FanPost

Casejud's top 100 prospects for 2014

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via baseballhotcorner.com


Like a poker player, "on the button", I gathered all the information I could; read a lot of reports, listened to a lot of different view from our community all winter - and fall,- and watched a lot pf spring training ballgames , before I make my play. Here are my guys, and the guys that I like the most, and least, compared to all of my fellow prospectors. Enjoy!

1) Byron Buxton: Opening day age, 20 years, 3 months: As hard as it is to pass up Killer-B (aez), Beautiful - Buxton is a scouts, a fans, and a GM's dream, As a gorgeously - graceful all-around talent, who plays with passion, The Mike Trout comparisons are apt, in my opinion, right down to the unfounded concern over his power upside

2) Javier Baez: 21 years, 4 months. It would be hard to pass on "The Bayamon Bee", Kid-Correa is a great, great across-the-board talent. Baez, man, is absolutely devastating though. I buy into NONE of the talk about his walks or his strikeouts limiting him, in any way. I think he is Sammy Sosa, with agility and a cannon at third-base ... and soon.

3) Carlos "Kid" Correa: 19 years, 6 months. I think in five years "The Kid" will look like one of the greatest number 3 prospects of any recent list. My favorite discrepancies with Correa, amongst prospectors, is A) He may need to move to 3b...No he will not. He could win gold over there and, B) That is power ceiling is limited... it isn't. It is big. He has a strong argument for the number one spot, in my opinion.

4) Masahiro Tanaka: 25 years, 5 months. I would take him over ever other young arm in the minors. I think the idea that he is a #2 starter doesn’t reflect the level of his talents. Not that there is a damned thing wrong with being a #2 starter but, I think he’s an ace… but… for how many years?

5) Xander Bogaerts: 21 years, 6 months: I I want to not like Xander Bogaerts, due to my jealousy over the Red Sox success, their fortune having such a fine prospect, and thier fan being so darned happy about it. However, it turns out, he is really really good. I think X will be a lot better player than Jhonny Peralta, and I love Jhonny Peralta

6) Jonathan Gray: 22 years, 5 months. I am not exactly sure what I is not to like about Jonathan Gray? Great size, great stuff, control, incredible aptitude for learning the changeup and, good mechanical grades. Sign me up

7) Frankie Lindor: 20 year, 5 months. I can't quit him. He looked like a major-leaguer, like now, when I saw him in spring training. I adore Frankie's complete, all-around-shortstop-game and, he is another player who's power ceiling is being undersold. I think there is some dynamite in the barrel there, and he will be a big-time asset, and entertainer, with the leather.

8) Jose Abreu: 27 years old. I have little doubt that he will hit, and hit big. I highly doubt that many scouts doubted him either. His hitting talent isn't hard to spot, and he got in much better shape this spring. Concerns about his defense seen overblown as well, in my view. I think he hits .292 with 35 bombs, 114 RBIs, and draws 75 walks, finishes second to Tanaka for AL rookie of the year, and will be worth every penny spent by the Chi-Sox, and much more.

9) Oscar Taveras: 22 in June. Dang, they got me worried with the injuries some. It pains me to slot my baby lower on a list but, he already isn’t exactly the same guy I first loved in 2011 – bigger, much slower, with playing an average CF no longer really an option perhaps. That said, I don't think it will matter a whole lot. He could still end up like David Ortiz as a hitter, or ven better The idea foisted by some that his power ceiling isn't huge, is funny to me. Her has very real potential to be a 7-hit, and 7-power, destroyer, if he stays healthy.

10) Miguel Sano: Turns 21 in early May. "The Beast" has a setback in front of him but, if this injury impacts his arm or agility (from the layoff, not the injury) I was never really sold on him as a third baseman anyways. I think he has way more than plenty o'bat to play first base though and will be an asset defensively there, if he ends up there when he comes back.

11) Addison Russell: He's 20. I really, really like Addison, and though it is 5 spots here, its a fairly tough call between he and Lindor. I I like Lindors glove a bit better but, I like Russell's pop a bit better. Both will be special players in my view. He reminds me some, as a future player, of a much more refined, better, version of the former Marlins SS, Alex Gonzalez.

