Each MLB Team's Most Talented MLB-Ready Prospect
After looking at each organization’s top prospect headed into the offseason in early November—keep in mind that it was published before all of the prospect-oriented trades earlier this month—I thought that I’d highlight each team’s best big-league ready (or nearly big-league ready) in anticipation of the 2013 season.
As you will see, a majority of these players either had success in the upper-minors or reached the major leagues at some point last season. Having said that, don’t be surprised if almost every player on my list emerges as a big-league regular next year.
Here’s a look at every team’s most talented big-league ready prospect.
Boston Red Sox: Jackie Bradley, OF
DOB: 4/19/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 180
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (South Carolina)
Scouting Notes: Advanced college player who opened full-season debut at High-A Salem; left-handed hitter flashes potential for an above-average-to-plus hit tool thanks to compact bat path and willingness to use the whole field; best offensive attribute is his excellent feel for the strike zone; advanced plate discipline makes him viable top-of-the-order hitter.
Should be able to stick in center field; gets excellent reads and has a quick first step; above-average range in all directions, especially laterally; arm strength is slightly above-average and ideal for center field, but would suffice at a corner spot if necessary; bat is better suited for center field, as well; will likely open the year at Double-A but combination of hit tool, plate discipline and above-average defense could have him in the big leagues ahead of schedule.
New York Yankees: Mark Montgomery, RHP
DOB: 8/30/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 205 lbs
Drafted/Signed: 11th round, 2011 (Longwood University)
Scouting Notes: In his first full professional season, Montgomery’s obvious knack for missing bats helped him reach Double-A Trenton; on the fast track to the major leagues; not very tall (5’11”), but has stocky frame with strong lower half; throws partially across body which aids overall deception; success as closer in minor leagues gives him late-inning potential; highly effective against both right-and left-handed hitters.
Fastball far from overpowering at 91-93 mph with some late movement to the arm side; plus-plus slider ranks among the best in the minor leagues; big-league ready pitch; thrown in 83-86 mph range with excellent tilt and draws whiffs; hitters know it's coming and still can't touch it.
Tampa Bay Rays: Wil Myers, OF
DOB: 12/10/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 205
Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2009 (Wesleyan Christian Academy, N.C.)
Scouting Notes: Coming off an injury-plagued campaign in 2011, Myers turned in a monster season at the plate by batting .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs in 134 games between Double and Triple-A; garnered the prestigious minor league Player of the Year award from Baseball America; headlined the prospect package acquired from the Royals in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis.
At 6’3”, 205 pounds, Myers possesses a wiry, projectable frame that should allow him to add strength without getting too bulky; upper body is loaded with quick-twitch muscles that allow him to seemingly flick his wrists at the ball without sacrificing hard contact; setup is upright and slightly open, which helps him tap into his awesome pull-side power; excellent bat-to-ball skills suggest he’ll have at least an above-average hit tool; his 140 strikeouts in 134 games isn’t pretty, but remember he was implementing an entirely new approach; he still has a tendency to drop his back shoulder and get long; will get out on his front foot and cast hands around ball; both are mechanical/timing issues that will be ironed out.
Developed as a catcher up until the 2011 season, Myers is surprisingly athletic for his size and showcases smooth, natural actions in the outfield; has good instincts that lends to his overall range; possesses plus arm strength that will play at any outfield position; played 87 games in center field last season but will likely handle a corner position in the major leagues.
Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy, RHP
DOB: 11/15/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Oswasso HS, Okla.)
Scouting Notes: The unanimous top pitching prospect in the game, Bundy began his professional career with 30 scoreless frames at Low-A Delmarva; spent most of the season at High-A Frederick (2.84 ERA, 10.42 K/9) before late-season promotion to Double-A Bowie (3.24 ERA); called up to the major leagues in mid-Sept. and made two appearances out of the Orioles’ bullpen; 6’1” right-hander is physically gifted and possesses a feel for pitching well beyond his years; superstar potential is already obvious with a strong chance he reaches his incredibly high ceiling.
Bundy boasts an advanced four-pitch mix highlighted by a mid-90s two-seam fastball with exceptional run; will also blow hitters away with a four-seamer that easily reaches the high-90s; breaking ball is a hammer and plus pitch, though he’s still developing command of the pitch and will occasionally leave it up in the zone; changeup is his most consistent secondary pitch at the moment with the potential to be another above-average offering; he also has a slider but primary breaking ball is the curve.
