Baseball America

2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: The 25th Edition

See also: Top 100 Prospects With Scouting Reports

See also: Top 100 Prospects Chat

See also: Top 100 Prospects Google+ Hangout

See also: Future Top 100 Prospects

See also: Top 100 Prospects rankings by position


The definitive list of baseball’s up and coming talent celebrates its 25th edition this year.

Byron Buxton is BA's No. 1 prospect.

Byron Buxton is BA’s No. 1 prospect.

It was prior to the 1990 season that the first group of Baseball America editors gathered to hammer out this new thing called the Top 100 Prospects list. Ranking players is part of Baseball America’s DNA, and the Top 100 has become the signature list of the BA year.

The first Top 100 meeting was a marathon, five-hour session that featured a group of editors gathered around a table, hammering out the list from No. 1 to No. 100. Over the years we have streamlined the process, starting with top 150 lists from all participating editors to develop a consensus list.

We then get together to massage it, moving around players who look out of place, trying to maintain as much consistency as possible with our previous lists, and moving up players who are just off the list and choosing which players to squeeze out. It’s not five hours, but it’s still a meaty discussion.

Editor in chief John Manuel leads the process and wrote the capsules for each player. Other voters this year were J.J. Cooper, Matt Eddy, Vince Lara-Cinisomo, Will Lingo, Clint Longenecker and Josh Norris.