12) Kevin Gausman: 23 and 3 months. KG already possesses devastating power pitching mechanics but has he ages, I think his balance, hence commandm can improve immensely, and it is already good. I love Bradley but Gausman has a sick sick upside.

13) George Springer: 24 and 1/2 He has most all of Kris Bryant’s power, but projects to more defensive value (in my opinion), impact speed, and has done it at the highest levels, getting better as he rises. He has all of Polanco’s speed, defense, and eye but, power that Polanco doesn’t posses. Bryansts offensive profile, from a guy with impact speed and defense in centerfield? Whoa, that's a player, my friends.

14) Archie Bradley: 21 years, 8 months. "Bradley has right-now stuff with the mechanical baseline to ascend to the highest level and become a premier pitcher in the majors at maturity." – Doug Thorburn

15) Greg Polanco: 22 and 1/2 "I mean, forget the power, .285/.356. That’s his average and OBP at A+ and AA combined. If you tell me that guy is also a plus defensive centerfield with speed on the basepaths, I’m really intrigued. That’s a great prospect. Now include the fact that there is at least the possibility of big time power – He’s 6’4 with solid bat speed and a left-handed swing for PNC park – and man that’s a top 20 guy at the very least I’d think." – McCutchenisthetruth. I was skeptical. I watched him a lot, and I agree, 'Cutch.

16) Kris Bryant: 22 years, 3 months: He could be as good as Jose Abreu with the lumber and, he would be under cheaper team-control, for a lot longer. That said I am not certain he will be that good. He might have the most home runs in the big leagues over the next 10-15 seasons though.

17) Joc Pederson: Turns 22 in a couple weeks. I think the same people who worry about Joc Pederson’s average vs lefthanders in AA last year, are probably the same people who complained about Mike Trout’s throwing arm. I ike the profile: A centerfielder who can play, can hit home runs, and draw walks. He'll be an asset if he can hit .250, and I think he will. I have no idea why the people who love Greg Polanco don't also love Joc Pederson? Maybe because he doesn't play for the Pirates? I see some similar tools there, and skills.

19) Noah Syndergaard: 21 1/2 Love him. He reminds me in stuff, sizer, consistency, and aptitude, of Curt Schilling some. "His overall grade receives a boost due to the fact that all indicators point to plus consistency, and that his mechanical signature remained stable throughout the minor-league season" - Doug Thorburn

19) Nick Castellanos: Just turned 23. Even though Freddie Freeman is a lefty, the player Casty reminds me of is Freddie Freeman. There were similar questions both young player's power potential coming up, this despite possessing every indicator of power any young player could have - size, hit tool, actual power in AAA at a young age.

20) Rougned Odor: Just turned 20. I have been told by those in the know, that scouts do not scout age. if so I believe this is a flaw. What Odor has done with the bat at his age is really special. I think he's a tremendous, and stylish , young hitter who may be underrated even in this lofty spot, and has been all along, in my opinion. I love little sluggers, and to me, that is what Odor is. I think his eventual pop will surprise some, and I like the rest of his game too.

21) Henry Owens: 22 in July. To me, Owens is currently the most undervalued pitching talent in the minor leagues. His potential reminds me a lot of Cliff Lee, who had a similarly-high walk total in the minors masking what is in fact tremendous pitch ability +great build + plenty of arm strength . H.O. often gets used as an example of someone who is overrated because of the statistics but, I think it's just the opposite. He doesn't have the blow-you-down arsenal you'd expect from such dominance but, neither did Lee when he was coming up, or now.

22) Albert "Sweet Meat" Almora: He isn't 20 yet, kids, for a couple weeks "My eyes focused on Almora upon contact, and he glided to the spot on his initial read and made a catch at his left hip, which looked as effortless (and cool) as his route to the ball. For most outfielders, the appropriate response to the flair of this particular catch on a backfield would be, "Nice catch Hayes, don’t ever do it again." But for Almora, its just natural baseball."–Jason Parks

23) Mark Appel: 23 in July. I think he is getting a bum rap, personally. One doesn't have to have an absolute, rock-solid, #1 starter upside to be a top pitching prospect. I love his potential to be a big, durable, strike throwing workhorse, and yes, I see big upside there also, in time. Lets let him log some pro innings, and receive some pro instruction first before we start throwing around labels on him maybe?

