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Reds RHP, Robert Stephenson
     Over the coming days, I will begin to unveil my Top 50 prospects in baseball. I will release ten players each day until I get to the Top 10 prospects. Each player has a small scouting report that describes his skills and shortcomings. After releasing the Top 50, I will post a full list of my Top 100 prospects (albeit without scouting reports) as well as my current farm system rankings for each MLB Franchise. This is not a science, and not all prospects listed here will make the major leagues. However, these players were selected for both their overall potential and their likelihood of reaching it, as seen in my choices. Furthermore, here are some terms you should be familiar with before reviewing the upcoming lists.

20-80 scouting scale: Scale used to judge a player and his "tools" or attributes. 50 is major league average, 60 is above average or "plus", 70 is well above average or "plus-plus", and 80 is reserved for the absolutely best tools or players in the game (elite)
Ceiling: Refers to a player's maximum potential; Although highly desired in prospects, ceilings are very rarely achieved and often fall short for a number of things.
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival
Feel: Ability for a pitcher to throw a pitch with ease and be able to locate it frequently.
Life: Action on a particular pitch, usually describing a fastball's late movement
Makeup: Broad term that includes leadership ability, baseball IQ, work ethic, and ability to respond and adjust to failure (it will happen!)
Rawness: A term used to describe a player who lacks consistency and has yet to fully develop his talents
Run: Armside movement on a particular pitch
Tools: A player's set of skills; describe a player's ability to hit, hit for power, run, throw, and field

    Any other scouting terms you may be unfamiliar with, just contact me and I add them to this page or the glossary. Additionally, if you are confused about why a particular prospect is ranked higher than another, I will be more than happy to explain my reasoning to you. So, without further delay, here are my 50-41 best prospects in Major League Baseball...

50.       Casey Kelly , SP, San Diego Padres, ETA: 2013: Former Red Sox prospect experienced some injuries in 2012, but that did not stop him from making his ML debut. Kelly's repertoire includes a good sinker and change up that he can command frequently, a skill set that could lead him to being a traditional middle of the rotation workhouse 

49.     Austin Hedges , C, San Diego Padres, ETA: 2015: Arguably the best defensive catcher already in the minors, Hedges combines his defensive chops with surprising ability with the bat. He could be a .270-.275 hitter with 15 HRs annually and be similar to the pre-2011 Yadier Molina. Also possesses a strong leadership ability and is lauded for his makeup from behind the plate.

48.       Gregory Polanco , OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, ETA: 2015: Talented outfielder that showed ability to hit for average, power, run, throw, and field in his breakout season. Still raw in most parts of the game, but his potential is salivating to a team that has had  20 consecutive losing seasons.

47.      Trevor Story , SS/3B, Colorado Rockies, ETA: 2015: Rockie farmhand has solid tools all around, which will play up if he stays at shortstop. Good hit tool, decent power, and average defense should play at ML level, even if a move to third is deemed necessary (Tulowitzki roadblock in Colorado).

46.      Robert Stephenson , SP, Cincinnati Reds, ETA: 2015: 2011 first round pick that flashed his huge potential with a monster fastball and advanced change up. Stephenson also showed the ability to throw strikes a solid rate and has a high baseball IQ. Has a very promising future but rawness could take some time to iron out.

45.     Mason Williams , OF, New York Yankees, ETA: 2015: Toolsy outfielder has the ability to hit for average and play good defense in CF. As he continues to mature his approach at the plate, he could tap into some more power (only 8 HRs in 2012) and add to his already promising offensive repertoire.



44.      Jorge Soler , OF, Chicago Cubs, ETA: 2015: The other Cuban import has as much talent as his countryman (Yoenis Cespedes) but is more raw. Soler has huge power potential and his plus plus bat speed provides drives to all fields. He also has an excellent arm that could make him a prototypical rightfielder.

43.      Taylor Guerrieri , SP, Tampa Bay Rays, ETA: 2015: The latest power arm to come through the Rays system is Guerrieri with the potential to have four above average pitches (fastball, curve, change, and cutter) along with plus plus control. Only reason he is this low is because he was pitched cautiously (only 52 innings) and plenty can still go wrong from short season ball to the majors.

42.      Alex Meyer , SP, Washington Nationals, ETA: 2014: Nasty stuff comes from the Kentucky product's right arm, but his inconsistent delivery (influenced by his 6'9" frame) can lead to occasional bouts of wildness. Power fastball with good sink and a sharp breaking ball should at least take him to the majors as a dominant reliever.

41.      Jedd Gyorko , 3B/2B, San Diego Padres, ETA: 2013: Simply, Gyorko is a hitter first, everything else second. Gyorko consistently barrels up ball and is a true plus plus hitter. Lack of a defensive home with a current roadblock at 3B (Chase Headley), Gyorko could profile as an all bat/no glove second baseman (a la Dan Uggla).

 


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