Rank Player Pos. 2014 Org. Age ETA To-Do List
1 Byron Buxton of 3ds_twins81 20 2014 Just be you, Mr. Buxton. More experience should allow the game’s top prospect to learn to turn his hard contact into more home run power.
2 Xander Bogaerts ss/3b 3ds_redsox81 21 2014 Seize a starting job in Boston. Whether it’s at shortstop or third base likely depends on Stephen Drew’s status.
3 Oscar Taveras of 3ds_cardinals81 21 2014 After missing time last year with repeated ankle issues, Taveras needs a hot start to force his way into St. Louis’ right-field discussion.
4 Masahiro Tanaka rhp 3ds_yankees81 25 2014 No pressure for the erstwhile Japanese Pacific League ace: Just pitch up to a nine-figure contract and return the Yankees to playoff contention.
5 Javier Baez ss 3ds_cubs79 21 2014 Slow down—not his bat, the minors’ fastest, but the rest of the game, especially at shortstop. Otherwise, Baez’s task will be learning to play another position.
6 Miguel Sano 3b 3ds_twins81 20 2014 An offseason elbow injury scuttled his winter-ball plans, so a healthy start should keep Sano on track for Triple-A and a late-season callup.
7 Carlos Correa ss HoustonAstros 19 2016 The Astros hope to accelerate their rebuilding process after three brutal seasons; Correa should keep up with big numbers in the California League.
8 Kris Bryant 3b 3ds_cubs79 22 2014 Bryant could have a successful season even if he doesn’t match his 31-homer season in college; a move to the outfield could be in the offing.
9 Archie Bradley rhp 3ds_diamondbacks21 21 2014 Throwing strikes sounds simple, but with Bradley’s velocity and spin-happy curveball, it hasn’t been easy. More consistent command of the strike zone is a must for him to grab a major league rotation spot.
10 Gregory Polanco of 3ds_pirates79 22 2014 After he takes a breather from his successful winter ball stint in the Dominican Republic, Polanco can set his sights on winning Pittsburgh’s right-field job by midsummer.
11 Taijuan Walker rhp 3ds_mariners79 21 2014 Owner of one of the game’s hardest cutters (some scouts consider it a slider), Walker is ready for his close-up in Seattle’s major league rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
12 Jonathan Gray rhp 3ds_rockies85 22 2014 After drafting him third overall in June, the Rockies limited Gray from using his devastating slider in his pro debut so that he could focus on fastball command. If Gray learned that lesson, watch out.
13 Francisco Lindor ss 3ds_indians79 20 2014 If Asdrubal Cabrera stumbles again in Cleveland, Lindor has to make sure he’s as ready offensively as he already is defensively. He should get that opportunity at some point.
14 Addison Russell ss 3ds_athletics79 20 2014 The bat, athleticism and explosive speed have Russell nearly big league-ready offensively. He’ll work to polish his footwork and smooth out his arm action at shortstop. He could get his feet wet in Oakland this year in anticipation of a full-time opportunity in 2015.
15 Dylan Bundy rhp 3ds_orioles79 21 2014 Don’t be in a hurry. After June 2013 Tommy John surgery, Bundy should make sure he’s back healthy. If he is, he could provide a late jolt for the big league Orioles.
16 Noah Syndergaard rhp 3ds_mets79 21 2015 Syndergaard’s secondary pitches flash above-average if not better. More consistent power on his curveball would complement his premium fastball and help him make a midseason jump to New York.
17 Maikel Franco 3b 3ds_phillies79 21 2014 Franco already has power and polish at the plate. Adding polish and maintaining his agility at either infield corner would speed his arrival in Philadelphia, at either spot.
18 George Springer of HoustonAstros 24 2014 The Astros likely won’t have any interest in calling up Springer until after May in order to delay his arbitration clock, so he has at least two solid months to learn to drive outside pitches the other way.
19 Robert Stephenson rhp 3ds_reds79 21 2015 Aside from gaining experience, staying healthy and learning to the nuances of the craft, Stephenson just needs to stay ready. He’s already acclimated to the major leagues and is likely an injury away from a Cincinnati callup.
20 Kevin Gausman rhp 3ds_orioles79 23 2014 Gausman’s callup included blistering fastball velocity but a rude awakening to big leaguers’ ability to handle it. Perhaps he’ll have to modify his John Belushi-like powdered doughnuts training regimen.
