MLB Draft 2014: Ranking the Top 100 Prospects
At long last, draft week has arrived.
Yet, while the 2014 MLB Rule 4 draft is set to begin Thursday, June 5, it's still unclear how the top half of the first round will play out.
An NC State left-hander was widely considered the top prospect in this year's class entering the spring after his sheer domination over the last two seasons, but his high pitch counts and inconsistent performances this season figures to hurt his consideration as the No. 1 pick.
Carlos Rodon's up-and-down campaign has opened the door for a pair of high school arms to contend for No. 1 honors, as polished left-hander Brady Aiken and flame-throwing righty Tyler Kolek are both viewed as viable candidates. Furthermore, elbow injuries to college right-handers Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde have shaken up the first round, as both players were projected to come off the board within the first 15 picks.
The lack of impact hitters in this year’s class could also produce some surprises on draft day, as team's hoping to land an advanced bat could lead to an early selection of players such as Kyle Schwarber, Derek Fisher or Casey Gillaspie.
A few notes before we unveil this year's top-100 draft prospects: Players are ranked based on their projected position at the next level—though current positions are also taken into consideration—and, more significantly, their overall future potential in the major leagues. Please keep in mind that this is not a mock draft; rather, it's a straight ranking of this year's top draft prospects.
So, with all that being said, here are the top-100 overall prospects for the 2014 Rule 4 draft.
*Numbers in parentheses for previous draft history reference the round in which they were picked.
|Rank||Player||Pos.||School||College Commitment||Previously Drafted|
|100||Jake Cosart||RHP||Seminole JC (Fla.)||Never Drafted|
|The younger brother of Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart, Jake, a 6'2" right-hander, is new to the mound but already features a mid-90s fastball that reaches 98 mph.|
|99||Wyatt Strahan||RHP||USC||Diamondbacks 2011 (27)|
|Durable right-hander with two plus pitches should be an innings-eater at the next level, though his control will need to improve to stick as a starter.|
|98||Austin Slater||OF/1B||Stanford||Dodgers 2011 (44)|
|6'2", 205-pounder's bat has noticeably improved this season, as he currently leads the Cardinal with a .354 batting average, .399 on-base percentage, 75 hits, 16 doubles and six triples.|
|97||Austin DeCarr||RHP||Salisbury HS (Conn.)||Clemson|
|6'2" right-hander has an advanced feel for pitching at the present, with a low-90s fastball, developing changeup and future 60-grade curveball.|
|96||Andrew Suarez||LHP||Miami||Blue Jays 2011 (9)|
|Ninth-round draft pick (2011) out of high school features good pitchability of a four-pitch mix, but a 2012 labrum surgery could scare off some teams.|
|95||Cobi Johnson||RHP||Mitchell HS (Fla.)||Florida State|
|The son of former big leaguer and Blue Jays pitching instructor Dane Johnson, Cobi is a projectable 6'4" right-hander with a good feel for three pitches with average-or-better potential.|
|94||Grant Hockin||RHP||Damien HS (Calif.)||UCLA|
|6'4", 195-pound right-hander sits in the low-90s with a slider and changeup that project to be at least average offerings.|
|93||Austin Gomber||LHP||Florida Atlantic||Never Drafted|
|FAU ace's three-pitch mix and pitchability gives him upside as a future back-end starter.|
|92||Jace Fry||LHP||Oregon State||Athletics 2011 (9)|
|A member of the nation's best pitching staff, Fry's three-pitch mix and deceptive motion have produced a 1.80 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 120.1 innings (and counting) this season.|
|91||Evan Skoug||C||Libertyville HS (Ill.)||Texas Christian|
|Left-handed hitting catcher is maxed out physically but projects for plus power at maturity.|
|90||Greg Allen||OF||San Diego State||Never Drafted|
|Allen, a 6'4" switch-hitter, is an impressive athlete who has under-the-radar potential as a leadoff man and long-term center fielder at the next level.|
|89||Grayson Greiner||C||South Carolina||Never Drafted|
|6'5" backstop is an advanced defender behind the plate but has questions pertaining to his offensive potential.|
|88||J.D. Davis||RHP/1B||Cal State Fullerton||Rays 2011 (5)|
|One of the more notable two-way players in the country, Davis currently leads his team in all three triple-slash categories (.338/.419/.523) to go along with five saves and 22 strikeouts in 20.1 innings on the mound.|
|87||Brett Graves||RHP||Missouri||Cardinals 2011 (26)|
|Missouri right-hander doesn't miss bats like his stuff suggests, but there's a lot to like in his athleticism and lightning-quick arm action.|