Toronto Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman, RHP
DOB: 5/1/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 5’9”, 185
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Duke)
Scouting Notes: 5’9” right-hander’s diminutive frame doesn’t involve much future projection, but his explosive arsenal is undeniable; mixed reviews coming out of Duke whether he had brighter future as starter or reliever; Blue Jays used him as a reliever in professional debut in which he reached Double-A New Hampshire; was handed a 50-game suspension in late-2012 for ingesting a performance-enhancing substance, which will carry over to the 2013 season.
21-year-old features tons of raw arm strength and unleashes fastballs in the mid-to-upper-90s; some concern about the plane of his fastball given his 5’9” frame and lack of downward plane; breaking ball is a second plus pitch with jelly-legging break and thrown with same intense arm speed as fastball; has ability to mix in a changeup though it’s a less effective pitch than straight fastball-slider combination.
Chicago White Sox: Carlos Sanchez, 2B/3B
DOB: 6/29/1992 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 175
Drafted/Signed: May, 2009 (Venezuela)
Scouting Notes: Was regarded as a glove-first infielder when signed in 2009; bat has really come around over the last year; switch-hitter has an above-average hit tool from both sides of the plate; short, compact swing that yields line drives to all fields; has a knack for putting the ball in play; grinds out at-bats; successful base stealer who gets solid jumps and knows how to read pitchers.
Defense may be calling card, as he’s capable of playing every infield position; future is most likely at second base, though he has the arm to see significant time at either third base or shortstop; quick hands and reactions; love how he positions his body towards target on defense; turns a smooth double play.
Cleveland Indians: Trevor Bauer, RHP
DOB: 1/17/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (UCLA)
Scouting Notes: Opened 2012 season at Double-A Mobile and posted a 1.68 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 48.1 innings; promoted to Triple-A Reno in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League where he registered a 2.82 ERA over eight starts; called up to the majors in late June and registered a 6.06 ERA with 13 walks in 16.1 innings; command issues and hesitancy to attack hitters was obvious; traded to Indians in mid-December as a part of a three-team, nine-player deal.
Fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s with some late arm-side action; flattens out when left up in the zone; curveball is an absolute hammer and a second plus pitch; explosive, torque-oriented delivery makes it especially deceptive and difficult to recognize out of his hand; loaded arsenal also features a tumbling splitter, slider and above-average changeup.
Dominated in the minor leagues but struggles were overwhelming in big league stint; tried to nibble at the strike zone rather than trusting his pure stuff; tried to fool hitters with deep arsenal; more concerned about executing perfect pitches; concerns about his makeup and coachability made his time with the Diamondbacks short-lived; now in a much more favorable position with the Indians; should break camp as No. 3 starter for Tribe.
Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP
DOB: 9/13/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2012 (San Francisco)
Scouting Notes: After the Royals selected Zimmer with the fifth-overall pick in the 2012 draft, the 6’3” right-hander reached Low-A Kane County in his professional debut; registered a 2.03 ERA with 42/8 K/BB in 40 innings across two levels; had surgery following the season to remove bone chips in his elbow; clean, repeatable mechanics; fluid arm action; lack of mileage after moving to the mound as a college sophomore.
Zimmer’s fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s with late life; jumps out of his hand thanks to quick arm; can reach back for 96-98 mph at times; curveball projects to be a second plus pitch with sharp downer break; also throws an average slider with tight rotation; changeup has come along nicely and gives him a deep, four-pitch mix.
Detroit Tigers: Bruce Rondon, RHP
DOB: 12/9/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 265
Drafted/Signed: Sept. 2007 (Venezuela)
Scouting Notes: Imposing presence on the mound at 6’3”, 265 pounds; Rondon has all the makings of a future closer in the major leagues and nearly assumed the rule late in 2012 after a meteoric rise through the Tigers system; lack of athleticism hurts his long-term projection and he’ll need to keep his weight under control in future seasons.
