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.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
If you think you have found a mistake, please read
this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best First Base Prospects for 2015
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
When a high school player is projected as a first baseman, it's a sort of mixed message. On the one hand, it means that scouts have little to no faith in the player's ability to perform anywhere on the field. On the other hand, if such a player is still highly thought of, he must be one heck of a hitter. That's the case with LA-born, NY-drafted teenager Dominic Smith. The youngster has exceptional bat speed and power, and even shows enough of a discerning eye at the plate that a few scouts have conjured the ghost of Larry Walker in describing his potential. Smith's glove is actually quite good at first, and he has a strong arm, so it's possible some team will try to make a right fielder out of him, but that won't change the calculus: as long as the kid can learn to handle quality breaking balls in the minor leagues, he'll be a quality MLB ballplayer one day.
More Scouting Book Info on Dominic Smith
SB 84 BA 92 SC BP SN ES 37 ML
Tampa Bay's first selection in the 2014 draft, Casey Gillaspie (yes, Connor's brother) is a big, strong, power-hitting first base/DH type who is as close to major league ready as a college player can be. A switch-hitter, he evokes easy and obvious comparisons to Berkman and Teixeira, though not without merit: he squares up the ball very well from both sides of the plate, and should show real plus power once he's finished growing. Since he's already approaching 6-5 and 250, we hope he stops growing soon. In the field, he's got soft hands and good command of the field, but lacks the speed need to really man any other position for more than an emergency game or two.
More Scouting Book Info on Casey Gillaspie
SB 115 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A very big, very strong slugger signed as a teenaged free agent from Canovanas, Puerto Rico, Twins prospect Kennys Vargas draws a lot of comparisons to Kendrys Morales, and not just for the unusual first name. While his size and lack of mobility confines him to first base or DH duties, it shouldn't much matter: the switch-hitting Vargas has the sort of easy power from both sides of the plate that makes him a valuable middle-order bat. At high-A Fort Myers in 2013, Vargas slashed .267/.344/.468 while drilling 19 homers in 457 at-bats. While he still strikes out a bit too much, that's a downside the offensively-challenged Twins will gladly take if Vargas can take a full time place in the lineup for the next five or six years. He's ready for AA ball in 2014, with a late-season look in Minnesota not out of the question.
More Scouting Book Info on Kennys Vargas
SB 166 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tree-trunk of a young man, Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach won't win any sprints or high-jumping contests, but lordy, lordy, the boy can hit baseballs. Plus contact, plus-plus power to all fields, and a bucketful of moon-shots every day in batting practice: these are the things young Vogelbach is made of. In the NL, a man this large (the Cubs list him at 250lbs, but they're being very polite) is destined for first base, like it or not, and thankfully Vogelbach does show good hands and footwork around the bag.
More Scouting Book Info on Dan Vogelbach
SB 177 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A mature college star toiling in the Oriole minor league system, Christian Walker is a righthanded first baseman who has long been seen as a hitter with superior on-base skills but questionable power. He still looks like a fringe candidate from here, but a James Loney / Kevin Youkilis career wouldn't be the worst of 'bad' results, exactly. Baltimore has been very good at developing quality MLB hitters who can contribute, and Walker will almost certainly be given time and space to develop at his own pace.
More Scouting Book Info on Christian Walker
SB 217 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The best in-house bet for a first-baseman of the future, Milwaukee's Hunter Morris stroked an easy .303/.357/.563 (with 28 home runs) at AA Huntsville in 2012. There's not much more he needs to prove in the minors, which means he'll be banging on Milwaukee's door in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Hunter Morris
SB 281 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, lefty-swinging slugger from Dominican Republic, Ranger prospect Ronald Guzman put together a decent Sally League debut in 2013, slashing .272 /.325/.387 as an eighteen year old while playing a competent first base. His offensive tools are good ones, with a quick, line-drive angle of attack and swing mechanics that keep his body square on the ball for maximum effect. His game-sense and savvy earn high praise from scouts, and it shows in his preference to hit the ball hard to all fields rather than spend every at-bat reaching for the bleachers like so many young sluggers. Though he's a below-average runner, he's not much of a liability on the bases thanks to his heads-up style of play. He needs some polish and experience, but he looks like a decent first base option for the Rangers once Prince Fielder turns into a full-time DH.
More Scouting Book Info on Ronald Guzman
SB 311 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A power-slugging right-handed first baseman in the Cleveland system, Jesus Aguilar isn't the second coming of Almighty Pronk, but he's certainly good enough to mash some MLB-style dingers of his own in the years to come. Until then, he'll idle at AA Akron, where he slashed .292/.402/.500 in short duty last year, after doing much the same in high-A earlier in the season.
More Scouting Book Info on Jesus Aguilar
SB 342 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third-round pick from the 2014 draft, Bobby Bradley is a big, offense-first prospect with a sweet, smooth left-handed swing. He hails from Matt Lawton's old high school in Gulfport, Mississippi, which the Indians apparently never stopped watching.
Bradley, though still growing into his frame, is already more of a power threat than Lawton ever was, however, using his quick bat to drive balls deep to all fields. His defense, if you can call it that, will probably limit him to first base or DH duties, but that shouldn't be a problem as long as he keeps growing into that bat.
More Scouting Book Info on Bobby Bradley
SB 351 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A mature prospect in the Mets system, slugger Anthony Aliotii was penciled into many future lineups in Flushing after slashing a .324/.416/.480 line across two levels of play in 2013. His all-around game isn't quite up to top prospect snuff, however: while he plays a bit of outfield he's pretty much locked to first base, and the speed he showed in his younger years seems to have dried up completely. Still, on a Mets team devoid of much offensive punch, he could provide an immediate boost.
