Scouting Reports, Predictions for All 30 MLB Team's Top Prospect in Spring Camp

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterFebruary 7, 2013

Scouting Reports, Predictions for All 30 MLB Team's Top Prospect in Spring Camp

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    With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training early next week, every team but the Red Sox has officially announced its list of non-roster invitees to major league camp—usually a mixture of displaced, minor league contract players and highly regarded prospects.

    This year’s crop of prospects invited to big league camp is highlighted by many of the top young players in the game, such as Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Oscar Taveras, Wil Myers and Taijuan Walker. While it’s unlikely that any of the aforementioned prospects make their club’s Opening Day roster, they each have the potential to reach the major leagues next season.

    At the same time, there are several top prospects—Addison Russell, Austin Hedges and Kaleb Cowart, to name a few—who have been invited to their first spring training. And with many notable big leaguers participating in the World Baseball Classic in March, the younger players in camp should receive an extended look, especially early in the spring.

    Here’s an in-depth look at each team’s top prospect invited to major league spring training.

     

    *All stats courtesy of BaseballReference.com

    *All roster projections courtesy of MLBDepthCharts.com

    *Some scouting notes previously appeared as part of each team’s top-10 prospects.

Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy, RHP

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    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    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

     

    2012 Stats

     

    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.

    While I’m sure he could hold his own as part of the Orioles’ Opening Day rotation, the organization will likely send their prized right-hander to either Double- or Triple-A to open the 2013 season. However, after tasting the major leagues late last year, it shouldn’t take the 20-year-old long to work his way back.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Boston Red Sox: Allen Webster, RHP

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    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    *The Red Sox’s list of non-roster invitees is yet to be released. But if either Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley or Matt Barnes is included, then they’d place here instead of Webster.

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 2/10/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 18th round, 2008 [Dodgers] (McMichael HS, N.C.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Webster had an up-and-down season in 2012, as he registered a 3.55 ERA with 117/57 K/BB in 121.2 innings for Double-A Chattanooga. The right-hander was ultimately dealt to the Red Sox in the blockbuster trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, and was hammered in his two starts for Double-A Portland.

    The 6’3” right-hander employs an easy and repeatable delivery; was a shortstop in high school, but moved to the mound upon turning pro; untaxed and fresh arm relative to most pitchers his age; headlined prospect package acquired from Dodgers in late-season trade/salary-dump; ceiling of a Nos. 2-3 starter and could conceivably reach big leagues by end of 2013 season.

    Fastball is most effective in 91-95 mph range with sink and some arm-side life, and he’ll occasionally scrape 96-97 mph; pitch generates considerable amount of groundball outs; features both a curveball and slider that has excellent depth and shape when thrown from a consistent release point out in front; changeup was improved this past season as he threw the pitch with more deceptive arm speed; pitch registers in low-80s with late fading action.

    Even though Webster won’t open the 2013 season in the team’s starting rotation, he has a legitimate chance to be a September call-up with a strong showing at Double-A and Triple-A. It also helps his case that he’s already on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez, C

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    Position: C

    DOB: 12/2/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 220 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2009, Dominican Republic

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Sanchez improved across the board last season while repeating at Low-A, as he batted .297/.353/.517 with 65/22 K/BB, and led all minor league catchers with 18 home runs.

    Improved plate discipline and contact rate in his second tour of South Atlantic League; above-average power potential; strong, well-balanced swing; better feel for putting barrel on ball; still chases too many pitches out of the zone.

    Defense and work ethic significantly improved relative to reports from the end of the 2011 season; athletic frame for his size with some agility; basestealers repeatedly challenged him (149 attempts), though he did throw out runners at a 30-percent clip; arm is biggest asset behind the plate; lack of experience apparent in game-calling and leadership; high ceiling but big gap between present and future.

    Considering the Yankees’ deficiency behind the plate in both the high-minors and major leagues, there’s a lot of pressure on Sanchez to develop. The organization will have to be careful, though, as he’s still years away from debut and in need of further seasoning.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

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

     

    2012 Stats

     

    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.

