During the coming 2014 season, baseball fans will be introduced to the next wave of young stars advancing toward the Major Leagues. Players such as Oscar Taveras and Archie Bradley are nearly ready to join recent top prospects like Mike Trout and Jose Fernandez in the big leagues.
But which Minor Leaguers are most likely to follow the path to stardom? To help answer that question, MLB.com will release its 2014 Top 100 Prospects list Thursday. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, MLB.com's Draft and prospect experts, will then break down the top 50 players on the list during an hour-long special Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network.
This year, there are plenty of ways to follow along and discuss the list with Mayo and Callis as it is revealed on MLB.com and MLB Network.
During the show, fans can follow along on Twitter, as more than a dozen prospects will join Callis (@jimcallisMLB), Mayo (@JonathanMayoB3) and MLBPipeline.com (@MLBPipeline) in live-tweeting the list's unveiling using the #MLBPipeline hashtag. The prospects, all of whom are ranked in the Top 100, include Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who started the 2013 Futures Game, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Rockies right-hander Jonathan Gray, the Nos. 2 and 3 overall picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, and Andrew Heaney and Archie Bradley, the game's top-ranked left-handed and right-handed pitching prospects, respectively.
Fans can easily follow and join the conversation on the Twitter widget on MLBPipeline.com, where all tweets tagged with the #MLBPipeline hashtag will appear.
In addition to the conversation on Twitter, fans in New York City can join Mayo and Callis on Thursday night at Foley's Pub and Restaurant for a tweet-up to watch the show and talk about all things prospects.
Then at 2 p.m. ET Friday, Mayo and Callis will host a live video chat on MLB.com about the list. Fans can join the discussion and ask questions of the experts by tuning in and turning on their webcams or by tweeting questions by using the hashtag #AskPipeline.
The Top 100 is put together by Mayo and Callis with help from the rest of the MLBPipeline team and input from industry sources, including scouts and front-office executives. It is based on analysis of players' upsides, tools and potential Major League impact. This list, like all of the rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status for 2014. Prospect Watch follows the guidelines laid out by the Collective Bargaining Agreement: Players who are at least 23 years old and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Perhaps the most anticipated question typically surrounding the rankings is who takes the top spot. Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar, last year's No. 1, graduated to the Major Leagues. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton ascended to the top of the rankings in last year's midseason update, but he has competition from the likes of Bradley, Cardinals outfielder Taveras and Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
But the rankings fun doesn't stop with Thursday's unveiling. For even more coverage of the Top 100 rankings, visit MLBPipeline and follow @MLBPipeline on Twitter.
Complete list of players participating:
Albert Almora (@albertalmora)
Archie Bradley (@ArchieBradley7)
Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23)
Kevin Gausman (@KevinGausman)
Tyler Glasnow (@TGlasnow)
Jon Gray (@Graywolf_22)
Billy Hamilton (@b_ham_3)
Andrew Heaney (@Heandog8)
Austin Hedges (@austinhedges11)
Austin Meadows (@austin_meadows)
Aaron Sanchez (@A_Sanch21)
Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard)
Kohl Stewart (@KohlStewart1)
Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon19)
Taijuan Walker (@tai_walker)
Yorando Ventura (@YordanoVentura1)
Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.