Top Baseball Prospects for 2015
Now updated for 2015's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
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With the first pick of the 2012 Draft, Houston showed a commitment to a strong future with the surprise selection of teenage phenom Carlos Correa, a natural shortstop who impressed scouts with a superior work ethic and five solid tools. His power potential is especially intriguing for a player who looks well-suited to remain at short, though he seems aware of this: his swing gets a little long and lofty at times when he reaches for the seats. Some good coaching along with the aforementioned work ethic should fix this, of course, and as he blossoms, he'll be a cornerstone of a future Astros lineup, just what the team needs to build a competitive team in the tough AL West.
More Scouting Book Info on Carlos Correa
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Georgia's Byron Buxton, the second overall pick of the 2012 Draft, is a speedy outfielder who might be the best overall offensive prospect in baseball today. With a natural base-stealing ability and plus speed in the outfield, he's a future star no matter how you slice it, and he's a decent bet to make a Mike Trout-sized impression on MLB in the near future. At the plate, he's a line-drive hitter with a little pop for now, but his excellent bat speed and ability to adjust portends a better future than that. Minnesota is well-known for cooking their prospects until they're well-done, and he has a scary wrist injury to come back from in 2015, so don't expect him immediately. When he does arrive, however, it should be for the long haul.
More Scouting Book Info on Byron Buxton
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The younger sibling of Seattle's Kyle, young Corey Seager is a similar infielder with bat speed that might actually be better than his big brother's. At the very least, scouts aren't taking the Seager name for granted, anymore. Corey is more likely to see action at second or third base thanks to the Dodgers' depth at shortstop, which is just fine: his body and skill set are better-suited to that sort of use anyway. He's risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of the most coveted farm assets in baseball. He should be the center of attention in 2015.
More Scouting Book Info on Corey Seager
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A nominal third baseman, Texas prospect Joey Gallo should probably be considered a first base or DH prospect, as his fieldwork isn't anything that will get him any golden hardware. His bat is tremendous though, with huge power to all fields, probably more than any other prospect in the system: that 1.323 OPS in Rookie ball earned him a step up to the A-leagues in 2013, and he should reach AA in 2014. With a long swing and iffy judgement, though, he's got some development to do before he's ready to join in the Texas thunder.
More Scouting Book Info on Joey Gallo
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A high-school shortstop from Puerto Rico with a live bat and a great batting eye from both sides of the plate, Cleveland's Franky Lindor is a young and talented all-around player who shows signs of all five major league tools, though they don't always show up every day. His glove is pretty shiny, and his baserunning smarts and instincts are already several years ahead of his age bracket. As he works his way through several hundred thousand practice swings in the next two or three years, we'll find out if that bat can live up to early reports and carry his future into MLB. Right now, the signs are very good.
More Scouting Book Info on Francisco Lindor
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The Cubs farm of 2015 might be the richest farm system of the last decade. A Florida prep infielder with a plus power bat and better than average speed, shortstop Addison Russell will probably grow out of the position very soon, but he'll look quite good as a third baseman, too. No matter where he plays, he's one of the best hitting prospects in this or any system, and while he might not be quite as far along as a few of the other Chicago prospects, his ceiling is of the highest order. When he arrives, it'll be with a big, sweet thump.
More Scouting Book Info on Addison Russell
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An 11th round selection by the Dodgers back in 2010, outfielder Joc Pederson has already far exceeded the expectations of most scouts. A late signee, he didn't really taste pro ball until 2011, when he raked a .353/.429/.568 line at rookie-level Ogden in the Pioneer League, impressing coaches with his work ethic and ability to use his raw tools effectively: the young man stole 24 of 29 bases and played an intelligent, competent outfield while being tested at all three positions.
A patient hitter who isn't afraid to take his walks, Pederson is well on his way to becoming a well-rounded ballplayer who should be above-average in all aspects of the game. There might not be an obvious space for him in L.A. right now, but baseball has a way of making space for those with talent enough to get them to the Show in the first place. If he puts in another year like his last two, he'll be on top of the prospect lists next time around.