    Regardless of how well he shows during spring training, Myers will likely open the season at Triple-A, but should be in the major leagues by June.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Toronto Blue Jays: Sean Nolin, LHP

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    Position: LHP

    DOB: 12/26/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’5”, 235

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Sixth round, 2010 (San Jacinto College North, Texas)

    ETA: 2014 

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: The 6’5” left-hander enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, as he registered a 2.19 ERA with 90/21 K/BB in 86.1 innings at High-A Dunedin. The Blue Jays promoted Nolin to Double-A to finish the season, and he responded by posting a 1.20 ERA with 18 strikeouts over three starts.

    Perennially underrated southpaw who may be a steal as a former sixth-round draft pick; tall, physically mature pitcher with repeatable mechanics; deep arsenal; knows how to sequence; expect him to start moving quickly this next season as he’ll be 23 with considerable experience.

    Adept to adding and subtracting from his 88-95 mph fastball; commands it well to both sides of the plate; changeup is a second plus offering; thrown with deception, especially when used off his well-located fastball; slider has the makings of a legitimate out pitch; comfortable using it to back-foot right-handed hitters; curveball has some depth; uses it to get ahead in counts.

    Nolin just continues to improve, and will have a chance to establish himself as a high-level pitching prospect with a strong showing in the high minors next season. There may not be room in the team’s rotation, which means that the left-hander could also emerge as midseason trade bait.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A New Hampshire

Chicago White Sox: Trayce Thompson, OF

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 3/15/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2009 (Santa Margarita Catholic HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Thompson held his own last year in his first season at High-A Winston-Salem, as he batted .254/.325/.486 with 22 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 144/45 K/BB in 116 games. The 21-year-old received a late-season promotion to Double-A Birmingham, where he posted an .899 OPS in 14 games before a final promotion to Triple-A Charlotte.

    Thompson has an athletic bloodline as his father and brother both played in the NBA; enjoyed breakout season in 2012, opening the year at High-A and finishing in Triple-A; highly impressive athlete who fills out a uniform; swing is long and his bat can drag though the zone; upper-cut bat path; chases breaking pitches out of the zone; questionable whether he’ll be able to touch good velocity; too much swing-and-miss that will probably always be a part of his game; offensive tools are there but lacks overall consistency.

    Natural center fielder with above-average speed; has the arm strength to move to right field if needed; defense was improved last season; more consistent reads; good instinct allows him to play the position aggressively.

    There’s a lot to like in Thompson as a power-speed player who can handle center field, but still has a long way to go in order to be serviceable in the majors. However, he’s definitely on the big-league radar headed into spring training.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

Cleveland Indians: Trevor Bauer, RHP

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    *Already on team’s 40-man roster 

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/17/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (UCLA)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    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, Bauer will enter spring training with the potential to break camp in the team’s starting rotation. More importantly, he’ll have an immediate chance to put last season’s struggles behind him.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB

Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos, OF/3B

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    Position: OF/3B

    DOB: 3/4/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Archbishop McCarthy HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Supplemental first-round pick in 2010 impressed in his full-season debut in 2011 with a league-leading 158 hits for Low-A West Michigan; batted .405 through 55 games to open 2012 season at High-A Lakeland; received promotion to Double-A Erie where his plate discipline was challenged and he batted .264/.296/.382 in 79 games; named the MVP of the XM Futures Game after going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

    Castellanos is a pure hitter with highly advanced bat-to-ball skills and the ability to consistently barrel the ball; natural inside-out swing with lots of power to right-center field; quick hands and bat speed thanks to loose wrists and a fluid swing; not physically strong for his size but possesses plenty of wiry strength; power should continue to develop as he gains more experience at higher levels; will likely always be an extra-base machine; biggest weakness is propensity to chase sliders off the plate and low; has the barrel control to be a plus hitter in the major leagues but will need to refine his approach and pitch recognition.

    Was developed as a third baseman until mid-2012; has the arm strength and hands for the position, though his footwork and reads remain raw; moved to the outfield halfway through 2012 season seemingly as a way to expedite his arrival in the big leagues; has received playing time at both corner outfield positions; still needs to learn how to make consistent reads and needs to make his actions more fluid; no reason to believe he won’t be able to handle the outfield; not a particularly strong runner but moves well once he hits full stride.