Rondon boasts one of the best fastballs in the game, sitting at 99-100 mph and routinely touching 102-103 mph; didn’t throw a pitch below 100 mph in the XM Futures Game; heavy pitch that’s thrown on a consistent downward plane; pitch explodes with late life to his arm side; slider is decent when he throws it correctly with tight spin; also features a fading changeup, though he understandably lacks a feel for it.
Command was vastly improved this past season but can still fall into funks where he’s missing the strike zone; Tigers offered the right-hander a vote of confidence by not re-signing Jose Valverde; it looks like he’ll be closing games for the Tigers, at least part-time, to open the 2013 season.
Minnesota Twins: Kyle Gibson, RHP
DOB: 10/23/1987 (Age: 25)
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 210
Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 (Missouri)
Scouting Notes: Was on pace for a big-league debut in late 2011 until the right-hander needed Tommy John surgery; returned late in the 2012 season and reached Triple-A; was one of the more impressive pitchers in the Arizona Fall League where he showcased three average-to-plus pitches and regained his pre-surgery velocity.
6’6” right-hander boasts a fastball that ranges anywhere from 88-96 mph, usually sitting around 91-94 mph; commands it well to both sides of the plate; uses height to throw the pitch on downward plane; slider is a quality above-average offering with tilt and late break; changeup is another above-average offering with excellent fade and some tumble; thrown with deceptive arm speed; demonstrates impressive command of entire arsenal; should be a solid Nos. 3 or 4 starter in the major leagues.
Oakland Athletics: Dan Straily, RHP
DOB: 12/1/1988 (Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 215
Drafted/Signed: 24th round, 2009 (Marshall)
Scouting Notes: Arguably the pop-up prospect of the year; went from organizational arm to team’s top pitching prospect over the course of the 2012 season; registered a 3.38 ERA, 11.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 85.1 innings at Double-A; 2.02, 11.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 at Triple-A; led all minor leagues with 190 strikeouts when he was called up by the A’s in August; registered 3.89 ERA in 39.1 big-league innings.
6’2”, 215-pound right-handed boasts an impressive four-pitch mix that he commands well throughout the strike zone; fastball works in the low-90s with some late life to the arm side; slider and changeup both grade as above-average secondary offerings help him pile up strikeouts; both pitches are used to neutralize right- and left-handed hitters; will mix in a curveball that’s a fringe-average pitch, but still effective when throw at the right time; projects to be a durable mid-rotation starter.
Los Angeles Angels: Nick Maronde, LHP
DOB: 9/5/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 205
Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2011 (Florida)
Scouting Notes: 6’3” left-hander enjoyed a rapid ascent to the major leagues in his full-season debut; worked exclusively as a starter before the Angels used him in relief in September; posted a 1.82 ERA at High-A Inland Empire and 3.34 ERA at Double-A Arkansas; allowed one run and fanned seven batters over six innings out of Angels bullpen.
Maronde is an effective strike-thrower with a fastball works in the low-90s and occasionally touches 94-95 mph; throws the pitch with conviction to both sides of the plate, to both right- and left-handed hitters; deceptive release and velocity induces swing-and-misses; low-80s slider is a solid out pitch with depth, and is especially effective against left-handed hitters; changeup is fringy and will determine whether his development progresses as a starter or reliever.
Houston Astros: 1B Jonathan Singleton
DOB: 9/18/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 235
Drafted/Signed: Eighth round, 2009 (Millikan HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: Spent entire 2012 season as a 20-year-old at Double-A Corpus Christi and posted an .893 OPS with 51 extra-base hits (21 home runs) and 131/88 K/BB in 131 games; physically strong player at 6’2”, 235; plus raw power from the left side that emerged in a big way this past season; hit tool survived the jump to Double-A and has potential to be above-average in the major leagues; legitimate feel for the strike zone; strikes out his fair share, but also is adept to working counts and drawing walks; plus bat speed; up-the-middle approach; struggles against left-handed pitching; majority of his power comes against right-handers; still learning how to utilize with more frequency.
First base-only prospect whose size limits overall athleticism; weak arm counters any notion of stashing him in left field; decent footwork around the bag and glove; bat should continue to outweigh any defensive concerns; clear path to playing time in the major leagues, especially with DH now in play; will open the season at Triple-A where he’ll need to make more offensive adjustments; if all goes as expected, Singleton should reach the major leagues at some point after the All-Star break.
Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar, SS
DOB: 2/2/1993 (Age: 19)
Height/Weight: 6’0", 165
Drafted/Signed: July 2009 (D.R.)
Scouting Notes: Consensus top prospect in the game has continued to improve in each season as a younger player at an advanced level; wiry-strong 6’0", 165-pound frame is incredibly projectable and will allow him to remain at shortstop, everything he does on the field is electrifying and he seemingly lacks a glaring flaw in his overall game; he’s the type of player that excels when challenged; launched a no-doubt home run in his first big-league at-bat; recorded a hit in the 2012 postseason as a 19-year-old.
Profar is a switch hitter who showcases plus bat speed from both sides of the plate; short, compact swing should give him an easy above-average-to-plus hit tool; right-handed swing is more line-drive-oriented while he shows more raw power and lift from the left side; advanced knowledge of the strike zone that’s uncommon for players his age.
Excellent defensive middle infielder with fluid actions and a strong, accurate arm; exhibits plus range in all directions due to quick feet and tremendous instincts; moxie grades through the roof and he’s adept to handling himself in high-pressure situations.
Seattle Mariners: Mike Zunino, C
DOB: 3/25/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 220 lbs
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Florida)
Scouting Notes: Third-overall pick in 2012 won every individual collegiate accolade under the sun and guided the Gators to three College World Series titles; batted .360/.447/.689 with 13 home runs in professional debut and finished the season at Double-A Jackson; despite an incredibly long season, Zunino turned in a solid performance in the Arizona Fall League.
Power is lone outstanding tool; drives the ball with significant backspin carry to all fields and doesn’t rely on exceptional pull power; swing can get a little long at times, but still finds a way to barrel and drive through the baseball; advanced approach at the plate is obvious and he may continue to exploit minor league pitching until challenged in the big leagues; given approach and hand-eye coordination, his hit tool may ultimately be better than expected.
Aggressive backstop who’s surprisingly agile behind the plate despite thicker frame; worked with solid core of Mariners’ pitching prospects in pro debut; game-calling ability has vastly improved over the last year; still needs to refine his blocking skills and scale back amount of passed balls; average arm strength plays up due to his repeatable footwork and catch-and-throw skills; has drawn rave reviews from both pitchers and coaches for his ability to control the game; excellent baseball acumen and high baseball IQ should get him to the big leagues in a hurry.
New York Mets: Travis d'Arnaud, C
DOB: 2/10/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195
Scouting Notes: D'Arnaud would have likely served as a September call-up had he him suffered a season-ending knee injury in June; defense has vastly improved over last two seasons; quiet athleticism allows him to move well laterally behind the plate; has become a more aggressive blocker who boxes balls with more consistency; receiving skills continue to improve and he gives umpires a good look at pitches; has been lauded for pitchers and managers alike for putting down good fingers; plus arm is strongest defensive asset that, when combined with improved footwork, led to a career-best 30-percent caught-stealing rate prior to injury.
Solid defensive catcher but true upside comes from offensive prowess; 6’2” right-handed hitter has above-average bat speed and impressive raw power; power frequency has increased over last several years; short, compact swing doesn’t inhibit power; makes loud contact to all fields; has some swing-and-miss in his game and doesn’t walk a lot.
The top catching prospect in the game, if d’Arnaud is healthy entering spring training—which he should be—the 23-year-old has an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster; figures to be the Mets' catcher for a long time.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cody Asche, 3B
DOB: 6/30/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180
Drafted/Signed: Fourth round, 2011 (Nebraska)
Scouting Notes: Asche turned in an impressive full-season debut in which he reached Double-A; advanced college hitter employs a patient approach and is adept to seeing the ball deep and using the whole field; possesses primarily gap power at the moment, but showed more home-run power upon reaching Double-A; power is fringy to profile as a big-league third baseman.
Defensive tools and skill set play well at the hot corner; good glove and hands combined with an instinctual first step; range is suitable for the position though it’s only slightly above-average; possesses a strong and accurate arm that aids his projection at third base; enough present speed to potentially see time in left field if necessary.