|86||Chris Oliver||RHP||Arkansas||Orioles 2011 (27)|
|Oliver's stuff has been down as of late, but he's extremely projectable at 6'4", 185 pounds with an explosive arm and the potential for two above-average-or-better offerings (fastball/slider).|
|85||Dylan Davis||OF/RHP||Oregon State||Never Drafted|
|The Oregon State junior has driven in a team-high 64 runs this season in 58 games.|
|84||Josh Morgan||SS/3B||Orange Lutheran HS (Calif.)||UCLA|
|UCLA recruit projects for four average tools at maturity, with power being the only facet of his game called into question.|
|83||Jeren Kendall||OF||Holmen HS (Wisc.)||Vanderbilt|
|Plus-plus speed gives him impact potential but has a handsy swing and lack of strength.|
|82||Spencer Turnbull||RHP||Alabama||Never Drafted|
|6'3" right-hander's delivery and stuff project better as a reliever at the next level, though the team that drafts him will likely give him the chance to start.|
|81||Jake Stinnett||RHP||Maryland||Pirates 2013 (29)|
|The senior right-hander has drastically improved his stock this spring as upstart Maryland's ace after being selected in the 29th round last June by the Pirates.|
|80||Bobby Bradley||1B||Harrison Central HS (Miss.)||LSU|
|Physically strong left-handed hitter who has the plus-hit/power projections to merit his selection as a first base-only prospect.|
|79||Gareth Morgan||OF||Blyth Academy (Toronto)||NC State|
|6'4" right-handed batter with the big-time raw power and arm strength to profile as a right fielder in his prime.|
|78||Chris Ellis||RHP||Mississippi||Dodgers 2011 (50)|
|6'5", 205-pound right-hander projects for three average-or-better offerings and still has room to fill out.|
|77||Trey Supak||RHP||La Grange HS (Texas)||Houston|
|Houston commit has a projectable 6'5" frame and could comfortably sit in the mid-90s with his fastball in time.|
|76||Cole Tucker||SS||Mountain Pointe HS (Ariz.)||Arizona|
|Switch-hitting prep projects as a long-term shortstop with plus speed and above-average defense.|
|Rank||Player||Pos.||School||College Commitment||Previously Drafted|
|75||Jack Flaherty||RHP||Harvard-Westlake HS (Calif.)||North Carolina|
|Flaherty has also received draft consideration as a third baseman, but the consensus is that his future is on the mound...unless he honors his commitment to North Carolina, where he might be allowed to handle a two-way role.|
|74||Daniel Gossett||RHP||Clemson||Red Sox 2011 (16)|
|Right-hander projects to have an average three-pitch mix, but a shoulder injury this spring may leave some skeptical about his long-term potential as a starter.|
|73||J.J. Schwarz||C||Palm Beach Gardens HS (Fla.)||Florida|
|Well-rounded prep backstop who stands out for his defense, arm strength and raw power from the right side of the plate.|
|72||Jordan Brink||RHP||Fresno State||Never Drafted|
|Right-hander spent his first two years at Fresno State in the outfield, but has flashed plenty of potential this spring in his first full-time role on the mound.|
|71||Keith Weisenberg||RHP||Osceola HS (Fla.)||Stanford|
|Projectable 6'4", 185-pound right-hander pumps strikes with his fastball in the low-90s and shows an advanced feel for a slider and changeup.|
|70||Joe Gatto||RHP||St. Augustine HS (N.J.)||North Carolina|
|6'5" right-hander's velocity has steadily improved over the past year, though both his secondary offerings remain works in progress.|
|69||Aramis Garcia||C||Florida International||Cardinals 2011 (20)|
|Pure right-handed hitter has good bat speed and a consistent line-drive stroke, but he will need to improve his defense to become an everyday backstop.|
|68||Carson Sands||LHP||North Florida Christian Academy (Fla.)||Florida St.|
|6'3', 200-pound southpaw is athletic with a loose arm, and his fastball and curveball continue to improve rapidly.|
|67||Brian Anderson||2B/OF||Arkansas||Twins 2011 (20)|
|Anderson lacks an outstanding tool, but the 6'3", 185-pound junior is an excellent athlete with the ability to play a variety of positions.|
|66||Alex Verdugo||LHP/OF||Sahuaro HS (Ariz.)||Arizona St.|
|One of the top two-way prep prospects, Verdugo, a left-handed pitcher, projects as a mid-rotation arm on the mound at the next level. He also has the potential to continue his two-way career next season at Arizona State.|
|Rank||Player||Pos.||School||College Commitment||Previously Drafted|
|65||Jordan Luplow||OF||Fresno St.||Never Drafted|
|Luplow lacks impact tools, but he's a well-rounded outfielder with the potential to hit for a decent average and amass countless doubles.|
|64||Alex Blandino||2B/3B||Stanford||Athletics 2011 (38)|
|Currently mans the hot corner for Stanford, but the junior's lack of over-the-fence power could lead to a move to second base as a professional.|
