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 howitzer-armed high school catcher from Oklahoma, Jonathan Denney promises both offense and defense from the backstop position. Denney has the makings of real plus power coupled with great pitch recognition. A smart player, he has soft hands and great reflexes behind the plate, and seems capable of handling a pitching staff someday, too. That means he should stay at catcher, where he has the most value. Drafted in the third round of 2013's draft by the Red Sox, he's in the right system for the kind of player he seems to be.
More Scouting Book Info on Jonathan Denney
SB 281 BA SC 86 BP SN ES ML
Another product of the Latin American scouting machinery that runs overtime in Cleveland, infield prospect Ronnie Rodriguez looks like another success already. While it's too early to judge him in detail, Rodriguez turned one of our favorite tricks as a second-year player, improving on his lower-level results by slashing .264/.300/.452 as a 20-year old at high-A Carolina. He's a fast-riser in a system full of sleepers.
More Scouting Book Info on Ronnie Rodriguez
SB 282 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall, lithe righthander in the Mets system, Dominican-born Luis Mateo is a hard-throwing pitcher with a quality change. He outclassed the NY-Penn League last year, striking out 85 and walking only 9 in 73 innings, but he was a 22 year old pitching to younger hitters. He'll push through A-ball this year, and if he maintains anything close to those great numbers, he'll be in AA and knocking on the door in 2014.
More Scouting Book Info on Luis Mateo
SB 283 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish IFA import from Guadalajara, Mexico, Christian Villanueva moved slowly through the Ranger system for a few years before being shipped north to Chicago at 2012's trading deadline. CV, who was a malnourished-looking 150lbs when he signed, has been bulking up as hoped, adding strength while still smashing baseballs with quick, easy power. Even his smooth defensive play hasn't suffered: he still looks pretty capable of covering shortstop if necessary.
At A-level Hickory in 2011 he was overshadowed by Jurickson Profar, but Villanueva quietly put up a very impressive offensive line of his own, with 17 homers and 32 steals (in 38 attempts). His base-stealing fell off a cliff last season, but he still produced offensive numbers. He still has a lot to prove, especially once he sees some quality breaking stuff at higher levels, but if that power/speed combination holds up as his body blossoms, he could soon become a high-impact contributor in the new-look Cubs offense we're all waiting to see come 2014 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Christian Villanueva
SB 284 BA SC BP SN ES ML
He may sound like a fashion designer, but young Foster Griffin is actually one of baseball's more exciting young pitching prospects. A lefthander drafted straight out of First Academy (a K-12 Independent/Christian school in Florida) by the Royals in 2014, Griffin already has a low-90's fastball that hums, but it's his advanced command of a low-80's changeup that really captures scouting attention. A slider lags behind as his third-best pitch, but even that's more than adequate for such a young player. He'll be steeped in pro ball and moved slowly by the Royals, an organization known for not rushing young prospects.
More Scouting Book Info on Foster Griffin
SB 285 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big righthander drafted in 2009's fourth round, San Diego's Keyvius Sampson looked pretty darn fine in his first season of A-ball back in 2011, going 12-3, 2.90, 1.10 across 24 starts. He struck out 143 batters, three times as many as he walked, with a K/9 rate near 11. He slid somewhat in 2012, though to be fair, a lot of pitchers find humility in their first trip to the Texas League. Sampson's control still needs work, but there's not much else to complain about here: he has guile, mound presence, confidence and calm when dealing his 94mph fastball (with movement), hammerish curve and even his newest pitch: a fading change with plenty of sink. Issues with recurring elbow soreness seem to be in his past, but note:
seem to be.
More Scouting Book Info on Keyvius Sampson
SB 286 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the best viable catching prospects in the 2014 draft, Michigan native Blake Anderson was snapped up a lot earlier than expected by the value-hunting Marlins in the first compensation round. Not surprisingly, he also signed with a below-slot bonus more in line with a third or fourth rounder. A big, strong catcher with a cannon arm and better-than-expected mobility for a man his size, his defense doesn't seem to be in question. As a big-framed strong young man, too, he projects to hit for good power in the future. What questions do linger in conversations about Anderson, though, all revolve around whether or not he'll hit for a high enough average to be a of everyday value to an MLB lineup one day.
More Scouting Book Info on Blake Anderson
SB 288 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A low nineties fastball doesn't usually mean much, but when you can bring it from the left side along with a high-quality curve and changeup, you're well on the road to success in MLB. Mariner prospect Tyler Pike looked very good in 2012, striking out 57 in only 50 innings of rookie ball. He won't be up anytime soon, but if he lives up to his early promise, he'll be striking out his share of major leaguers sooner or later. In the mean time, he will be given every chance to refine that arsenal in a minor league rotation for the next four years or so, with the bullpen as an easy backup plan: there's no shortage of job options for a lefthander with quality stuff.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Pike
SB 289 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Vanderbilt's best starter in his last season of work there, lefthander Sam Selman leans on a mid-nineties fastball, which he commanded well enough to strike out more than a batter per inning. That fastball won't be enough for MLB, of course, so expect Selman to work on his cutter and change in the minors for a good season or two before he's ready for action in KC. If the Royals have the patience to leave him in a starting rotation, mid-2015 is his most likely arrival timeframe. Of course, with strikeout ability like Selman has from the left side... well, it's going to be hard to keep him out of a bullpen role if the Royals find themselves in a pennant race. Visions of David Price, 2008 edition, spring easily to mind here.
More Scouting Book Info on Sam Selman
SB 290 BA SC BP SN ES ML
280 to 290 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013