21 Lucas Giolito rhp 3ds_nationals81 19 2016 No one in the minors “just needs innings” more than Giolito, whose pure stuff may be the best on this list but who has just 39 professional innings after being a 2012 first-round pick. A healthy campaign in a full-season rotation is first and foremost.
22 Jameson Taillon rhp 3ds_pirates79 22 2014 Taillon has frontline stuff and has put himself on the cusp of the Pittsburgh rotation, and more consistent fastball command will get him his Pirates puffy shirt.
23 Kyle Zimmer rhp 3ds_royals28 22 2014 In flashes, Zimmer was as good as any pitching prospect in the minors last year, his first full season after being the fifth overall pick in 2012. Now he has to show more than flashes.
24 Eddie Butler rhp 3ds_rockies85 23 2014 The rare premium pitching prospect from Radford, Butler exceeded expectations with his live stuff in 2013. If he repeats his dominance in the early months of 2014, he’ll be pitching in Denver.
25 Nick Castellanos 3b/of 3ds_tigers79 22 2014 Few prospects have a weightier burden for this season. Castellanos must reacquaint himself with third base and contribute offensively to a team with legitimate World Series aspirations.
26 Yordano Ventura rhp 3ds_royals28 22 2014 The majors’ hardest-throwing starter has proven he can handle a minor league workload, but the smallish Ventura has to show he can do it over 162 games.
27 Austin Hedges c padres-2013 21 2015 The minors’ best defensive catcher needs to keep improving his bat. After leading San Antonio to the Double-A Texas League title last fall, Hedges likely returns there to start 2014.
28 C.J. Edwards rhp 3ds_cubs79 22 2015 Edwards can’t post better results than he did last year, when he moved from the Rangers to the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal. He’ll aim to reach 150 innings while maintaining his high-quality stuff and control.
29 Jose Abreu 1b 3ds_whitesox85 27 2014 Signed to a major league contract, Abreu has higher expectations than most on this list. The White Sox are counting on him to make the majors and hit in the middle of their lineup.
30 Andrew Heaney lhp Miami Marlins 22 2014  After missing time with a lat muscle strain in 2013, Heaney pitched just 95 innings. He’ll aim to exceed that in 2014, and if he does, some of the innings will come in a Miami uniform.
31 Carlos Martinez rhp 3ds_cardinals81 22 2014 If Martinez is going to break into the rotation, this is the time. He tuned up in winter ball as a starter but may be too good in his set-up role if St. Louis feels it has adequate rotation options.
32 Aaron Sanchez rhp 3ds_bluejays81 21 2015 Sanchez has starter stuff but has not established a track record of throwing strikes and staying healthy. Those two basics would take him from good prospect to elite.
33 Kyle Crick rhp 3ds_giants79 21 2015 Listen to the Ninja. Giants pitching guru Dick Tidrow has a great track record of shepherding power arms to San Francisco, and with a little polish Crick shouldn’t be too far away.
34 Joc Pederson of 3ds_dodgers79 21 2015 Patience. The Dodgers already have too many outfielders for their major league team this season, so Pederson should focus on contact and put up big numbers at Triple-A Albuquerque.
35 Gary Sanchez c 3ds_yankees81 21 2015 Continued work at Double-A. Sanchez got on the right track in 2013, when his catch-and-throw skills started catching up to his bat, and the Brian McCann signing gives him more development time.
36 Albert Almora of 3ds_cubs79 19  2016 Almora is another prospect who just needs to show he can stay healthy. Evaluators love his bat and defense in center—when he’s on the field.
37 Corey Seager ss 3ds_dodgers79  19  2016  Seager appeared to run out of gas in his first full season and may need to move to third base soon. As long as he keeps hitting, however, those should just be minor impediments to big league success.
38 Travis d’Arnaud c 3ds_mets79  25 2014 Stay. On. The. Field. His first injury-free season since 2011 would help make d’Arnaud a Rookie of the Year contender.
39 Mark Appel rhp HoustonAstros 22  2015 Appel’s stuff suffered a bit from his post-draft layoff, so he didn’t knock anyone’s socks off in his pro debut. A full spring of preparation should allow the No. 1 overall pick’s velocity to return.
40 Henry Owens lhp 3ds_redsox81 21 2015 The long, lanky Owens keeps adding strength and needs it to better repeat his delivery and throw more strikes, especially with his offspeed stuff.