|63||Bryce Montes de Oca||RHP||Lawrence HS (Kan.)||Missouri|
|6'8" right-hander has come back strong from 2013 Tommy John surgery, showcasing impressive fastball velocity at 96-97 mph, but little else.|
|62||Zech Lemond||RHP||Rice||Pirates 2011 (50)|
|Lemond has been sidelined for most of the spring with elbow inflammation, but he flashed his late-inning potential with a plus fastball and curveball before landing on the shelf.|
|61||Mitch Keller||RHP||Xavier HS (Iowa)||North Carolina|
|One of the more underrated prep arms in this year's class, Keller, a 6'3" right-hander, has sat at 90-94 mph this spring, and his loose arm and athleticism suggests there's more velocity to come.|
|60||Jacob Lindgren||LHP||Mississippi St.||Cubs 2011 (12)|
|The highly deceptive left-hander has been absolutely dominant this season out of Mississippi State's bullpen, posting a 0.88 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 51 innings (16.41 K/9).|
|59||Dylan Cease||RHP||Milton HS (Ga.)||Vanderbilt|
|Cease was generating first-round buzz until he suffered a partial tear of his UCL early in the spring, which, when combined with his commitment to Vanderbilt, could make him a challenging sign.|
|58||Michael Cederoth||RHP||San Diego St.||Diamondbacks 2011 (41)|
|The 6'6" right-hander saved 20 games this season behind a legitimate triple-digit fastball, but his long limbs and high-maintenance delivery could pose a challenge for any team hoping to develop him as a starter at the next level.|
|57||Garrett Fulenchek||RHP||Howe HS (Texas)||Dallas Baptist|
|Fulenchek is a projectable 6'4" right-hander with a hard sinker in the low-90s and the makings of an above-average slider.|
|56||Matthew Railey||OF||North Florida Christian Academy HS (Fla.)||Florida St.|
|One of the older high school players in the class, Railey, who turned 19 in mid-March, profiles as a corner outfielder with the potential for at least average hit/power tools.|
|Rank||Player||Pos.||School||College Commitment||Previously Drafted|
|55||Keaton McKinney||RHP||Ankeny Centennial HS (Iowa)||Arkansas|
|6'5", 220-pounder features a fastball in the lows-90s as well as arguably the best right-handed changeup among his prep peers.|
|54||Jakson Reetz||C/OF||Hickman HS (Neb.)||Nebraska|
|Athletic prep catcher stands out for four average-or-better tools, especially his strong right-handed bat and advanced defense behind the plate.|
|53||Cody Reed||LHP||Ardmore HS (Ala.)||Vanderbilt|
|Reed enters the draft with some serious helium, as the 6'5" left-hander finished his spring season with a 0.46 ERA and 226 strikeouts in 92 innings.|
|52||Matt Chapman||3B||Cal St. Fullerton||Never Drafted|
|Chapman has taken an unexpected step back this season, but his bat and sharp defense at the hot corner still stand out in this year's pitching-heavy class.|
|51||Chase Vallot||C||St. Thomas More HS (La.)||Mississippi St.|
|Vallot's defense behind the plate will require time to develop, but his plus arm and power potential could prompt a move to right field if need be.|
|50||Mac Marshall||LHP||Parkview HS (Ga.)||LSU|
|6'2" left-hander features plus pitchability, with an impressive feel for a fastball, curveball and one of the best changeups in the class.|
|49||Luke Weaver||RHP||Florida St.||Blue Jays 2011 (19)|
|Weaver's stuff hasn't been as electric this spring, but his athletic frame and overall feel for pitching still make him one of the more intriguing college arms outside of the top tiers.|
|48||Sam Travis||1B/OF||Indiana||Reds 2011 (40)|
|Right-handed batter has plus raw power and an impressive track record over his past three seasons at Indiana.|
|47||Taylor Sparks||3B/2B||UC Irvine||Indians 2011 (24)|
|Sparks' production this spring hasn't met expectations, but his athleticism and untapped offensive potential should draw plenty of interest within the first two rounds.|
|46||Milton Ramos||SS||American Heritage HS (Fla.)||Florida Atlantic|
|Ramos is easily the most gifted defensive shortstop in this year's class and could enjoy a solid career at the position even if his bat doesn't amount to much.|
|Rank||Player||Pos.||School||College Commitment||Previously Drafted|
|45||Matt Imhof||LHP||Cal Poly||Never Drafted|
|The 6'5" left-hander isn't overpowering, but his combination of a deceptive delivery and live fastball have helped him accrue 124 strikeouts in 99.1 innings this season.|
|44||Ti'Quan Forbes||SS||Columbia HS (Miss.)||Mississippi|
|Forbes is one of the more intriguing prep prospects in this year's class, as he projects for at least average tools across the board and won't turn 18 until late August.|
|43||Nick Howard||RHP||Virginia||Never Drafted|
