The Top 10. It’s arrived. After a week’s worth of prospect rankings, statistics, and bold(ish) predictions we’ve reached the end (or beginning) of our top prospect rankings for the 2013 season.
This project has been an insightful one – both personally and beyond. As I mentioned in my introductory post for these rankings, this has been a new experience for me as I’ve never endeavored to compile one of these lists before. There have been multiple variations of these rankings, stemming from when I first started to consider things in late November. The rankings have changed a handful of times, both from re-evaluating the prospects myself and from numerous conversations with members of this site’s staff. In the end, we’ve proved that there’s no perfect formula for compiling a prospect ranking. It’s all a matter of opinion and perspective.
There have been plenty of players along the way who’ve been ranked too high or too low. There’s assuredly someone who’s been left off the list altogether. That’s where the discussion comes in and all you have to do is look around the rest of FanSided MLB to see it. Many of our sites have taken up the task of commenting on these rankings in their own way, looking at things from each team’s unique perspective. The feedback has ranged from approvals to questions about the number of first baseman I’ve included to many other comments – be them left here on the site, expressed to me on Twitter, emailed, stated in person, or left on our Facebook page. It’s all been highly appreciated. After all, what’s the use of expressing an opinion if there isn’t a discussion that follows?
In an effort to make it easy for you to catch up on the full rankings, here they are:
- #101 through #115 (because I couldn’t settle on just 100 names)
- #91 through #100
- #81 through #90
- #71 through #80
- #61 through #70
- #51 through #60
- #41 through #50
- #31 through #40
- #21 through #30
- #11 through #20
These rankings will also be accessible up above, under the Prospect Ranking page here at the site.
Now … the Top 10.
#10 – Xander Bogaerts, shortstop, Boston Red Sox
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 175
Born: October 1, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland): .307/.373/.523, 20 HR, 81 RBI, 5 SB, 44 BB, 106 SO, 127 G (532 PA)
There isn’t much not to like about Bogaerts. He’s a strong defender, despite fears that he might outgrow the shortstop position, and he’s arguably the best offensive threat that the team has developed since Nomar Garciaparra (no disrespect to Dustin Pedroia intended). Bogaerts will get his chance to shine at Fenway Park, it’s merely a question of when.
Bold Prediction: Boston won’t rush Bogaerts to the Majors, that is why they signed Stephen Drew after all. He’s likely to spend the bulk, of the season with Triple-A Pawtucket but he might see a September callup depending on how the Sox season goes.
#9 – Gerrit Cole, right-handed pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Height/Weight: 6’4″, 220
Born: September 8, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined across three levels): 9-7, 2.80 ERA, 26 GS, 132.0 IP, 45 BB (3.1 BB/9), 136 K (9.3 K/9), 1.197 WHIP
Pittsburgh is one of just a handful of organizations that can boast having multiple pitching prospects appear in these rankings and Cole’s arrival in the Major Leagues has long been anticipated. He was twice drafted in the 1st Round (having been taken by the New York Yankees only to follow through with a commitment to UCLA instead, before the Pirates selected him with the #1 overall pick), which is no ordinary feat.
Bold Prediction: Cole will see Pittsburgh before the season concludes, possibly even before the All Star Break. When he arrives, he’ll be there for good.
#8 – Oscar Tavares, outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 180
Born: June 19, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (with Double-A Springfield): .321/.380/.572, 23 HR, 94 RBI, 10 SB, 42 BB, 56 SO, 124 G (531 PA)
There has been an impressive collection of outfielders spread across these rankings, but Tavares is easily among the game’s best. Even though he might still be a year away from reaching St. Louis there has already been some speculation whether the team will hang onto or move Carlos Beltran in order to make room for him.
Bold Prediction: The Cardinals can show some patience with Tavares, considering their outfield options that are currently on the active roster, but he’ll see time at Busch Stadium before the summer ends.
#7 – Taijuan Walker, right-handed pitcher, Seattle Mariners
Height/Weight: 6’4″, 210
Born: August 13, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (with Double-A Jackson): 7-10, 4.69 ERA, 25 GS, 126.2 IP, 50 BB (3.6 BB/9), 118 K (8.4 K/9), 1.374 WHIP
Seattle holds the unique distinction of having the highest ranked quartet of prospects, including three pitchers, but Walker is clearly the prize of the group. The right-handed’s abilities aren’t apparent with his statistics from this past season, but it was a year in which he showed a great deal of development and overall growth as a pitcher. He profiles as a solid #2 option to slide into the Seattle rotation behind Felix Hernandez, with a pair of lefties to follow in Danny Hultzen and James Paxton.
Bold Prediction: He might get a start or two in September, but will spend most of the year at Triple-A.