    Regardless of any position change, Castellanos is blocked at the major league level. However, that’s a good thing. As evidenced by his struggles last season at Double-A, the right-handed hitter needs further seasoning in the minors to refine his approach and pitch recognition.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

Kansas City Royals: Yordano Ventura, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 6/3/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 140

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: Oct., 2008 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Ventura has an undersized, wiry frame at 5’11”, 140 pounds with room to add strength; registered a 3.30 ERA with 98/28 K/BB in 76.1 innings last season for High-A Wilmington; started for the World Team in the XM Futures Game; received midseason promotion to Double-A NW Arkansas where he posted a 4.60 ERA over six starts.

    Right-hander has a lightning-quick arm that pumps fastballs in the mid-to-high-90s; capable of reaching triple digits early in starts and in shorter stints; curveball has the makings of a second plus pitch with sharp downer break; comfortable throwing it in any count; legitimate out pitch but still needs refinement; changeup is fringy but could be a weapon if it develops; potential to be highly effective considering his arm speed; both command and control are raw; doesn’t always show a consistent feel for arsenal; development of changeup will dictate whether he remains a starter or is fast-tracked as a reliever.

    With an invitation to big league camp, the Royals continue to push Ventura through the system. After reaching Double-A for the first time last season, spring training will give him an opportunity to see how his stuff holds up against the game’s top hitters.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

Minnesota Twins: Alex Meyer, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/3/1990 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’9”, 220

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 by Nationals (Kentucky)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: In his professional debut last season, Meyer registered a 3.10 ERA with 107/34 K/BB in 90 innings at Low-A Hagerstown. The organization promoted him to High-A Potomac where he posted a 2.31 ERA with 32/11 K/BB before reaching innings limit. This offseason, Meyer was dealt to the Twins in exchange for outfielder Denard Span.

    The 6’9” right-hander has a massive frame and long limbs; shows body control and repeatable mechanics uncommon in players his size; uses height and high gather point to throw everything on a steep, downhill plane; drop-and-drive mechanics; surprisingly rhythmic; showed more command than expected in pro debut.

    Fastball is difficult to barrel; registers between 93-97 mph and can flirt with triple digits in shorter stints; plus slider has a sharp, wipeout break; changeup showed signs of being at least average last season; will need to continue to develop to remain a starter.

    Now the top pitching prospect in the Twins’ system, Meyer has a ceiling of a Nos. 2 or 3 starter, and possibly more if he can develop his changeup into a third weapon. Although it’s a worst-case scenario, he has a floor of a late-inning, high-leverage reliever.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

Houston Astros: George Springer, OF

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    Position: OF

    DOB: 9/18/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 200

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Connecticut)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Toolsy outfielder posted a .955 OPS for High-A Lancaster with 50 extra-base hits (22 home runs), 28 stolen bases and 131 strikeouts in 106 games; received late-season promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi; batted .219/.288/.342 in 22 games; one of those rare college draft picks with untapped potential and a high ceiling; potential for five average-to-plus tools in the major leagues.

    Springer’s hit tool is lacking; struggles to showcase consistent approach; borders between too passive and over aggressive; pitch recognition needs refinement, especially against breaking balls; long swing inhibits consistent contact; plus raw power to all fields; needs to dial back his current max-effort swing.

    Has the athleticism and defensive skills to remain in center field; above-average speed lends to his range; projects to be at least an above-average defender in the major leagues; strong arm plays anywhere in the outfield; he’s 23, but still has a high ceiling; hit tool will determine how close he comes to reaching it.

    Springer has a clear path to playing time in the Astros’ major league outfield, though he’ll need to make a host of adjustments before debuting. However, he’ll still have a chance to make a strong impression on the organization during spring training. 

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A 

Los Angeles Angels: Kaleb Cowart, 3B

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    Position: 3B

    DOB: 6/2/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Cook HS, Ga.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Cowart improved as much as any prospect last season, posting an .827 OPS in 66 games for Low-A Cedar Rapids before midseason promotion to High-A Inland Empire. He emerged as one of the better third base prospects in the game and showed significant progress in all facets of the game.

    6’3” switch hitter has excellent bat speed from both sides of the plate; left-handed swing developed in a big way last season; showcases plus raw power; natural right-handed swing is more consistent and direct to the ball; plate discipline was vastly improved last season; has a chance to hit for average at higher levels; approach was more consistent and sustained over the course of the season.