|Howard, a 6'4" right-hander, has been a force as Virginia's closer this season. He's used his mid-90s fastball and swing-and-miss breaking ball to save 19 games and pile up 50 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.|
|42||Forrest Wall||2B||Orangewood Christian HS (Fla.)||North Carolina|
|One of the best pure hitters in the class, Wall, a true second baseman, projects to be an above-average hitter with 70-grade speed.|
|41||A.J. Reed||1B||Kentucky||Mets 2011 (5)|
|Besides serving as Kentucky's ace this season, Reed, a left-handed-hitting first baseman, led all Division I hitters this season with 23 home runs and a .735 slugging percentage.|
|40||Justus Sheffield||LHP||Tullahoma HS (Tenn.)||Vanderbilt|
|The younger brother of 2013 13th-rounder Jordan Sheffield, Justus, a 6'1" lefty, is an impressive athlete with an advanced feel for three pitches.|
|39||Scott Blewett||RHP||Baker HS (N.Y.)||St. John's|
|The 6'6" right-hander dealt with shoulder stiffness this spring, but that shouldn't cause teams to overlook his 92-94 mph fastball and overall projectability.|
|38||Nick Burdi||RHP||Louisville||Twins 2011 (24)|
|One of the top closers in the nation for the past two seasons, Burdi boats a dominant fastball in the upper-90s that will scrape triple digits. He could be fast-tracked to the major leagues in the right organization.|
|37||Mike Papi||OF/1B||Virginia||Angels 2011 (30)|
|Papi is simply a pure hitter, with an impressive left-handed bat that should produce a good batting average and average power as a professional.|
|36||Jacob Bukauskas||RHP||Stone Bridge HS (Va.)||North Carolina|
|Bukauskas has made it known that he plans to honor his scholarship to North Carolina next season, but his mid- to upper-90s fastball could result in an early-round selection and above-slot signing bonus.|
|Rank||Player||Pos.||School||College Commitment||Previously Drafted|
|35||Marcus Wilson||OF||J Serra HS (Calif.)||Arizona St.|
|The toolsy 6'3", 170-pound outfielder is all projection at this point, but his athleticism and age (he won't turn 18 until late August) could make him a high-upside play for a team on draft day.|
|34||Braxton Davidson||OF/1B||T.C. Roberson HS (N.C.)||North Carolina|
|While Davidson's future defensive home is up in the air, there's little doubt that he'll offer an above-average bat and plus power at maturity.|
|33||Cameron Varga||RHP||Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (Ohio)||North Carolina|
|The physically strong 6'3" right-hander has shot up draft boards this spring thanks to an effortless 90-95 mph fastball and swing-and-miss curveball, which he used to strike out 106 batters in just 44 innings.|
|32||Michael Kopech||RHP||Mount Pleasant HS (Texas)||Arizona|
|The 6'4" right-hander has impressive stuff, with a fastball that sits in the low-90s with room to improve and sharp slider with late break. His funky delivery will need to be ironed out at the next level.|
|31||Foster Griffin||LHP||First Academy (Fla.)||Mississippi|
|Highly projectable 6'5", 190-pound left-hander had an advanced feel for pounding the zone with three pitches, including a low-90s fastballs with hard arm-side run.|
|30||Casey Gillaspie||1B||Wichita St.||Never Drafted|
|The younger brother of White Sox corner infielder Conor Gillaspie, Casey, a switch-hitter, projects for above-average hit and power tools as a professional, which eases some of the concern about his first base-only profile.|
|29||Monte Harrison||OF||Lee's Summit HS (Mo.)||Nebraska|
|One of the premier athlete in this year's class, Harrison is committed to play both baseball and football (4-star wide receiver) at Nebraska this season. His potential for five average-or-better tools could lead to his selection in the first round.|
|28||Michael Gettys||OF||Gainesville HS (Fla.)||Georgia|
|At 6'2", 205-pounds, Gettys' tools aren't far behind Harrison's, except for his bat, which hurts his overall draft value.|
|27||Derek Fisher||OF||Virginia||Rangers 2011 (6)|
|Fisher missed over a month this spring recovering from a broken hamate bone, but that hasn't hurt his status as one of the more pure hitters in this year's class.|
|26||Spencer Adams||RHP||White County HS (Ga.)||Georgia|
|Adams' stock has taken off this spring thanks to a velocity jump into the mid-90s, and the highly projectable 6'4" right-hander has shown an advanced feel for a four-pitch mix.|
25. Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Waiakea HS (Hawaii)
Hailing from Hawaii, Kodi Medeiros is viewed as one of the more intriguing and polarizing prep arms in this year's class. A younger player compared to his peers—he just turned 18 on May 25—the 6’0”, 180-pound left-hander lacks physical projection but features legitimate big league stuff.
