Each MLB Team's Most Talented MLB-Ready Prospect

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterDecember 27, 2012

Each MLB Team's Most Talented MLB-Ready Prospect

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    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

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 4/19/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 5’10”, 180

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (South Carolina)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 8/30/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 205 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed:  11th round, 2011 (Longwood University)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 12/10/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2009 (Wesleyan Christian Academy, N.C.)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/15/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 195

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Oswasso HS, Okla.)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 5/1/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 5’9”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Duke)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: INF

    DOB: 6/29/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 175

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: May, 2009 (Venezuela)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/17/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (UCLA)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 9/13/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2012 (San Francisco)

    ETA: 2014


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 12/9/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 265

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Sept. 2007 (Venezuela)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 10/23/1987 (Age: 25)

    Height/Weight: 6’6”, 210

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 (Missouri)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 12/1/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 24th round, 2009 (Marshall)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 9/5/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 205

    Bats/Throws: S/L

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2011 (Florida)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: 1B

    DOB: 9/18/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 235

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Eighth round, 2009 (Millikan HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 2/2/1993 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 165

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: July 2009 (D.R.)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: C

    DOB: 3/25/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 220 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Florida)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: C

    DOB: 2/10/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2007 [Phillies] (Lakewood HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 6/30/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: Fourth round, 2011 (Nebraska)

    ETA: 2014


    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

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    Position: C

    DOB: 7/14/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 205

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2010 (Cal-Riverside)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/27/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 175

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: July, 2007 (Colombia)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 6/6/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Rice)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/13/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: July, 2007 [Yankees] (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 10/10/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2009 (Brownwood HS, Texas)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 9/8/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (UCLA)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 5/8/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 240

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Nov. 2005

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 7/5/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 200

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Third round, 2011 (Rice)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 12/6/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 5’8”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: 19th round, 2010 (Miami University)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 9/28/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Cal State Fullerton)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: 3B/2B

    DOB: 9/23/1988 (Age: 24)

    Height/Weight: 5’10”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2nd round, 2010 (West Virginia)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 11/10/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 31st round, 2008 (Royal HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013


    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

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 4/16/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2009 (El Toro HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013


    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.