    Excellent athlete who received heavy consideration as a pitcher due to his mid-90s heat off the mound as an amateur; good reactions and actions at the hot corner; impressive range and focus; arm stroke has some length; compensates with velocity across the diamond.

    Cowart adjusted favorably to both new levels (Low and High-A) in his full-season debut, and if he has a strong showing this spring in big league camp, could begin the upcoming season at Double-A Arkansas.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

Oakland Athletics: Addison Russell, SS

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    Position: SS

    DOB: 1/23/1994 (Age: 19)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 185

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2012 (Pace HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Russell bulked up to add power during his junior year, but it cost him mobility and range at shortstop; ultimately dropped 30 pounds before senior season; showed he could handle shortstop and emerged as a top draft pick; batted .415/.488/.717 with 15 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases in Arizona League; .340/.386/.509 with Short-Season Vermont; .310/.369/.448 with Low-A Burlington; excellent athlete with the baseball skills be a star, possibly even elite, player in the major leagues.

    Dynamic, well-rounded player with explosive actions in all realms of the game; a right-handed hitter, Russell ropes line drives to all fields; demonstrates a knack for barreling the ball; has the present strength to project for above-average power; should begin to show itself in coming years; takes aggressive hacks; swings to strike the baseball rather than feeling for contact; advanced bat control yields loud contact to all fields.

    Plus runner; smart basestealer; picks his spots and gets good jumps; power-speed combo gives him legitimate 20-20 upside at a premium position; plenty of range with a slick glove that will keep him at shortstop; plays through the ball with a smooth transfer and release; above-average arm strength is more than enough to remain at the position.

    The A’s decision to invite Russell to big-league spring training prior to his full-season debut is admirable and a testament to how good he could be. If he continues his rapid ascent through the team’s system in 2013, there’s a strong chance that he’ll reach the major leagues by his 21st birthday.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Low-A

Seattle Mariners: Taijuan Walker, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 8/13/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210 lbs

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010 (Yucaipa HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Pitched entire 2012 season as a 19-year-old at Double-A, so it’s actually encouraging that he posted 4.69 ERA over 126.2 innings; demonstrated ability to miss bats (8.4 K/9) with consistency; didn’t sacrifice command (3.6 BB/9).

    Walker possesses an ideal frame at 6’4”, 210 pounds; excellent athleticism; little mileage on his arm gives him a very high ceiling; easy, fluid mechanics that he repeats well; love his smooth yet explosive arm action.

    Fastball consistently registers at 93-96 mph; jumps on opposing hitters; can dial it up to 97-98 mph on occasion; sustains velo well into his starts; curveball has plus shape and a late, downward bite; tends to over-grip and spike it; changeup has come a long way over the last season; looks to be a viable third above-average offering; Mariners introduced a cutter into his arsenal in 2012; should keep hitters off his other offerings once he develops a better feel.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar, SS

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    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: SS

    DOB: 2/2/1993 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 165

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: July 2009 (D.R.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Profar, the consensus top prospect in the game, has improved in each season as a younger player at an advanced level; thrived at Double-A Frisco as a 19-year-old last season; batted .281/.368/.452 with 47 extra-base hits, 16 stolen bases and 79/66 K/BB in 126 games; called up to the major leagues in early September; launched a no-doubt home run in his first big league at-bat at Cleveland; recorded a hit in the 2012 postseason as a 19-year-old.

    Profar’s 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; seemingly lacks a glaring flaw in his overall game; has repeatedly excelled when challenged; switch-hitter who showcases plus bat speed from both sides of the plate; short, compact swing; above-average-to-plus hit tool projection; right-handed swing is more line-drive-oriented; 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; strong, accurate arm; exhibits plus range in all directions due to quick feet and tremendous instincts; has the athleticism to play any position on the field; moxie grades through the roof; adept to handling himself in high-pressure situations.

    It’s scary to think just how good Profar will be. Now he just needs a path to everyday playing time in the major leagues. Either way, he’s an impact player and simply too damn good to stash at Triple-A for any significant amount of time. Expect him to spend a majority of the 2013 season in the major leagues.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran, RHP

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    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 1/27/1991 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 175

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: July, 2007 (Colombia)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: After registering a 2.55 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett in 2011 as a 20-year-old, Teheran entered the 2012 season as one of the top pitching prospects in the game. However, the right-hander regressed across the board while repeating the level, and finished the season with a 5.08 ERA in 131 innings.