41 Jorge Soler of 3ds_cubs79 22 2015 It’s easy to be satisfied when you’ve already signed a $30 million contract. If Soler plays with an edge, he’ll be a big league right fielder sooner than later.
42 Rougned Odor 2b 3ds_rangers79 20 2015 Professional and polished beyond his years at the plate, Odor could knock on the door to the big leagues if his defense—specifically footwork—improves. The question is whether that will be with Texas.
43 Billy Hamilton of 3ds_reds79 23 2014 Like Nick Castellanos or Jose Abreu, Hamilton is expected to win a big league job. As Cincinnati’s center fielder, he doesn’t have to replace Shin-Soo Choo’s production; he just needs to make good use of his transformational speed.
44 Matt Wisler rhp padres-2013 21 2015 Combating lefthanded hitters is Wisler’s last minor league assignment. He has all the traits of a starting major league pitcher, leading off with command of a strong fastball.
45 Alex Meyer rhp 3ds_twins81 24 2014 Meyer’s power arsenal has few peers, and he was on top of his game in the Arizona Fall League (28 SO in 26 IP). If he continues to show consistency and command, an early stretch like that could catapult him to Target Field.
46 Tyler Glasnow rhp 3ds_pirates79 20 2016 Like other 6-foot-7 righthanders, Glasnow tends to overthrow and can lose his delivery, so he’ll spend time at high Class A working on that. His natural athleticism and increasing strength should help.
47 Raul A. Mondesi ss 3ds_royals28 18 2017 The toolsy teen is starting this season at the same age as most high school draftees. Mondesi’s production should climb as his body matures and his experience grows.
48 Clint Frazier of 3ds_indians79 19 2017 Frazier may have to curb his long, loud BP home run displays as a pro. If he makes consistent contact, though, it’s sure to be loud.
49 Austin Meadows of 3ds_pirates79 18 2017 Following a tight spring prior to the draft, Meadows played loose and free after signing. A repeat of that approach would serve him well in his full-season debut.
50 Jackie Bradley of 3ds_redsox81 23 2014 Bradley failed his first test when major league pitchers challenged him inside last year. He’ll have to adjust to hard stuff in to replace Jacoby Ellsbury in Fenway’s middle garden.
51 Julio Urias lhp 3ds_dodgers79 17 2016 As the youngest player on the Top 100 Prospects list, Urias may need more help with his driving skills than his pitching. The Dodgers will need patience to avoid promoting him too quickly.
52 Kohl Stewart rhp 3ds_twins81 19 2017 Stewart showed the best pure stuff of any prep pitcher in the 2013 draft class. Job one will be learning how to maintain his stuff through a season, as the former two-sport athlete gets his first full-time baseball job.
53 Max Fried lhp padres-2013 20 2016 Fried has the pitch quality and the projection to become a frontline starter in San Diego. His next step is to challenge hitters more frequently in the strike zone.
54 Jorge Alfaro c 3ds_rangers79 20 2015 Alfaro’s tools are second to none among minor league catchers. Consistency in receiving and in his plate approach will turn tools into production.
55 Marcus Stroman rhp 3ds_bluejays81 22 2014 Stroman’s fastball is unquestioned, and his slider and changeup are starter-quality secondary pitches. Maintaining a downhill plane on his fastball may be the decisive factor in whether the 5-foot-10 pitcher is ultimately a starter or reliever.
56 Edwin Escobar lhp 3ds_giants79 21 2015 Escobar followed a breakout season with a strong winter in Venezuela. Maintaining his higher arm slot and the improved breaking ball that came with it will move him up the ladder.
57 Lucas Sims rhp 3ds_braves83 19 2016 The Braves are on a pitching-development hot streak, and Sims’ strong 2013 finish in low Class A points toward a breakout 2014 season. Proving his durability and improving his changeup will go a long way toward making that happen.
58 Kolten Wong 2b 3ds_cardinals81 23 2014 Wong just needs to shake off his World Series pickoff misadventure so he can bring the Cardinals a hard-hitting, basestealing presence atop the order.
59 Mike Foltyniewicz rhp HoustonAstros 22 2015 Foltynewicz blossomed with the Astros’ tandem-starter system at Double-A. Greater pitch efficiency could help him get past six innings more than once, his 2013 total.
60 Joey Gallo 3b 3ds_rangers79 20 2016 No one in the minors can match Gallo’s raw power. A two-strike approach, as well as maintaining agility at third base, will help his high-ceiling toolset mature.
