Top Baseball Prospects for 2016
Now updated for 2016'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 2016
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
Originally drafted out of high school by the Mets, Astro first base prospect AJ Reed elected to continue his education at Kentucky instead, reentering the draft in 2014. It paid off, as the slugger, now 240lbs and coming off a College Player of the Year award, was taken as the first player off the board in round two, this time by the Astros. Reed's slashline in his senior year (.336/.476/.735) was topped off by 23 home runs (best in the NCAA) and threw in ace-level mound work as the team's Friday starter to boot.
A dream slugger, Reed combines real plus power with the kind of mature batting eye usually only seen in singles hitters. He's not afraid to take bad strikes, or to foul them off, waiting for a pitch he can drive, and he hits as well when behind in the count as any young player in baseball. In the field he's an adequate first baseman who should get better with practice -- he usually served as a DH when not pitching in college -- but even if he ends up a designated hitter for the Astros, he's going to be a very good one.
More Scouting Book Info on AJ Reed
SB 10 BA 11 SC 16 BP 55 SN ES 44 ML 40
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 soon enough.
More Scouting Book Info on Dominic Smith
SB 34 BA 79 SC 28 BP 86 SN ES 29 ML 51
Nobody expected young Josh Bell to sign in 2011, which is probably why he fell to the Pirates in round two of the draft. But one should never underestimate the allure of five million shiny dollars: young Bell shocked other managers by inking with the Pirates and passing on the University of Texas. Bell immediately became the biggest bat in a Pirate system that's very lacking in offensive muscle, but his primo status doesn't only come from relative dearth: he's a valid top prospect all on his own merit.
More Scouting Book Info on Josh Bell
SB 41 BA 38 SC 46 BP 49 SN ES 56 ML 49
A 2013 draftee with a real plus bat from the left side, Tampa prospect Jake Bauers was the main piece received back in the trade of Will Myers. After slashing .276/.329/.405 in AA Montgomery (with six steals and six homers), he looked even better in the Fall League, showing good power to all fields and even some fleet-footedness, swiping five more bags. The Rays are positioning him to play in Tampa sometime in 2016, and are even giving him reps in the outfield to get him ready to be as useful as possible, so get used to hearing his name.
More Scouting Book Info on Jake Bauers
SB 90 BA 78 SC BP SN ES ML
Clay Bellinger's son Cody comes with all the expected baseball DNA intact, but he's a different sort of player, less fleet but more gifted with a power stroke that could translate into 30 home runs in MLB one day. In the field he's probably only a first baseman, though a very quick and smooth one who could be a defensive star at the position. A student of the game in more ways that one, he's been known to study statistics and scouting reports in great depth to prepare himself for opponents and to help sharpen his own approach day to day. He'll try to keep on the path to AA in 2016.
More Scouting Book Info on Cody Bellinger
SB 91 BA 54 SC BP SN ES 92 ML
A Korean Star who the Twins quietly scooped up in the offseason following 2015, Byung-Ho Park is expected to bring at least some of that Pacific Rim power to the Majors in 2016. While it's even harder to translate numbers from Korea to MLB, most scouts agree that his mix of patience, a good batting eye and good bat control will keep him from being an all-or-nothing gamble at the plate. In the field he's shown soft hands and at least average ability around the bag, so there are few worries there. He's a sleeper candidate for 2016, though one with a high risk level.
More Scouting Book Info on Byung-Ho Park
SB 96 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A two-way player in high-school, Oakland announced Matt Olson as a first baseman when selecting him in 2012's First Supplemental Round, and that's probably what he'll be for the Athletics. He has a promising mix of power and patience that could play well in a system that covets both.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Olson
SB 109 BA SC 75 BP SN ES ML 100
SB 114 BA 93 SC 60 BP SN ES 93 ML 93
Drafted in 2014's second round by the Red Sox, Sam Travis is a solid, graceful first baseman with enough athleticism to play an outfield corner. At the plate, he brings a caveman's approach to hitting (See ball. Smash ball.) which seems to have been enough to date: in a 2015 evenly split between High- and Double-A, he slashed a combined 307/.381/.452 with nine dingers. While some coaches want to see him add a bit of loft to his swing in order to become a classic power hitter, it's possible his game goes the other way, as he looks like the kind of hitter that could shoot frickin' lasers all over Fenway in pretty short order.
More Scouting Book Info on Sam Travis
SB 153 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The highest-drafted Canadian in the history of MLB, Ontario high-schooler Josh Naylor went in the first round of 2015, and quickly showed why as he manhandled rookie ball pitchers to a .327/.351/.418 tune soon thereafter. We'll see what he can do against better pitching this year, but out of the gate he looks very, very legit. A squat, powerful and patient figure in the batter's box, Naylor has an explosive swing that should provide more than enough power to stick in the middle of any lineup for good.
More Scouting Book Info on Josh Naylor
SB 181 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A solid young slugger who shows an advanced approach at the plate, Trey Mancini is a Notre Dame product who could contribute on a major league roster very soon. After slashing .341/.375/.563 in a season split between high-A Frederick and double-A Bowie, he's not very far away from the Bigs, either. While probably locked to the first-base end of the defensive spectrum, he's worked hard to be a good one, with a soft glove and good footwork around the bag. He doesn't need much more than practice and polish to break into MLB. We'll probably see him in September.
More Scouting Book Info on Trey Mancini
SB 205 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A deep-sleeper of a prospect drafted in the 30th round by the Blue Jays back in 2013, first baseman Rowdy Tellez has done nothing but hit since joining the professional circuit. Tellez slashed .357/.449/.500 in the Midwest League as a 19-year-old, then held his own at high-A Dunedin in 2015, posting a very respectable .275/.338/.473 line at the age of twenty. While he's still learning the strike zone, the left-handed slugger projects as a potent middle of the order bat.
More Scouting Book Info on Rowdy Tellez
SB 294 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A switch-hitter with power, Tampa prospect Casey Gillaspie is a true first baseman who could anchor the position for most of the next decade in Tampa Bay. While prone to streakiness, he can be very, very hot when he's on his game, driving balls out of the park from either side of the plate. No speedster, he's still a competent runner, but 1B or DH are really his only positions.
More Scouting Book Info on Casey Gillaspie
SB 335 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A young player whose stock has slid a bit following a disappointing 2015, Baltimore proto-slugger Christian Walker remains a quality prospect who projects as a decent power/average threat down the road. He'll need to develop into more-than-decent to crack the Oriole lineup, however, especially since his glove and mobility limits pretty much limits him to 1B or DH.
More Scouting Book Info on Christian Walker
SB 357 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013