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 30 BA 31 SC 38 BP 23 SN ES 21 ML 26
A wiry, athletic shortstop who makes even difficult plays look effortless, Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres is the latest in an embarrassment of infield riches for Chicago. The club won't be able to play as much talent as it's acquired and developed, which means the team may be looking to move some of its talent to the outfield (or to another franchise, likely for pitching.)
Wherever he fields, Torres has a quick, aggressive approach from the right side of the plate, with an offensive game that looks a lot like ex-Cub Starlin Castro.
Full Scouting Report for Gleyber Torres
SB 31 BA 41 SC 40 BP 41 SN ES 15 ML 28
Selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2011 Draft (27th overall), righthander Robert Stephenson was a rare high-school choice for the usually conservative Cincinnati franchise. The tall Californian overpowered his peers in his senior high school season, posting a 1.19 ERA in 76 innings that included not one but two no-hitters. A power pitcher in the classic mould, he can already top 98mph with his fastball. As always, though, it's how well his secondary pitches develop that will determine his fate in pro baseball. He's done a very good job handling higher levels in the minors, which means only MLB is really left for him now.
Full Scouting Report for Robert Stephenson
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SB 33 BA 20 SC 72 BP 63 SN ES 40 ML 41
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.
Full Scouting Report for Dominic Smith
SB 34 BA 79 SC 28 BP 86 SN ES 29 ML 51
SB 35 BA 70 SC 34 BP SN ES 37 ML 38
Kenta Maeda is the latest established Japanese pitcher to land with the LA Dodgers, a team that has never shown any fear of signing foreign-born starters.
A control righthander who works a mix of two- and four-seam fastballs in the low-90's, Maeda had a successful and full career in Japanese baseball, spending seven seasons with the Hiroshima Carp before his posting. He built up an impressive 2.44 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP during those seasons of work, while striking out 1,058 batters in 1,303 innings of work. He also owns a tidy set of ten complete game shutouts. Maeda's secondary pitches (a decent slider, a below-average curve and a so-so changeup) have scouts divided on his likely success rate in America. While fastball velocity and control usually translates well, the physical differences between US and Japanese baseballs, as well as the significant differences between approaches taken by Japanese and American batters, makes the effectiveness of breaking balls much more difficult to evaluate.
Full Scouting Report for Kenta Maeda
SB 36 BA 50 SC BP SN ES ML
A potential Bronx star in the making, California boy Aaron Judge is a monster slugger who could give the Yankees a serious offensive jolt whenever he arrives. Drafted in 2013, he hasn't really been challenged in the minors yet: after slashing .308/.419/.486 in his first look at A-ball in 2014, he put together a half-season in AA that catapulted him to the front of prospect lists: .284/.350/.516 with 12 home runs in 63 games.
While it's true he cooled off when bumped to AAA for the end of the year, he should be back to mashing this year, giving fans in Trenton, Scranton and maybe even Manhattan a chance to see his talent. He's a keeper.
Full Scouting Report for Aaron Judge
SB 37 BA 76 SC 45 BP 18 SN ES 36 ML 31
A fast, slappy hitter with good speed and plus defense, Rockie prospect David Dahl looks like a good fit for the 'new' Coors Field, where speed is a special asset. He's more than a raw tools candidate, though: Dahl uses his speed well on the bases and in the field, and shows a good eye for situational hitting. For such a young player, he's quite polished already, though he'll need another season or two to really show us what he can do.
Full Scouting Report for David Dahl
SB 38 BA 39 SC 42 BP 31 SN ES 58 ML 46
A square, powerful righthander from the University of San Francisco, KC pitcher Kyle Zimmer's calling card is his 98mph fastball, which he brings from a great rock-solid arm angle. It dazzles hitters from either side of the plate thanks to late life and movement. It's Zimmer's selection of other pitches, though, all of which look to be near-MLB ready, that will get him to the Show to stay. Give him a little more time for polish and conditioning, and you'll have a top-shelf pitcher on your hands.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Zimmer
SB 39 BA 85 SC 62 BP 89 SN ES 94 ML 65
A disciplined, determined hitter, outfield prospect Max Kepler is a very fast-rising star. While his play in 2015 was limited and sometimes impaired by a shoulder injury, Kepler looked dominant when he was healthy, manhandling AA pitching and announcing his arrival with authority. While his defense in the outfield isn't spectacular, it's probably good enough to keep him on the field, and as long as he's on the field, he can produce.
Full Scouting Report for Max Kepler
SB 40 BA 30 SC 86 BP 60 SN ES 33 ML 44
30 to 40 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013