Miami Marlins: Rob Brantly, C
DOB: 7/14/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 205
Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2010 (Cal-Riverside)
Scouting Notes: 23-year-old catcher opened the season at Double-A Erie and finished in the major leagues; traded by the Tigers to the Marlins in the Omar Infante-Anibal Sanchez deal in July; was impressive in 31 games with Marlins, batting .290/.372/.460 with 11 extra-base hits and 16/13 K/BB; leading candidate to break camp as team’s Opening Day catcher.
Left-handed hitter who works counts; bat path is short and consistent; drives the ball to all fields; won’t hit for much power, but enough to make him more valuable behind the plate; more power to his pull side; advanced approach gives him the chance for average hit tool; track record of mashing right-handed pitching.
Has improved defensively since turning pro in 2010; possesses some agility behind the plate and always works hard; doesn’t have a great arm and needs to streamline his throws; solid catch-and-throw skill set; has been lauded for game-calling and knowledge of pitching staff; hard-nosed intelligent player who could have a solid career behind the plate.
Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran, RHP
DOB: 1/27/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 175
Drafted/Signed: July, 2007 (Colombia)
Scouting Notes: One of the game’s top prospects headed into 2012, Teheran regressed this past season; endured a frustrating campaign considering he repeated Triple-A after dominating the level in 2011; he has a high ceiling but will need to prove last season was a fluke; I still love his arm speed and aggressiveness.
His fastball was flatter this past season but still in the 91-95 range to both sides of the plate; pitch was left up in the zone too often; changeup is still a plus pitch given it speed differential and the deception of his arm speed; lack of a third legitimate pitch continues to impede the final stages of development; his curveball and slider are both fringy offerings and will be crucial towards sustained success in the major leagues.
Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon, 3B
DOB: 6/6/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Rice)
Scouting Notes: The top bat in the 2011 draft class, Rendon played in only 43 games this past season after fracturing his ankle in the second game of the year; has now suffered three serious ankle injuries, as well as one shoulder injury, over last four years; still lots of potential with the bat, but that’s obviously tied to his health; coming off a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League (.338/.436/.494) where he played third base.
A right-handed hitter, Rendon has explosive bat speed thanks quick-twitch muscles and relaxed wrists; loose, quick hands allow him to track pitches deep and still make loud contact; chance for a plus hit tool if he can stay healthy; curious to see how much power he’ll show over a full big league season; one NL evaluator I spoke with mentioned that he’s skeptical of Rendon’s ability to hit with wood at higher levels; I think he’d be good for about 12-17 home runs per season; phenomenal plate discipline with advanced pitch recognition; rarely wastes at-bats.
At 6’, 195 pounds, Rendon isn’t a physical third baseman; range has understandably decreased after a million (it feels that way, right?) ankle injuries; relies on excellent instincts, clean footwork and above-average glove; defensive actions are solid but play out slowly at times; arm used to be stronger prior to shoulder injury while at Rice, but it’s still above average and enough for the hot corner; I’d like to see the Nats give him more opportunities at second base where he has a clearer path to the major leagues.
Chicago Cubs: Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
DOB: 11/13/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’0", 190
Scouting Notes: Right-hander missed entire 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring; dealt to the Cubs at the 2012 trade deadline; despite undersized frame at 6’0", 190 pounds, possesses premium pure stuff ideal for big-league bullpen; injury history likely rules out future as starter.
Fastball has easy plus velocity that explodes out of his hand and will scrape the upper-90s; pitch features late arm-side life and jumps on hitters; curve is a second plus pitch with tight spin and late, downer bite; command is advanced given electric nature of arsenal; changeup is fringy offering but not vital to his success as a late-inning arm.
St. Louis Cardinals: Shelby Miller, RHP
DOB: 10/10/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2009 (Brownwood HS, Texas)
Scouting Notes: Regarded as one of baseball’s top pitching prospects headed into the season, Miller had a frustrating first-half at Triple-A Memphis; left too many fastballs up in the zone without effectively mixing in secondary pitches; registered a 7.91 ERA in June before finally turning the corner the following month; everything clicked in August (2.91 ERA in 37.1 innings) when he recorded 53/4 K/BB; was impressive as a Sept. call-up; held Reds to one hit over six innings in only big-league start.