    His disappointing campaign can be attributed to the organization’s choice to tinker with his mechanics throughout the year; still has a high ceiling but will need to prove last season was a fluke; love his arm speed and aggressiveness; pitched well this offseason in the Dominican Winter League after reverting back to his original mechanics

    His fastball was flatter this past season but still in the 91-95 mph range to both sides of the plate; pitch was left up in the zone too often; changeup is still a plus pitch due to speed differential and deceptive arm speed; lacks a third legitimate pitch; continues to impede the final stages of development; neither curveball nor slider is big league ready; should play up if fastball-changeup command is sharp.

    After trading Tommy Hanson to the Angels and Randall Delgado to the Diamondbacks, Teheran is the favorite to break camp as the Braves' fifth starter. However, he’ll still have to prove he's ready during spring training.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB

Miami Marlins: Jose Fernandez, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 7/31/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Braulio Alonso HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Fernandez was arguably the most impressive pitching prospect last season not named Dylan Bundy; right-hander registered a 1.59 ERA with 99/18 K/BB in 79 innings for Low-A Greensboro before midseason promotion to High-A Jupiter; continued to dominate at a more advanced level; registered 1.96 ERA with 59/17 K/BB in 55 innings; given his age and lack of experience, what Fernandez did in his full-season debut was incredible.

    At 6’3”, 215 pounds, the right-hander has a power frame that’s built for innings; surprising athleticism for his size; excellent mound presence; oozes confidence; strong lower half allows him to repeat his mechanics and work deep into games; will have to keep his weight down as he develops physically.

    Fastball is an easy plus pitch that ranges anywhere between 92-97 mph with weight; was touching 97-99 mph in 2012 XM Futures Game; pitch explodes out of his hand with late life to his arm side; curveball is a second plus pitch in the mid-80s with excellent depth and pace; throws a hard slider with sharp, two-plane break that projects to be at least a third above-average offering; possesses a feel for his changeup beyond his years (yet another above-average-to-plus pitch); a lot to love in his combination of stuff and pitchability; he relied more on pure stuff in full-season debut.

    As he adds polish, Fernandez should be able to reach his ceiling as a No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher. Given his advanced makeup and potentially elite four-pitch mix, the 20-year-old could move quickly with a chance of reaching the major leagues in late 2013.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A 

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler, RHP

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    Position: RHP

    DOB: 5/30/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 185

    Bats/Throws: L/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2009 by San Francisco Giants (East Paulding HS, Ga.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Report: Wheeler emerged as one of the game’s top pitching prospects in 2012, as he registered a 3.26 ERA with 117/43 K/BB in 116 innings at Double-A Binghamton; received promotion to Triple-A when Matt Harvey was called up to major leagues; posted a 3.27 ERA with 31/16 K/BB in 33 innings at Buffalo.

    6’4” right-hander has incredibly projectable frame and the potential to be a front-line starter; athletic delivery and lightning-quick arm result in overall deception; throws each of his pitches with similar tilt; a rarity in that he’s also adept to stifling running game.

    Boasts a plus fastball that sits 93-96 mph with explosive arm-side run; effortless velocity overwhelms hitters; pitch is difficult to barrel; curveball is a hammer and a second plus offering; both slider and changeup aren’t thrown as often, but should give him a four-pitch mix of at least above-average offerings.

    Expect Wheeler to join Harvey in the Mets’ rotation sometime around the All-Star break.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Philadelphia Phillies: Ethan Martin, RHP

19 of 30

    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 6/6/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2008 [Dodgers] (Stephens County HS, Ga.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Opening the 2012 season at Double-A Chattanooga, Martin took a step in the right direction as he registered a 3.58 ERA with 112/61 K/BB in 118 innings; he headlined the prospect package for Shane Victorino at the 2012 trade deadline; pitched well at Double-A Reading over the final two months, as he posted a 3.18 ERA with 35/18 K/BB in nearly 40 innings.

