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 42 SC 23 BP 39 SN ES 19 ML 22
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
SB 21 BA 13 SC 13 BP 9 SN ES ML 15
A hard-hitting corner ballplayer, Rafael Devers could be Boston's next great third baseman, or perhaps a new Baby DH. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 for $1,500,000, Devers destroyed the DSL and the Gulf Coast League soon thereafter, posting a combined .322/.404/.506 slashline and announcing himself to the Boston Faithful.
While he doesn't yet shown the ability to harness his raw plus power consistently, when he does do is make very good contact time after time, which suggests that the power will come as his body fills out. On defense he's not special, but he seems capable of playing a league-average third base sometime soon, which is more than enough to ensure him a productive career in MLB.
More Scouting Book Info on Rafael Devers
SB 22 BA 18 SC 22 BP 35 SN ES 7 ML 17
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
SB 23 BA 15 SC 41 BP 46 SN ES 18 ML 25
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 24 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
SB 25 BA 37 SC 29 BP 33 SN ES ML 33
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
SB 26 BA 29 SC 50 BP 16 SN ES 73 ML 37
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
SB 27 BA 22 SC 26 BP 22 SN ES 16 ML 20
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
SB 28 BA 35 SC 30 BP 26 SN ES 22 ML 23
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
SB 29 BA 28 SC 17 BP 17 SN ES 26 ML 19
A tall, strong left-handed hitter who Cleveland hopes to park in the outfield for the next decade, Brad Zimmer reminds some scouts of Christian Yelich, thanks to his upright stance and simple line-drive swing. More hitter than slugger, he's shown a propensity to use the whole field rather than reach for the bleachers, and he doesn't seem too bothered by breaking balls. He hasn't shown advanced base-stealing ability, but he has plus speed to tap into, so that should come in time. In the field, that speed combined with a very strong arm and a solid glove means he'll be a very, very good all-around contributor. With that much all-around game as his floor and a ceiling that's anyone's guess, he's one of the safest bets in the prospecting business.
More Scouting Book Info on Bradley Zimmer
SB 30 BA 31 SC 38 BP 23 SN ES 21 ML 26
20 to 30 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013