Orioles starter Dylan Bundy tops the list of MLB prospects as Spring Training nears.
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
What more can I say? Dylan Bundy has the size and stuff to be a dominant front-end starter. I expect the Baltimore Orioles to ease him into the majors as he continues to mature as a pitcher. He’s only going to get better, which is scary—isn’t it?
2. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa got a huge steal out of Wil Myers in the trade with Kansas City. His patience was very good here and there last year, but when it went away, he slumped pretty harshly. If he continues to show improvements as he did in 2012 and takes walks, he’ll be that star bat to hit alongside Evan Longoria in the future.
3. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Oscar Taveras has really rocketed up the charts for me. Just 20 years old (21 in June), he's been signed with St. Louis since 2008 and has made short work of the minors.
In Double-A last season he hit a jaw-dropping .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBI and a 56:42 K:BB line. His discipline at the plate is very good and helped him rack up a .380 OBP with a close-to-average .323 BABIP.
This was the first year the power part of his game came out, and he hasn't hit under .316 since the Rookie League in 2010.
4. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers
Jurickson Profar struggled in his short appearance with the Texas Rangers, but his potential still remains sky-high. Profar seems destined to start the year in Triple-A unless Ian Kinsler is shifted in the field but more grooming will only help him.
Did I mention he’ll only be 20 come Opening Day, too?
5. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Trevor Bauer never really strayed too far from his minor league K/9 rates, registering a 9.4 with Arizona in 2012 compared to 11.2 in Double-A and 10.6 in Triple-A. The issue was his questionable control that finally caught up to him, which saw his BB/9 rate climb from 4.8 (AA) to 3.8 (AAA) to 7.2 (MLB).
If he reins in that control, he has the repertoire to dominate.
6. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners
Danny Hultzen had such staggering Double-A numbers (8-3, 9.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 to name a few) that he had fans clamoring for a promotion to Seattle. The right move, Mariners brass proved, was Triple-A, which is where Hultzen’s control took a hit. His strikeout rate actually improved to 10.5, but his walks took a huge hit, rising to 8.0. His BABIP also went from .203 to .351 during his promotion.
He’ll be up in due time and likely be a star in the cavernous Safeco Field.
7. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Imagine this rotation, coming soon: Felix Hernandez, Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker. Still, few hitters but Walker is in line to join the King and his fellow prospect in a projected formidable rotation of young arms. Walker’s advanced numbers were better than his common numbers, so good things are to come.
He may actually end up beating Hultzen to Seattle.
8. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole absolutely dominated the minors in 2012, registering a strikeout rate no lower than 9.2 and a walk rate no higher than 3.5. Even scarier is that his BABIP numbers were near average at .267 in Single-A, .315 in Double-A and .375 in one Triple-A start.
He could be a sleeper to join Pittsburgh sooner than expected in 2013.
9. Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Shelby Miller was plummeting on lists after a horrid-looking start to 2012.
Fortunately, he rebounded and produced a 10.5 K/9 and 2.6 B/9 in six appearances in St. Louis, one start. His 2.28 FRA and 1.89 FIP were fantastic, and he’s should be back on his way to to- prospect level.
I’m betting on him here to keep it up.
10. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Tyler Skaggs struggled in his time up with Arizona, but he still has top-notch stuff. With Trevor Bauer now out of his way, he only needs to be aware of Archie Bradley usurping his path to the desert.
11. Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets
12. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals
13. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
14. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers
15. Travis d'Arnaud, C, New York Mets
16. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
17. Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers
18. Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds
19. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
20. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins
21. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
22. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
23. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
24. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
25. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins
26. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs
27. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
28. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
29. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
30. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
31. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
32. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
33. Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
34. Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners
35. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
36. Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox
37. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox
38. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
39. Jake Marisnick, OF, Miami Marlins
40. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
41. Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox
42. Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees
43. Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
44. Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners
45. Alen Hanson, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
46. Martin Perez, LHP, Texas Rangers
47. Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego Padres
48. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins
49. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
50. Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres
Next Best Five: Kolten Wong (2B, St. Louis Cardinals), Zach Lee (RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers), Kaleb Cowart (3B, Los Angeles Angels), Kevin Gausman (RHP, Baltimore Orioles) and Brett Jackson (OF Chicago Cubs).