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 Cardinal prospect picked up in the St. Louis treasure trove known as 2012's Supplemental draft round, California native Stephen Piscotty is an offensive-first corner glove who won the Cape Cod batting title in 2011, also picking up the award as the league's best pro prospect. While his name almost makes us wish he was a part of the Tampa Bay farm system, he'll do just fine in St. Louis, too. He should move quickly through the ranks.
More Scouting Book Info on Stephen Piscotty
SB 71 BA 70 SC 66 BP 66 SN ES 57 ML 98
A polished college shortstop from Texas, Hunter Dozier was selected eighth overall in the 2013 draft by the Kansas City Royals. Dozier ranked among the top ten in the Southland Conference in virtually every offensive category last season, and in 55 games this year, Dozier hit .396 with 17 homers and a dozen stolen bases. A right-handed hitter, Dozier has very strong hands, and while he's capable of turning on and pulling inside pitches, he does most of his best work by leaning on his plus bat control to hit liners to the opposite field and gap. A very good runner, he'll steal a few bases, but he's not a true plus-speed threat. In the field, he looks solid and capable of sticking at shortstop, assuming he doesn't outgrow the position: at 6-4 and 220, he's already pushing the envelope. He'll need a year or two in the minors to adjust to and master quality breaking stuff, but other than that asterisk, he looks to be the complete package.
More Scouting Book Info on Hunter Dozier
SB 72 BA SC BP 96 SN ES ML
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
SB 73 BA 36 SC 83 BP 25 SN ES 28 ML 18
A huge righthander in the Pirate system, Nicholas Kingham (not Kingman) is another young power arm in a system that's busting at the seams with them. Drafted fresh out of high school in 2010, he's busy going through the traditional 'fastball, fastball, fastball' period of his ongoing development with the Pirates, so it's difficult to judge how much more than that he'll be able to offer when the time comes. He did show off a quality change back in high school, as well as a very rough curve, so there's potential.
We haven't seen enough of him in pro ball to feel confident about his chances yet, but that 117:36 strikeout to walk ratio in the low-A NY-Penn League is encouraging.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Kingham
SB 74 BA 64 SC 34 BP 80 SN ES 73 ML
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
SB 75 BA 39 SC BP 21 SN ES 11 ML 17
An eighteenth round pick (!) of the Dodgers back in 2008, righthander Allen Webster has made the Dodger scouts look awfully clever since, as he's risen into the very top ranks of the system in the years since. A quality arm with good control but iffy command, Webster's primary weapon is a mid-90's fastball that can reach 98 with heavy sink, but he's no one-trick pony: his curve, change and slider are all potential plus pitches that show exceptional filth, even when he struggles to throw them consistently. If he can master at least one of those, hopefully the change, he'll be striking out major leaguers very very soon.
Splitting 2011 between the two cutest-named minor league cities in baseball, Webster followed up a 5-2 record and 1.24 WHIP in 9 starts at Rancho Cucamonga with a 6-3, 1.50 WHIP in 17 more at Chattanooga, his first test in AA ball. As a followup, after a hot start in 2012, Webster was generally considered the top pitching prospect (remaining) in the Dodger minors when he was traded to Boston in August. He's a good candidate to compete for a rotation spot in 2013's Spring Training, but a midseason or late-season callup would be a safer play.
More Scouting Book Info on Allen Webster
SB 76 BA 88 SC 85 BP SN ES ML 46
2013's Cape Cod leader in strikeouts and WHIP, Colorado lefty Kyle Freeland keeps batters very off-balance thanks to a deceptive delivery that makes his low-90's fastball look a lot hotter. It also helps that he brings it with natural sink, leading to a whole lot of poorly-struck ground balls. His secondary pitch is a biting slider that sometimes looks like more of a cut fastball, a pitch with its own completely-different movement to keep batters uncomfortable at the plate. His deception and low-arm angle, not to mention that fastball-slider combination, look like relief material to most, but the Rockies didn't use the eighth overall pick in 2014 on a player they see as a LOOGY: he'll be developed and grown as a starter first.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Freeland
SB 77 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Another product of the Mets' Latin American prospecting machine, Dominican righthander Rafael Montero is yet another hard thrower coming up fast through the minor league system. Montero has a lean and mean mound presence, not unlike the young Pedro Martinez, and he has the electric stuff to live up to that comp. Montero brings a mid-90's fastball that's solid and accurate, but it's the advanced nature of his secondary pitches (especially the wicked slider and sometimes-plus change) that frustrates hitters. And my, how those hitters do get frustrated.
Montero racked up crazy-good numbers in 2013, posting a combined 12-7 record and 2.78 ERA across 27 starts split between AA Binghamton and AAA Las Vegas. More improtant, he struck out 150 would-be hitters in only 155 innings. He looks unlikely to break camp with the Mets this spring, but he should be quick to move, should the team be ready for minor league help early in the year.
More Scouting Book Info on Rafael Montero
SB 78 BA 68 SC BP SN ES 60 ML 85
A shortstop who outgrew the position, as so many tall men do, Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini zipped up prospect lists last year mainly on the strength of his .298/.398/.500 performance at Low-A Lowell in 2011, and that season was obviously no fluke: he slashed .305/.394/.433 a year later at higher-level Greenville. Cecchini shows good (but not great) glove and footwork, and his arm can certainly handle the long throws from third, so there's little worry that he'll be able to play there. While there's no special reason for pessimism, we'll see how he can handle higher quality pitching, including his first taste of ungodly breaking stuff in 2013 before anointing him as a better third base option than Will Middlebooks.
More Scouting Book Info on Garin Cecchini
SB 79 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The son of Dodger scout Orsino Hill, outfielder Derek is one of the fastest prospects in baseball, with true game-changing speed in the Billy Hamilton fashion, though he's probably a better defender, with a stronger arm. At the plate, he's growing, already showing superior bat speed and gap power, with every possibility he could add power to an already-sweet line-drive swing as he grows into his lanky frame. Come to think of it, Starling Marte might be a better comparison.
More Scouting Book Info on Derek Hill
SB 80 BA SC BP SN ES ML
70 to 80 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013