Prospect rankings remain a snapshot of a moment in time, as more information is gathered constantly and new reports can change any number of perceptions on a player's future value. With the end of the minor league season, now's a good time to take a look back at our preseason prospect rankings, and see how some of these perceptions might have changed.
It was anticipated that the top three prospects on our rankings would be in the majors at some point this year, and it was a bit unexpected that we didn’t see Oscar Taveras get there. However, injuries happen, and Taveras will likely come into the 2014 season as one of the top outfield prospects again. We saw a lot of prospects that shifted how they were viewed, as players like George Springer and Gregory Polanco built on strong 2012 campaigns with even better 2013 seasons. With draftees like Clint Frazier, Hunter Renfroe, and Billy McKinney adding to the rankings, the position should remain one of the stronger ones for prospects.
Note: These are not new rankings. These rankings were originally released in December of 2012.
Consensus Top 30 Outfield Prospects
|#||Player||Org||Highest Level Reached|
Gregory Polanco – Polanco had a great season in 2012 at Low-A West Virginia, but given how out of line his performance was with his previous seasons, there were questions about whether he could repeat the performance as he continued to move up. He absolutely performed well, hitting .285/.356/.434 with 12 home runs, 71 runs batted in, and 38 stolen bases in 49 attempts, and the reports on him point to a player that could potentially provide even more down the road. An easy top 5 this offseason at the position, and most likely a top 20 prospect in all the minors.
Yasiel Puig – You’ve seen what he’s done so far, and we had a bunch of other players ahead of him. The thing that stands out is just how well the tools continue to play at the major league level despite the minimal time in the minors. Are there still things to work on? Probably, but he has definitely created an issue for the Dodgers long term as they look to play four highly-paid outfielders in three spots. There have been signs of adjustment and improvement while at the major league level for Puig, and he could end up as a top 25 option for fantasy players next year.
George Springer – The knock on Springer has previously been the strikeout potential, and specifically how that will affect his ability to make enough contact for his power and speed to play. While he is still striking out a bunch, he continues to draw walks and generally hit a ton. He made a run at a 40-40 season in the minor leagues, finishing with 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases between AA and AAA. I would be completely shocked if he isn’t in the starting outfield for the Astros on Opening Day 2014.
David Dahl – The season got off to an auspicious start as Dahl was suspended after missing his flight to his assignment due in part to too much partying. He appeared in just 10 games this year due to a hamstring injury, and did not play again after May 7th. A completely lost year, Dahl looks likely to return to Low-A for the 2014 campaign, where he’ll look to rebuild some value.
Aaron Hicks – The Twins gave the opening day center field job to Hicks on the strength of a great spring training, and he has hit .192/.259/.338 with 8 home runs and 9 stolen bases in 81 games in the Majors this year. Concerns about Hicks’ approach have resurfaced, as it sounds like he has been more passive at the plate, a knock on him prior to his breakout 2012 campaign. With Byron Buxton likely to start the season at AA next year, Hicks will need to reestablish his value quickly, or he could be on the outside looking in by 2015.
Courtney Hawkins –It’s hard to knock a player for the assignment he was given, but it appears based on the results that the White Sox should have given Hawkins more time at Low-A before sending him to High-A. He struck out 160 times in just 103 games, and while he did show the power that he is known for (19 home runs, 38 extra base hits total), hitting .178 with a .249 OBP isn’t going to help things long-term. The fact that there seems to be a book on Hawkins already at that level does not bode well for his ability to make adjustments, although could potentially be a nice bargain if you’re looking to buy low on a prospect with his potential.