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 80 BA SC BP SN ES ML 70
Signed as a sixteen year old out of Panama back in 2008, catcher Christian Bethencourt is a toolsy ballplayer dripping with all-around talent. Competing with far-older players in 2009, the 17-year old showed flashes of power and above-average speed to complement his advanced bat control skills. In 2012, he slashed .243/.275/.291 at AA Mississippi while working primarily on his defense.
Since he's a catcher with the entire universe of game calling and defense to master, he's still a couple of years away, but he's such a shining star that he's a near-lock to rise through the prospect ranks every year before taking over in Atlanta. He's just that talented. If he settles in and looks strong in AA this year, he'll be starting in Atlanta next.
Full Scouting Report for Christian Bethancourt
SB 81 BA SC BP SN ES ML 76
The Mets first round pick (13th overall) in 2011, outfielder Brandon Nimmo earned his high draft pick with superior tools and excellent projectability, thanks to his strong, mature physical frame. Nimmo slashed a respectable .248/.372/.406 in low-A ball, and should spend 2013 working up to higher A levels. He's still young, but in an offensively weak system, he could move quickly and land in New York before 2015.
Full Scouting Report for Brandon Nimmo
SB 82 BA SC 82 BP SN ES 91 ML 60
A slappy, scrappy, switch-hitting wheels player, Pirate prospect Alen Hanson was a low-visibility 2011 IFA signing from the Dominican, but one that earn more kudos for htose ever-impressive Pittsburgh scouts. Hanson would probably get more attention if his name included an Alvarez or Concepcion in there, something that looked more Latin and less Nordic. (At least 'Alexi'. Something. Make an effort, kid!)
Alexi is said to have the quick hands and feet necessary to stick at shortstop, but he also has a quick everything-else: plus speed is clearly his main offensive weapon. Power may never come, depending on how his slender frame fills out, but he's already showing superior on-base skill, and the Pirates should already be delighted with his development, no matter when he finds the ceiling.
Full Scouting Report for Alen Hanson
SB 83 BA SC 77 BP SN ES 89 ML 73
When a high school player is projected as a first baseman, it's a sort of mixed message. On the one hand, it means that scouts have little to no faith in the player's ability to perform anywhere on the field. On the other hand, if such a player is still highly thought of, he must be one heck of a hitter. That's the case with LA-born, NY-drafted teenager Dominic Smith. The youngster has exceptional bat speed and power, and even shows enough of a discerning eye at the plate that a few scouts have conjured the ghost of Larry Walker in describing his potential. Smith's glove is actually quite good at first, and he has a strong arm, so it's possible some team will try to make a right fielder out of him, but that won't change the calculus: as long as the kid can learn to handle quality breaking balls in the minor leagues, he'll be a quality MLB ballplayer one day.
Full Scouting Report for Dominic Smith
SB 84 BA SC BP SN ES 65 ML 80
Aaron Blair, a 21st round selection last season, spent the interim playing Cape Cod baseball before returning to the 2013 draft. Blair, a power righthander, can reach 95mph with his fastball, and it often looks better than that thanks to his better-than-average change. He doesn't yet command his curve with the same confidence he brings to other offerings, but overall he's a good pitcher, not just a raw arm, and he should continue to develop in the years to come.
Full Scouting Report for Aaron Blair
SB 85 BA SC 83 BP SN ES 37 ML 79
A compact, wiry shortstop from Tuscaloosa, Tim Anderson's biggest weapon is his plus-plus speed, though he's also a good enough contact hitter to make that speed dangerous. A good but not standout shortstop, he shows plus range but only a so-so arm, which suggests a move to second base might be coming in the future. The 17th overall selection of the 2013 draft, he'll be moved slowly... it'll take some time for his hitting ability to develop enough to handle quality breaking stuff.
Full Scouting Report for Tim Anderson
SB 86 BA SC 84 BP SN ES 67 ML 81
A lefthanded power pitcher with a dominating mound presence, top Angel prospect Sean Newcomb has a heavy, sinking fastball that lives around 95mph but can reach 99, more than enough to qualify him as one of the hardest-throwing lefty prospects in the game. His sweeping, hard slider is already a strikeout pitch, while a developing change and curve, while still rough, show occasional flashes of quality. He'll need some time to smooth out his big delivery and learn to repeat it more easily, but he's an exciting pitching prospect in an organization desperately in need of some.
Full Scouting Report for Sean Newcomb
SB 87 BA SC 88 BP SN ES 48 ML 82
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 88 BA SC BP SN ES ML 58
A solidly-built catcher/third-base prospect from Kent, Washington, Reese McGuire doesn't quite deserve the Bryce Harper comparisons he sometimes inspires, but he's not all that far off, either. An offensive monster at a young age, he should enjoy the benefits of further physical development over the next couple of years, which means those towering homers will get even more awe-inspiring. Best of all, he gets that power from a short, quick stroke that doesn't look like any kind of all-or-nothing swing. Behind the plate, he looks very very good, definitely good enough to stick at catcher if his body plays along. He's very young and very raw, but there are few players from the 2013 draft class with a higher ceiling.
Full Scouting Report for Reese McGuire
SB 89 BA SC BP SN ES ML 73
A sturdy righthander first drafted by the Orioles out of high school in 2010, Alex (Chi-Chi) Gonzalez reentered and was selected by the Rangers in 2013's first round. Working from a consistent 3/4 arm slot, Gonzalez repeats his delivery very well, mixing a mid-90's fastball with a superior, late-breaking slider. Seen by some as a reliever, his future as a starting pitcher will hinge on whether or not his changeup, currently below-average, can be refined into a reliable offering. One big plus in his favor: he's known for maintaining his good stuff deep into ballgames.
Full Scouting Report for Chi-Chi Gonzalez
SB 90 BA SC BP SN ES 86 ML 92
80 to 90 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013