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 big, sturdy lefthander from central Texas, ex-Pirate pitching prospect Colton Cain didn't get the spotlight of some of the organization's shinier names, but that might be just fine: he's more of a workhorse than a flashy ace, anyway. He does his best work on the strength of his fastball, a nice repeatable 94mph offering that comes with enough natural sink to keep him in ballgames even when he doesn't have the best stuff. His secondary pitches are an average curve and a developing change, but those are a couple of years away from any level where they can fairly be evaluated. To be a long-term starter, he'll need to improve his effectiveness against righthanders, who seem to have learned to recognize and hammer his fastball. If he fails, he could still be a useful LOOGY, as his splits against lefty batters have always been impressive, even in his darker outings. A part of the trade package that netted the Pirates Wandy Rodriguez for their 2012 stretch run, Cain now looks like a workable part of a future Astros staff, with 2014 looking about right from here.
More Scouting Book Info on Colton Cain
SB 441 BA SC BP SN ES ML
With a name that'll be a headline-writer's dream someday, May Day baby Ravel Santana is a righthanded outfielder from San Pedro de Macoris, where he was presumably ridiculed by packs of roving shortstops on his way to school each morning. Santana earned a particular kind of fame in 2011 when an especially gruesome ankle injury made the YouTube rounds (No, we're not linking it.
Ewwww.) Santana's plus-plus speed, his defining tool, is taking some time to return, which isn't a surprise, and his batting line at low-A Staten Island last year isn't exactly encouraging, either, but it's far off his career standard: when all his body parts are attached correctly, Santana can show off great natural hitting ability with easy power and a cannon arm. Until his injury and subsequent developmental delays, both sides of the game were coming so easily to him, in fact, that it was very hard to imagine him anywhere other than patrolling a major league center field come 2015. Assuming his ankle will be back to full power soon, it still looks likely to us, though it's also quite unclear whether that team will be the CF-strong Yankees, however.
More Scouting Book Info on Ravel Santana
SB 442 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A combination catcher/third base prospect in the Yankees system, JR Murphy jumped from A ball (.257/.322/.374 at Tampa) to AA (.231/.306/.408 at Trenton), and continues to develop in a slow-but-sure fashion on the farm. He has no real speed (no surprise there) but does show a plus batting eye, great patience, and a short, powerful swing from the right side.
His power is still developing, but it seems very likely to arrive in time. There are divergent opinions on his game-calling and catcher's defense potential, but he's got time to learn that, and he was signed for his bat, anyway. Even if he's only a third baseman in the future, he should have what's necessary to be New York's own Brandon Inge in another year or two. He's on track to spend all of 2013 in AA ball, with a mid-to-late 2014 callup the most sensible timeline.
More Scouting Book Info on JR Murphy
SB 443 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A lefthanded bulldog in the Pittsburgh Pirates system, Texan Zack Dodson is a groundball pitcher who deploys a 92mph fastball and solid curve with good command to induce a larger than average number of weak grounders. Don't let his stat line from 2011 dissuade you: he spent the better part of the season recuperating from a broken hand. Dodson doesn't have the raw stuff of some of Pittsburgh's better-known prospects, and he's not going to blossom into a superstar, but he does have a strong work ethic and good overall baseball smarts, which should be enough to propel him to the next level.
More Scouting Book Info on Zack Dodson
SB 444 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall and lanky lefthander who's clearly ready for MLB right now, Giant pitcher Eric Surkamp proved himself with six late-season starts for San Francisco in 2011. Surkamp doesn't have a great fastball, barely scraping 90mph on a good day. But he does get some nice natural movement on it, and does locate it well most of the time. That's more than enough to set up his breaking balls, a straight change and a curve that both look like genuine plus pitches. He's had middling results to date, especially in his brief MLB time in 2012, but the raw ability is still there: check out his AA performance for a whiff of his real ability. He could string together success at any moment: he's a hair away from a 25-man player in San Francisco right now.
More Scouting Book Info on Eric Surkamp
SB 445 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 446 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Max Kepler-Rozycki is a big, strong, German-born outfielder deep in the Minnesota Twins system. He gets high marks from scouts for his instincts, baseball build and raw tools. At the same time, he's very young and hasn't established much of a baseline in professional play yet: we haven't yet seen him in anything higher than Appy-League play (.262/.347/.366 in only 191 at-bats). In that time, Kepler showed decent contact ability and good speed, coupled with some pretty rough but promising defense. He's been tested in each outfield position, and seems most comfortable as a left-fielder, though that has to be written in the faintest of pencil at this point. Give Kepler a couple of years, then check back to see whether he's blossomed enough that we can start making puns about stars yet.
More Scouting Book Info on Max Kepler
SB 447 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A third round pick by the always-clever Pirates in the 2011 draft, and signed despite concerns about his future plans, ex-Hoosier Alex Dickerson is a slugger of the first order. He should help the Pirates offset a pitching-heavy talent pool in the near future. While dropping to the third round helped him fade from some writers' memories, his first-year pro line at low-A State College (.313/.393/.493) propelled him back into the top ranks.
A prototypical slugger, Dickerson is big, wide and strong. He's the kind of friend you'd call to help you move, or maybe to stand behind you while you visit someone who owes you money. Dickerson's left-handed swing is a bit long, but his bat speed seems more than adequate to cover that right now. He's not getting fooled by breaking balls yet, either, though he hasn't seen many truly great ones. We're dying to see him in Altoona. Until then, he's a couple of years away from the majors (let's say... mid-to-late 2014?), but if he continues to chew through pitching the way he has so far, he'll be a great asset by that time.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Dickerson
SB 449 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Alex Dickerson gets a lot of press in Piratelandia, but it could be another first base masher, the smaller but just as potent Matthew Curry, who ends up launching dingers in Pittsburgh first. Curry, a 16th round (!) selection back in 2010, looked awfully good in AA last year, slashing a .285/352/.480 line at Altoona. He'll probably start 2013 back in Altoona, but as long as he maintains the same level of performance, he'll end the year with the big club.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Curry
SB 450 BA SC BP SN ES ML
440 to 450 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013