It’s time once again to start unveiling the top prospects heading into the 2013 season across Major League Baseball. Keep in mind as you’re reviewing this list that such rankings are entirely subjective and there is no perfect science to devising these rankings. It’s a long, complex process that results in a collective list that not everyone will agree with. There will be rankings that you’ll think are too high and others that are too low. Discussion is encouraged, so leave us a comment and let us know where you disagree (just keep the comments respectful).
For more insight into this year’s list, be sure to take a read through our introductory post.
Without further ado, let’s get right to the rankings. We’ll start with #101 through #115 (because I couldn’t settle on just 100 names).
#115 – Barret Loux, right-handed pitcher, Chicago Cubs
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 215
Born: April 6, 1989 (age 23)
2012 Stats (at Double-A Frisco): 14-1, 3.47 ERA, 25 GS, 127.0 IP, 41 BB (2.9 BB/9), 100 K (7.1 K/9), 1.268 WHIP
The big right-hander had a dominant season in Double-A, posting strong numbers in the Texas League and showing many why he was taken 6th overall in the 2010 Draft. Of course, Loux’s career never started on the right foot after some serious medical concerns (notably in his right shoulder) were discovered in a post-draft physical which led to him becoming a free agent instead of completing a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks as expected. Now, after being acquired in late November by the Cubs, Loux may actually find himself in the best possible position to succeed as Theo Epstein and Co. tend to value pitchers with high upside who’ve largely gone under the radar.
Bold Prediction: Loux pitches well enough at Triple-A to earn a September callup with the Cubs this season.
#114 – Cory Spangenberg, second baseman, San Diego Padres
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 185
Born: March 16, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (at High-A Lake Elsinore): .271/.324/.352, 1 HR, 40 RBI, 27 SB, 26 BB, 72 SO, 98 G (426 PA)
Spangenberg hit well enough at High-A to warrant a bump up for the 2013 season, but he’s going to have to start demonstrating some intangibles if he’s going to develop a solid future with the Padres. The second baseman hits well enough, but lacks any true power potential. A singles hitter with speed that plays adequate defense is only going to get so far in his career.
Bold Prediction: A promotion to Double-A proves not to be overwhelming, putting Spangenberg back on the prospect map after he posts a solid season at the plate.
#113 – Brandon Workman, right-handed pitcher, Boston Red Sox
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 195
Born: August 13, 1988 (age 24)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland): 10-8, 3.50 ERA, 25 GS, 138.2 IP, 25 BB (1.6 BB/9), 130 K (8.4 K/9), 1.096 WHIP
Control is a huge part of Workman’s game and one of the strengths that might carry him pretty far as a part of the next wave of pitching prospects working their way through Boston’s minor league system. The former University of Texas product and 2nd Round pick (2010) pitched well enough this past season to earn a promotion to Double-A for the final few starts of the year. He’ll likely repeat the level in 2013, but that’s more of a formality than a sign that he isn’t ready for that next level. If he can continue to keep extra batters off base then he could be in line for a big jump on next year’s rankings.
Bold Prediction: Dominant season at Double-A that results in a late season promotion to Triple-A and an invite to Spring Training a year from now.
#112 – Eddie Rosario, second baseman, Minnesota Twins
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 170
Born: September 28, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between Rookie Level and Class-A Beloit): .299/.347/.499, 13 HR, 74 RBI, 11 SB, 32 BB, 71 SO, 100 G (449 PA)
Some Twins fans will likely question why Rosario isn’t a bit higher on this list, particularly after some recent comparisons that were made at our Twins site, Puckett’s Pond, that suggest he could develop into a player in the Dustin Pedroia/Dustin Ackley mold. What causes me some hesitation, however, is the fact that he needed to repeat the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League. Sure, he was drafted and signed at a young age but showed little reason (at least from a statistical standpoint) to suggest that he wouldn’t have been ready to advance to that next level. Even at just 21 years of age an argument could be made that he should be further along than he is.
Bold Prediction: He proves the supporters right and makes a big jump to Double-A by mid-season.
#111 – Jeurys Familia, right-handed pitcher, New York Mets
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 230
Born: October 10, 1989 (age 23)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Buffalo): 9-9, 4.73 ERA, 28 GS, 137.0 IP, 73 BB (4.8 BB/9), 128 K (8.4 K/9), 1.591 WHIP
MLB Career: 0-0, 5.84 ERA, 8 G (1 GS), 12.1 IP, 9 BB (6.6 BB/9), 10 K (7.3 K/9), 1.541 WHIP
Familia briefly made his MLB Debut this past season, but it seems evident that the organization’s plans for him remain up in the air. Used primarily out of the bullpen in September, the team should be heading into Spring Training with Familia in the mix for the final spot in the starting rotation. Should be fail to win that battle he’ll likely head down to Triple-A, however his fate will become even more uncertain. Familia’s name has frequently come up in trade discussions (or at least in speculation) and he is one of those rare prospects that appears more likely to be dealt than shown patience.
