To begin, I should make it clear that this is not a list of my top overall prospects.  No, this is a 2014-specific list, and it exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland.  The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive fantasy contributions during the 2014 season.  Those of you who follow my Prospect Power Rankings series during the season, understand that time-specific prospect rankings are fluid — it’s a tricky game, weighing potential impact against current opportunity, and outlooks can change drastically overnight.  There are too many variables at work to peg these ETA’s accurately, and that is precisely why we revisit these rankings often throughout the year with the aforementioned power rankings.  Consider this a starting point.  Numbers 26-50 will run next week, but for now, let’s dig into the top-25.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In my Week 4 MiLB report, I included a brief writeup on Blue Jays pitching prospect, Roberto Osuna, highlighting his hot start to 2013 season at Low-A Lansing. My blurb from that particular post: “Number five on my Blue Jays top ten from March, Osuna is a rather plump 18-year-old with a front-end arsenal. Through 18 IP at Low-A Lansing, he’s posted a 26/3 K/BB along with an ERA at 2.95 and a WHIP at 0.82. Some folks are concerned about his potentially tubby frame, but the stuff might just be good enough to overcome the weight issue.” Well Osuna was pulled from his most recent start with elbow discomfort. A subsequent visit to Dr. Andrews has revealed a UCL tear, and it’s now all but official that the Jays’ prized prospect will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. The developmental setback is disappointing, but at age 18, Osuna was ahead of the developmental curve already. There’s still reason to remain optimistic about his future outlook, but it looks like it’ll be a full year before we see him pitching in a meaningful game again. And that sucks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jorge Soler was off to a great start at High-A Daytona, batting .435/.519/.739 with 2 homers through his first six games. The was promising news for the Cubs, who inked him to a nine-year, $30 million contract last summer. The 21-year-old Cuban is not a cost-controlled prospect — there’s an opt-out clause that would make him eligible for arbitration after three years service time, but both sides would be thrilled if it came to that. In any case, there’s incentive for the Cubs to develop him quickly in order to make sure the bulk of those nine years are spent at the highest level. Chicago was smart to make such a long-term investment in Soler — it gives them a little developmental cushion — but they’re still trying to avoid unnecessary setbacks. Things were going well in that department up until Wednesday, when Soler decided to brandish a baseball bat as he sprinted toward the opponent’s dugout following a benches-clearing incident. The league suspended him five games, which isn’t a huge setback, but the Cubs are reportedly investigating the matter further and could tack on more time. I doubt it’ll come to that, but the ordeal still raises some major character concerns. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident and that the new regime in Chicago doesn’t enable such behavior as the old group did with headcases like Carlos Zambrano.

Please, blog, may I have some more?