#6 – Jose Fernandez, right-handed pitcher, Miami Marlins
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 215
Born: July 31, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (combined Class-A Greensboro and High-A Jupiter): 14-1, 1.75 ERA, 25 GS, 134.0 IP, 35 BB (2.4 BB/9), 158 K (10.6 K/9), 0.925 WHIP
Marlins fans have a fair amount to be optimistic for considering the talent spread across their minor league system, presuming that the team’s front office doesn’t start trading away players before they have a chance to become stars. Fernandez is easily the best of the bunch and arguably one of the best arms in the minor leagues right now, but he’s not yet close to being Miami-bound. Fernandez will face tougher competition with a bump to Double-A this coming season, but he might just keep getting better and is arguably the best pitching prospect Miami has developed since Josh Beckett arrived.
Bold Prediction: Pitches well enough to earn an invite to Spring Training, but he won’t see Miami until mid-2014 at the earliest.
#5 – Zack Wheeler, right-handed pitcher, New York Mets
Height/Weight: 6’4″, 185
Born: May 30, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo): 12-8, 3.26 ERA, 25 GS, 149.0 IP, 59 BB (3.6 BB/9), 148 K (8.9 K/9), 1.168 WHIP
There is still surprise in some circles that the San Francisco Giants were willing to give up Wheeler in order to acquire Carlos Beltran for half a season in 2011. Wheeler was viewed at the time as one of the game’s Top 50 prospects and he’s done little since to change that thinking. A solid argument could be made that Wheeler is ready for New York coming out of Spring Training, but conventional wisdom suggests that he’ll spend at least the first month or two down in the minor leagues. It’s why the Mets added some rotation depth this winter.
Bold Prediction: Wheeler will make his first start at Citi Field before July, but may not assume a spot in the rotation until early August.
#4 – Wil Myers, outfielder, Tampa Bay Rays
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 205
Born: December 10, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha): .314/.387/.600, 37 HR, 109 RBI, 6 SB, 61 BB, 140 SO, 134 G (591 PA)
Royals fans are still not thrilled about the fact that Myers was dealt this winter to Tampa Bay (sorry for the reminder, Mike!) and as a result James Shields is going to be held to some high expectations in Kansas City this year. In Tampa Bay, however, Myers could be primed to have a quick impact. The Rays have not had a true offensive threat come along in their system since Evan Longoria made his way into the lineup and they’ve just seen a big loss with B.J. Upton’s departure for Atlanta. Myers could be the bat they can pair with Longoria and Ben Zobrist in the middle of the lineup to help keep the team competitive.
Bold Prediction: Myers will compete for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, despite not making his debut until after June 1st.
#3 – Miguel Sano, third baseman, Minnesota Twins
Height/Weight: 6’3″, 195
Born: May 11, 1993 (age 19)
2012 Stats (with Class-A Beloit): .258/.373/.521, 28 HR, 100 RBI, 8 SB, 80 BB, 144 SO, 129 G (553 PA)
Sano has done nothing but hit since the Twins first signed him. His batting average took a dip in his first full length season at Class-A, but almost every other offensive category saw a marked improvement. Defensively there are some concerns – he did make 42 errors at third base this past season – but the bat should be enough to carry him.
Bold Prediction: Minnesota will challenge Sano with a bump to Double-A in 2013.
#2 – Dylan Bundy, right-handed pitcher, Baltimore Orioles
Height/Weight: 6’1″, 195
Born: November 15, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (combined across three levels): 9-3, 2.08 ERA, 23 GS, 103.2 IP, 28 BB (2.4 BB/9), 119 K (10.3 K/9), 0.916 WHIP
MLB Career: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2.1 IP, 1 BB, 0 K, 1.200 WHIP
Few questioned whether Bundy was ready for the Major Leagues when the Orioles called him up in September. The kid can simply pitch and is going to make an impact in Baltimore once he assumes his place in the starting rotation. The team has options, however, and they don’t need to rush to make that a reality. If he has a strong enough Spring Training he could get an immediate opportunity but it also wouldn’t be surprising to see him throw in the minors for a month or two.
Bold Prediction: If he debuts early enough, Bundy might be Baltimore’s best pitcher before season’s end.
#1 – Jurickson Profar, shortstop/second baseman, Texas Rangers
Height/Weight: 6’0″, 165
Born: February 20, 1993 (age 19)
2012 Stats (with Double-A Frisco): .281/.368/.452, 14 HR, 62 RBI, 16 SB, 66 BB, 79 SO, 126 G (562 PA)
MLB Career: .176/.176/.471, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 4 SO, 9 G (17 PA)
Profar has been ranked as the #1 prospect in baseball by MLB.com and others already and he’ll appropriately take the same spot in our list here at S2S. Texas refused to part with him in trade talks this winter for a number of reasons and I can’t blame them. He’s a rare talent that can seemingly do it all in the field and at the plate. With the athleticism that Profar and Elvis Andrus bring to the table the Rangers could have one of the best middle infield combinations in history.
Bold Prediction: Profar has to be the favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, though he’ll face some touch competition from Bundy, Myers, and others. Texas will find a way to get him into their everyday lineup before the All Star Break.