More Scouting Book Info on Joc Pederson
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Yes, he sounds like a character from snowy Skyrim, but Texan Noah Syndergaard is more of a dusty cowpoke than a haughty Jarl. The Blue Jays thought highly enough of him to say 'no' to the Oakland A's when the Athletics were shopping Gio Gonzalez around in 2011, but they caved in 2012 when the Mets dangled Cy Young winner RA Dickey, making Noah one of the very top Mets pitching prospects today.
The move to New York means he's no longer a sleeper candidate, and now that he's an NL talent, he's even more appealing. When this polished righthander arrives, it'll be thanks to the plus command he shows with his decent 94mph fastball and near-plus curve. Of course, as with any young pitcher, it'll be the quality of his developing change that will determine whether he's an ace or a middle-of-the-pack starter a year or two from now. He's very, very close to ready.
More Scouting Book Info on Noah Syndergaard
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He's clearly no shortstop anymore (as Scouting Book readers knew to expect) and a year recovering from TJ surgery won't help his ranking much, but that shouldn't stop Miguel Sano from hanging around in the uppermost prospect room in Minnesota. The biggest Latin American signing of 2009, Sano seemed like a coup of sorts for the small market Twins. A coveted athlete pursued by all the usual big-market teams, it was Minnesota's relentless (one might say 'piranha-like') tenacity that finally landed the youngster. While his bat is enticing, the rest of his game is more typical of a still-young player: sloppy and inconsistent. He'll need to become a better fielder and baserunner, at the very least, before he's treated with proper respect in the big
More Scouting Book Info on Miguel Sano
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With first Zach Wheeler and more recently Noah Syndergaard racking up column inches, it's easy to overlook the left handed part of the Future Mets Pitching Dynasty. Steven Matz is a local New York product whose recent addition of a quality change to his plus fastball has started raising more than eyebrows around the Mets training facilities: it's raising expectations. While Matz was once seen as a middle-of-the-rotation innings eater, more recent evaluations reveal him as a very likely ace, while coaches no less eminent than Dan Warthen and Frank Viola have recently started comparing Matz to Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw. While those expectations might be a tad lofty, it is worth noting that Matz has never really been challenged at any level, and it seems unlikely that AAA batters will put up much of a fight, either. But should his pitching talent magically evaporate, he could probably even help the Mets at the plate: a lumbering, power hitting first baseman in high school, he still has the physique and the swing of a corner slugger. He's going to surprise a few opposing pitchers with his bat.
With the Mets absolutely filthy in pitching prospects, it's possible Matz gets held back for most or all of 2015, but if so it'll be a shame. Now well-recovered from TJ surgery and looking nastier than ever, he's ready for MLB right now.
More Scouting Book Info on Steven Matz
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A righthander with three possible plus pitches, righthander Lucas Giolito had a chance to be drafted #1 overall until he was sidelined by UCL problems. If he's really back at full strength, he's one of the best pitching prospects left in the Washington system, or any system, and the team's best bet to be a future ace. And considering the depth and quality of that system, that's really something. With a stable of quality arms at all stages of development, the Nats are better-poised, pitching-wise, for the coming decade than any team in baseball. Think of them as the anti-Cubs.
More Scouting Book Info on Lucas Giolito
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The first legal Cuban immigrant to join MLB since the Revolution, Red Sox superprospect Yoan Moncada put on showcases for a dozen MLB ballclubs before landing in Boston, who signed him to a record-shattering $31.5 million dollar deal... and that's not even counting the penalty the Sox paid for going way, way over baseball's spending rules. In joining the Red Sox, Moncada joins fellow new-American Rusney Castillo, and both players should be a part of Boston baseball for a long time to come.
Moncado, who's nominally a shortstop but likely to outgrow the position, is a very strong switch hitter who drives the ball to all fields, with very advanced plate discipline for a Cuban player. His speed is plus, and while some scouts see him converting to an outfield corner, he looks better as a third baseman from here. He'll start in A-ball, but he won't be there long. He should be an everyday part of the Boston lineup by 2017, and should see time in the Show before that.
