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Minor League Ball Top 75 Prospects: End of Season Update

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Here is an end-of-season look at the Minor League Ball Top 75 MLB prospects list.

Taijuan Walker
Taijuan Walker
Otto Greule Jr

The 2013 season is over and for prospect fanatics, it is time to look towards 2014.

I am beginning serious work on the 2014 Baseball Prospect Book this weekend, but first I’d like to present a revised Top 75 prospect list. This represents my current, end-of-season thinking, as I begin the research and writing process for the book.

After the book is finished, I will issue a new list that could look rather different, since I’ll have spent four months researching and studying the players in greater detail. In other words, this list should be seen as an end-point for 2013 and a preliminary, beginning look at 2014.

The last version of this list was issued in mid-July. Since that time, the following players have graduated off the list due to exceeding rookie limits: Christian Yelich (ranked 12th in July), Michael Wacha (17th), Jarred Cosart (36th), and Sonny Gray (58th).

This list incorporates 2013 draftees. It does not include 2013 summer international signees.

1) Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins. Pre-season rank 37, July rank 1. Still the top prospect for me due to outstanding combination of speed, athleticism, power potential, defense, and stellar makeup.

2) Xander Bogaerts
, SS, Boston Red Sox, Pre-season ranking 4, July rank 2.
I don’t see any justification for lowering his grade.

3) Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins, Pre-season ranking 10, July rank 3.
A few glitches in Double-A but not enough to truly worry me given the complete package. Defense improving and I think he can stick there.

4) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners. Pre-season ranking 19, July rank 5. The best pitching prospect is either Walker or Archie Bradley. I'll stay with Walker due to his sharper command.

5) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Pre-season ranking 21, July rank 6. Superior stuff, still needs some command tweaks.

6) Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros. Pre-season ranking 24, July rank 7. I expect a power surge next year.

7) Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians. Pre-season ranking 31, July rank 8. Superior glove, good contact hitting, speed, youth.

8) Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs. Pre-season 18, July rank 14.
I do worry about the strikeouts but the power/speed upside is just enormous. I could see this going down a few slots depending on book analysis.

9) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros. Pre-season 72, July 15. Outstanding power/speed combo. Like Baez, the strikeouts are a problem, but he draws walks too. Baez is ahead a bit due to age.

10) Oscar Taveras , OF, St. Louis Cardinals, Pre-season 2, July 4.
His stock hasn’t really dropped for me but I want to make sure he is healthy. It is possible he could end up ahead of Baez and Springer depending on what we find out between now and February.

(Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles
would go about here if eligible. I use 50 IP for starters and 30 IP for relievers, so since he's been used in both roles and it as 45.2 innings, I am not sure if I should count him as a prospect or not. If I did, he would be in the 11-13 range with Syndergaard and Taillon)

11) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets. Pre-season 22, July 11.
I can’t very well drop his stock given strong Double-A performance. One of my personal favorites.

12) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates. Pre-season 17, July 10.
Syndergaard vs. Taillon will be a big argument this winter.

13) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds. Pre-season 55, July 24.
At this trajectory, could be a Top Five and certainly a Top Ten prospect entering 2015.

14) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals. Pre-season 20, July 9. Not past the innings limit, not sure on service time. His stock isn’t down with me but Stephenson and Syndergaard have moved ahead on their own merits.

15) Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics. Pre-season 30, July 16.
You can make a good case to put him ahead of Castellanos due to defensive value.

16) Jonathan Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies: 2013 first-round pick. Made pro transition look easy.

17) Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals. Pre-season 43, July 29. Could rank as high as 8th, pending full analysis and research plus health reports.

18) Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers. Pre-season 67, July 13.
No major change in outlook. Expect a solid career.

19) Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs:
2013 first-round pick. Masher.

20) Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros:
2013 first-round pick. Slotting new draftees can be problematic, but I think Appel has more dominance potential than he showed in his first look against pro hitters. This ranking could slip a little once I do full analysis.

21) Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates. Pre-season 50, July 19. No real drop in stock, just needed to slot some guys ahead of him. I think he’ll show more power eventually.

22) Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs. Pre-season 44, July 18. The Cubs are going to have one hell of a lineup someday.

23) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles. Pre-season 3, July 21. You can make a case to put him anywhere from 10 to 50 depending on how you want to handle Tommy John issue.

24) Travis D'Arnaud, C, New York Mets. Pre-season 13, July 22. Just needs to play.

25) Yordano Ventura, RHP, Kansas City Royals. Pre-season 93, July 25.
Pretty amazing stuff but may take some time to iron out remaining command issues.

26) Maikel Franco, 1B-3B, Philadelphia Phillies. Unranked pre-season, July 32.
Offensive beast. Could get as high as 18 depending on analysis this fall.

27) Jorge Soler , OF, Chicago Cubs. Pre-season 25, July 23. Holding steady pending health.

28) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres. Pre-season 94, July 49. Reputation is now catching up with performance.

29) Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: 2013 first-rounder. Extremely successful debut in all respects.

30) Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians: 2013 first-rounder. Didn’t show as much polish as Georgia high school competitor Meadows, but he has Baez-level bat speed and has the baseball aptitude to improve his plate discipline.

31) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals. Pre-season 104, July 52. Looks recovered from Tommy John, could end up slotting higher when analysis is complete.

32) Rougned Odor, INF, Texas Rangers. Pre-season 122, July 66. Dominated Double-A at age 19. That seems like a good sign to me. This may end up being too high but it is a starting point.

33) Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins. 2013 first-rounder. Looks like the top high school pitcher in the draft and met expectations. Preliminary slot.

34) Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox. Pre-season 117, July 30.
This is what I wrote in July and I still believe it: I'm mad at myself on this one actually. I had him rated as a Grade B+ and on fringes of top 50 in January but let myself get talked down to a Grade B and out of the top 50 after reading too many scouting reports and not trusting my own eyes and instincts. Well, screw that. He kicks ass and many people are still too low on him. Going to stay with my instincts here. We’ll see if I stick with that in January.

35) Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers. Pre-season 114, July 31.
The Garin Cecchini of outfielders. Needs to solve lefties though.

36) Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins: 2013 first-rounder heated up after slow start in Low-A.

37) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros. Pre-season unranked, July 34. Still has some command issues but has improved, stuff is unquestioned.

38) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins. Pre-season 115, July 40. Might still be too low.

39) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates. Unranked pre-season, July 46. Insanely good K/IP ratio and hit rates, strong stuff, but tempered with remaining command issues.

40) Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies. Unranked pre-season, July 70. Excellent under-the-radar season, needs a lot more attention, killer sinker.

41) C.J. Edwards, RHP, Chicago Cubs. Unranked pre-season, July 73. Spectacular season from pre-season sleeper. You can make a case to slot him in the 30s.

42) Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees. Pre-season 46, July 35. Holding steady. Progress on defense.

43) Lance McCullers, RHP, Houston Astros. Pre-season 66, July 43. Has some command issues but stuff is first-class, reports from Midwest League observers very positive.

44) Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox. Pre-season 45, July 20.
I overreacted to his fast start on the mid-season list, back into the mid-40s now. Bat should improve.

45) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers. Pre-season 70, July 37. Really struggled after moving up to High-A, but still one of the top infield prospects around.

46) Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds. Pre-season 14, July 38.
It is trendy to downplay Hamilton due to mediocre Triple-A season, and while his stock is legitimately down, this is still a player with a rare gift.

47) Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals. Pre-season 85-A, July 39. His stock hasn’t really dropped, just some guys have moved ahead. Expect a solid career.

48) Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants. Pre-season 52, July 41. Another guy with tremendous dominance ratios but some command issues. Very high ceiling.

49) Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays. Pre-season 111, July 47.
No problems in Double-A.

50) Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets. Unranked pre-season; July 50. Finished with a run of brilliance at Las Vegas; could rank higher when all is said and written.

51) Alen Hanson, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates. Pre-season 49, July 42. His stock has stayed more or less level for me but this is a vulnerable ranking. Could go lower.

52) J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies: 2013 first-round pick, showed strong, better-than-expected hitting skills with slick defense in rookie ball.

53) Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins. Pre-season 63, July 51. Looked good in last two August starts, recovering from shoulder issues.

54) Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox. Pre-season 137, July 63. Breakout season looks real to me.