24) Travis d'Arnaud: 25 years old. I could be too high this year. He has injury ?'s but, they seem to be behind him. He may suffer from being an old prospect but, as a player, isn't he really almost everything that Jorge Alfaro hopes to be as a player? I think d'Arnaud breaks out this year as a Met.

25) Taijaun Walker: if I were the Mariners I would have zero problem trading Taijaun Walker for Jose Abreu. On one hand, you have a guy will be be a top five first baseman, on the other you have the talented kid who who could end up as the next Edwin Jackson and now, Skywalker is having shoulder problems.

26) Lucas Giolito: Turns 20 in July. I do not like reading that people I trust are having questions about his delivery/mechanics, especially from a recent Tommy John survivor but , his massive upside is undeniable. I hate saying "wait and see" on a player but, I'm going to have to do just that with Giolito

27) Kyle Crick; 21 years, 4 months. I maybe, maybe went a little "eight ship" on Crick, at the end of last season, ranking him ninth. I fell in love with him after watching dominate for six innings, in the Cal League sun When I sobered up, I do have my doubts but , the upside remains sky-high. To me, he has the best fastball in the minor leagues.

28) Robert Stephenson: Just turned 21. I get I get why everyone likes him , I do. Sensational arm speed, velocity , nasty nasty curve. I still think he is lots to learn about pitching though, which to me, puts him in about the same boat as Kyle Crick . Kicker 31, I will remember you when he makes a big though, he is your Dude.

29) Cesar Puello: 23 years old This is MY DUDE, whitewashed by BA because of steroid use, everyone else followed suit . I think his actual baseball talent is quite glaring and obvious so I don't care about all that other stuff . He reminds me of Yasiel Puig in talent and in controversy . I think CP is currently the most underrated player in the minor leagues hands-down

30) Trevor Bauer: 23 years old. Not listening is a good thing if the information isn’t good and… importantly, if the player does well. If Bauer bounces back all of his "stubbornness" will be seen as a strength, not a weakness. In other words, it could all be current, mired in the present, BS. It probably is. I hope so. Even baseball needs more people who have their own ideas, and don’t always "listen". Baseball history’s trash heap is piled high with failed and injured former hurlers who listened to all of their coaches. The fact that some bitter individual people don’t like Bauer’s arrogance couldn’t possibly matter less as to his future success, in my opinion. Prove them all wrong Trevor, please. I am pulling for you Dude.

31) Tyler Glasnow: 20 and 1/2 : "I’m sure you’ve heard the term, "becoming a pitcher instead of a thrower", that’s where you see the improvements Glasnow made. His mechanics improved, he’s stronger, he’s smarter, it’s a combination of many different colors coming together to (hopefully) paint a masterpiece." – MPP

32) Jorge Alfaro: 21 in June. "This is the best I have seen Alfaro, both on the field and in the way he is carrying himself off of it. If he keeps taking steps forward, the Rangers could have a middle-of-the-order hitter who is an impact weapon at a premier spot on the diamond. The profile points to a superstar, a role 7 all-star player; 2014 will be his biggest test. "–Jason Parks

33) Maikel Franco: 21 and 1/2. I just don't get it with Franco. The kid was 20, he rolls into AA ball and hits the snot out of the ball for the next 2+ months, just like he did in the FSL, and all people can find to do with him is nit-pick. He may be slow as molasses but, I think he has the hands, arm, and reactions to play a decent 3B.

34) Alen Hanson: 21 and 1/2. His 2013 wasn't superficially very spectacular, like his 2012 but, he still had a very good season in the FSL, and reached AA ball at the age of 20. Everyone seems to focus on his early struggles with the stick, upon his callup to Altoona but, he played much, much more consistently at SS there ... 7 errors in 35 ballgames. That was huge for me. It was WAY more important for him to develop as a SS this year than to have flashy hitting numbers, so I don't know why people would be down on him.

