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 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 81 BA 61 SC BP 74 SN ES 55 ML 51
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Reese McGuire
SB 82 BA 81 SC BP 59 SN ES ML
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Dominic Smith
SB 83 BA 92 SC BP SN ES 37 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Rusney Castillo
SB 84 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Yet another quality shortstop prospect from a system that suddenly can't stop producing them, Venezuelan Jose Peraza follows Pastornicky and Simmons, Salcedo and Ahmed into the Braves spotlight. Peraza has an all-around strong offensive toolset, hitting for average and with good gap power while also showing plus speed and savvy on the bases. He slashed .296/.350/.374 and stole 25 of 30 bases while moving up from Danville to the GCL last season. In the field he looks like a true shortstop, with the range and arm to stay at the position. He'll try to bring his hard-nosed and smart approach to A-ball in 2013.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Peraza
SB 85 BA SC BP SN ES 99 ML
A catcher and pitcher in high school, Mississippi native Hunter Renfroe was drafted by the San Diego Padres (13th overall in 2013) as an outfielder, presumably signalling the team's intent to develop him quickly. And that's reasonable, given that his calling card is his offensive ability. The Cal Ripken League MVP in both 2011 and 2012, Renfro hit .395 and .366 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and made himself known as a major power threat from the right side of the plate. He's an above-average runner, and has a real plus arm (he hit high-90's in his pitching days), which means he should be quite happy in right field soon.
More Scouting Book Info on Hunter Renfroe
SB 86 BA 80 SC BP SN ES 94 ML
A flamethrowing lefthander, Montgomery was grabbed early by the Royals in the 2008 draft. Four minor league seasons later, he's still looking pretty legitimate, if unspectacular. He's assembled a 4.17 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and a 460:212 collection of strikeouts versus walks over 546 innings that have propelled him to AAA and the major league doorstep. Traded to the Rays during the 2012 winter, he'll be looked to sooner than he might have been in KC. He's only 23 years old, and suffered some flameout control issues at times last season, but we still expect to see him in the majors this season. A new coaching staff might be all that it takes to restore his onetime shine.
More Scouting Book Info on Mike Montgomery
SB 87 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Two years from now, the Seattle Mariners might just have one of the very best rotations in all of baseball. Yes, really. In addition to solid and near-ready Danny Hultzen and phenom Taijuan Walker, the Mariners also own James Paxton, a tall, athletic Canadian lefthander. Paxton rose to national attention at U Kentucky, and was selected in the 2009 Draft's supplemental round by the Toronto Blue Jays. He did not sign, however, and quickly became embroiled in a hubbub and eventual lawsuit when it was revealed that his 'family adviser' Scott Boras may have negotiated with the Blue Jays on his behalf, which is against NCAA rules. He thus became ineligible to play NCAA ball in 2010, and instead parked himself in independent ball to await the next draft, when he was selected by the Mariners much later, at #132nd overall.
His mid-nineties stuff and sick breaking ball hasn't yet translated to many overpowering performances, but he looked solid enough in a full season of AA ball in 2012, striking out 110 in 106 innings while posting a 3.05 ERA. His 54 walks (and concomitant 1.411 WHIP) should give touts pause, however: he needs to rein in that control if he's going to excel in MLB anytime soon.
More Scouting Book Info on James Paxton
SB 88 BA 99 SC BP 68 SN ES ML
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 89 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big shortstop who some prefer as a future outfielder Rosell Herrera lit up scoreboards in A-level Asheville last season (), inflating his stock tremendously. He'll have to do it again in 2014 to make it onto any shortlists as a Tulo replacement, however.
More Scouting Book Info on Rosell Herrera
SB 90 BA 86 SC 67 BP SN ES 54 ML 99
80 to 90 of 750 Prospects
Top Prospects 2013