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 90
A protege pitching machine from the Dominican Republic, Royals prospect Miguel Almonte outclassed his peers in his first taste of American pro ball in 2013, rocketing into the league's ERA leaders and all the way to the Futures Game. Almonte leans heavily on the give-and-take of his mid-90's fastball (that's the give) and near-plus changeup (that's the take), leaving a frustrated pile of would-be hitters in his wake. His breaking ball, a slurvy slider (or maybe it's a hard curve) is nothing special, but it's coming along, and if the fastball-change combo keeps looking this good, he won't need it much anyway. A poor man's Felix Hernandez? Maybe.
Full Scouting Report for Miguel Almonte
SB 81 BA SC BP SN ES ML 86
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.
Full Scouting Report for Hunter Dozier
SB 82 BA SC BP SN ES ML 85
A toolsy hitter who's already capable of spraying balls all over the field, Oakland infield prospect Daniel Robertson looks to fit well into that organization's on-base philosophy. His short swing and excellent eye look more advanced than his age, in fact. Listed by many as a shortstop, his so-so range and powerful arm look more like third base tools to us, and his workmanlike approach to the game suggest that the A's might finally have their Kevin Youkilis, even if it took an extra decade to find him.
Full Scouting Report for Daniel Robertson
SB 83 BA SC BP SN ES ML 84
Another raw athlete in a draft filled to the brim with such potential, Ranger prospect Nick Williams fit the cliche perfectly: great natural tools and athleticism, good speed, strong arm, very raw skills, and a swing that shows glimmers of greatness... but also one full of more holes than a beer-league infield. While his game has tightened up a lot in the last year or so, he's still lacking some of the polish needed for the higher levels of pro ball. Give him another year or two.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Williams
SB 84 BA SC BP SN ES ML 83
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.
Full Scouting Report for Michael Conforto
SB 85 BA SC BP SN ES ML 78
A big, limber righthander who was hitting 98mph on the radar gun before going under the Tommy John knife in May 2014, pitcher Jeff Hoffman still has enough upside to be selected ninth overall by the Blue Jays in that summer's draft. Before surgery, Hoffman was commanding that fastball along with a plus curve (a true 12-6 knee-buckler that he used as a strikeout pitch) and a very good changeup, two pitches that he'll need to rebuild in the years to come. A textbook long-term investment by the Blue Jays.
Full Scouting Report for Jeff Hoffman
SB 86 BA SC BP SN ES ML 89
A high-school running back with plus speed and great instincts in the outfield, Milwaukee prospect Tyrone Taylor could yet grow into a corner, though right now he looks like future leadoff material. Shaking off doubts he could handle pro pitching, Taylor slashed a combined .387/.434/.667 in two Rookie league stops in 2012, opening the door for A-ball and ungodly breaking stuff. He cranked a .274/.338/.400 line at A-level Wisconsin, with 8 homers in 485 at-bats. He'll probably open 2014 back in A-ball, though a hot start could see an early promotion here. He's still a couple of years away.
Full Scouting Report for Tyrone Taylor
SB 87 BA SC BP SN ES ML
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.
Full Scouting Report for Rusney Castillo
SB 88 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A huge beast of a pitcher, the six foot eight Anthony Ranaudo is one of many premium righthanded arms from the 2010 Amateur Draft. The LSU alum works with a mid-90's fastball on an (obviously) downward plane, mixing in an average curve and changeup that will have to improve before he's MLB-worthy. There are still some concerns with his mechanics, as is often the case with tall pitchers, and his slightly jerky delivery worries a few scouts. Despite those concerns, though, Ranaudo is a pitcher with significant upside who should be worth the XL risk the Sox took on him.
Full Scouting Report for Anthony Ranaudo
SB 89 BA SC BP SN ES ML 100
A headline acquisition as part of the trade of pitcher Matt Garza, Hak-Ju Lee is a big, powerful shortstop from Korea who's now prominently positioned in the Tampa Bay system. Already a polished hitter (.261/.336/.360 at AA Montgomery last year), Lee seems to have the footwork and arm to stick at shortstop, too, and he's shown improvement in the field every season. His 37 steals in 2012, a career best, is also a highlight worth remembering. As projected, he should get a shot at everyday Tampa life in 2013.
Full Scouting Report for Hak-Ju Lee
SB 90 BA SC BP SN ES ML
80 to 90 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013