35) Austin Hedges: 21 and 1/2.The player I think of when I watch, and watch him is Mark Ellis, if he was an athletic catcher. I think he can become a 2-hole type hitter, and a good one... and his defense is, well, sublime.

36) Arismendy Alcantara: 22 and 1/2. I I wonder sometimes what I'm seeing that others aren't with AA .I am a big fan of players with a wide range of skills on the field and Alcantara posseses thoe skills- power, batting eye, defensive value, and useable speed. Llike our Charles Wallace said " I think this (AAA) is going to be time well spent for him (Alcantara) and Baez." This season is a big opportunity for AA, I think he'll run with it.

37) Kyle Zimmer: 22 and 1/2. Seeing is believing, until I saw Doug Thorburn's insightful analysis Zumm's performance in AA, compared to earlier in the season at Wilmington, Originally, I thought the reasons given mostly BS. turns out they aren't. There are sound mechanical reasons why he got better. He returned to doing what he does best, delivery wise. The only reason he is this low is because he is currently resting a sore shoulder.

38) Jon Singleton: 22 and 1/2. I think the best way evaluate Singleton accurately going forward is to forget the 2013 season ever happened. it was just a bad year that got worse and, their were a lot of factors at play for the 21 year old man, who was going through some things. I think it will build character in the long run and he'll have a big 2014. I still like Singleton's future, a lot. 2013 was just a bad dream, baby. We all have had bad years, move on.

39) Chris Owings: 22 years, 8 months. I love it when a prospect goes from the bottom-half of top 100 lists, to an All-Star! Owings has a real shot at that this year. This reminds me that this is still a very inexact science. I think Owings is a terrific all-around SS prospect, who does many things well on baseball field like, hit, hot for some pop, run the bases, and play defense. One thing he does not do well is draw walks, hence, the low ranking elsewhere.

40) James Paxton: 25 AND 1/2. I thought people might be jumping off the bandwagon with him a bit based on maybe the first glance at his AAA numbers, and a couple not so glowing scouting reports. When I saw him, I liked him, a lot – big , sturdy frame, and BIG heat, a starter's pace and feel, and his command was on, just like it was later in his M’s debut.

41) Yordano Ventura: 23 in June. I stood within 100 feet of him and one of his three big-league starts I get it He is an amazing talent but, I also watched Paxton in the same series and I just had a feel that HE looked like a big-league starter to be more than Yordano. His mechanics, size, worry me quite a bit as does his feel for pitching. I hope he overcomes all of these this, and this ranking looks low, because man, he is fun to watch.

42) Rafael Montero: 23 and 1/2. At some point, maybe we should quit questioning his upside and just call him a good pitcher. He is undersized but he has metronome like command and good stuff . Whatever the role, I think he's a good big-league hurler, very soon.

43) Alex Meyer: 24 and 3 months. I really don't know how he looked in spring but is hard to get his AFL performance off the mind. His huge body displayed much improved mechanical efficiency and balance hence, improved - ridiculous - velocity and command of his knuckle-curve. He was very, very impressive

44) David Dahl: He's a baby, he's 20. "Dahl has a lot of ease in his game. With a great body, natural hitting ability, and a clean bill of health, he looks primed to explode this season." –Chris Rodriguez

45) CJ Edwards: 22 and 1/2. One misconception that I find most interesting, is the concept that a pitcher has to have a number one ceiling to be a top prospect. I hear this used as a criticism all the time. As far as Edwards goes,experts have pointed pointed to not looking at his numbers so much that he has become a bit undervalued in my opinion. the only reason I have in this low is because he may become a bullpen option but he'll be dominant there.

46) Mookie Betts: 21 and 1/2. Has anyone else noticed the similarities between Betts and Dustin Pedroia? Athletic, little, hitters with surprising pop for their size, adequate athleticism for shortstop but plus at second base, good eye at the plate, tremendous performance combined with underrated profile + some speed. I'm not saying he is that good but ... maybe.

