MLB Draft 2014: Projections for Prospects with Most Major League Upside

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2014

United States' Bradley Zimmer warms up before an exhibition game against Cuba, Thursday, July 18, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. The teams are to play a five-game series over the next week. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

More than other highly touted drafts, such as those that occur in the NFL and the NBA, the MLB draft deals in "ceilings" and "floors" to the extreme.

Some prospects with high ceilings, more commonly labeled as "upside," can either contribute right away or take a year or more to actually make the pros and contribute.

In baseball, clubs want to find the player with the most upside at each pick in the draft in order to secure a strong foundation for the future. Luckily for each club, the 2014 class is ripe with players whose ceilings are of the near-unlimited variety.

Here is a look at a few prospects who have the best upside of all in the 2014 class.


Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Like it or not, Carlos Rodon is not only arguably the top prospect overall, but he's also the one with the highest upside to boot.

After being drafted No. 16 overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011, Rodon took his already strong skill set to the collegiate level and won at a rapid pace. Last season was a bit of a down year and his usage numbers are a bit alarming, but his upside is still eyebrow-raising.

Rodon comes equipped with a great fastball and a wicked slider that simply abuses batters when he gets ahead in the count. All he truly needs to do is have better command and work on a developing changeup to be the complete package and a surefire No. 1 at some point at the pro level.

All things considered, Rodon won't last long on draft day. Even better, the Chicago White Sox will get an arm they can use right away if necessary.

Prediction: Chicago White Sox select Rodon No. 3 overall


Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Tyler Beede followed a similar path as Rodon after being picked No. 21 overall by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school in 2011, instead opting to take his talents to Vanderbilt.

Also like Rodon, Beede has had a bit of a down year, as's Jim Callis details:

He ranked sixth on our initial Draft Top 50 and eighth on our Draft Top 100, but he has failed to take advantage of the health questions plaguing several other college arms. Though Beede still has frontline stuff, he remains inconsistent with his command and performance and thus could drop into the 20s at a time when teams are desperate for pitching. Several decision-makers will be on hand for his Southeastern Conference start today.

Beede has a lot on the line after being low-balled by Toronto and opting for college, as his shaky stock at one point could have landed him below the No. 21 slot this year.

Not anymore.

Similar to how the NFL changes feelings about a prospect based on film and workouts after his college career is over, Beede will benefit from MLB teams digging deep into what he has to offer.

Beede needs better command, but there is a reason he tallied an ERA just over three in college. Watch for a team like the Colorado Rockies at No. 8 overall to stop his draft-day plummet thanks to his noteworthy ceiling.

Prediction: Colorado Rockies select Beede No. 8 overall


Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco

As far as hitters go, none in the 2014 class have the upside of one Bradley Zimmer, younger brother of Kansas City Royals promising prospect Kyle.

Zimmer was one of the rare collegiate bats that always performed last season, as the numbers show:

*Statistics courtesy of San Francisco Dons' official website.

The only real knock on him at this point is that he may have to move to one of the corner spots in the outfield rather than play center thanks to speed, but that's quite a minor complaint to have for such a sure hitter at the plate.

Zimmer has it all and started to put it all together last year. Some players never do. Now that he is on the right path, he has All-Star potential. Look for the Blue Jays to pull the trigger at No. 9, especially with them also holding the No. 11 pick.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays select Zimmer at No. 9


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