    6’2”, 195-pound right-hander has composed and balanced delivery with fluid arm action; release point is still inconsistent, which had led to command problems; impressive athlete who should continue to refine his mechanics; fastball consistently registers in the mid-90s and visibly jumps on opposing hitters; curveball can get a bit slurvy at times but flashes plus potential when thrown with consistency; changeup is a work-in-progress, but was better this past season; arsenal and athleticism give him No. 3 starter upside provided his command continues to improve.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Double-A

Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon, 3B

20 of 30

    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: 3B

    DOB: 6/6/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’, 195

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Rice)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    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.

    Blocked at third base, as well as at nearly every other position, I’d like to see the Nats give him more opportunities at second base this spring.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Chicago Cubs: Javier Baez, SS

21 of 30

    Position: SS

    DOB: 12/01/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 205

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: First round, 2011 (Arlington Country Day HS, Fla.)

    ETA: 2015

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: After opening the season in extended spring training, Baez was promoted to Low-A Peoria where he mashed to the tune of .333/.383/.596 with 12 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 48/9 K/BB in 57 games; lack of plate discipline was exploited following promotion to High-A Daytona, as he batted .188/.244/.400 with 21/5 K/BB in 23 games.

    Right-handed hitter with the potential to above-average-to-plus hit tool; raw power is an easy plus; premium, plus-plus bat speed yields loud contact to all fields; extremely strong wrists and top hand; unleashes a max-effort swing every time; lacks a feel for the strike zone and will chase too many pitches; will need to improve pitch recognition, especially with breaking balls; has to be able to manipulate more counts in his favor.

    He’s a shortstop at the moment, but adding too much strength to his mature, 6’1”, 205-pound frame may prompt a move to third base; above-average athlete with smooth, natural defensive actions; speed may lose a grade as he develops physically; easy plus arm perfect for left side of the infield; high-intensity player who needs to employ a more cognizant on-field mindset. 

    The Cubs' decision to invite their top prospect to big league camp has created quite the buzz. However, expectations must be tempered, as Baez will likely need two more seasons in the minors before reaching the major leagues.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton, OF

22 of 30

    Position: CF

    DOB: 9/9/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 160

    Bats/Throws: S/R

    Drafted/Signed: Second round, 2009 (Taylorsville HS, Miss.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Hamilton blossomed as a prospect in 2012, as he significantly closed the gap between his ridiculous athleticism and baseball skills; shattered the professional stolen base record with 155 in 132 games; without a doubt the fastest player I’ve ever seen on a baseball field; profiles as a legitimate top-of-the-order hitter with his legendary, game-changing speed and vastly improved on-base skills; was moved from shortstop to center field for the 2012 Arizona Fall League and should have no problem sticking at the position.

    Hamilton’s always been insanely fast, but his prospect stock shot up this past season thanks to a vastly improved contact rate and approach from both sides of the plate; batted .311/.410/.420 with 48 extra-base hits, 112 runs scored and 113/86 K/BB; did a much better job putting the ball in play and putting added pressure on opposing defense; feet never stop moving on the baseball field, especially on the basepaths; more of a slap hitter from natural right side; as a left-handed hitter, Hamilton has more defined extra-base power and a more leveraged swing.

    Was developed as a shortstop up until this fall when the Reds moved him to center field in the Arizona Fall League; showed speed and range to handle shortstop, but arm strength was always lacking with an awkward stroke; arm strength actually plays well in center field given his length on the backside; his speed should allow him to compensate for poor reads; has all of the tools to be a top-of-the-line defensive center fielder, and he’ll get to even more balls as his jumps and instincts improve.

    The Reds’ front office has already stated that Hamilton will play center field moving forward—he was a shortstop until the Arizona Fall League—and will open the 2013 season at Triple-A Louisville. Spring training will give the 22-year-old a chance to prove he belongs in the major leaguer, and offer a taste of what’s to come.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Milwaukee Brewers: Wily Peralta, RHP

23 of 30

    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: RHP

    DOB: 5/8/1989 (Age: 23)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 240

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: November 2005 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    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 September call-up.