More Scouting Book Info on Yoan Moncada
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A young, toolsy prospect with a very high ceiling, John Paul (JP) Crawford is one of the nation's best young baseball players. He has all the raw athleticism, including plus speed and superior fast-twitch muscles, to succeed almost anywhere on the diamond. Naturally, we'll see how he performs as a shortstop first, and the early signs are positive: he has soft hands and a strong arm, managing to look as smooth and practiced as any phenom Dominican. At the plate, Crawford shows a good eye for such a young hitter, with good bat control and the ability to square up and turn around on pretty much anything he's ever seen. At 6-2 and still growing, he may outgrow shortstop before his talent displaces him, but it shouldn't matter: he could be a fine future All Star centerfielder, too.
More Scouting Book Info on JP Crawford
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Like a taller twin to Gerrit Cole, righty James Taillon is a geniune monster power arm from Texas (via Quebec), a very high-ceiling pitcher who has already cracked 100mph on radar guns. If that's not enough to get your attention, note that while his slider and change are below average, his curveball is universally acclaimed as a plus pitch. If he can hold his arm together under increasing workloads and refine his command and control to pro levels, he could be a viable #2 or #3 starter by 2014 or so, with a shot at being a genuine ace a little further down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Jameson Taillon
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A smallish but smart-throwing lefthander from Oklahoma, Marlin prospect Andrew Heany is the proud owner of a quality three-pitch arm. On a Marlin club shallow in the pitching department, Heany could move quickly: while originally on track for 2015-16, we wouldn't be surprised to see him arrive as early as this season, especially if the Marlin rotation suffers any losses.
More Scouting Book Info on Andrew Heaney
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A towering righthander who's as good at intimidating hitters as he is at actually throwing baseballs, Pirate prospect Tyler Glasnow might not be as well-known as some of Pittsburgh's other pitching prospects, but his ceiling is just as high. He doesn't command it perfectly, but isn't afraid to use it inside as well as outside, which is enough to keep hitters skittish. Glasnow shows a big curve on occasion that's impressive when it works, and a changeup that's rough but promising. He's firmly a prospect of the 'good stuff, needs to master it' type. Another couple of years of easy repetition is all that's needed here. Give him a couple hundred more innings.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Glasnow
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A switch-hitting catcher of the type the Red Sox have kept on trying to develop for the last decade, Cleveland native Blake Swihart has the tools necessary to succeed in the big leagues, assuming his game-calling head can develop as expected. Already blessed with solid contact ability from either side of the plate, (.448/.492/.845 for Team USA two years ago, .298/.366/.428 at high-A Salem in 2013) he's also showing a strong and accurate throwing arm already. If he has to move away from the plate, he could be a competent third baseman, since he doesn't really have the legs for the outfield, but if that happened he would drop a great deal in value, since there are many other young third basemen with similar offensive pop.
More Scouting Book Info on Blake Swihart
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The classic all-promise righthander, Arizona's Archie Bradley is a potentially-outstanding pitcher who's only a changeup short of a major league career very, very soon. Of course, that's the pitching equivalent of a hitter who can handle everything except a curve ball, so this youngster's future will depend mighty heavily on how many MPH he can
subtract when called upon to do so. If he stumbles, his big fastball and plus curve should still serve his team well in relief, but we won't know for another year or so which road he'll be taking.
More Scouting Book Info on Archie Bradley
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A very young lefthander who is raising eyebrows all over minor league ball with his electric filth*, Julio Urias is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Dodger system today. His stuff is plus-plus, and while there are concerns about his slight frame and ability to handle an MLB workload, the youngster is in good hands, and if anyone can maximize his potential as he grows, it's the Dodger coaching crew.
* Note: also a great name for a punk-jazz fusion band.
More Scouting Book Info on Julio Urias
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Top Prospects 2013