More Scouting Book Info on Anthony Aliotti
SB 368 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Originally drafted out of high school by the Mets, lefty pitcher AJ Reed opted to go to the University of Kentucky instead, where he dominated with a heavy, sinking fastball and sweeping curve. As a new member of the Astros system, however, he'll almost certain be developed as a first-baseman or corner outfielder, because his bat is even better than his arm, with very good bat speed and the makings of true plus power. He's nowhere close to fleet of foot, and so he's probably destined for a corner spot, but he's good enough with the glove to avoid being a liability. He'll take some time to brew, but he could be a surprise everyday contributor to Houston's young lineup come 2017 or so, with the potential for a look-see earlier than that.
More Scouting Book Info on AJ Reed
SB 376 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Big Ten's freshman of the year in 2012, Hoosier slugger Sam Travis helped propel the team to their first ever College World Series appearance. While he lacks the size or left-handedness to really fill out most scouting checklists for first baseman, Travis's bat is exceptional enough to be worth consideration anyway. He has exceptional bat speed and strength, giving him plus power, as well as very good bat control and judgment, suggesting he'll hit for a high average as well. He's got good enough instincts and hands to handle third base in a pinch, but most scouts don't feel he has the arm for it, limiting him to first base or DH in the majors. If he stays the same sort of hitter he's been throughout college, he'll make it on those terms, too.
More Scouting Book Info on Sam Travis
SB 379 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Chris McGuiness, a mature Pirate prospect originally drafted by the Red Sox, has also been through the Cleveland and Texas systems, even picking up 34 at-bats while a Ranger in 2013. The rest of that season, the sweet-swinging McGuiness smacked 11 homers and slashed a .246/.369/.423 line at the Rangers' AAA affiliate in Round Rock.
A patient slugger, McGuinesss has maintained a good walk rate while moving up the ladder, and he doesn't strike out as much as one might expect. He's got no speed to speak of, however, no real room for further development (he'll be 28 in the Spring of 2015), and he's exclusively a first-base type defender, if you know what we mean, so his options in the National League are somewhat limited. That said, he's a decent enough power threat from the left side, which is probably enough to do some good on an MLB bench somewhere... even if it takes a few more transactions for him to find a long-term home.
More Scouting Book Info on Chris McGuiness
SB 442 BA SC 95 BP SN ES ML
A massive first baseman with equally massive power potential, Diamondback prospect Jonathan Griffin destroyed the Cal League (.304/.366/.523 with 26 homers) in 2012 before being bumped to AA. That's where he'll keep mashing in 2012, trying to cut back on the strikeouts a bit. His glove at first is adequate for a right-hander, but a little more refinement there wouldn't hurt either. If the Diamondbacks need a mid-season boost, he may get a shot, but otherwise we're looking at Griffin competing for a 2014 roster spot.
More Scouting Book Info on Jonathan Griffin
SB 451 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third round pick by the always-clever Pirates in the 2011 draft, and signed despite concerns about his future plans, ex-Hoosier Alex Dickerson is a slugger of the first order. He should help the Pirates offset a pitching-heavy talent pool in the near future. While dropping to the third round helped him fade from some writers' memories, his first-year pro line at low-A State College (.313/.393/.493) propelled him back into the top ranks.
A prototypical slugger, Dickerson is big, wide and strong. He's the kind of friend you'd call to help you move, or maybe to stand behind you while you visit someone who owes you money. Dickerson's left-handed swing is a bit long, but his bat speed seems more than adequate to cover that right now. He's not getting fooled by breaking balls yet, either, though he hasn't seen many truly great ones. We're dying to see him in Altoona. Until then, he's a couple of years away from the majors (let's say... mid-to-late 2014?), but if he continues to chew through pitching the way he has so far, he'll be a great asset by that time.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Dickerson
SB 470 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A pure hitter drafted 48th overall by the White Sox in 2012, Florida native Keon Barnum is already capable of putting on tentpole exhibitions in batting practice. With a big, strong bat from the left side with a stroke that might be a bit too long, we see a lot of longballs and an even larger number of strikeouts in his future. Chicago is a good place to showcase those skills.
More Scouting Book Info on Keon Barnum
SB 537 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Alex Dickerson gets a lot of press in Piratelandia, but it could be another first base masher, the smaller but just as potent Matthew Curry, who ends up launching dingers in Pittsburgh first. Curry, a 16th round (!) selection back in 2010, looked awfully good in AA last year, slashing a .285/352/.480 line at Altoona. He'll probably start 2013 back in Altoona, but as long as he maintains the same level of performance, he'll end the year with the big club.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Curry
SB 549 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Puerto Rican prospect Neftali Soto is a toolsy infielder who's growing up fast in the Reds' power-packed farm system. After looking like the future of the franchise in 2011, he took a step back in 2012 at AAA Louisville with a meh .245/.313/.400 full-season line. He did manage 14 homers and 30 doubles, however, showing that he hasn't lost his power stroke. His increasing size and strength knocked him out of third base contention, as expected, but he's a useful enough 1B-RF bat, and he could be a decent DH with another ballclub. But as long as he keeps hitting, that'll be just fine.
More Scouting Book Info on Neftali Soto
SB 552 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the best hitting prospects in the 2007 Amateur Draft, Beau Mills went to the Indians, who at the time enough had no long-term 1B or 3B solution in their system. He turned out to be pretty much as-expected, a lumbering slow slugger with so-so contact skills but plus power. The .300/.358/.522 line he posted in AA Akron in 2011 was validated by a month-long tour with the AAA Clippers in which he turned in similar numbers while homering seven times in 35 games.
While his stumbles in 2012 led the now-loaded-with-bats Indians to pawn him off to the Reds, he still deserves at least a look in MLB.
More Scouting Book Info on Beau Mills
SB 562 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013