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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A durable lefthanded pitcher from the Cuban League, Santa Clara native Yasmany Hernandez is a stout, stocky, crafty pitcher who shows advanced pitching ability despite his young age. Working from a variety of arm slots, Hernandez led the Serie Nacional with a 1.66 ERA during the 2013-14 season, striking out 67 and walking 34 in 114 innings (19 starts). His fastball barely scrapes 90mph, he commands it well, mixing in a slow sweeping curve from the same assortment of arm angles. His ability to keep hitters off-balance will translate to MLB is a big question, as is his so-so control. While he excelled as a starter in Cuba, his MLB future may be in relief.
Full Scouting Report for Yasmany Hernandez
SB 251 BA SC BP SN ES ML
No relation to Russ, though the righthanded pitcher does have at least one other thing in common with the catcher: both are viable backups at third base. Most baseball people are following the Dodgers' lead and are still looking at Ethan as a pitcher first, and his 2012 mound-work was his best ever: 13-6, 3.48, 1.25 WHIP in 27 Eastern and Southern League AA starts. Martin leads with a usually-straight fastball and falls back on a hard slider coming from a compact frame, a combination that makes him look like more of a reliever than a starter. He's closer, but still not really ready, and needs to get his walks a little more under control, but when he does add some experience to his talent, he could be yet another in a long string of powerful arms that came out of the Dodger system.
Traded to Philadelphia at 2012's deadline, Martin's challenge would seem to be a little bit greater today, but by all accounts he has the character and strength of will to weather adversity: tools that could prove helpful in the City of Brotherly Love.
Full Scouting Report for Ethan Martin
SB 252 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A pure fire relief ace in the Padre system, RJ Alvarez is on a fast track to join a bullpen known for having both depth and quality. RJ posted a crazy-good 12.5 strikeout-per-nine rate in A-level Cedar Rapids last season, and will be working hard to get his 100mph heater up against more advanced hitters this season.
Full Scouting Report for RJ Alvarez
SB 253 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A top-flight hitter with exceptional pitch-recognition, Virginia outfielder Mike Papi attracted a lot of attention in the 2014 draft. Most scouts had him pegged as a late first rounder, though he lasted a hair longer, falling to Cleveland with the 38th overall pick. His left-handed swing is short and quick, delivering line drives with regularity. With some growth presumably left in his lanky frame, his power could yet develop into more than that, too. In the field, he's limited to first base or a corner outfield spot, though his baseball sense makes up in part for somewhat below-average speed and defensive prowess.
Full Scouting Report for Mike Papi
SB 254 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Cheslor. A Nicaraguan third baseman who seems skilled enough to stick at the position, the Royals' young slugger looked pretty darn good in his first look at A-ball in 2011 before falling a bit back to earth in 2012, though to be fair to the man, he was one of the youngest players in the league. He'll spend some time in higher A ball this year, most likely, and if all goes well be hitting AA pitchers every day in 2014. After that, well, it should be a lot of fun ahead in KC in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Cheslor Cuthbert
SB 255 BA SC 89 BP SN ES ML
A year after coming back from TJ surgery, Astro prospect Vincent Velasquez looked fully-recovered, touching 97mph with his fastball and flashing a quality changeup and curve in 45 piecemeal innings in low-A Tri-City (NY-P). After another solid year, it looks like he's almost ready for a full workload again, which means he could be pushing for a rotation job in Houston by the end of 2014. Definitely one to watch, though with a practical and critical eye: his frame doesn't suggest durability.
Full Scouting Report for Vincent Velasquez
SB 256 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A young righthander who could join the bevy of power arms in San Francisco in the years to come, Clayton Blackburn was an eye-opener in Augusta last year. Blackburn posted a shiny 8-4, 2.54, 1.02 season at A-ball, striking out an ungodly 143 hitters while walking only 18. That's a strikeout to walk ratio of eight.
Blackburn achieved numbers like those by locating a sinking, mid-90's fastball with good accuracy. His propensity for keeping it down in the zone limits the damage hitters can do, leaving them his quality change and curve to chase, usually all the way back to the bench. While he's worked from both rotations and bullpens, the quality of his secondary pitches will probably keep him in a starter's role until and unless he pitches his way out of it. Having a quality sinking fastball, of course, is a great backup plan if he ever becomes a full-time reliever. Watch his progress in 2013, and you'll have a much better idea where, and how, he'll land in MLB.
Full Scouting Report for Clayton Blackburn
SB 257 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A steal of a signing by the Cardinals just before the 2014 season, 23-year-old Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz hit .315 with 12 homers and 11 stolen bases for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara in 2012. Interestingly, that's the same franchise that produced Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. Maybe it's the water.
Full Scouting Report for Aledmys Diaz
SB 258 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A handsome, linebacker-like outfielder from Stanford, Austin Williams is one of the premium offensive prospects available in the 2013 MLB Draft. Williams passed on the Cardinals out of high school, electing to attend Stanford instead. As a college hitter, he's shown exceptional discipline and on-base ability (almost .400 in his sophomore year), coupled with good speed and developing power that hasn't yet translated into light-tower shots, but probably will. With a strong college performance near the end of the season, he rose into the second round of the draft, where he was snapped up by hitting hungry Seattle.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Wilson
SB 259 BA SC BP SN ES ML
250 to 260 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013