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USA Today

It may not count in the standings, but all eyes were focused on George Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday afternoon as the New York Yankees played host to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles. 

The Yankees did win the game, 8-3, but that was a mere formality. Even the best college teams are going to struggle against professional squads because of the talent disparity and the use of wood bats in the game. For his part, Winston went 0-for-2 at the plate, coming in as a replacement in left field in the fifth.

Winston's appearance in the game and New York's unofficial start to spring training made this one of the most talked about baseball events of the winter. 

While his long-term future lies in football, Winston has brought a much-needed buzz to college baseball this spring because of his profile. He splits time between the outfield and pitching, as he did in Tuesday's game. 

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Now that teams have reported to spring training and taken part in full workouts, the games can begin, which means we get a chance to see what the best minor leaguers in baseball will do against proven stars. 

Sometimes prospects will parlay a strong spring into a surprise MLB job right out of camp, like Jackie Bradley did with Boston or Aaron Hicks did with Minnesota last year. It's often dangerous to put stock in spring numbers because of sample-size issues and shifts in competition. 

However, for the top 50 prospects in baseball this year, it seems that there is already a strong consensus over where they are going to end up. Sometimes their paths will change, most likely due to injuries, but often they're set in stone. 

Even if we know where a prospect will end up, that doesn't make their performance against MLB-quality pitching any less fascinating to watch. It provides us with a snapshot at where they are in the development cycle. 

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At this time last year, Nick Franklin was viewed as the Seattle Mariners’ shortstop or second baseman of the future.

But now, after the team went all-in during the offseason and signed Robinson Cano for $240 million, the 22-year-old’s future as a Mariner is up in the air.

According to Larry Stone of The Seattle Times, manager Lloyd McClendon will have Franklin and incumbent shortstop Brad Miller compete in spring training for the Opening Day job, with the loser likely headed down to Triple-A Tacoma or moved elsewhere through a trade. 

Unfortunately, all signs point to Franklin being the odd man out.

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Every year, baseball fans' excitement about top prospects in major league spring training seems to grow. Unfortunately, it's also too easy to overlook some of the game's less glamorous, under-the-radar young players. 

Besides providing an opportunity for players to fine-tune their skills in anticipation of the season, participating in major league camp also offers prospects the chance to make a strong impression in front of the entire organization.

Therefore, I’ve identified a select group of prospects—some are on a 40-man roster, some are non-roster invitees—whom I believe will blow past expectations in spring training and ultimately turn in a breakout performance during the minor and major league regular seasons.

Here’s a look at my spring training breakout prospects to watch in 2014.

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USA Today

The last half-decade has been rough for the Chicago Cubs.

The franchise owns a 356-453 overall record since its last playoff berth in 2008, recording only one winning season (2009) during that span. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Cubs are coming off back-to-back dismal seasons in which they combined for 197 losses.

However, help is on the way.

If you’ve seen my top 100 prospects and farm system rankings for 2014, then you probably already know that the Cubs’ collection of prospects is among the best in baseball. Specifically, the organization placed seven players in the top 100, with three ranking in the top 20: Javier Baez (No. 6), Albert Almora (14) and Kris Bryant (17).

While many of the Cubs’ top prospects have bright futures, Baez, Almora and Bryant each have the ceiling of an All-Star-caliber player, and it won’t be long until they’re given a crack at the major leagues. Yet, in order to climb out of the cellar in the National League Central and contend for a spot in the postseason, the Cubs can’t afford to rely on the presumed success of their Big Three.

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With Matt Harvey likely out for the entire year following Tommy John surgery in October, the New York Mets are prepared to enter the 2014 season ace-less. 

The Mets’ lack of a replacement for Harvey at the front of the rotation means that they will need other starters to take on an expanded role next season, and no pitcher is more ready for the challenge than 23-year-old Zack Wheeler. 

Wheeler quietly emerged as one of the better rookie pitchers in the major leagues last season following a mid-June debut, registering a 3.42 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 100 innings (17 starts). The right-hander was especially solid in his 12 starts after the All-Star break, posting a 3.38 ERA with 66 hits allowed and 63 strikeouts in 72 innings. 

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Now that we are in the throes of spring training, all eyes are going to be focused on the top prospects for all 30 Major League Baseball teams and how soon their impact can be felt. 

It makes sense these young players are a focal point of the exhibition season, because teams, like prospects, breed optimism. Everyone believes if one or two things break the right way, they could make a run like the 2013 Boston Red Sox. 

Of course, we are talking about players who range between the ages of 19-24, so they are volatile. You will hear about a development plan and potential arrival times for prospects, but you can't force a player into a situation before he is ready. 

For the top players in each team's system, we thought it would be appropriate to provide fair, honest odds to evaluate their potential impact in the big leagues this season. 

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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.