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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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.
Full Scouting Report for Albert Almora
SB 71 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.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Kingham
SB 72 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.
Full Scouting Report for Mark Appel
SB 73 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.
Full Scouting Report for Allen Webster
SB 74 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.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Freeland
SB 75 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.
Full Scouting Report for Rafael Montero
SB 76 BA 68 SC BP SN ES 60 ML 85
An outfield prospect drafted deep in the 16th round of 2010's Rule 4 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, the switch-hitting Dalton Pompey is a toolsy, defense-first ballplayer with a potent mix of nascent ability. In 2013, during a full season at A-level Lansing, Dalton spent time in all three outfield slots, though he seemed most comfortable in center, showing good range and smart route-running. At the plate, he was also quite at home, slashing a respectable .261./358/.394 and swiping 38 bases in 115 games, though his base-stealing skills are still a bit rough around the edges. His power game, too, isn't all there yet, and may never arrive (he's not a large man), but all other aspects of his game look very good, and scouts can't say enough about his makeup and work ethic. He'll be a AA player for at least part of 2014, and will be on the bench/callup shortlist for the Blue Jays in 2015.
Full Scouting Report for Dalton Pompey
SB 77 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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.
Full Scouting Report for Garin Cecchini
SB 78 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.
Full Scouting Report for Derek Hill
SB 79 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Braves' first round selection in the 2014 First Year Player Draft, North Carolina native Braxton Davidson looks every bit the kind of player that Atlanta loves to see: a smart, well-mannered southern boy who can hit baseballs 500 feet. While he doesn't have the wheels that Justin Upton or Jason Heyward offer, he might have a bigger bat than either, and his defense looks solid enough to stick in an outfield corner. His arm, for certain, is strong enough: when moonlighting as a pitcher, he averages 92mph on the radar gun.
Full Scouting Report for Braxton Davidson
SB 80 BA SC BP SN ES ML
70 to 80 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013