Bold Prediction: Wins the team’s last spot in the rotation out of Spring Training but is still traded by July.
#110 – Grant Green, shortstop/outfielder, Oakland Athletics
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 180
Born: September 27, 1987 (age 25)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Sacramento): .296/.338/.458, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 13 SB, 33 BB, 75 SO, 125 G (562 PA)
A 1st Round pick in 2009, the expectations were always high for Green. Taken as a shortstop, the A’s have been mostly experimenting with his position over the past two seasons which has seemingly dropped his standing as a top prospect, rather than increasing his potential value as a super-utility option. Green played five different positions this past season, playing all of them well but none spectacularly. He brings enough offense to the table, however, that the A’s will have to find a spot for him on the active roster with another season similar to his 2012.
Bold Prediction: Will make his MLB Debut before September, but won’t take on a regular role for the team until 2014 at the earliest.
#109 – Blake Swihart, catcher, Boston Red Sox
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 175
Born: April 3, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (at Class-A Greenville): .262/.307/.395, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 6 SB, 26 BB, 68 SO, 92 G (378 PA)
It was clear that the Red Sox think highly of Swihart when the spent a 1st Round pick (2011) on him, but most public opinion appears to remain split on his long term potential. Some seem to favor his defense but question how his bat will develop, while others are aligned the sheer opposite direction. He won’t be rushed up a level, but 2013 could ultimately prove to be a pivotal season for the backstop if he’s going to establish himself as a true prospect or just someone projected to be an average regular.
Bold Prediction: An early injury forces him up to Double-A ahead of schedule and he proves me wrong for doubting him.
#108 – Matt Skole, third baseman, Washington Nationals
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 230
Born: July 30, 1989 (age 23)
2012 Stats (combined between Class-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac): .291/.426/.559, 27 HR, 104 RBI, 11 SB, 99 BB, 133 SO, 119 G (524 PA)
Skole was Washington’s Minor League Player of the Year this past season and earned himself an invite to Spring Training, but he’s not quite ready to contend for a spot off the team’s bench. Sure, he mashed 27 HR and drove in over 100 runs (a rare feat in the organization’s history at the minor league level), but he’s still got a lot of development to undergo (notably cutting back on the strikeouts). Skole’s future could also be tied to his position, considering Washington already has Ryan Zimmerman signed to a long term deal and Anthony Rendon waiting in the wings. Someone is ultimately going to have to move positions, with speculation already beginning that one of these players will end up sliding across the diamond to first base.
Bold Prediction: Consistent power production with a bump up to Double-A, but a lack of improvement in the strikeout department leaves many to unflatteringly compare him to Mark Reynolds.
#107 – Bruce Rondon, right-handed pitcher, Detroit Tigers
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190
Born: December 2, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A Lakeland, Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo): 2-1, 1.53 ERA, 52 G, 53.0 IP, 26 BB (4.4 BB/9), 66 K (11.2 K/9), 1.094 WHIP
Plenty has been said about Rondon at this site over the course of the winter and it would appear as though Detroit will stick to their plan, giving Rondon a chance to win the closer’s role in Spring Training. The right-hander has some great life to his fastball (clocked at over 100 MPH at times) but has little experience, particularly against the higher levels of competition. Expecting that he can make the jump to the Majors might be a little premature, but the potential is certainly there if the organization can learn to show a little patience while allowing him to further develop.
Bold Prediction: Rondon starts the year in the Detroit bullpen, struggles, and spends most of the season back at Triple-A. His full effect on the Tigers pen isn’t realized until 2014.
#106 – Marcell Ozuna, outfielder, Miami Marlins
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190
Born: November 12, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (at High-A Jupiter): .266/.328/.476, 24 HR, 95 RBI, 8 SB, 44 BB, 116 SO, 129 G (539 PA)
Ozuna’s another prospect, similarly to Skole, with the ability to hit for power but questions about the rest of his game. At 21 and in High-A, he’s also on the older side of his competition which further skews the numbers you’ll see on the back of his baseball cards. Ozuna needs to demonstrate a more overall offensive approach is he’s going to develop into a reliable regular at the MLB level, while cutting back on the strikeouts.
Bold Prediction: He struggles with a promotion to Double-A, creating more questions than providing answers about his future.
