus one, and the glove could become plus in time. He possesses plus speed, but his base-stealing skills could use more refinement. His hit tool is still relatively raw, but people believe it could be an above-average tool eventually, maybe even a plus one. The power is also very raw, but it flashes, as he could be a 13-15 HR type eventually. His plate discipline is mediocre right now, but the kid is so damn young that I wouldn't worry about it. All in all, he could be a Jurickson Profar-type if he can continue to improve his skills. ETA: Mid-late 2016

38. Yordano Ventura RHP/KC - Mr. Electricity reached the bigs last year and pitched well in his brief debut. He still needs to sure up his command and get his control under control (pun!), but this guy throws really ******* hard. The fastball is a legitimate plus-plus pitch, as it'll sit in the 97-98 range, and will hit 100+ occasionally. His curveball looks to be a plus pitch, and the changeup should be a solid 3rd offering. Some people will be outraged by this ranking, but I'm in the camp that's not sold on Ventura being a starter. Just have to see if he can throw 180-200 innings without his 5'11" frame breaking down. I'm actually rooting for him to be a closer, because his fastball would be off the charts out of the bullpen. Doubt that it would dip below triple-digits, to be honest. In any case, Ventura has the ability to be a good number 2 starter, and if that doesn't work, he could be a dynamic, ace closer. For now, I'm betting on the latter. ETA: 2014

39. Aaron Sanchez RHP/TOR - I'm sure that I will get a lot of flak about this ranking, but I'm quite concerned with Sanchez. The stuff is just incredible, as he possesses a borderline plus-plus fastball, a potentially plus curveball and a potentially above-average changeup. The control needs a lot of work, and the command is also quite bad, though he has shown that he can generate some ground balls, which is a start. On top of that, Sanchez's mechanics have gone to hell. His stride is incredibly compact, and he finishes way too upright, to the point where it's been brought up that injuries could ensue because of such a release. In other words, he needs to really loosen up and lengthen his delivery and not try to bottle up his athleticism. If he and Toronto can fix this problem, along with his control, this ranking will look downright foolish, but I'm going to stay conservative for the time being. ETA: Mid-late 2015

40. Lucas Sims RHP/ATL - You can certainly make a case for Sims being higher, but I like him here for time being. The stuff is very impressive and well-rounded, as he could eventually end up with three plus pitches. His fastball and curveball are his bread & butter right now, as both are plus, and the changeup has made big strides, to the point where it could in fact be a plus offering in time. His control is okay and his command isn't bad either, but he'll need to sure up both in the future. The one thing that jumps out is how hard it was to get a hit off of Sims in Low-A, as batters managed to hit just .203 against him. Sims obviously has a lot of upside, but I'm going to keep him in the 30s for now. Want to see how he handles High-A & Double-A before completely jumping on the bandwagon. ETA: Late 2015

41. Kohl Stewart RHP/MIN - The guy who who went to my High school was dominant in his brief debut, showcasing his filthy FB-SL combo. The fastball sits in the mid 90s and will touch 97, and once the guy who went to my High school fills out his very athletic 6'3" frame, he could have a fastball that frequently touches the upper 90s. The slider is an above-average offering presently, and should easily be plus in the future. The changeup needs work, but he's very young and hasn't even pitched in pro ball yet. Has a good feel for the zone right now, but his command will need to improve eventually. The guy who went to my High school has a number 2 starter ceiling, for now. ETA: 2017

42. Henry Owens LHP/BOS - Owens' velocity ticked up in 2013 and as a result he has spiked up the rankings. His changeup is a plus offering, and his low 70s curveball flashes as well. He's 6'6" but just 210, and once he fills out his frame more his fastball could eventually sit in the mid 90s, which could give him the upside of a number 2 starter. His control needs a lot of work, as does his command, but he knows how to pitch and his stuff is impressive. ETA: Late 2014

43. Eduardo Rodriguez LHP/BAL - Rodriguez was a sleeper candidate prior to 2013, and he really broke out. He has a really good arsenal, as it boasts three potentially above-average pitches. His fastball projects to be a plus pitch, as does his slider, and his changeup has a good chance to be a solid 3rd pitch, if not an above-average one. He usually throws strikes, and he does a good job of keeping the ball down, for the most part. He's a decent athlete and still has some room to fill out his 6'2" frame, so if he continues to improve & develop, he could be a good number 3 starter, maybe even a borderline number 2 if the velocity continues to spike. ETA: Mid-late 2014