Working from a unique low-three-quarters arm slot, Medeiros has some life to his fastball at 90-94 mph, and it tends to jump on opposing hitters due to his release point and smooth delivery. His breaking ball is nasty with huge horizontal break capable of deceiving hitters and missing bats at any level. The southpaw has a changeup, but it’s a raw pitch that will need to be developed thoroughly as a professional.
This spring, Medeiros posted a 1.12 ERA and 81-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43.2 innings.
24. Jacob Gatewood, SS/3B, Clovis HS (Calif.)
Jacob Gatewood is the epitome of projectable, with an athletic 6’5” frame that will allow him to add considerable strength as he matures physically. A right-handed hitter, Gatewood’s lightning-quick wrists and explosive bat speed yield effortless plus-plus raw power—especially to the pull side.
While he’s currently a shortstop, Gatewood is quickly outgrowing the position, and the popular belief is he’ll have to slide over to third as a professional.
This spring, Gatewood batted .389 with nine doubles, five home runs and 28 RBI.
23. Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS (Calif.)
Derek Hill entered the spring regarded as one of the fastest players in the 2014 draft class with legitimate top-of-the-order, plus-plus speed, and his prospect stock has continued to climb with the improvement of his baseball skills.
This spring, Hill batted .500/.586/.765 with 11 doubles, seven triples and 21 stolen bases in 29 games.
At 6’2”, 175 pounds, Hill’s wheels are obvious on both sides of the ball, especially in center field, where he’s a plus defender who should be able to stick at the position. At the dish, the right-handed hitter has a smooth swing and knows how to get the barrel on the ball. He’s already drawn rave reviews for the present in-game utility of his hit tool, and it should only improve as he continues to develop.
22. Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS (Calif.)
Luis Ortiz is one of the older prep prospects in this year’s class and lacks physical projection at 6’3”, 220 pounds. However, neither of those concerns can discount the fact that the prep right-hander boasts an explosive 92-96 mph fastball from an easy delivery, complemented by a sharp slider in the low- to mid-80s that profiles as at least an above-average offering at maturity.
Ortiz missed most of the spring with forearm tightness but has recovered in time for predraft workouts.
21. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS (Fla.)
At 6’4”, 205 pounds, Sean Reid-Foley is one of the more polished prep arms in the class, as his advanced feel for a four-pitch mix suggests a high floor and chance to move up the ladder quickly compared to his peers.
The athletic right-hander employs a fluid delivery that generates a fastball sitting in the low 90s and scraping 94 mph. He also throws an above-average breaking ball in the upper 70s that offers significant contrast compared to his heater.
Reid-Foley’s mechanics—specifically his elbow positioning prior to shifting his momentum toward the plate—were a concern headed into the season, but he’s cleaned it up and is moving up in the draft as a result.
This spring, Reid-Foley posted a stellar 0.64 ERA and 120-15 K/BB ratio in 65.2 innings.
20. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Texas Christian
Brandon Finnegan doesn’t require much physical projection at 5’11”, 190 pounds, but the left-handed pitcher boasts one of the better fastballs in the draft class, sitting consistently in the mid-90s and even flirting with triple digits at times. More importantly, he’s already shown the ability to hold the velocity deep into games.
Finnegan’s breaking ball is slurvey, registering in the low-80s with a deceptive shape, and it projects as another potential plus offering at maturity. His changeup is another solid pitch with good fading action out of the zone. Beyond the stuff, Finnegan stands out in the draft class for his feel for sequencing and overall confidence on the mound.
The 21-year-old has put everything together this spring to emerge as one of the top pitchers in college baseball. Through 15 starts, Finnegan has set career highs with a 2.07 ERA, 2.46 BB/9, 12.02 K/9 and 91.1 innings pitched.
The lefty would likely have posted even gaudier numbers had he not missed a good chunk of the spring after leaving his April 25 start with shoulder stiffness. Thankfully, Finnegan made his return to the mound on May 13 and proved he was healthy with his recent start in the NCAA regionals.
19. Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV
Erick Fedde built off his summer success in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA this spring back at UNLV. The 21-year-old seemed a near-lock to be selected in the top 15 picks of this year’s draft after he posted a stellar 1.76 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 76.2 innings covering his first 11 starts.
However, his promising season took an unexpected turn for the worse in early May when he missed a start with elbow soreness, which of course was followed by news that he’d need season-ending Tommy John surgery, via Aaron Fitt of Baseball America.
When healthy, Fedde works comfortably in the mid-90s with his fastball and features a legitimate plus slider, while his changeup continues to come along and should receive at least an average grade at maturity.
18. Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana
Kyle Schwarber is loaded with strength at 6’0”, 235 pounds and possesses some of the the best raw power in the class. The 21-year-old also projects to hit for a decent average at the highest level, as he has a relatively flat bat path and keeps the barrel in the zone for an extended period of time.
Through 56 games this spring, Schwarber is batting .350/.457/.650 with 15 doubles, six triples, 13 home runs, 44 RBI, 10 steals and a 27-41 K/BB ratio.
Schwarber is adequate at best defensively behind the plate, lacking the agility and athleticism needed to be a full-time regular in the majors. He almost certainly will move to first base full-time as a professional. However, his bat has the potential to support the position change.
17. Michael Chavis, 3B/2B, Sprayberry HS (Ga.)
Michael Chavis owns one of the best pure hit tools among high school draft prospects, with a compact but powerful right-handed stroke that suggests the potential for above-average hit and power tools. While his swing is mostly geared toward consistently hard, line-drive contact, his barrel control makes it a versatile swing and should help him hit for more power at the next level.
Though he played shortstop for his high school team, Chavis' solid athleticism and strong arm profile better at the hot corner as a professional, and he could even receive consideration in the outfield or possibly behind the plate.
This spring at Sprayberry High School, Chavis batted .580/.663/1.197 with nine doubles, 13 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 37 RBI in 28 games.
16. Trea Turner, SS, N.C. State
At 6’2”, 175 pounds, Turner is an excellent athlete with legitimate plus speed—though he’s lost a step over the last year—and the defensive chops to stick at shortstop long-term. At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows above-average bat speed, but he lacks consistent swing mechanics and at times struggles to make consistent hard contact.
While Turner’s plate discipline and approach are both highly advanced for his age, the adjustments he makes to his swing in the coming years will ultimately determine whether or not he reaches his hit-tool ceiling.
On the season, Turner batted .321/.418/.516 with 23 extra-base hits (eight home runs), 26 stolen bases and a 25-37 K/BB ratio in 54 games.
15. Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
Tyler Beede was a first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 but turned down a seven-figure bonus to continue his amateur career at Vanderbilt.
The 6’4”, 215-pound right-hander struggled to progress developmentally in 2012 and 2013 (5.6 BB/9 in 101 innings), but things have started to come together for him this season, as evidenced by his 3.20 ERA and a 106-43 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 98.1 innings.
Beede turned in the best performance of his season in Vanderbilt's NCAA regional contest Friday, as he struck out 14 batters over eight shutout innings against Xavier.
When he's at his best, Beede features a live fastball in the low 90s that tops out at 94-95 mph—sometimes even a tick or two more—as well as an above-average curveball in the high 70s and a potential plus changeup that registers in the same velocity range.
14. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian Academy (Fla.)
A well-known commodity in the scouting community, Touki Toussaint has been on the radar for the last two seasons thanks to a fastball that sits in the low- to mid-90s that has bumped 97 in the past.
The 6’2”, 195-pound right-hander’s curveball ranks as one of the best in the class, as he throws the pitch in the low 70s with exceptional depth and a sharp, two-plane break that induces whiffs. Toussaint is also one of the younger hurlers in the 2014 class, as he doesn’t turn 18 until after the June draft.
On the season, Toussaint registered a 1.22 ERA and 104-27 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 63.1 innings.
13. Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Max Pentecost’s draft stock took off this summer when he won MVP of the Cape Cod League after hitting .346/.424/.538 with six home runs. A 6’1”, 190-pound right-handed hitter with lightning-quick wrists, Pentecost has a compact but powerful swing that yields consistent hard contact, and he’s likely to feature at least average power at maturity.
Defensively, his athleticism is apparent behind the plate, while his specific skill sets are more of a work in progress. Pentecost also stands out for his average speed, so it’s conceivable that he could handle a position change if need be.
Through 61 games this spring, Pentecost is batting .424/.483/.630 with 22 doubles, nine home runs, 57 RBI, 17 stolen bases and an 25-28 K/BB ratio.
12. Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State
Michael Conforto jumped on the draft radar in 2012, batting .349/.438/.601 with 14 doubles and 12 home runs as a true freshman at Oregon State. He built on that success the following year by batting .328 with 11 home runs and leading the Beavers to the College World Series.