Miller uses a rhythmic and repeatable delivery, exploding towards the plate following a modest foot strike; fastball is actually pretty straight, but it’s one of those rare swing-and-miss heaters that draws whiffs at 92-95 mph; commands the pitch well throughout the strike zone; works inside to both right and left-handed hitters; curveball will need to get sharper, but offers a difficult look when thrown off his well-located fastball; with more refinement, his low-to-mid-80s changeup could emerge as a viable weapon next season.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP
DOB: 9/8/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (UCLA)
Scouting Notes: The 6’4” right-hander made his professional debut this past season, opening the year at High-A Bradenton (2.55 ERA in 67 innings) and finishing at Triple-A Indianapolis; epitome of a power pitcher with a frame built for innings; clean mechanics that he repeated better than anticipated last season; three above-average-to-plus offerings.
Fastball is a legitimate plus-plus offering that sits in the high-90s and will routinely scrape triple-digits; absolutely jumps out of his hand; plus slider is thrown with velocity and features late, wipeout break out of the strike zone; excellent tilt; changeup is arguably a third plus pitch thrown in the mid-to-high-80s with fade; deceptive arm action; elite arsenal; can lose the feel for his command at times; struggles to repeat mechanics from the stack; will lose focus at times; once he’s big-league ready, Cole should have no problem reaching his ceiling as a No. 1 starter.
Milwaukee Brewers: Wily Peralta, RHP
DOB: 5/8/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 240
Drafted/Signed: Nov. 2005
Scouting Notes: 6’2”, 240-pound right-hander has a thick, durable frame built for a heavy workload; struggled in 2012 in the Pacific Coast League (4.66 ERA, 143/78 K/BB in 146.2 innings); pitched well as a starter in the major leagues as a Sept. call-up.
Throws a weighted fastball in the low-to-mid-90s that generates lots of groundball outs; slider and changeup are both solid-average secondary offerings that play up when he’s locating his heater down in the zone; both can still be inconsistent and need further refinement; will need to sharper three-pitch mix and eliminate some of the free passes; once he showcases more consistency, Peralta should serve as a Nos. 2 or 3 starter.
Cincinnati Reds: Tony Cingrani, LHP
DOB: 7/5/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 200
Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2011 (Rice)
Scouting Notes: A closer at Rice, the Reds opted to develop Cingrani as a starter upon selecting him in the third round of the 2011 draft; 6’4” left-hander breezed through the minor leagues in his full-season debut, opening the year with High-A Bakersfield and finishing in the Reds’ big-league bullpen; led all minor-league pitchers with a 1.73 ERA in 146 innings, while his 172 strikeouts were the second-highest total; appeared in three games out of the Reds’ bullpen in September and fanned nine batters in five innings.
Cingrani’s best pitch is his above-average low-90s fastball that plays up a grade to his deceptive arm action and release point; pitch seemingly jumps out of his hand with late, explosive action to his arm side; complements heater with an average changeup that looks nearly identical to his fastball upon release and has a similar fading action away from right-handed hitters; slider is a solid-average offering and more of a show-me pitch at the moment, though it was improved relative to his 2011 season; if it can evolve into a legitimate swing-and-miss pitch, then Cingrani should have no problem remaining a starter; if he remains a two-pitch guy, then he should still enjoy plenty of success in a bullpen role.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Adam Eaton, OF
DOB: 12/6/1988 (Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 5’8”, 185
Drafted/Signed: 19th round, 2010 (Miami University)
Scouting Notes: Say what you want about the undersized (5’8”) outfielder, but his four above-average-to-plus tools and baseball skills are legit; batted .381/.456/.539 with 58 extra-base hits and 38 stolen bases last season at Triple-A Reno; reached the major leagues as a September call-up and batted .259/.382/.412 with 15/14 K/BB in 22 games with the Diamondbacks.
Left-handed hitter has true top-of-the-order potential with a plus hit tool and similar on-base skills; plus runner who showcases excellent range in center field; plus arm strength is one of the best among all big-league center fielders; only down tool is his power, which is below average; knack for shooting gaps makes him a constant extra-base threat; adept basestealer who understands how to read pitchers; will break camp as the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day center fielder.
San Francisco Giants: Gary Brown, OF
DOB: 9/28/1988 (Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Cal State Fullerton)
Scouting Notes: Was one of the game’s better position prospects last year at High-A San Jose, then regressed, as expected in 2012 at Double-A; twenty-four-year-old will likely reach big leagues due to plus speed and defense in center field; showcases excellent instincts in center and gets good reads.
