Ranking 10 Hottest MLB Prospects at Spring Training

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterMarch 6, 2013

Ranking 10 Hottest MLB Prospects at Spring Training

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    Due to the start of the World Baseball Classic, this year's spring training exhibition schedule was accelerated by a week to ensure all participants were game-ready.

    At the same time, the unique circumstances surrounding this spring has resulted in increased playing time for many of the game’s top prospects.

    Even though very few will open the 2013 season in the major leagues, there’s an endless list of players with the potential to take a step closer with an eye-opening camp.

    Here’s a look at the hottest prospects at spring training through the first two weeks of games.

Honorable Mentions

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    Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians

    7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, .160 BAA, 5/1 K/BB

    A year after the Arizona Diamondbacks made him the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bauer could be pitching his way into a spot in the Indians' Opening Day rotation. However, the resurgence of Scott Kazmir may ultimately hurt his chances.


    John Hellweg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

    6 IP, H, .063 BAA, 2 HBP, 4/3 K/BB, 4.50 GO/AO

    The Brewers remain steadfast in their development of the 6’9” right-hander as a starter. However, Hellweg is making an increasingly strong case to open the 2013 season at the backend of the team’s big league bullpen.

    He may never miss the amount of bats as he should, but as long as he’s inducing weak contact and limiting baserunners, his value is undeniable.


    Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

    10-for-29 (.345), 4 R, 5 RBI, SB

    The Diamondbacks continue to give Eaton plenty of at-bats this spring, as the organization grooms him to be their Opening Day leadoff hitter and center fielder. As expected, the 24-year-old has responded favorably to the ongoing challenge and seems poised for a monster rookie season.


    Jake Marisnick, OF, Miami Marlins

    5-for-8, 4 R, 2B, 3B, SB

    One of several young outfielders on the Marlins’ major league radar, Marisnick has been opening eyes at both the plate and in center field. His defense has drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff, especially Tino Martinez.


    Evan Gattis, C/LF, Atlanta Braves

    8-for-19 (.421), 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 4 K

    Already fond of his powerful bat, the Braves continue to give Gattis looks in the outfield and behind the plate with the hope that he can crack the Opening Day roster on the team’s bench.


    Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers

    6-for-15 (.400), HR, 3 RBI, 3/4 K/BB

    After a red-hot start last week, Castellanos has cooled off over the last few games. He’s failed to record a hit in his last six at-bats. At the same time, his plate discipline has been encouraging; the 21-year-old currently has more walks than strikeouts.


    Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

    4 IP, H, 0 ER, .077 BAA, 2/1 K/BB

    As one of several pitchers vying for the final spot in the Rays’ starting rotation, Archer could ultimately make the decision easier than expected if he continues to deal like he has so far this spring.

10. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals

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    7-for-17 (.412), 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3/1 K/BB

    The likelihood of opening the 2013 season in Triple-A has done anything but deter Rendon this spring.

    His bat, power and outstanding plate discipline has quickly put him on the big league radar for the upcoming season.

9. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    7-for-24 (.292), HR, 6 RBI, 3/1 K/BB

    Although Taveras has cooled off a bit since launching a grand slam last week, the 20-year-old continues to reaffirm why his hit tool is regarded as the best in the minor leagues.

    With Carlos Beltran participating in the World Baseball Classic, he figures to get plenty of at-bats and see playing time at multiple outfield positions over the remainder of the spring.

8. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    5 IP, ER, 3 H, 7/2 K/BB

    After a mediocre first spring outing last week, Cole was dominant on Tuesday afternoon in an exhibition game against Team Spain.

    Getting the start, the hard-throwing right-hander fired three scoreless frames in which he allowed two hits and a walk while fanning six consecutive batters.

7. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    8-for-20 (.400), 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 4 K

    With Carl Crawford being held out of games due to lingering soreness and irritation in his surgically repaired elbow, Puig may receive a longer look than expected this spring.

    Hell, depending on his progress over the next month, the 22-year-old may even find himself in a position to crack the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster.


6. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves

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    5 IP, H, ER, .067 BAA, 7/1 K/BB

    While Teheran entered camp as the early favorite to win the final spot in the starting rotation, the Braves made it clear that the right-hander would have to earn the spot.

    More specifically, he’d have to prove that he’s no longer the pitcher he was last season. So far, it’s safe to say that he’s surpassed expectations.

5. Michael Choice, OF, Oakland Athletics

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    12-for-26 (.462), 4 XBH (HR), 8 RBI, 4/0 K/BB

    Choice has been feasting on opposing pitching this spring. He’s attempting to make a strong impression on the front office after missing the second half of the 2012 season with a broken hand.

    Unfortunately, the A’s outfield is already overcrowded. No matter how well Choice hits over the next month, he’s likely ticketed for Triple-A to open the season.

4. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Boston Red Sox

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    8-for-17 (.471), 5 R, 2B, 3/1 K/BB

    Even though he’s only had four plate appearances since the end of last week, Bradley Jr. remains one of the hottest-hitting prospects in big league camp.

    Expect the Red Sox to continue to give him substantial playing time over the rest of the spring. The notion of him opening the season in the major leagues isn’t entirely out of the question.

3. Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

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    7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, .143 BAA, 11/1 K/BB

    Although he’s not technically in the mix for the final spot in the Cardinals’ Opening Day rotation, there’s no question that Wacha has been the most impressive pitcher in camp this spring.

    The 2012 first-rounder continues to showcase outstanding command of his entire arsenal, not to mention a knack for missing bats and generating weak contact.

2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

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    7-for-17 (.444), 4 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI

    Let it be known: Nolan Arenado is absolutely mashing this spring.

    He’s still expected to open the upcoming season with the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate, but it’s become difficult to ignore what the 21-year-old is doing at the plate.

    He’s now homered in each of his last three games.


1. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins

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    7-for-15 (.467), 5 R, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 3/3 K/BB

    Yelich may not have a game of experience above High-A, but you’d never know that based upon his performance this spring.

    In addition to working counts as a top-of-the-order hitter, the 21-year-old has also showcased some power, highlighted by a leadoff home run against the Mets’ Matt Harvey over the weekend.