His outstanding campaign led to him being named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, and it also helped him secure his second selection to the Team USA Collegiate National Team.
Under the microscope once again this year with potential first-round money on the line, Conforto is enjoying the finest season of his collegiate career. Through the Beavers' first 58 games this season, the 21-year-old is batting .348 with a .552 slugging percentage, 16 doubles, seven home runs and 56 RBI, as well as a ridiculous 38-53 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span.
A 6’2”, 217-pound left-handed hitter, Conforto stands out for his power potential and advanced approach. He is a mature left-handed hitter with plus raw power thanks to above-average bat speed and an ability to consistently drive the ball with backspin carry. Because he’s gradually adjusted his approach over the past two seasons to produce more in-game power, the utility of his hit tool may always be tied to his strikeout rate.
Defensively, Conforto is limited to left field due to below-average arm strength and speed, as well as his shaky instincts and stiff actions. And if he eventually moves to first base, there will be even more pressure for his power to develop.
11. Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford
Sean Newcomb is a 6’5”, 240-pound left-hander with plus fastball velocity and a potential four-pitch mix. His fastball registers in the 90-94 mph range and bumps 95-96, and there’s reason to believe he’s going to naturally add a few ticks as a professional.
Newcomb’s curveball currently represents his best secondary offering, while his changeup and slider show potential but will require some refinement as a professional.
Newcomb has checked all the developmental boxes this season. He’s shown better fastball command as well as the ability to hold velocity deep into games, and he's improved both of his breaking balls and turned his changeup into a legitimate weapon.
The southpaw finished his junior campaign with a 1.25 ERA, .162 opponents' batting average and 106-38 K/BB ratio in 93.1 innings (14 starts).
10. Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS (S.C.)
Grant Holmes turned in a dominant performance during last summer’s showcase circuit, and he’s continued to improve his stock this spring pitching for Conway High School (S.C.). On the season, Holmes was 4-1 with a 0.52 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 40 innings.
Holmes has a thick, durable build at 6’2”, 210 pounds with broad shoulders and strong lower half. Even though he has impressive present athleticism for his size, the right-hander is seemingly maxed out physically.
However, that doesn’t make his pure stuff any less impressive, as Holmes already showcases two plus pitches in a 93-96 mph fastball (which has scraped triple digits in the past) with late life and a wipeout curveball with sharp break in the low- to mid-80s.
9. Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville
Kyle Freeland’s draft stock has soared this spring following his impressive showing last summer in the Cape Cod League. With a projectable 6’4”, 185-pound build as well as easy arm action and a smooth delivery, the left-hander works in the 90-94 mph range with his fastball and has been gunned as high as 95-96 mph.
Freeland’s slider represents his best present offering, and he demonstrates a feel for adding and subtracting to it. When he throws the pitch with velocity, it plays as more of a cutter in the mid-80s with late glove-side slicing action; when he takes something off, the pitch is closer to a true slider in the low 80s with more depth. Either way, it's a pitch that projects to miss bats at the next level.
Meanwhile, the southpaw also showcases an advanced feel for an average changeup at 84-86 mph that plays up thanks to the fluidity in his delivery.
Freeland absolutely dominated this spring for Evansville, posting a 1.90 ERA and otherworldly 128-13 K/BB ratio in 99.2 innings (14 starts).
8. Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco
Bradley Zimmer’s stellar sophomore campaign earned him a spot in the Cape Cod League and also one on the Team USA collegiate national team last summer.
He batted .281 in 22 games for the Cotuit Kettleers on the Cape, though his season was split into two parts due to his time with Team USA. Speaking of Team USA, he impressed on that circuit as well, batting .300 with one home and 11 RBI.
The 21-year-old has continued to make strides this spring, hitting for more average and demonstrating a better feel for the strike zone. He finished his junior campaign hitting .368/.461/.573 with 10 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and 21 stolen bases in 54 games for the Dons.
A left-handed hitter, Zimmer is widely considered one of the better college batters in the class, with a mature feel for hitting and above-average power potential. Furthermore, the 6’5” outfielder also possesses one of the finest collections of tools among amateur prospects with good speed and plus arm strength as well as the defensive prowess to possibly stick in center field.
7. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina
Jeff Hoffman emerged as a potential Day 1 selection with his breakout performance in the 2012 Cape Cod League All-Star Game, following it last summer with an even more dominant showing. Even though the junior right-hander lacked consistency this spring at East Carolina, he still turned in his share of dominant outings, including an impressive one-hit, 16-strikeout game against Middle Tennessee State in mid-April.
