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The Chicago White Sox made Jose Abreu the richest Cuban player in Major League Baseball history this offseason, inking the slugging first baseman to a six-year, $68 million contract through 2019.

Yet, as is the case with any big-name international signee, the 27-year-old will now be expected to produce out of the gate this season, presumably hitting in the middle of order for the White Sox. 

Cuban players have made an immediate impact in the major leagues in recent years, with Yoenis Cespedes’ eye-opening rookie campaign in 2012 and Yasiel Puig’s historically strong 2013 season serving as prime examples. Though they both struggled at times in their stateside debuts, their ability to make adjustments allowed them to overcome said struggles and turn in impressive rookie campaigns. 

Although Abreu is a much different type of player, he has the makings of a future star in the major leagues. 

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So far this offseason, Prospect Pipeline has broken down each team's top-10 prospects and ranked all the farm systems.

That means there's only one thing left to do: rank Major League Baseball's top 100 prospects.

As is the case with all my rankings, any player who’s accrued 130 at-bats or 50 innings in the major leagues no longer qualifies as a prospect. Additionally, I don’t treat international free agents as true prospects, because there’s no benefit in comparing a 26-year-old Cuban player to an 18-year-old draft pick until they log significant stateside experience.

We hope everyone enjoys Prospect Pipeline's top 100 prospects for the 2014 season.

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It takes a rare and special talent to become a household name in Major League Baseball, especially if the player in question isn't going to hit many home runs. 

Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton feels like a player from a different era of baseball.

He's a pure-speed talent who has no other carrying tool—with the possible exception of his glove because his legs allow him to track down balls in center field, a position he's still learning. 

The difference between Hamilton and all of these other speed-first players you hear about, like Arizona's Tony Campana or San Francisco's Gary Brown, is Hamilton's speed doesn't measure on the 20-80 scouting scale. 

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While it will be several years until most of the 2013 draft picks are ready for the major leagues, there exists a small contingent of players with the potential to contribute at the highest level in 2014.

Thanks to an accelerated signing deadline in mid-July under Major League Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement—it used to be mid-August—draft picks are now encouraged to quickly begin their professional careers. For some of those players, that means an ahead-of-schedule debut in the major leagues the following year.

Here’s a look at five early-round picks from the 2013 draft who are fast-tracked toward MLB success.

 

Jonathan Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies

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When you are a 21-year-old baseball player with 18 games of professional experience under your belt and a team trusts you to take over as the starting third baseman in the middle of the American League Championship Series, odds are good that you have special abilities. 

In the case of Boston Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts, last year's postseason was a blip on the radar for what this young stud is capable of doing. 

What's scary for other teams around baseball is that Bogaerts could end up being one of the two or three best hitters in Boston's lineup by the end of 2014, no easy feat considering David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino are already featured players.

But seeing how comfortable Bogaerts was on the biggest stage in baseball last October, putting up quality at-bats night after night, even if he didn't have the hits to show for it, this is a special talent with no apparent ceiling. 

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Spring training has barely begun, and already, a trade involving a trio of prospects has taken place.

On Thursday, a swap occurred between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Washington Nationals, per Bill Ladson of MLB.com, in which the most recognizable name is catcher Jose Lobaton, a backup catcher whose name, let's face it, isn't all that recognizable in the first place.

The other three pieces are all prospects with some intriguing upside. Joining Lobaton in D.C. are young outfielder Drew Vettleson and lefty Felipe Rivero, while right-hander Nathan Karns (pictured), a 26-year-old who made three starts for the Nats last year, is heading to St. Petersburg.

This transaction occurred on the eve of spring training, so imagine what others might happen once the exhibition games actually get going. Over the next handful of weeks, prospects in big league camp will have a chance to show what they can do which might make them better known and more attractive to teams looking to acquire young, cheap talent for the future.

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It’s doubtful the St. Louis Cardinals would have finished with the best record in the National League and reached the World Series last season without the contributions from their rookie pitchers.

Using 12 different rookies during the regular season, the Cardinals’ collection of promising young arms posted a 36-22 record with a 3.17 ERA, 8.79 K/9 and 2.99 BB/9 in 553.2 innings.

Among those rookies was a trio of homegrown right-handers: Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha.

While Miller opened the year in the team’s big league rotation and served as one of the National League’s better rookie hurlers before the All-Star break, Martinez and Wacha arrived later in the summer to help push the Cardinals into the postseason.

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Having hype as a 21-year-old athlete can lead to inevitable disappointment if they don't perform exactly as advertised, especially when that athlete hasn't played a professional baseball game above Double-A.

For Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley, the hype machine has reached a fever pitch heading into 2014, putting all the pressure in the world on his shoulders. If any young hurler in the minors seems prepared to deal with it, it's Bradley. 

Bradley, the seventh-overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, saw his stock skyrocket last year after posting a stellar 1.84 ERA (third best in the minors) and 169 strikeouts in 152 innings across High-A and Double-A. 

Now, he enters 2014 as MLB.com's top pitching prospect (fifth overall on the top 100 list). Bleacher Report MLB Lead Prospect writer Mike Rosenbaum lists Bradley's MLB ETA as mid-2014. Given the trajectory of his career in the last 12 months, that seems about right. 

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South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon and the Baltimore Orioles have reportedly reached an agreement on a three-year, $5.75 million contract pending a physical, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.

While the Orioles have already shelved two potential contracts this offseason (Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin) as a result of medical concerns, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com believes that Yoon is “in good shape to pass” his physical.

Regardless of whether the Orioles deploy the 27-year-old as a starter or reliever next season, Yoon will soon face the challenges of pitching in the offense-driven American League East.

Here’s what you need to know about the Orioles’ new right-hander, including insight into how he might fare this season within the division.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena have reportedly agreed to terms, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.comTerms of the deal were not disclosed in Gurnick's report because "there still are physical exams and possible legal and immigration issues to resolve."

Arruebarruena is the latest in a string of international signings by the Dodgers, having signed no fewer than 53 players (if you include Arruebarruena) from foreign countries in the last 13 months, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles

Signing with a high-profile franchise like the Dodgers immediately puts Arruebarruena on the prospect radar, but does the talent match the inevitable hype?

Let's examine Arruebarruena's raw tools and upside to find some answers, shall we?