It is indeed that time of year, when the holidays are here, and that means it is again time to announce this year's Top 250 Prospect List.
Actually, the tradition is that I publish the Top 10 right here (you can get the entire Top 250 as part of our Platinum Package), and while a lot of the names you expect to see on such a list are commensurate with the likes of Baseball America and MLB.com, my list always shines the light on a few players off the radar of most of the rest of the world.
Players are rated on power, strikeouts/innings pitched for pitchers, extra-base hits/hits for batters and strike zone control judgement for both as well. Then the age and relative level of play are also taken into consideration, with credit being granted for the highest levels at the youngest age.
So, without further ado, here are this year's Top 10 Mastersball Prospects for 2014 (note that age is as of Opening Day next year):
- Xander Bogaerts (21, SS, Red Sox): The only question right now is whether Bogaerts is the Opening Day third sacker, or shortstop at Fenway. He clearly caught our collective eye during the Series, and hit .284-9-32 at Pawtuckett as a 20-year-old with a pretty good 28 walks to 44 strikeouts. As a minor leaguer, 36% of his hits went for extra bases.
- Eduardo Rodriguez (20, P, Orioles): Rodriguez went 10-7, 3.41 with 125 whiffs over 145 innings with a a 1.224 WHIP split between Class-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie in 2013. Rodriguez whiffed 310 while walking 125 over 366.3 innings as a minor leaguer, and did well at Double-A as a 20-year-old.
- Matt Wisler (21, P, Padres): Wisler went 10-6, 2.78 split between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio. 136 innings with 131 strikeouts, 107 hits, 33 walks and a 1.029 WHIP. Wisler whiffed 244 minor league hitters over 250 innings, with just 63 walks.
- Taijuan Walker (21, P, Mariners): Went 9-10, 2.93 with 160 strikeouts over 141.3 innings with a 1.196 WHIP prior to joining the Mariners rotation in 2013. He is likely in the rotation to stay in 2014.
- Addison Russell (20, SS, Athletics): 885 OPS in California League at age 19. Power, speed and range. Depending upon the Athletics season, and Russell's, he could grab the shortstop gig as early as 2014, moving Jed Lowrie to second, though 2015 is a more likely ETA for Russell to own the full-time gig.
- Noah Syndergaard (21, P, Mets): 9-4, 3.06 over 117.6 innings, with 113 strikeouts and 28 walks (1.147 WHIP) split between St. Lucie and Binghamton. 329 minor league strikeouts over 293.6 innings.
- Jameson Taillon (22, P, Pirates): Pitched even better with promotion to Triple-A. Ran a mark of 5-10, 3.73 over 147.1 innings with 143 whiffs in 2013. Has 356 strikeouts over 382 innings as a minor leaguer.
- Carlos Martinez (22, P, Cardinals): 2-1, 5.08 over 28.3 with 24 strikeouts at new Busch after promotion to Majors. Was 6-3, 2.49 at Double-A and Triple-A prior to call-up with 72 strikeouts.
- Edwin Escobar (21, P, Giants): 8-8, 2.96 over 128.6 innings split between San Jose and Richmond last year with 146 strikeouts and a 1.104 WHIP.
- Adalberto Mejia (20, P, Giants): 89 punchouts over 87 innings as a 19-year-old at High-A. Made brief appearance at Triple-A Fresno (five innings 0-0, 3.60). Logged 241 minor league strikeouts over 274.6 innings.
Hopefully, your curiosity is whet. Again, you can get the full list, with my sleeper picks noted and a brief comment for each player, as part of our Platinum Package.