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.
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SB 20 BA 18 SC 22 BP 35 SN ES 7 ML 17
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 kicked his game to the next level; he looked awfully good in a partial 2015 with the big club. While MLB hitters are bound to adjust to his novelty in 2016 (expect a bit of a drop-off), and the return of NY's beaten-up rotation will push him down the chart a bit, long-term he still looks like a solid mid-rotation anchor. Heck, even if his pitching talent magically evaporates, he could probably even help the team at the plate: Matz was a lumbering, power hitting first baseman in high school, and he still has the physique and the swing of a corner slugger. He's going to surprise a few opposing pitchers with his bat.
More Scouting Book Info on Steven Matz
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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 at any time, with a legitimate shot at being an ace a little further down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Jameson Taillon
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A Golden Spikes winner as a 2015 sophomore, Red Sox prospect Andrew Benintendi destroyed Division-I pitching with a .376/.488/.717 slash line and twenty home runs. Drafted seventh overall by the Sox, he's on a fast track to Fenway. A slight but strong outfielder, he uses his average speed to full effect by running smart routes and getting a very good jump on most batted balls. At the plate, he's a full-on masher with advanced discipline who already shrugged off A-level Greenville to a 313/.416/.556 tune last year. He should be in AA ball before summer. After that... well you know the rest. Target him for a full-time gig next season.
More Scouting Book Info on Andrew Benintendi
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A Tampa Bay prospect who's ready to push his way into the MLB rotation, Seattle native Blake Snell zipped up prospect lists by opening 2015 with forty consecutive shutout innings, and that's pretty much his game in a nutshell: a ground-ball control freak with frustrating stuff. Snell can repeat his low-90's sinker with ease, and he leans on it heavily, mixing in a quality cutter and a classic wipeout slider to produce strikeout numbers higher than one usually sees from a sinkerballer.
Tampa Bay may not be quite ready with their retooling project, but right around the time the rest of the team gears up into win-now mode, Snell should be a part of that machine.
More Scouting Book Info on Blake Snell
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A toolsy infielder in a system rife with them, shortstop Ozzie Albies smacked .310/.368/.404 with 29 steals in Low-A ball last year, showing off a jam-packed toolbox missing nothing but power. Still, he's got everything else, including a great work ethic and natural knack for the game. While he seems permanently blocked by Dansby Swanson in Atlanta, there's nothing preventing either of them from moving to second, third or even centerfield if necessary. Talent like this always finds somewhere to play, after all.
More Scouting Book Info on Ozzie Albies
SB 25 BA 63 SC 32 BP 37 SN ES 20 ML 29
Seen by many as the best pitching prospect of the 2013 draft class, Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray is a towering righthander with high-90's heat that breaks 100mph from time to time. More often, he throws it at 94 or 95 with good late movement that busts righthanded hitters. His real showcase pitch, though, is the hard slurvy slider that comes in near 90mph but drops dramatically off and away, making even good hitters look like weak-kneed noodle-slappers. If Gray has a weakness, it's his not-there-at-all changeup, a pitch he may need if he's going to handle lefthanded hitters with as much skill as he deals with righties. Regardless, he's a top flight prospect who has the stuff and maturity to handle pitching, even at Coors Field.
More Scouting Book Info on Jon Gray
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The switch-hitting son of the better-known outfielder, shortstop Raul (Adalberto) Mondesi is already familiar with a major league dugout, even if it's only as a place to find a treasure trove of sunflower seeds and bubble gum when the grown-ups aren't watching. While he lacks his father's power profile, Junior does have a quality bat, superior speed and sure seems to have sophisticated defensive skill. A smallish player, he looks apt to stick at shortstop, where he could grow into a proper sort of slappy table-setter for the Royals a few years from now. He's still some distance away from showing anyone exactly how good he'll be, but an impressive .290/.346/.386 line as a
sixteen-year-old in rookie ball was followed by a .261/.311/.361 line in A-ball. A substantial improvement in his strikeout rate, despite dealing with better pitching, impresses us even more than that. Forget the name-recognition, Adalberto Raul Jr. is legit all on his own.
More Scouting Book Info on Raul Mondesi
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Georgia high schooler Austin Meadows is an outfield phenom who attracted a great deal of first round attention in MLB's 2013 first-year player draft before falling to the Pirates with the ninth overall selection. A phenom with five tool talent, Austin is one of the fastest baserunners in the country, with speed that would make him one of the fastest players in pro baseball if he can get the rest of his game to half that level. His swing is promising, featuring a smooth and easy load with the makings of real plus power from the left side. He's been compared to players like Andre Ethier and Jacoby Ellsbury, and not without reason: few ballplayers blend across-the-board abilities like this.
More Scouting Book Info on Austin Meadows
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A little-known prospect when he was acquired by the Athletics as part of the Josh Donaldson trade, Franklin Barreto won't be able to hide from the spotlight much longer. He's succeeded at every level of pro ball since his signing back in 2012, and looks like a very capable everyday MLB infielder in the near future. While he could probably handle shortstop at the major league level, his bat is good enough to play anywhere, including third base, which means the A's might forgive Billy Beane soon for shipping All-Star Donaldson.
More Scouting Book Info on Franklin Barreto
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Drafted as a teenager from Puerto Rico to open 2012's compensation round, Jose Orlando (J-O) Berrios is a smallish righthander with good arm strength that springs a compact but strong frame. His short delivery suggests mechanical soundness, even if it's a bit jerky, with a fastball that can pop at 96mph and a breaking ball that looks like a real plus offering. A top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value, there are few more certain things in the iffy business of pitching prospects: those last four starts he made at AAA in 2015 (32 strikeouts, 4 walks) made every last scout sit up and take notice.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Berrios
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20 to 30 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013