Several top prospects have been traded this offseason. Here's a look at how I'd rank them, based on what I have seen myself and heard from scouts.
Updated: December 16, 2012
1. Wil Myers, OF -- Tampa Bay Rays
Myers, the top power-hitting prospect in baseball entering 2013 -- and one of the top 5 prospects overall -- is likely to get a shot at an opening-day gig with the Rays. He has played some third base and caught some early in his pro career and in high school, but profiles as an above-average corner outfielder with 25-30 homer power. There are some questions on the hit tool, but it's more a matter of whether he will bat .250/.330 or .285/.360, not if he'll hit enough to play regularly in the majors.
2. Travis d'Arnaud, C -- New York Mets
D'Arnaud has plus power, should hit for enough average to warrant hitting in the No. 6 spot or better and has all the necessary physical tools to serve as a frontline catcher. His Achilles heel is a track record of injuries, and such a problem is quite concerning for a backstop and perhaps led the Blue Jays to reassess his value to them in 2013 and beyond. He was injured when I was in attendance to see him this past summer, but scouts raved about him prior to his DL stint. If he shakes the injury bug he's a future all-star who could earn Gold Glove Awards and hit 25 homers.
3. Trevor Bauer, RHP -- Cleveland Indians
Bauer spent the first half of 2012 sitting 92-96 mph with life on a four-seam fastball and showing two breaking balls that each induced swings and misses. His pre-game ritual may or may not be a real issue -- the Diamondbacks clearly believe it is, and I believe it's worth exploring alternatives -- but the idea is that his arm tired during the second half which contributed to his fastball losing zip. He averaged just over 92 mph in the majors, often sitting at 91, which is not ideal for a pitcher who prefers to work up in the zone. He also rarely throws the curveball for strikes, relying on the hitter to chase a pitch down and away. There's still potential for a No. 2 starter, however, but it may hinder on his willingness to change his ways, just as much as improved command, a better game plan and some work on the changeup.
4. Alex Meyer, RHP -- Minnesota Twins
Some scouts see Meyer's upside as a No. 1 in the mold of Josh Johnson, though he comes with the risk of landing in the bullpen as a setup man or closer. He has a wipeout slider and sits 93-97 mph with his fastball. If he learns to stay on top better -- something I have termed in the past as "pitching taller" -- he may create better plane on the heater, which better sets up his out pitch. The changeup needs quote a bit of work and Meyer has yet to pitch above Advanced-A ball, but he could move rather quickly now that he has a full year under his belt.
5. Noah Syndergaard, RHP -- New York Mets
Syndergaard ended the season as one of the Blue Jays' top two or three pitching prospects, and brings big upside to the Mets organization. The right-hander lacks a breaking ball at present and ESPN Insider's Keith Law wrote this week that "if he doesn't have that laxity in his wrist there's a good chance the pitch" never reaches average to above-average levels. Such a conclusion to Syndergaard's efforts to develop may mean a future in the bullpen, where he could feature a fastball in the 95-100 mph range. As a starter, he's generally sat 92-95, hitting as high as 97 in most outings. He does have a solid changeup and he just turned 20 in late August, so there is still time.
6. Jake Marisnick, OF -- Miami Marlins
Marisnick is an athletic outfielder with good present strength and a chance to stick in center field where his bat profiles as big-league caliber. Some scouts question the swing and Marisnick's chances to get to good velocity, which could become a legitimate problem in games at Double-A, which is likely where he starts the 2013 season. He runs wells and has a 55 arm but has to continue to improve his jumps and routes because if he can't play center, he's not likely to be fit in as a regular.
7. Justin Nicolino, LHP -- Miami Marlins
I first saw Nicolino in the Northwest League in 2011 -- report here -- and was impressed at the left-hander's stuff, delivery and pitchability. He comes with higher probability than Syndergaard, but without the high ceiling of his former teammate or Aaron Sanchez, the Jays' top prospect. He lacks the velocity and top-floor offspeed stuff to be a No. 1, but Nicolino could be a mid-rotation value with a chance to be a Cliff Lee, circa 2005.
8. Jake Odorizzi, RHP -- Tampa Bay Rays
Odorizzi is a bit of a poor-man's Jeremy Hellickson when it comes to stuff and command, and the two are built similarly, at 6-foot-1-or-2 and about 190 pounds. They also share similarly easy deliveries, though Odorizzi uses a higher arm-slot and lacks the polished breaking ball to project better than a No. 3 down the road and a back-end option in 2013.
9. Mike Montgomery, LHP -- Tampa Bay Rays
Montgomery was among the top pitching prospects in baseball in 2009 but a lack of overall control and some issues with his elbow has slowed him down. He has a hell of an arm and if he can harness the stuff to even fringy levels he may be a southpaw version of Brandon Morrow. If he ends up in the bullpen, he could close games.
10. Trevor May, RHP -- Minnesota Twins
May could probably hold down a No. 5 spot in the rotation to start 2013 -- and may do so due to the lack of options for the Twins -- but with better command of his plus fastball could be a good No. 3 options. Some scouts are already thinking bullpen for May, but the Twins are likely to give him every chance to start.
Others: Andrew Oliver, LHP; Zeke Spruill, RHP; Ryan Wheeler, 3B; Didi Gregorius, SS; Patrick Leonard, 3B; Anthony DeSclafani, RHP; Nick Ahmed, SS