One would think a 2012 Top 10 that included Mike Trout and Bryce Harper would be followed by a considerably less flashy list in 2013. Good thing for all of us, that just isn’t true. With several massive talents at the top and some raw talents with huge ceilings pushing up behind them, the outfield prospects currently on the farm are as impressive as ever. Further, there were several players that I adore that could not fit on the back of this list because of the overwhelming amount of talent.
1. Oscar Taveras – St. Louis Cardinals
2. Will Myers – Tampa Bay Rays
3. Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins
All three players at the top of this positional list represent exceptional talents with star potential. Oscar Taveras and Christian Yelich are two of the best hitting prospects in the game with the potential to contend for batting crowns in their prime. In addition to his hitting prowess, Taveras offers the potential for 25-30 home runs a year and Yelich should add very good pop as well. Myers is more of a middle-of-the-order bopper with home run power, solid batting lines and what may be a propensity to whiff a fair amount. All three players should impact the middle of their respective big league lineups and all three could begin to make that impact in 2013.
4. Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins
5. Jorge Soler – Chicago Cubs
Byron Buxton and Jorge Soler have the raw ingredients to rival the top three players on this list but they are held back by the additional development needed in their game. Buxton was one of the best talents available in last year’s draft and he could be a monster player that contributes in every phase of the game in a big way. Soler owns a right field profile and has the offensive potential to thump from the middle f the order.
6. Albert Almora – Chicago Cubs
7. Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
8. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
I struggled with the ordering of these three players and ultimately settled on Almora’s ability and lower risk profile pushing him ahead of Castellanos and Puig. Almora is a true center fielder with exceptional instincts and the offensive potential to be an impact player. He has a chance to move very quickly through the Cubs system, possibly reaching Chicago faster than Soler. Castellanos’ move to the outfield has not been smooth defensively, but he continues to show exceptional hitting ability and signs that his plus raw power is starting to translate to games. There is a voice in the back of my mind that keeps screaming for Puig to be higher on this list but I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. No matter how many calls I make, he still represents a bit of an unknown for me, and that uncertainty forces me to keep him a little lower in the rankings.
9. Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds
10. Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Reds finally moved Hamilton to the outfield last fall and that move could allow him to move to the big leagues quickly. His insane speed plays well out there and will allow him to be a defensive asset even as his instincts for the position continue to develop. Power will never be a part of his game and I still hold some reservations about his ability to impact the ball, but he is going to be a big leaguer and he will probably be a very exciting one at that. Polanco impressed me last fall with his raw physical gifts and if he can continue translating those tools to the field, he could be an exciting player as well.
Just Missed: Jackie Bradley – Boston Red Sox, David Dahl – Colorado Rockies, Aaron Hicks – Minnesota Twins, Jake Marisnick – Miami Marlins