55) Miguel Almonte, RHP, Kansas City Royals. Unranked pre-season, July 64. Very strong season in Low-A, finished with brilliant run of pitching in last four starts.

56) Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres. Pre-season 54, July 45.
Stock stayed level for me; I expect a large step forward in ’14.

57) Phillip Ervin, OF, Cincinnati Reds: 2013 first-round pick. Spectacular pro debut with power, speed, good plate discipline. Advanced college bat should move quickly.

58) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox. Unranked pre-season, July 54.
Problem here was always staying healthy. I still wonder if his arm will fall off someday, but he's been very good in Double-A. Mid-rotation starter I think.

59) Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres. Pre-season 32, July 33.
Scouts rave about his glove, but I want more with the bat.

60) Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves. Unranked pre-season, July 67. Outstanding season in Low-A from 2012 first-rounder. Could rank higher.

61) Reese McGuire, C, Pittsburgh Pirates: 2013 first-rounder. Excellent glove, bat has been solid so far.

62) Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals. Pre-season 109, July 53.
Raw, but just 17 years old in full-season ball and wasn’t totally overmatched. Speculative play.

63) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies. Pre-season 61, July 44.
Second-half command troubles nick his stock a bit.

64) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays. Pre-season 42, July 55. Top-notch stuff, still needs to prove command and durability.

65) Eddie Rosario, 2B, Minnesota Twins. Pre-season 79, July 56. I have liked this guy since high school as a hitter, and he's figured out second base.

66) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays. Pre-season 80, July 65.
Still under innings limit. Still throwing strikes, solid, workmanlike pitcher.

67) Erik Johnson, RHP, Chicago White Sox: Unranked pre-season, July 76. This may actually be too low. You can make a case for him in the 30s.

68) A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals. Pre-season 89, July 69. Good season with strong finish in Double-A.

69) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, San Francisco Giants: Pre-season 83, honorable mention in July. Excellent in Cal League. Sticking with my instincts that the stuff will hold up. Command is certainly there.

70) Arismendy Alcantara, SS, Chicago Cubs. Unranked pre-season, July 57. Very broad range of skills, has speed, power, patience, don’t expect batting championships.

71) Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers. Pre-season 120, July 61. Looks like a reliable strike-thrower.

72) Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers. Unranked pre-season, July 75.
This is a placeholder ranking pending deeper research, but he looked great in the Midwest League at age 16/17, which is amazing. Could rank much higher.

73) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros. Pre-season 57, July 60. Scouts continue to rave about his ability but he underperforms expectations. That needs to change.

74) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians. Pre-season 11, July 26. Too much talent to drop off the list completely, but in danger of overanalyzing his way out of what should be a great career.

75) James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners: Pre-season, 91, honorable mention July. Strong September run for Seattle gets him back on the list despite erratic Triple-A campaign.

??) Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners. Pre-season 28, July 27.
Wild guess given his apparent labrum injury. If healthy he would rank much higher, low 30s, but I want to wait and see on the reports. Shoulder/labrum stuff is scarier than elbow problems.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers; Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox; Mookie Betts, 2B, Red Sox; Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees; Michael Choice, OF, Athletics; Alex Colome, RHP, Rays; David Dahl, OF, Rockies; Matt Davidson, 3B, Diamondbacks; Rafael De Paula, RHP, Yankees; Delino DeShields, 2B, Astros; Hunter Dozier, INF, Royals; Edwin Escobar, LHP, Giants; Wilmer Flores, INF, Mets; Rey Fuentes, OF, Padres; Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers; Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays; Hunter Harvey, RHP, Orioles; Rosell Herrera, INF, Rockies; Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers; Pierce Johnson, RHP, Cubs; Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates; Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins; Steven Matz, LHP, Mets; Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers; Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks; Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies; D.J. Peterson, 3B, Mariners; Jace Peterson, SS, San Diego Padres;  Josmil Pinto, C, Twins; Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets; Cesar Puello, OF, Mets; Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Orioles; Rio Ruiz, 3B, Astros; Jonathan Schoop, INF, Baltimore Orioles; Marcus Semien, INF, White Sox; Devon Travis, 2B, Tigers; Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs; Allen Webster, RHP, Red Sox; Mason Williams, OF, Yankees; Nick Williams, OF, Rangers; Jesse Winker, OF, Reds.

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