44. Maikel Franco 3B/PHI - Franco really broke out in 2013 and put his plus raw power on full display, hitting 31 HRs between High-A and Double-A. His approach at the plate could use work, but I don't blame him for being a hacker -- he can hit a lot of pitches, and doesn't strike out that often. His .320 average is a bit of a mirage, I think, but I'm going to look like a fool if he can continue to hit that well in Triple-A. The glove is okay, but he possesses a plus arm from the hot corner, and he should be solid overall defensively, though he may move positions due to Cody Asche already being at 3B. This is admittedly a conservative grading, as I want to see Franco at least somewhat duplicate 2013 before I really bump him up. ETA: Late 2014

45. Kyle Crick RHP/SF - The 6'4" fireballer has a fastball that will consistently touch the 97-98 range, and is a weapon up in the zone. The slider projects to be plus offering, as it has tight spin on it, and his 3rd pitch, the changeup, could be solid with further development. His downfall is his control, and it's really bad. He has the ability to just completely lose the zone, and he showed that in the AFL. He's not a big groundball guy so he's going to really need to improve his control, as well as his command, if he wants to live up to his stuff. Has some ace potential in him. ETA: Mid-late 2015

46. Andrew Heaney LHP/MIA - The very projectable lefty had a great 2013 season, posting great numbers across the board. His fastball sits in the low 90s and will touch the 94-95 area, and should eventually sit there once he completely fills out his frame. His curveball is an extremely tough pitch to hit for left-handed batters, as it swoops across the strike zone before diving at the end. His changeup is a pretty deceptive pitch, as it could be above-average, though I'd like to see him throw it more often. Overall he does a good job of mixing his pitches and has above-average control, as well as solid command. We'll have to see how the fastball plays out before giving him a number 2 starter ceiling. Would like to see how he commands it once it sits in the mid 90s. ETA: Opening day 2014, because the Marlins

47. Jake Marisnick OF/MIA - The Marlins, led by arguably the worst owner in pro sports, Jeffrey Loria, rushed up a lot of the organization's top prospects to the big leagues, which unfortunately included Marisnick. He was really performing well at Double-A and I wouldn't have disagreed with a promotion to Triple-A, but they rushed him up to the big club, and he of course struggled mightily there. He's got 20/20 potential, as his power and speed are both plus, and he possesses a plus glove out in CF to go with an above-average arm. He doesn't project to hit for a very good average, and his plate discipline needs refinement, but he should still contribute in a lot of areas. Could be an All-Star if he figures out how to take a walk, and if the Lorians send him down to Triple-A for a little while. ETA: 2014

48. Joc Pederson OF/LAD - Tools hound Pederson put up huge numbers in Double-A while walking a lot and striking out quite a bit. 22 HRs and 31 stolen bases is an impressive feat at any level, especially in the minors, and Pederson wasn't old for his level, either. Needless to say, he obviously has 20/20 potential, and his glove in the outfield projects to be plus. He's known for being a high-energy guy and a tireless worker, which bodes really well for someone with his physical talent. The Dodgers have a packed outfield for the time being but they'll find a spot for Pederson, who has some All-Star potential in him. ETA: Mid-late 2014

49. Miguel Almonte RHP/KC - Almonte was a 2012 rookie sensation, and he continued to impress in Low-A in 2013, showcasing a very impressive FB/CH combo. The fastball will sit in the 93-95 range and will touch higher, and the changeup has great late fade on it and can really throw off left-handed batters. His breaking ball will need more refinement, but I suspect that Almonte will do just fine in High-A with just that two-pitch mix, and who knows, he has the control and command to maybe even get away with it in Double-A, should he reach that level in 2014. The aforementioned control looks good, and his command is pretty good as well. Could be a borderline number 2 starter if he can improve his breaking ball. ETA: Late 2015

50. Jorge Alfaro C/TEX - I'm actually laughing a little bit while typing this because I know just about every one of you is going to be flabbergasted when you see this ranking, but Alfaro's tools are just off the charts for a catcher, and he produced very well in Low-A in 2013, too. His defense, with more refinement, could challenge Austin Hedge's as the best defensive catcher who has a chance to hit (h/t Keith Law/subtle jab at you Braves fans) in the minors. His arm is an absolute cannon right now, and it could grade as a plus-plus one. The glove is still a tad bit raw right now but he moves so well and has the coordination to be a plus receiver. The raw power is easily plus, and the speed is above-average. Yes, a catcher has above-average, maybe even plus speed, and that's not likely to change in the future (unless Alfaro gets Bengie Molina-itis and goes on an epic doughnut eating-spree). The hit tool is the main question mark right now. Alfaro has plus bat speed, but he can get over-aggressive at the plate, and he doesn't have the terrific contact skills to save him from striking out. His approach has made some strides, but it'll need to improve soon, as he will likely see some time in Double-A this year, whenever that is. If he lives up to his mythical ceiling, he will without a doubt be the best catcher in baseball. ETA: Late 2015

I had nothing to do today so I went ahead and destroyed my brain and finished this up.

As always, any and all feedback is welcome.

Link to 1-25.

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