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It wasn’t long after the end of the 2014 season that general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny informed Carlos Martinez that he’d report to spring training as a starter in 2015.

It was the same message Mozeliak had for the 23-year-old right-hander after the 2013 season.

But after losing to Joe Kelly last spring, Martinez seems to have an inside track toward the final spot in the team’s Opening Day rotation this time around, a spot made available through the trades of Kelly and Shelby Miller.

Armed with a triple-digit fastball and a deep arsenal of swing-and-miss offerings, Martinez has emerged as one of the more dominant late-inning relievers in baseball, making 70 appearances out of the Cardinals’ bullpen since arriving on the scene in May 2013.


Last year's No. 1 overall draft pick became eligible for the 2015 draft on Thursday, as IMG Academy announced Brady Aiken will pitch for its postgraduate baseball team this spring.

Aiken and the Houston Astros famously were unable to reach an agreement before the July 15 signing deadline, and it was expected that the 18-year-old left-hander would sign on with a junior college program and re-enter the draft.

Right-hander Jacob Nix, who failed to sign with the Astros as a fifth-round pick last year and ultimately settled a grievance with the club in November, will join Aiken at IMG, and both pitchers will once again audition for scouts leading up to the June 8 draft.

"We're excited for Brady [Aiken] to join us at IMG Academy," said IMG Academy's director of baseball, Dan Simonds, via its official website. "At IMG [Academy] he will have access to everything from world-class coaches and performance experts to top-notch facilities and the latest technology."

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In the last week Prospect Pipeline has been previewing spring training prospects in different ways, whether it is highlighting little-known players, predicting breakout candidates or even putting together a full team of this year’s must-watch prospects.

With spring games beginning next week, we’ll continue to look at some of the other notable prospects in camp this year with a breakdown of each team’s top five-tool talent.

This article has nothing to do with who is the better prospect or who is most likely to make an impact at the highest level; rather, this is strictly an evaluation of each player’s five tools (hit, power, run, throw and field). And please keep in mind that we only are looking at players who received non-roster invitations to spring training or are already on a 40-man roster.

Instead of rewriting each prospect’s full scouting report, I decided to use some of the scouting notes that first appeared as part of his organization’s top-10 prospects ranking. Unfortunately, not every team has a truly toolsy prospect in camp this year, so in those instances we gave the nod to players based on the quality rather than quantity of his tools.


Dodgers prospect Julio Urias made a statement last spring in his first big league camp, as the then-17-year-old struck out a pair of Padres as part of a scoreless inning.

This year, Urias, now 18, is back in camp with the Dodgers and ready to prove to the organization that despite his age and relative lack of experience, he’s ready for the major leagues. Positive reports on Urias have already started to come in this spring, with veteran A.J. Ellis offering high praise for the teenager after a recent bullpen session.

"I'd like to know how old he really is because there's no way a kid 18 years old can have that type of composure," Ellis joked, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "That's what was most impressive to me, his tempo, his ability to stay in the moment.”

But even if Urias dazzles this spring as he’s expected to, the Dodgers still are likely to send him to the minor leagues for the start of the season. At the same time, with all eyes on the left-hander this spring, he certainly stands to improve his estimated time of arrival in The Show.

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The start of Cactus and Grapefruit League games next week means all eyes will soon be trained on baseball’s top prospects. However, with so many top-ranked young players in major league camp, focusing may be a little tricky.

Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of a future superstar will have an overwhelming number of chances to do so over the next month, as teams will be offering their best prospects extensive playing time early in the spring schedule so as to evaluate them against proven big leaguers.

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

While there will be a solid collection of prospects on the field in any given game this spring, certain guys stand out as simply must-watch entertainment.

Here is the 2015 spring training MLB Prospects-to-Watch Team.

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It’s always a big deal when a prospect makes an Opening Day roster, and even more so when it’s at least partly the result of a standout performance in spring training.

Unfortunately, those instances are few and far between, as teams traditionally try not to rely on young, unproven players at the onset of the season. Plus, teams usually have more incentive for top prospects to open the year in the minor leagues as opposed to putting them on the active roster, with the main reasons including service time, developmental concerns or a positional roadblock at the highest level.

This means that, for some prospects, they will be headed back to the farm no matter how well they play in spring training.

Here are five prospects to whom that will apply in 2015.

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Not every successful major league player is a former top prospect.

One of the more rewarding aspects of scouting comes from the identification of young players who, despite flying under the radar, showcase the potential to be impact players at the highest level. That's also what makes spring training so great: It's an opportunity to view a wide range of players who might not be well-known outside of their organizations.

With that said, here’s a look at 10 under-the-radar spring training prospects worth knowing for the 2015 season.

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Change was the theme of the offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, both on and off the field.

It began with an overhaul of the team’s front office, as ownership hired Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi to serve as president of baseball operations and general manager, respectively, and with those two analytic rock stars came a new approach to constructing a winning and cost-effective roster.

That led to some tough goodbyes to fan-favorite players, as Friedman and Zaidi allowed Hanley Ramirez to leave as a free agent and then traded Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp in December during the annual winter meetings.

While the Dodgers subsequently restructured their middle infield through trades for veterans Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick, the team’s decision not to replace Kemp in center field was a direct vote of confidence in prospect Joc Pederson.

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Last month we took an in-depth look at Washington Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito, the consensus No. 1 overall pitching prospect heading into the season, as well as what should be expected of him realistically in 2015.

Since then, the Nationals have extended spring training invitations to 20 non-roster players, a group that includes catching prospects Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom. Giolito did not receive an invitation to big league camp this year, unfortunately.

However, that shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, as the 20-year-old is still technically recovering from Tommy John surgery in late 2012, and we all know how careful the Nationals are with pitchers following arm injuries.

Giolito was viewed as a candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft after the right-hander lit up radar guns with his fastball and dropped jaws with his curveball early in the spring for Harvard-Westlake High School (California).

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Baseball fans' excitement about prospects always picks up with the start of spring training, as it presents an opportunity to view some of the sport’s future stars playing alongside its current ones. However, with high-profile prospects such as Byron Buxton, Kris Bryant and Corey Seager stealing all the attention in major league camp, it also can be easy to overlook some of the game's less glamorous, under-the-radar young players. 

Therefore, I’ve identified a select group of prospects who will be in big league camp—some on a 40-man roster, some non-roster invitees—whom I believe will blow past expectations this spring. None of the players on this list rank as their respective team's top prospect for 2015, though a majority of them are on the major league radar heading into the season. Basically, we're looking at already notable prospects who are strong candidates to become the talk of baseball this spring.

Here’s a look at my spring training breakout prospects to watch in 2015.