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 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for Julio Urias
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10 to 20 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013