#105 – Evan Gattis, catcher, Atlanta Braves
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 230
Born: August 18, 1986 (age 26)
2012 Stats (combined between Rookie League, High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi): .305/.389/.607, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 2 SB, 31 BB, 43 SO, 74 G (314 PA)
Gattis climbed into the picture with a strong finish to the regular season and a solid showing in the winter, but it’s important to remember that he’s still on the fringes of being considered among the game’s top prospects behind the plate. He’s older than most of his competition and still hasn’t put in a full season’s worth of at bats, leaving some questions open about his long term impact. Defensively he’s a sound option, throwing out 39% of opposing base stealers this past season.
Bold Prediction: Given the organization’s depth behind the plate, Gattis is going to end up being trade bait at some point this coming season. I don’t see him being in the Braves long term plans.
#104 – Miles Head, third baseman, Oakland Athletics
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 215
Born: May 2, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland): .333/.391/.577, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 3 SB, 39 BB, 130 SO, 124 G (528 PA)
Compare Head’s 2012 season to his 2011 campaign and not much is different. He jumped up a level and shifted organizations (he was part of the package the Red Sox game up a year ago to acquire Andrew Bailey from Oakland), but beyond that he’s been remarkably consistent over the past two seasons. He’ll likely want to cut back on the strikeouts, but if he can remain at third base then suddenly the A’s might have a long term option at the position that they haven’t enjoyed since they could field a healthy Eric Chavez at the hot corner.
Bold Prediction: A strong season at Double-A that results in a Spring Training invite next season.
#103 – Gavin Cecchini, shortstop, New York Mets
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180
Born: December 22, 1993 (age 19)
2012 Stats (combined between Rookie League Kingsport and Low-A Brooklyn): .240/.307/.321, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 5 SB, 18 BB, 44 SO, 58 G (218 PA)
The first 2012 Draft pick to adorn the list (but certainly not the last), Cecchini is already near the top of the team’s rankings according to BA (coming in as their #2 prospect). At just 19 he’s a long ways away from the Major Leagues and still has a fair amount of development to go through. He reached the pitcher-friendly NY/Penn League this past season and appears likely to at least start there once again in 2013. New York will take their time moving Cecchini through their system, but if he can remain at shortstop he could prove to be a valuable piece of the organization’s future.
Bold Prediction: Defensively sound, Cecchini’s offensive production catches up and he justifies BA’s #2 ranking over the course of the coming season.
#102 – Sean Gilmartin, left-handed pitcher, Atlanta Braves
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190
Born: May 8, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett): 6-10, 3.84 ERA, 27 GS, 157.0 IP, 39 BB (2.2 BB/9), 111 K (6.4 K/9), 1.217 WHIP
With a huge jump in his innings total, Gilmartin saw a big change in his peripherals (notably his K/9 and BB/9 rates) that is troubling, but the lefty still shows a fair amount of promise. The Braves historically are strong in developing their young pitching and Gilmartin could be their next big left-handed project – if he can straighten some things out.
Bold Prediction: He’s likely heading for Triple-A to start the season, but isn’t guaranteed to stay at the level all season. If he struggles look for him to head back to Double-A, albeit briefly.
#101 – Wily Peralta, right-handed pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 240
Born: May 8, 1989 (age 23)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Nashville): 7-11, 4.66 ERA, 28 GS, 146.2 IP, 78 BB (4.8 BB/9), 143 K (8.5 K/9), 1.582 WHIP
MLB Career: 2-1, 2.48 ERA, 6 G (5 GS), 29.0 IP, 11 BB (3.4 BB/9), 23 K (7.1 K/9), 1.207 WHIP
Brewers fans won’t enjoy hearing that Peralta is the lone representative from Milwaukee on this year’s list. It’s representative of how devoid of talent their minor league system appears to be, which doesn’t bode well for an organization who had a remarkably quiet offseason. Peralta made a few starts for the team this past season, pitching well in his MLB Debut. He control concerns throughout his minor league career (4.0 BB/9 in 620.2 innings of work) give some reason for concern, however. He’s largely countered it with a solid strikeout rate but if he can’t manage to limit hits, he’s going to run into some trouble once Major League hitters start to familiarize themselves with his tendencies.
If you read Simon’s latest post from late last night, you’ll know that the consensus here about Peralta is far from unanimous. He views the right-hander as being primed for a big breakout year and on the verge of joining Yovani Gallardo atop the Brewers rotation. It’s not the first example on this list that we’ll disagree on and it won’t be the last.
Bold Prediction: Peralta has a solid, but unspectacular rookie season in the Bigs. He could be a reliable part of the Brewers rotation in the future, but he could end up being a classic example of a pitcher that needs 2-3 full seasons before he settles into that solid contributor role for the long haul.