    He throws a weighted fastball in the low-to-mid-90s that generates lots of ground-ball 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;

    He will need to sharpen three-pitch mix and eliminate some of the free passes; once he showcases more consistency, Peralta should serve as a No. 2 or 3 starter.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP

24 of 30

    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

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes:  Large, durable, 6’4”, 220-pound frame; epitome of a power pitcher; the right-hander actually did a good job repeating his mechanics and delivery during his professional debut in 2012; registered a 2.55 ERA with 69/21 K/BB in 67 innings at High-A Bradenton; 2.90 ERA with 60/23 K/BB at Double-A Altoona; fanned seven in lone start at Triple-A Indianapolis to close 2012 season.

    Power arsenal is highlighted by a plus-plus fastball that sits in the high-90s and routinely touches triple digits; complements heater with a plus slider that’s thrown in the high-80s and features a devastating, wipeout break; completes elite arsenal with an above-average changeup that can be filthy when around the zone; despite his three dynamic offerings, Cole didn’t dominate last season as he should have; with a year of experience under his belt.

    The talented right-hander is poised for a big season and potentially long career at the front of the Pirates’ starting rotation. With the ceiling of a true No. 1 starter, it shouldn't take him long to reach the major leagues next season.

    Beyond the Pirates’ top three starters—A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald—there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the back end of their rotation. While Cole would benefit from a month or two at Triple-A simply to ensure he’s still on the right track, there a slight chance that he receives consideration as the team’s No. 5 starter to open the season.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

St. Louis Cardinals: Oscar Taveras, OF

25 of 30

    Position: OF

    DOB: 6/19/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 180

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: Nov., 2008 (Dominican Republic)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: The best hitter in all the minor leagues, Taveras was named the MVP of the Texas League last year in his age-20 season; led the league in both batting average (.321) and extra-base hits (67); has all the makings of a future superstar with an outstanding hit tool, plate discipline beyond his years and unparalleled barrel-to-ball ability.

    A left-handed hitter, Taveras employs a powerful yet balanced swing; keeps bat head in the zone for an extended period of time without sacrificing pop; began to tap into his power last season against advanced competition and posted a career-best 23 home runs; extra-base machine who makes loud contact to all fields; comfortable hitting any pitch in any count; doesn’t walk a ton, but strikeouts will always be minimal given his pitch recognition and excellent hand-eye coordination.

    Capable of playing all three outfield positions, the Cardinals will likely keep Taveras in center for the moment where his bat offers the most value; honestly, his bat profiles best at whatever position will get him in the lineup; average runner but his routes in the outfield have improved over the last year, as have his reads and jumps as a baserunner.

    Taveras is extremely close to being big-league-ready. His bat is probably advanced enough to make the jump from Double-A to the major leagues. However, he’s blocked at both corner spots by Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, respectively, so expect him to open the year at Triple-A, where he’ll likely crush Pacific Coast League pitching.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A

Arizona Diamondbacks: Tyler Skaggs, LHP

26 of 30

    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: LHP

    DOB: 7/13/1991 (Age: 21)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195

    Bats/Throws: L/L

    Drafted/Signed: 1st round, 2009 [Angels] (Santa Monica HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2013

     

    2012 Stats 

     

    Scouting Notes: 6’3”, 195-pounder is the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game; registered a 2.87 ERA with 116/37 K/BB in 122.1 innings between Double- and Triple-A in 2012; was shaky following call-up in late August (a 5.83 ERA in 29.1 IP) but showed good stuff and poise; projectable frame with clean, repeatable mechanics; has bouts of inconsistency like any young pitcher; struggles usually stem from flying open with front shoulder; hips and core don’t explode and arms drag; stuff gets flat as a result and he loses too many pitches to his arm side; above-average three-pitch mix that could make him a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

    Fastball isn’t overpowering in the high-80s/low-90s, but has some late life to the arm side; needs to spot it more aggressively; does a nice job throwing on a downhill plane; curveball is a hammer and one of my favorites among all minor league pitchers; features a tall shape with deceptive pace; legitimate 12-to-6 downer that should always draw tons of swing and misses; changeup is fringy at the moment, but has the potential to be a third above-average offering with further refinement; lacks feel for all three pitches at one time; consistency will come from experience, he’s young.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A 

Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B

27 of 30

    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

     

    2012 Stats

     

    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.

