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 60 BA SC 64 BP SN ES 99 ML 67
A top pitching prospect from the 2013 draft, Sean Manaea (rhymes with pariah) went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 17 starts for Indiana State in 2012, striking out 115 batters in 105 innings while walking only 32. The son of proud parents Opal and Faaloloi (yes, he's Samoan), Sean brings a mid-90's fastball to the plate that should improve as he fills out further. His secondary offerings, a nasty slider and a developing change, aren't good enough for the Show just yet, but they're advanced for his age. Sean is also known for having a Pettitte-like pickoff move that holds even talented baserunners at bay.
More Scouting Book Info on Sean Manaea
SB 61 BA SC 33 BP SN ES ML 66
A quality lefthander who looks close to MLB ready, San Diego pitcher Max Fried should see Petco sooner rather than later. Fried's fastball doesn't exceed 92mph very often, though he can add a bit more when he really needs it and gets more outs thanks to its sinking nature than its velocity, anyway. His cutter and change are average pitches already, and should be better than average by the time he's anchored into the Padre rotation.
More Scouting Book Info on Max Fried
SB 62 BA SC BP SN ES 100 ML 68
A Washington draftee who made a detour to Oakland in 2012, re-Nationalized pitcher AJ Cole is a six-foot-five, lanky righthander who can touch 95mph with his fastball. Cole also mixes in a power curve and passable changeup that could develop into plus pitches with good coaching and support. He's already drawing comparisons to Justin Verlander, who was a similar pitcher at the same age, complete with the erratic control that's still holding Cole back from a breakout. Give him time and watch his peripherals. Trading a couple of MPH for greater control could accelerate his timeline.
More Scouting Book Info on AJ Cole
SB 63 BA SC 91 BP SN ES 98 ML 56
A toolsy Cuban outfielder signed by the Red Sox in late 2014, Rusney Castillo is a well-rounded player who won a Cuban League Gold Glove as a centerfielder, though he's also comfortable in a corner or even at second base, a position at which his so-so arm can best be hidden. Yoenis Cespedes, dismissing only that arm, called him a 'a four-tool player... very comparable to Yasiel Puig', which probably explains why the Red Sox were willing to spend $72M+ on an unproven talent.
Nobody expects Puig's game-changing talent to strike twice, and the stout Castillo is obviously a much differently-sized and -shaped player, but he certainly looks high-quality from here. A high-contact, right-handed line-drive hitter who uses his plus speed and gap power to maximum effect, he slashed an impressive 324/.373/.555 line during his breakout sophomore season in the Cuban Serie Nacional league in 2011, also leading the league with 29 stolen bases, then followed that up with a .342/.408/.574 line the following year. His numbers plummeted in 2013, but we'll assume he was a little distracted by his plans to defect, which he did successfully in early 2014. He's bigger and stronger today than he was in Cuba, but how that impacts his speed and/or power game is still an open question. If he can stay within himself (his swing can get a bit long sometimes), he'll be a quality MLB regular, at worst. His upside, of course, is quite a bit higher than that.
More Scouting Book Info on Rusney Castillo
SB 64 BA SC 38 BP SN ES ML
With a lively fastball that can touch 95mph, native Georgian Lucas Sims is the latest entry in the Atlanta pitching derby. He's raw, but he the righthander already gets so much life on his pitches that there's little doubt he'll be effective in some role or other.
More Scouting Book Info on Lucas Sims
SB 65 BA SC BP SN ES ML 63
The child of two championship athletes (football and olympic swimming), Mets prospect Michael Conforto is a powerful lefty-swinging outfielder with a big uppercut swing that suggests he'll be a three-true-outcomes type of slugger in the majors one day. That power is what matters, as he's below-average defensively and doesn't have much speed or range to speak of, though his arm is strong enough for an outfield corner.
More Scouting Book Info on Michael Conforto
SB 66 BA SC 70 BP SN ES 41 ML 78
SB 67 BA SC 51 BP SN ES ML 62
A very big kid from Texas with a pretty big arm, righthander Kyle Crick was the his district's 4A pitcher of the year in 2011. He brings a typical power heavy fastball from a high arm angle, and complements it with a slider that shows serious promise.
By all reports his change and curve are very much works in progress, though, so don't get too excited about this kid too soon. Crick's 95 strikeouts in only 68 innings of work last year shows his key ability, but that 1.27 WHIP shows he's better rounded than the average strikeout artist, too. He'll try to climb to AA in 2014, and if he looks as wicked there, he'll probably receive a rewarding cup of coffee come September.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Crick
SB 68 BA SC BP SN ES ML 46
A college catcher with a short, powerful stroke at the plate, Mets prospect Kevin Plawecki is a throwback tough-guy catcher whose game is already quite advanced. Given a year or three to absorb the finer points of game-calling, he could blossom into a regular on a rebuilt Mets club of the near future.
More Scouting Book Info on Kevin Plawecki
SB 69 BA SC BP SN ES 45 ML 59
A big, athletic third base prospect from UNC who just happens to be BJ Surhoff's favorite nephew, slugger Colin Moran was selected sixth overall in the 2013 draft, then shipped to Houston at 2014's trade deadline. Moran is a line-drive contact hitter with a sweet left-handed swing, and when he slashed .365/.434/.494 for the Tarheels in 2012, he locked down national attention. While he hasn't shown much power yet, he has the frame (and the genes) to develop at least average pop in the future. Not a bat-only type, Moran has also shown the sort of quickness and arm strength necessary to stick at third base.
More Scouting Book Info on Colin Moran
SB 70 BA SC 94 BP SN ES 73 ML 64
60 to 70 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013