47) Hak-Ju Lee: 23 years, 5 months I don't know where the idea that he isn't a hitter comes from, He has been a .290 .364 .388 hitter in over 2000 PAs in the minor leagues, and almost always young for the league, and in a tough league to hit. If healthy, he is going to be plus with the glove AND get into and start a lot of rallies. His injuries are a concern though. He is nearly recovered from his terrible knee injury, now starts the year on DL with a strained calf.

48) Domingo Santana: 21 and 1/2. This big, right-handed kid has hit 48 balls out of the park, the past two seasons at A+ and AA, despite being a very young baby in those leagues. He also slugged .500 as a 20 year old in AA, and most all of those players go on to become very good major leaguers. Despite this, most evaluators seem to think the only thing of note about his , is his strikeouts. In my opinion he is extremely undervalued talent right now.

49) Joey Gallo: 20 years, 4 months. I just don’t worry about strikeouts as much as other people do. It’s just a byproduct of a certain type of swing. He swings hard and he misses a lot, got it. The other side of the coin, that many don't notice as much, because of your fixation on the Ks, is that his power is already at a level of something nobody else can do. Nobody has slugged as prodigiously as Gallo has, as a 19 year old in A ball, nobody. His power is truly special, and is plenty young enough to craft his swing to make it all work.

50) Dylan Bundy: 21 and 1/2. Knowing what I think I know about this kid, this ranking is going to be too low but, I have to be way-off about one pitcher every year so, your it Bundy. I really love this kid's talent and drive . Combine Bartolo Colón, Tim Hudson , and a bulldog , and you have Dylan Bundy

Bottom 50:

51) Clayton Blackburn: 21 years, 3 months. "Best thing about Blackburn is he’s able to adjust in game, not get ruffled, and has a plan. For somebody that young, that’s great. He’s the packhorse to Crick’s stallion, and he is still being underrated. Fine." - Shankbone 51) JBJ: 24 in a week or two. 52) Matt Barnes: 24 in June. "Posted a 11.11 K/9 last year in his AA debut which included a late season promotion to AAA, curve and changeup still works in progress, though the fastball is legitimate. Pitched to a 2.5 ERA in the second half of the season when his BABIP finally calmed down a little bit. According to John he was a B+ and a top 60 prospect going into 2013 and IMO not enough has changed to warrant him not being a top 100 guy." –kimmel09 53) Eddie Butler: Just turned 23. I'm not as excited about Butler as a starter as some are but, I think he will be devastating in short bursts and , you need a deep bullpen to be a winning team in Colorado.54) Julio Urias: 17 years, 8 months 55) Ronald Guzman: 19 1/2. 56) Raimel Tapia: 20 years old. 57) Jonathan Schoop: 22 and 1/2. This Curacao-Kid finally healed from many injuries in fact that my faith in him with a fine spring training, making the Orioles roster. 58) Jameson Taillon: 22 years, 4 months. Agree with Bravesin07 on Taillon's talent, but not on hjis glee over his injury 59) Jake Marisnick: Just turned 23 60) Billy Hamilton; 23 and 1/2. "Normally I am fairly skeptical about players who rely solely on their speed, but Hamilton is different. This is not "normal excellent" speed we are talking about here. This is historic speed, and if his on-base skills are remotely adequate, he’ll be a devastating weapon." – John Sickels

61) Aaron Sanchez: 22 in July. Sanchez has great size and great stuff easy stuff but I'm skeptical of his delivery and toughness . 2014 is a big year for him "Watching a pitcher with such long limbs take such an immature stride - it's just a waste of his physical gifts." – Doug Thorburn 62) Andrew Heaney: 23 in June 63)AJ Cole: 22, 3 months 64 Gary Sanchez: 21 years, 4 months 65) Marcus Stroman: 23 in May 66) Colin Moran: 21 and 1/2 67) Lance McCullers Jr: 20 and 1/2 68) Hunter Harvey; 19 years, 4 months, a child. 69) Blake Swihart: just turned 22 a few days ago. Im slowly coming aboard on him. 70) Matt Davidson: 23

