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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SB 40 BA SC 31 BP SN ES 27 ML 39
Nobody expected young Josh Bell to sign in 2011, which is probably why he fell to the Pirates in round two of the draft. But one should never underestimate the allure of five million shiny dollars, and young Bell shocked other managers by inking with the Pirates and passing on the University of Texas. Bell immediately became the biggest bat in a Pirate system that's very lacking in offensive muscle, but his primo status doesn't only come from relative dearth: he's a valid top prospect all on his own merit.
More Scouting Book Info on Josh Bell
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A 21-year-old righthander who started his college career as a shortstop before being converted to the mound, Oregon native Braden Shipley developed quickly enough to become one of the top pitching prospects from the 2013 draft class. He's moved up quickly because he's commanded his low-90's fastball so well that he hasn't needed much from his (still developing) change and curve yet. Tall, limber and athletic, he looks like just the kind of raw material that many MLB coaches would love to develop into a viable ace.
More Scouting Book Info on Braden Shipley
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The Cubs number one pick in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora projects to be a Northside star one day soon. Signed when he was only 18, he's not quite ready yet, but he's already got scouts drooling: his across-the-board toolset is solid, and he's still improving. His leadership ability and poise are especially impressive, as he performed very well under the highest possible levels of pressure throughout his award-laden high-school career. Outpacing older players during his first shot at A-level ball last season, Almora slashed a very mature .329/.376/.466. He'll probably spend most of 2014 at high-A Daytona in an attempt to slow him down a little, but it probably won't work: he should be in AA sometime this summer, and he looks like a probably Futures Game star from the get-go.
More Scouting Book Info on Albert Almora
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One of the most appealing college hitters eligible for the 2013 MLB Draft, DJ Peterson is a hard-hitting third baseman who may end up at first or a corner outfield spot in the future. (Based on the shortage of quality 1B prospects, he seems most likely to wind up there eventually) Peterson won the Mountain West Conference triple crown in 2012, demonstrating that he can bring smooth, easy power on every plate appearance. His hitch-free swing and growing power have him zooming up prospect lists, and for good reason. Selected 12th overall by the Mariners, he immediately became one of the team's top offensive prospects.
More Scouting Book Info on DJ Peterson
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A big, strong strike thrower, Appel was selected eighth overall (Pirates) in the 2012 draft, but didn't sign, allowing him to reenter the 2013 draft, where his hometown Astros flattered him with the #1 overall selection. One of the best pitching prospects in the last few years, he should provide the big anchor the rebuilding Astros so desperately need. He'll be ready in 2014 -- heck, he's ready right now -- but the Astros will do their best to slow down his arbitration clock while they assemble the rest of a competitive team to play behind him.
More Scouting Book Info on Mark Appel
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A hard-hitting prospect who gained US attention only at the tail end of the 2014 season, Yasmany 'El Trueno' Tomas is yet another big, strong Cuban outfielder in the Cespedes-Puig-Castillo tradition, though he's less toolsy and more of a pure-power threat than any of those. While Tomas did participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, most of his time has been logged with the Havana Industriales, where he played from age 18 through 23 and developed a reputation for big, majestic home runs... and an even bigger reputation for big, sweeping strikeouts. He's probably a bit sub-average in the field, but he does have a strong throwing arm. He looks most suited to a corner outfield position and a middle-of-the-order batting spot. He could use a season of minor league ball in order to refine his patience, but he's unlikely to get that much patience from his new owners, given his price tag.
More Scouting Book Info on Yasmany Tomas
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A big pitcher with an even bigger fastball, Michael Foltynewicz is a teenaged right-hander who scrapes 6-foot-6 and 220, with a heavy, moving fastball that can touch 98. Striking out 125 in 152 innings of Sally League work is a nice hint at what he can do, but the high contact and walk rates he also logged are the indicators that he's not reaching his potential yet. He's still raw, and a couple of years away, but definitely worth watching closely.
More Scouting Book Info on Michael Foltynewicz
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WIth one of the sweetest, simplest lefthanded swings in the minors, Reds prospect Jesse Winkler has nonchalantly lifted his prospect cred to the highest levels. A patient hitter despite his young age, Winkler is a bit of a throwback: an all-around ballplayer who's not afraid to take pitches where they're thrown, which means he projects to hit for a high average, if not the sort of power one expects to see from a corner bat. No matter: most scouts say Winkler is the best hitter the Reds have had in the system since Joey Votto. He should be fun to watch.
More Scouting Book Info on Jesse Winkler
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Yet another spare part that came to the Astros via the Phillies farm system, SSantana is tall, projectable hitter with a long but uncluttered swing. An average runner and a strong-armed thrower, Sunday is still learning to handle breaking pitches, but for such a young talent, he's already looking like one of the best athletes in the revitalized Houston system. Give him a couple of years to get comfortable with upper-level pitching, especially those irksome breaking balls he's going to struggle with in AA, and he could be a part of a wild new AL offense in 2015 or so.
More Scouting Book Info on Domingo Santana
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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. He'll slow-cook in Minnesota after signing, but if he stays healthy, it won't be long before he's seen as a top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Berrios
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40 to 50 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013