    As the organization’s only long-term option at the hot corner, the position will be waiting for Arenado once he’s ready. Likely to open the 2013 season at Triple-A, he’s poised to put up big power numbers once again in the hitter-friendly environment of the Pacific Coast League. He’ll have a chance to stand out at third base during the spring, and if all goes as planned, Arenado could reach the major leagues as early as June.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Yasiel Puig, OF

28 of 30

    *Already on team’s 40-man roster

    Position: OF

    DOB: 12/7/1990 (Age: 22)

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: July, 2012 (Cuba)

    ETA: 2014

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Signed to a massive contract last summer, Puig launched four home runs in nine games in the Arizona League before receiving a late-season promotion to High-A Rancho Cucamunga. Despite the level jump, the 22-year-old batted .327/.407/.423 with seven stolen bases in 14 games.

    Muscular and physical frame at 6’3”, 215 pounds; lots of lean and quick-twitch muscles despite thicker appearance; strong wrists and forearms help generate plus bat speed to whip the barrel through the zone; impressive hand-eye coordination allows him to barrel tough pitches and suggests the potential for an above-average hit tool.

    Possesses a relatively lofty swing with plus raw power to all fields, though it may take some time for him to truly tap into it; there’s some swing-and-miss to his game caused by a hyper-aggressive approach and inconsistent load; tends to get out on his front side too often, which hinders his pitch recognition; lack of experience is evident in his propensity to chase breaking balls out of the strike zone; once he learns to work more counts in his favor and employs consistent approach.

    His defense in right field is currently his weakest attribute; struggles to get consistent reads and, at times, seemingly lacks the necessary instinctual first stop; more experience and reps should lead to more direct routes with less of a need to track to the ball; even if he gets bulkier, his athleticism should keep him in the outfield; prototypical plus arm strength for a right fielder but lacks accuracy; speed is presently above average and plays up a grade once he hits full stride; has the potential to lose a grade as he matures and adds strength.

    Puig’s bat will likely always be his calling card and gives him the highest ceiling in the organization; needs substantial refinement in all aspects of the game, but should steadily improve with much-needed experience; his first real test will come upon reaching Double-A Chattanooga, presumably in mid-to-late-2013. 

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

San Diego Padres: Austin Hedges, C

29 of 30

    Position: C

    DOB: 8/18/1992 (Age: 20)

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190

    Bats/Throws: R/R

    Drafted/Signed: 2nd round, 2011 (Junipero Serra Catholic HS, Calif.)

    ETA: 2015 

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Arguably the top defensive catcher in the minor leagues; Hedges’ prowess behind the plate is special—he can seriously do it all; the fact that his bat came alive last year in his full-season debut makes him a potentially elite prospect; batted .279/.334/.451 with 38 extra-base hits (10 home runs), 14 stolen bases and 62/23 K/BB in 96 games for Low-A Fort Wayne.

    Already an advanced receiver and blocker; nearly impossible to identify a flaw in Hedges’ defensive package; stifles opponents’ running game with a plus arm and quick catch and release; has been praised from both his pitchers and managers for his game-calling skills and ability to slow everything down.

    Even if he never hits, there’s still a strong chance that Hedges will reach the major leagues; plenty of gap power with emerging game power; hit tool projects to be average-to-above-average; more speed and athleticism than typical catcher; instincts should allow him to approach double-digit stolen bases totals; high-level prospect with All-Star potential.

    Spring training will give Hedges a chance to work with the top pitchers in the Padres’ system, as they actively groom him for a lengthy career in the major leagues.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: High-A

San Francisco Giants: Gary Brown, OF

30 of 30

    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

     

    2012 Stats

     

    Scouting Notes: Brown entered the season as one of the game’s better position prospects after a breakout campaign at High-A San Jose in 2011. However, he regressed, as expected, last season at Double-A and batted .279/.347/.385 with 41 extra-base hits, 33 stolen bases and 87/40 K/BB in 134 games.

    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; frequently casts hands around ball; makes too much weak contact; with his speed, Brown’s lack of basestealing prowess is disconcerting; will have to improve in a hurry.

    The 24-year-old will likely reach big leagues due to plus speed and defense in center field; should at least have a career as a fourth outfielder; showcases excellent instincts in center and gets good reads; defense is major league ready; is first in line for playing time if there’s an injury to an Opening Day outfielder.

     

    2013 Opening Day Level: Triple-A