2014 Draft: The BA 500
The final version of #BA500 in advance of Thursday’s draft is complete. The handiwork of Baseball America's draft team of Aaron Fitt, Clint Longenecker, John Manuel and Jim Shonerd, the top 500 prospects for the draft was compiled as a ranking of the best draft talent in the 2014 class.
Baseball America does not employ scouts, but we leverage our contacts in the industry to discuss top prospects with scouts, coaches and talent evaluators at all levels. We then try to line up our board the way teams line up theirs, with the major difference that we don't sign any of the players. So this is meant to be a ranking of talent, without as much emphasis on signability.
Our rankings have seen some significant shifts among top players from our first Top 100 ranking in early May, and even from the time the BA 500 was first posted in late May, as we gathered more information and as circumstances changed. Some of the most notable changes:
• Injured pitchers took a tumble, with East Carolina righthander Jeff Hoffman (who moves down from No. 5 to 13) and UNLV righthander Erick Fedde (No. 8 to 24) tumbling thanks to their Tommy John surgeries. Texas Christian lefthander Brandon Finnegan (No. 9 to 18) also fell after struggling for five weeks, while the healthy college arms standing, such as Hartford lefthander Sean Newcomb (No. 19 to 11), took advantage.
• College bats on the move are few and far between, but Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino (No. 63 to 30) was the biggest mover on the board, with Indiana first baseman Sam Travis (85 to 56) on the rise.
• We've grouped a lot of first-round wild cards—players who are getting close scrutiny from teams due to injury issues or unconventional profiles—together in the 30s and 40s. It starts with Hawaiian high school lefthander Kodi Medeiros at No. 32 and ends with Kentucky first baseman/lefthander A.J. Reed at No. 41.
• We've also tried to account for high school players on the rise such as Nebraska catcher Jakson Reetz (No. 96 to 62); Iowa righthander Mitch Keller (No. 102 to 76), who may go inside the first 50 picks if a team is convicted enough to buy him out of his North Carolina commitment; and California outfielder Casey Soltis (No. 132 to 100).
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