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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While the Seattle Mariners may not be looking for a hot young catcher at the moment, there's something to be said for having depth, especially in a scarce position. Virginia native John Hicks is a big, strong catcher who looks to be moving quite quickly through the minors. Drafted in 2011's fourth round, Hicks has blossomed into a quality tactician, a competent blocker and an very good framer of pitches while working with Seattle's excellent young crop of pitchers. He's also blessed with a strong arm that's thrown out almost exactly fifty percent of attempted steals over his minor league career.
At the plate, his AA numbers in 2013 might not look too impressive, but he's a better hitter than those numbers show: the .312/.351/.472 line he slashed at high-A High Desert the year before is closer to his real value, and he should return to similar numbers with another season of AA ball in 2014. He's a year away, but not much more than that.
More Scouting Book Info on John Hicks
SB 301 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 302 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 304 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 305 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 306 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An offensive-minded infielder from Japan's Pacific League, Kensuke Tanaka slashed .300/.350/.363 with in 505 plate appearances last season for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Widely known as a solid glove man, he also showed plus speed and basestealing ability early in his career, though that has faded as he's matured.
More Scouting Book Info on Kensuke Tanaka
SB 307 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Onelki Garcia (Speck) is a very large Cuban lefthander with a very big strikeout fastball. In Cuba's major league (Serie Nacional) in 2009-2010, Garcia made 15 starts and posted a 3.40 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 85 innings. Of course, he also walked 51. Surprisingly subject to the MLB draft after living in legal limbo for a year, he was selected by the Dodgers in round three. Garcia features a 96mph fastball that is occasionally good, but shows little movement and often comes in erratic and flat due to his awkward delivery. His curve tells a similar story, only more emphatically: it's occasionally great, with flashes of true plus movement, but usually mediocre. nobody's seen much of his changeup yet. He only threw two innings at Rancho Cucamonga last season, but in those two innings, he struck out four batters. The Dodgers obviously see something special in Garcia, though, and are expected to break him down before building him back up again, hopefully with some cleaner mechanics.
More Scouting Book Info on Onelkis Garcia
SB 308 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Cal Poly's Friday starter in 2014, Philadelphia draftee Matt Imhoff is a tall, strong lefthander who uses his height advantage to slice fastballs down and in on hitters with controlled abandon, frequently mixing in a slider that's more of a cutter. He's got that ever-elusive changeup to develop further, but he's otherwise a very good pitcher, with superior command and control, and no visible weaknesses.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Imhof
SB 309 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Indians' Bob Feller Award winner in 2011, smallish righthander Chen-Chang Lee projects as a potent bullpen weapon for the Indians in the near future. Lee was signed as an international free agent after gaining attention at the 2008 Olympics, but lost a year to TJ surgery recently that dropped him from many radar screens.
Lee is a hard-thrower with good command of a genuine plus slider that he delivers from a deceptive low angle. He's probably a middle-reliever, though he could be a very good one of those: just the thing a manager always wants to have, in order to get through a high-leverage batter or two.
More Scouting Book Info on Chen Chang Lee
SB 310 BA SC BP SN ES ML
300 to 310 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013