However, after he missed a pair of starts from late April into early May, it was announced that Hoffman would need season-ending Tommy John surgery.
When healthy, Hoffman, a 6’4”, 200-pound right-hander, will usually sit in the 92-97 mph range with his fastball and more toward the high end of that range when he’s at his best. While he does a decent job of working the pitch to both sides of the plate, his overall command leaves room for improvement.
In terms of his secondary arsenal, Hoffman throws a plus curveball that has plus-plus potential at maturity, as well as a mid-80s slider that already grades as at least an average offering. The right-hander has a changeup with average fading action that should develop into another weapon during his rise to the major leagues.
6. Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU
Aaron Nola made an immediate impact for the Tigers as a freshman, as he posted a 3.61 ERA and stellar 89-7 K/BB ratio in 89.2 innings while making 16 starts.
The right-hander quietly emerged as one of the top pitchers in the nation the following year, following Kevin Gausman’s fourth overall selection in the 2012 draft. Nola went 12-1 with five complete games, lowered his ERA to 1.57, held opposing hitters to a .188 batting average and posted a ridiculous 122-18 K/BB ratio in 126 innings.
Furthermore, he averaged at least seven innings over his 17 starts.
This season it’s been more of the same for Nola, who will celebrate his 21st birthday the day before the draft, as he owns an 11-1 record, 1.47 ERA, .172 opponent batting average and 134-27 K/BB ratio through 116.1 innings (16 starts).
Working from a low-three-quarter arm slot, Nola sits in the low 90s with a heavy fastball that induces both whiffs and weak contact. His curveball has really improved compared to previous seasons and is an above-average pitch with tight spin and depth. Nola also does a nice job of keeping hitters off-balance with his changeup, which registers in the 83-85 mph range. And as he’s demonstrated in each of the last two seasons, the stuff will play up thanks to a plus command profile.
5. Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
Alex Jackson, an Oregon commit, entered his senior season as a likely top-10 pick, even after a good but not great showing last summer on the showcase circuit, and he has done everything in his power to be the first hitter off the board on June 5. In 31 games this spring, Jackson batted .382/.455/.680 with 11 home runs and only eight strikeouts compared to 25 walks.
Arguably the top prep hitter in the 2014 draft class, Jackson stands out for his plus bat speed, natural hitting ability and athleticism that allow for a catcher-outfielder future defensive profile.
Spending most of his time behind the dish, the 6’2”, 200-pounder has excellent catch-and-throw skills and a cannon for an arm but will require considerable time to develop the other aspects of his defensive package. However, because his right-handed bat has the potential to be that good, Jackson might move to the outfield full-time as a professional so as to save his knees and hopefully elongate his career.
4. Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS (Fla.)
The son of former major leaguer Tom "Flash" Gordon and brother to Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Nick is widely considered the best shortstop in this year’s class after blossoming on the summer showcase circuit over the last two years.
Gordon projects to have five at least average tools at maturity, though he’ll always stand out for his defensive prowess and rocket arm across the infield. His bat is understandably less developed, but the left-handed hitter should develop average-or-better hit and power tools.
This spring, Gordon batted .494/.576/.843 with 41 hits, 28 runs scored, 10 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 27 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 27 games for Olympia.
3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (Texas)
Right-hander Tyler Kolek is a physical presence on the mound at 6’5”, 250 pounds, and possesses arguably the best fastball velocity in the class. Working on a downhill plane with a tough three-quarters arm slot, Kolek sits comfortably in the mid-90s, at times flirting with triple digits. He also holds velocity deep into games.
In addition, Kolek throws an inconsistent slider that flashes plus potential, an average curveball and undeveloped changeup.
2. Carlos Rodon, LHP, N.C. State
Carlos Rodon has been the projected No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft for basically the last year-and-a-half, but this spring the junior left-hander didn't dominate as he did the previous two years. On the season, Rodon posted a 2.01 ERA and 117-31 K/BB ratio in 98.2 innings for the Wolfpack.
At 6’3", 234 pounds, Rodon features an explosive fastball in the low- to mid-90s and mixes in a cutter, while his plus-plus slider in the high 80s currently grades as the best secondary offering among his peers. The southpaw also has a changeup that flashes above-average potential at his disposal—though it’s considerably less advanced than his other two pitches.
1. Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic
Brady Aiken has emerged as the class’ top prep prospect and arguably the top prospect in the draft.
The 6’4” left-hander has shown improved fastball velocity this spring, consistently sitting in the low 90s and even bumping 95-96 mph, as well as displaying his usual outstanding polish.
Aiken's secondary arsenal consists of a changeup and curveball, and they’re both already average-or-better offerings with plenty of room for improvement.