61 Colin Moran 3b Miami Marlins 21 2015 The Marlins could use a third baseman in Miami pronto. Moran’s bat should be fine, but his footwork and mobility must be quick for him to stay at the hot corner.
62 Braden Shipley rhp 3ds_diamondbacks21 22 2015 Shipley has pitched for just two years full-time, so getting him innings and a professional routine should help this electric-armed athlete as much as anything.
63 Erik Johnson rhp 3ds_whitesox85 24 2014 Listen to Don Cooper. Chicago’s major league pitching coach knows his stuff and should bring the most out of Johnson and his premium slider.
64 Nick Kingham rhp 3ds_pirates79 22 2015 The Las Vegas native must have learned his lessons facing Bryce Harper as an amateur; he’d do well to remain stingy with home runs to lefthanded hitters, who hit just two off him last year.
65 Eduardo Rodriguez lhp 3ds_orioles79 20 2014 Not many Venezuelans pitch in the Arizona Fall League. Rodriguez’s stint there indicates he’s in Baltimore’s plans, and if he can sharpen his command he should get a big league opportunity this year.
66 Chris Owings ss 3ds_diamondbacks21 22 2014 The Pacific Coast League’s MVP may have to be content with a return trip to Triple-A Reno to wait for an opportunity unless he can beat out Aaron Hill or Didi Gregorius in Arizona.
67 Jake Odorizzi rhp 3ds_rays5 24 2014 Jeremy Hellickson’s elbow surgery in spring training opens a spot in St. Petersburg for Odorizzi to snag if he can maintain his improved fastball and slider command.
68 Rafael Montero rhp 3ds_mets79 23 2014 Few minor leaguers throw more consistent quality strikes than the smallish Montero, and as long as he maintains his command he should get his first shot in New York in 2014.
69 Christian Bethancourt c 3ds_braves83 22 2015 His bat needs to catch up to his arm strength, and a little more consistency with his receiving wouldn’t hurt, but the Braves have only stopgaps behind the plate as they wait for Bethancourt to apply the finishing touches to his game.
70 Stephen Piscotty of 3ds_cardinals81 23 2015 The addition of Peter Bourjos will make it tougher to find major league playing time in 2014, giving Piscotty time to polish his defense and add a bit of loft to his swing.
71 Jesse Biddle lhp 3ds_phillies79 22 2015 Biddle fought through health issues including whooping cough in 2013. Improved strength and durability should allow him to maintain his delivery, leading to better control.
72 Matt Davidson 3b 3ds_whitesox85 23 2014 Davidson’s new organization gives him a shot at a big league job. His focus should be defense, Conor Gillaspie’s weakest tool, as well as curbing his strikeouts.
73 Blake Swihart c 3ds_redsox81 21 2016 Athletic and still new to catching, Swihart has taken to his defensive responsibilities. Pairing power production with catching every day is the next step.
74 Garin Cecchini 3b 3ds_redsox81 22 2015 Cecchini’s polished hitting approach needs few adjustments. His athleticism doesn’t leave him much margin for error, particularly with his defense at third base, so he’ll have to keep at it to avoid a move to left field or first base.
75 Mookie Betts 2b 3ds_redsox81 21 2015 Betts showed all five tools last season, including the arm strength to make a move back to shortstop possible. With Dustin Pedroia locked in at the keystone in Boston, Betts should make it a priority.
76 Alen Hanson ss 3ds_pirates79 21 2015 Hanson has lights-out athletic ability and needs more consistency with the glove. That could get him to Pittsburgh quickly to challenge Jordy Mercer and Clint Barmes.
77 Lance McCullers Jr. rhp HoustonAstros 20 2016 McCullers’ fastball and hard breaking ball are both premium pitches. His changeup has to progress to keep him a rotation option long-term.
78 J.P. Crawford ss 3ds_phillies79 19 2017 After winning the Gulf Coast League batting title in his Rookie-ball debut, Crawford will try for a repeat in the grind of a South Atlantic League campaign. Long-term, he’ll also need to get stronger.
79 Jake Marisnick of Miami Marlins 23 2014 Marisnick has to be more selective at the plate for his power/speed combination to play. He could join Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton in Miami even if he doesn’t, thanks to his glove.
80 Hunter Renfroe of padres-2013 22 2016 Renfroe’s swing tends to get too complicated. A simpler approach would help the toolsy right fielder get to his plus raw power more often.