71) Clint Frazier: 19 years, 7 months. Not sold, upon viewing him, I thought he was going to be a much better hitter. He is just a baby though, 72) Lucas Simms: 20 in May 73) Jorge Bonifacio: 21 in June 74) Burch Smith: 24 in a week 75) Alex Guerrero: 27 and 1/2 76) Braden Shipley: 22 77) Corey Seager: 20 in a couple weeks. 78) Matt Wisler: 21 and 1/2 79) Robert Osuna: Turned 19 in Febraury. Chubby and injured is not a great combination but I love this kids arm speed in size when I saw him as a baby in. 2012. Gone for now, but not forgotten 80) Jesse Biddle: 22 and 1/2. Almost nobody has survived his level of workload in the minor leagues but, I hope he does.

81) Garin Cecchini: 23 on April 20th. John Sickels is a smarter man than I but , I'm not a fan. I think he is neither a third baseman nor does he have much power , Dave Magadan upside 82) Mike Foltyniewicz: 22 and 1/2 83) Tommy La Stella: 25 years old. I think he is below average in every tool except, bat-to-ball, and he can and will, take a pitch. That might be enough to carve out a big league career though. 84 and 85) Dan Vogelbach: 21, 3 months and Greg Bird: 21, 5 months. I'm not overly optimistic on either but these two bat-first, first first baseman, will be interesting to watch develop. They will go as far as their bats carry them. 86) Jorge Soler: 22. Already injured, my general impression of him, from many angles, is that of a lazy bum who lacks the drive to make it. We shall see. 87) JP Crawford: 19 year's old. Very raw but I am probably selling way short , but , I can't edit forever. 88) Max Fried: 20 years old 89) Nick Kingham: 22 and 1/2

90) Delino DeShields Jr.: 21 and 21/2 91) Zach Lee: 22 and 1/2 92) Michael Choice: 24 and 1/2 93) Jesse Winker: 20 and 1/2. Big sleeper for 2014, even in my own rankings. Love him as a hitter. The next Dan Johnson 94) Brian Goodwin: 23 and 1/2 95) Erik Johnson: 24 years, 3 months 96) Christian Vasquez: 23 and 1/2. thanks jaaaaaasper. I love this tough kid. 97) Nick Williams: 20 and 1/2 98) Dilson Herrera: Just turned 20 98) Brandon Drury: 21 years, 7 months 100) Hunter Dozier: 22 and 1/2. "Dozier is the definition of a baseball rat. It’s rare to see a player with his physical gifts who combines those gifts with such a fervent desire to seek improvement." –Ryan Parker

Hm's tacked on as the year goes on; Steven Piscotty, JR Graham, Alex Reyes, Phil Ervin, Andrew Susac, Vincent Velasquez, Zach Borenstein (sorry to hear about your sister. Stay strong.), Jace Peterson!, Sean Nolin, Franmil Reyes, Brandon Nimmo (I should have known this great kid would develop. Too smart, too talented), Ben Lively, Steven Matz

Underrated: Jose Abreu, Henry Owens, Joc Pederson, Jon Singleton, James Paxton, Jorge Alfaro, Chris Owings, Trevor Bauer, Hak-Ju Lee, Mookie Betts, Jonathan Gray. Cesar Puello, Rougned Odor

Overrated: Jorge Soler, Jameson Taillon (put him here before his injury, not piling on. Bounce back and prove me wrong kid, Nothing personal. Good luck.), Billy Hamilton, Gerrin Cecchino, Corey Seager, Austin Meadows, Raul Mondesi Jr., D.J. Peterson

Dropped off list from last time: Rey Fuentes, Taylor Lindsey, Danny Hultzen, Lewis Brinson, Lionel Campos, Neil Ramirez, Taylor Guerreri, and Bubba Starling. I also graduated Jake Odorrizi, Carlos Martinez, Kolten Wong and Josmil Pinto early. I always underrated all of them,though. They all would have likely been 50-70.

I like these guys but,I really have no idea how good they are. limited viewings + limited numbers.: Kohl Stewart, Trey Ball, Frenchy Cordero, Rafael Devers. I would pick Stewart highly on this list, if forced though, even without more info on him.

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