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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An all-around athelete who could probably play any position (he's even pitched), Pittsburgh prospect Wyatt Mathisen will probably be groomed as a catcher in order to maximize his baseball smarts and cannon arm. Of course, there's nothing stopping the Pirates from developing him otherwise, so nothing will be certain here for another year or two. Whatever they do, they'll be getting a plus contact hitter who's shown more than a glimmer of power, too.
More Scouting Book Info on Wyatt Mathisen
SB 491 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The son of ex-Brave hitter of the same name, Blue Jays outfield prospect Dwight Smith is a slight but powerful hitter who shows the sort of advanced baseball smarts one expects from a second-generation ballplayer. While still very young and raw, he's already developed quickly, and looks to have a solid toolset, with good baserunning and fielding skills, a capable arm and at least average speed on the bases. He's a few years away, but baseball loves lineage, so he'll be given every opportunity, and then some, to succeed.
More Scouting Book Info on Dwight Smith
SB 492 BA SC BP SN ES ML
2011 was a pitching-deep draft, so Dillon Maples, who might have gone in the first few rounds any other year, fell all the way to round 14, which means he might end up being the steal of the season. The Cubs, who also had to spend second round money to talk him out of UNC, end up with a short-arming righthander with bulldog attitude and a selection of developing fastballs and breaking balls. His sometimes-great changeup, though, is what will take him to the big leagues. If the Cubs can harness his stilted delivery, he should move quickly. He's very polished for such a young player.
More Scouting Book Info on Dillon Maples
SB 493 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big lefty from Stanford who seems to be adjusting to pro baseball very well, White Sox prospect Scott Snodgress went 7-3 across two levels of A-ball, posting a combined 3.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, striking out 128 hitters in 140 innings of work. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90's, though it's a quality curve that looks like his best weapon to date. A straight change is coming along, too. He's being groomed as a starter, but his success against lefty hitters (especially with that curve) means that LOOGY work will always be around for him to fall back upon.
More Scouting Book Info on Scott Snodgress
SB 494 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A strike thrower with excellent command of his limited stuff, Pirate prospect Phil Irwin is a pitching artist who's shown enough cleverness and guile to consistently outperform the expectations of scouting experts across baseball. Rising three levels of ball in 2012, Irwin posted a composite WHIP of 1.097 and struck out 117 hitters in 130 innings, while walking only 24. Twenty four. That's impressive. Irwin accomplishes all this with a fastball that barely scrapes 90, though he throws it so well that he gave up only eight home runs all year. He mixes in decent but unspectacular breaking balls (slider, curve) and a changeup that works well enough to confuse batters. Some say he can't succeed with such mediocre stuff at higher levels, but he's been proving doubters wrong his whole career. We like him as a dark horse to possibly break out and catch MLB's attention in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Phil Irwin
SB 495 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall lefthanded pitching prospect from Kentucky, young Hunter Green is a typical all-potential prospect with the body and raw stuff to succeed, assuming he can actually, you know, learn how to pitch. His low-90's fastball is good, if erratic, and should get faster as his body develops further. His change has a nice natural sink already, and though his arm action is a bit iffy, it's unusual enough to see any sort of quality changeup from so young a player. His best raw offering is probably his hammer curve, though he doesn't yet have the ability to really command it effectively. A prototypical high-ceiling, high-risk pitching candidate.
More Scouting Book Info on Hunter Green
SB 496 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A toolsy outfielder with plus speed and defensive polish, Dominican Eloy Jimenez was generally considered the prime prospect of the 2013 international signing season. While he's played primarily center field thus far, his general athleticism and toolset suggest he could handle pretty much any place on the diamond, other than perhaps catcher. One of many high-upside signings that could redefine the rebuilt Cubs by 2016 or so, Jimenez will first have to work his way up from rookie ball. We can't wait to see him.
More Scouting Book Info on Eloy Jimenez
SB 497 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A shortstop who'll probably end up at second or third base, Cardinal prospect Greg Garcia is a solid on-base machine with good plate discipline and a nifty line-drive swing. He could sneak into the Cardinal lineup sometime this season, especially if the ballclub turns into a Red Sox style revolving door for shortstops, which is quite possible.
More Scouting Book Info on Greg Garcia
SB 498 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An offensively-capable shortstop, White Sox prospect Tyler Saladino rapped out a nifty .270/.363/.501 line in his first high-A experience in 2011, a full-season tour with the Winston-Salem Dash. If he keeps rising in the system, he'll probably need to move to second base in deference to franchise player Alexei Ramirez, but he has the skills and arm to play from the more challenging position, too. While his power numbers looked like the regressed in 2012, notice that his overall hitting actually improved: signs of a maturing prospect. He might be a breakout candidate.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Saladino
SB 499 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Yankees second round pick in 2013, Gosuke Katoh was a high-school infielder from San Diego with a very polished and well-rounded toolset. He's played mainly second base, but don't let that fool you: Katoh could play anywhere on the diamond thanks to fast feel, an accurate (though not especially strong) arm and very soft hands. His speed even makes him a viable outfielder, should the Yanks take that approach. A slap hitter with a compact angle of attack, a convenient left-handed stance and the aforementioned plus speed, Katoh looks like a junior version of Ichiro Suzuki: a leadoff hitter by any measure. His power isn't legit, at least not now, but like Ichiro he's more than capable of popping a few home runs if and when he chooses to let loose. A disciplined ballplayer, he could surprise many by grinding his way to MLB sooner than expected.
More Scouting Book Info on Gosuke Katoh
SB 500 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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Top Prospects 2013