81 Reese McGuire c 3ds_pirates79 19 2017 The history of high school catchers drafted in the first round isn’t the greatest, but McGuire showed the defensive chops and bat to make good in his debut. He’ll just look to continue that trend in his first full season.
82 Jonathan Singleton 1b HoustonAstros 22 2014 Singleton really has to work on when to toke, er, take and when he’s too passive. Attacking fastballs he can hit is a must.
83 Trevor Bauer rhp 3ds_indians79 23 2014 After a disastrous 2013, first and foremost Bauer has to stop nibbling and pitch off his fastball more. It’s a simple prescription for a complicated pitcher.
84 Devon Travis 2b 3ds_tigers79 23 2015 Travis’ 2013 season caught everyone by surprise but him. Posting similar numbers at a more advanced level will position him as Ian Kinsler’s eventual replacement in Detroit.
85 D.J. Peterson 3b 3ds_mariners79 22 2015 Peterson moved to first base in college after struggling at third, but pro ball affords the time and focused development for him to give the hot corner another, extended try. His bat should not be an issue.
86 Rosell Herrera ss 3ds_rockies85 21 2016 High Class A Modesto isn’t exactly Petco Park, but Herrera is leaving the hitter’s haven of low Class A Asheville. Time to prove 2013 was no fluke.
87 Pierce Johnson rhp 3ds_cubs79 22 2015 Durability is at the top of the list for the slender Johnson, who could beat the similarly built C.J. Edwards to Chicago if he can repeat his 2013 production at higher levels.
88 Allen Webster rhp 3ds_redsox81 24 2014 Webster’s big league struggles last season likely dented his confidence, but he’ll need to have the conviction to pitch in the strike zone with his plus fastball and changeup when he gets another chance in Boston.
89 Trey Ball lhp 3ds_redsox81 19 2017 The Red Sox’s highest draft pick since Trot Nixon, Ball has put away his bat to focus on pitching. Just adopting a routine as a full-time pitcher will lay a strong foundation for the athletic southpaw.
90 Jorge Bonifacio of 3ds_royals28 20 2015 He can’t be Wil Myers, but a healthy, productive start—and maybe a bit more loft in his swing—will put Bonifacio on track to providing a reasonable facsimile.
91 Marcus Semien ss/2b/3b 3ds_whitesox85 23 2014 Semien will battle Matt Davidson and Conor Gillaspie for the third-base job in Chicago, but he likely is headed to Triple-A to play all three infield spots and continue to show he has the bat to be more than a utilityman.
92 Dominic Smith 1b 3ds_mets79 18 2017 Smith might make his full-season debut at low Class A Savannah, a decided pitcher’s park. He’ll have to focus on his hitting approach and avoid getting down if the results aren’t there this season.
93 Taylor Lindsey 2b 3ds_angels79 22 2015 Lindsey’s bat has made him a top prospect. He’ll need to maintain his athleticism and agility to avoid becoming a liability at second base.
94 David Dahl of 3ds_rockies85 20 2017 Dahl can start by making his flight out of spring training and avoiding suspension. As long as he doesn’t try to make up for his lost 2013 season, his natural talent should be enough.
95 Zach Lee rhp 3ds_dodgers79 22 2015 Lee has developed into an athletic, four-pitch starter, rather than a power pitcher. Honing that approach at Triple-A Albuquerque’s hitter’s haven will be a challenge.
96 Jimmy Nelson rhp 3ds_brewers79 24 2014 The Matt Garza signing deepens Milwaukee’s rotation, so Nelson could either work on his command in Triple-A or take his power sinker to the Brewers bullpen.
97 Nick Williams of 3ds_rangers79 20 2016 Williams’ hands are so good that he hasn’t had to be patient yet. His task is to learn where his happy zone is while also improving his outfield routes, presumably in high Class A.
98 Michael Choice of 3ds_rangers79 24 2014 The Texas-Arlington product should know his way to his new team’s home park, following his trade from the Athletics, but he’ll have to bide his time sitting behind Shin-Soo Choo, Leonys Martin and Alex Rios.
99 James Paxton lhp 3ds_mariners79 25 2014 Paxton’s stuff has teased scouts for years, but he showed two true plus pitches in the big leagues last September. Now it’s a matter of repeating that performance.
100 Arismendy Alcantara 2b/ss 3ds_cubs79  22 2015 With a crowd ahead of him at shortstop, Alcantara’s best path to the majors is as an everyday second baseman. Honing his skills on the right side of the infield is job one.