Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
2014 Stats: .533 (8-for-15), 2B, HR, 8 RBI, BB (4 G)
Correa’s season-opening series against High-A Lake Elsinore—also his High-A debut—couldn’t have gone better, as the 19-year-old shortstop collected eight hits and eight RBI over four games, highlighted by a trio of multi-hit performances.
In his season opener, Correa was 3-for-4 with four RBI, and three days later, he went 3-for-4 once again, this time adding a home run, three runs scored and a trio of RBI. Assuming Byron Buxton graduates to the major leagues at some point this season, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Correa is not baseball’s top-ranked prospect headed into 2014.
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
2014 Stats: .364 (8-for-22), 2 2B, 3B, HR, 4 SB, 2 BB, 7 K (5 G)
I ranked Story as the No. 34 overall prospect headed into the 2013 season, and he made me look like a clown by batting .233/.305/.394 with 183 strikeouts in 130 games for High-A Modesto in the hitter-friendly California League. Repeating the level this year, Story, 21, is already looking like a candidate for a rebound season, especially after the shortstop hit for the cycle on Monday afternoon.
Story hit leadoff and opened the game with a home run. He collected singles in his next two at-bats before adding an RBI double in the fourth inning. Story completed his cycle with a triple in the seventh inning but ruined his perfect afternoon with a strikeout in the ninth.
Tyrone Taylor, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
2014 Stats: .375 (6-for-16), 5 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K (4 G)
Taylor opened eyes last year in his full-season debut by batting .274/.338/.400 with 43 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in 122 games for Low-A Wisconsin. Moved up to High-A Brevard County for the 2014 season, the 20-year-old has been a doubles machine so far, with five of them through his first four games. As Taylor adds strength and matures as a hitter, expect some of those two-baggers to start clearing fences.
Gabriel Guerrero, OF, Seattle Mariners
2014 Stats: .500 (9-for-18), 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, SB, 2 K (5 G)
The nephew of Vladimir Guerrero, Gabriel showcased his raw talent last year in his full-season debut, as he batted .271/.303/.358 with 30 extra-base hits but 113 strikeouts in 125 games at Low-A Clinton. The 20-year-old is off to a red-hot start this season in the hitter-friendly California League, as he’s now hit safely in all five games and, more specifically, is 6-for-11 for two home runs and eight RBI in his last three contests.
Mac Williamson, OF, San Francisco Giants
2014 Stats: .059 (1-for-17), SB, 3 BB, 4 K (5 G)
Williamson put up huge numbers last season as a 23-year-old in the hitter-friendly California League, batting .292/.375/.504 with 31 doubles and 25 home runs but also 132 strikeouts in 136 games. The 6’5”, 240-pound outfielder has serious power and a decent approach, but there will be ongoing skepticism regarding his hit-tool potential until he proves otherwise.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres
2014 Stats: .150 (3-for-20), 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K (5 G)
Renfroe batted .212/.268/.379 with a 23/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio last year in 18 games at Low-A Fort Wayne, so it’s a bit surprising that the Padres moved him up to High-A for the 2014 season. Through his first five games at the more advanced level, Renfroe, 22, has struck out at least once in each contest, and he’s fanned nine times in 23 plate appearances overall.
Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers
2014 Stats: .176 (3-for-17), 2 2B, 8 K (4 G)
Williams boasts one of the more impressive hit tools among all hitters in the low minors, but his 110/15 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season at Low-A Hickory is evidence that his approach has a ways to go. The 20-year-old left-handed hitter has struggled to make consistent contact in the early going this season, as he’s now struck out eight times in 17 at-bats.