Doesn’t utilize speed at the plate and needs to improve on-base skills; leadoff-hitter-type due to speed and potential to stick at up-the-middle position; not a fan of his swing: starts hands too close to body, gets out on front side too early and frequently casts hands around ball; makes too much weak contact; given his speed, Brown’s lack of basestealing prowess is disconcerting and will have to improve in a hurry.
San Diego Padres: Jedd Gyorko, 3B/2B
DOB: 9/23/1988 (Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 195
Drafted/Signed: 2nd round, 2010 (West Virginia)
Scouting Notes: Bat-first prospect has raked at every minor-league stop; excelled this past season upon reaching Triple-A, batting .328/.380/.588 with 48 extra-base hits (24 home runs) in 92 games; projects for above-average-to-plus hit and power tool; short, compact right-handed swing; keeps hands inside the ball and makes loud contact to all fields; has more strength than his 5’10” frame suggests; won’t showcase as much power in the major leagues as he did last season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Natural third baseman with solid footwork, soft hands and a strong arm; blocked by Chase Headley in San Diego; average range; should be able to stick at the position; saw more playing time last season at second base; more direct path to the major leagues; doesn’t have the range or footwork to project there long-term; will allow the Padres to get his bat in their lineup ahead of schedule.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Magill, RHP
DOB: 11/10/1989 (Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190
Drafted/Signed: 31st round, 2008 (Royal HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: 31st-round draft pick has already proven to be a steal after turning in his best minor-league season in 2012 at Double-A; 6’3”, 190-pound right-hander has a lean and durable frame; his pure stuff isn’t overly impressive, but there’s something to be said for his steady improvements and subsequent success for the last four seasons.
The 23-year-old right-hander has a solid feel for his three-pitch mix; fastball sits in the low-90s with sink when he’s consistently throwing it on a downward plane; slider has emerged as a slightly above-average secondary offering that has drawn more swing-and-misses over the last two seasons; changeup is fringe-average but is effective enough to keep hitters of his other two pitches; registered the best strikeout (10.33 K/9) and groundball (1.74) rates of his career, but also the highest walk rate (3.75 BB/9).
Magill still needs to refine his overall arsenal and will receive plenty of time to do so next season in the minors; with a more consistent feel for the strike zone, he’ll likely serve as a No. 5 starter; don’t be surprised if he reaches the majors at some point after the All-Star break.
Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B
DOB: 4/16/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 205
Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2009 (El Toro HS, Calif.)
Scouting Notes: Pre-2012 top-25 prospect had a solid but disappointing season, batting .285/.337/.428 with 12 home runs a 58/39 K/BB in 134 games; big drop-off from his .298/.349/.487 with 20 home runs at High-A Modesto in 2011; hit tool receives higher future grade than power; makes loud contact to all fields; bat travels through zone on unique, flat path; advanced plate discipline; impressive hand-eye coordination; swing is efficient with little wasted movements; still makes too much weak contact.
Size is a clean fit at third base; clean actions since losing weight last season; instinctual player with good reactions; range is limited, but enough for the hot corner; soft, giving hands; plus arm strength is an asset; has a path to playing time in Colorado, where his production could be inflated; plate discipline and hit tool should make him a major-leaguer despite the lack of power.
Organization Top 10 Index
Some of the scouting reports used for this article originally appeared in each team's top-10 prospect rankings. In case you've missed a previous installment in the series, here's your chance to catch up:
Houston Astros Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 26)
Cleveland Indians Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 21)
Colorado Rockies Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 20)
Miami Marlins Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 19)
Oakland Athletics Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 18)
Detroit Tigers Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 17)
Los Angeles Angels Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 16)
Washington Nationals Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 13)
Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 13)
Cincinnati Reds Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 11)
Tampa Bay Rays Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 10)
Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 7)
St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 7)
Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 6)
Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 5)
Toronto Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects (Dec. 3)
Los Angeles Dodgers Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 30)
Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 29)
Boston Red Sox Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 28)
Philadelphia Phillies Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 27)
San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 26)
Atlanta Braves Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 26)
New York Mets Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 21)
New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects (Nov. 20)