Top Baseball Prospects for 2015 and Beyond
Now updated for 2016'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.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
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Top Reds Prospects for 2015
Current Overall SB ranking shown in grid below.
Selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2011 Draft (27th overall), righthander Robert Stephenson was a rare high-school choice from the usually conservative Cincinnati franchise. The tall Californian overpowered his peers in his senior high school season, posting a 1.19 ERA in 76 innings that included not one but two no-hitters. A power pitcher in the classic mould, he can already top 98mph with his fastball. As always, though, it's how well his secondary pitches develop that will determine his fate in pro baseball. So far, all signs point to a 2014 opportunity
More Scouting Book Info on Robert Stephenson
SB 26 BA 19 SC 20 BP 22 SN ES 29 ML 19
Reds prospect Jesse Winker is a solid hitting prospect who's already showing an advanced ability to work an at-bat, with power enough to line-drive anything to any field on command. He has a little pull power, but that's probably something the Reds would rather he forgot about: he's a top-to-middle of order bat who should be an on-base threat, and he hasn't found anything to slow him down yet: he led the entire Pioneer league in OBP last year. Defensively, he's competent in the outfield or a corner infield spot, but he won't win any gold gloves.
More Scouting Book Info on Jesse Winker
SB 49 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Florida native Ben Lively, a solid righthander with a very polished four pitch arsenal, was drafted by the Reds in 2013's fourth round. While the fastball/slider looks like his best combination, his change and curve are good enough that the Reds will probably let him develop as a starter until and unless he stumbles hard. Of course, thanks to some deception in his throwing motion, coupled with that quality slider, he's got a very good possible future as a reliever in his back pocket, too.
More Scouting Book Info on Ben Lively
SB 118 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A strong, squat outfielder with plus power potential, Phillip Ervin is an outfielder with good speed who could actually stick in centerfield for a future Reds team. The Pucketesque ballplayer was a good hitter in 2012 (327/.406/.519, 10 homers, 16 steals) and an even better one in wooden-bat Cape Cod League action in the fall, where he raked .323/.429/.631 with 11 homers and 10 more steals in a near-identical number of at-bats. While he'll get some knocks for his smallish size, he has more than a few believers in the scouting ranks, and could surprise many by outperforming expectations.
More Scouting Book Info on Phillip Ervin
SB 133 BA SC BP 63 SN ES ML
A big, sturdy righthander drafted by the Reds in 2014, Nick Howard spent his first two seasons at Virginia in the starting rotation, posting a 6 4 record, a 3.38 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 61 innings during his sophomore year. He moved to the bullpen last year, taking over as the team's closer and racking up 19 saves while posting an even shinier 2.15 ERA and striking out an eye-popping 50 men in 29-2/3 innings of work. Oh, and while doing all that, he also slashed .303/.345/.400 while playing a mix of third base, first base and shortstop.
Thankfully, being drafted by an NL team means we'll still see him at the plate from time to time, but it's on the mound where his future focus will be. His fastball is a 94mph sizzler that reached 98mph in closing work, and when his secondary change, slider curve are working, he's pretty much unhittable. While he could move very quickly and excel in an MLB relief role for 2015, the Reds will probably exhaust his potential as a starter before writing off that nifty four-pitch mix altogether.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Howard
SB 189 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A highly-prized prospect for his combination of power and speed, Rodriguez was a free-agent prize when he was stolen by the Reds as a Latin American free agent in 2008. A very young and very raw talent, he probably has the highest ceiling of any hitter in the Reds' system... but he's a long way from polished or proven. Before he can move up through the minors, he'll need to learn to hit breaking balls, and to stop swinging at everything he can reach. He's still a year or two away from the Bigs, though, so hold your horses.
More Scouting Book Info on Yorman Rodriguez
SB 198 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A strong, burly righthander with a good mix of pitches, Florida native Nick Travieso looks like he could find a nice long term home in the Cincinnati rotation, or at least the bullpen: that 94mph heat with a plus slider looks mighty attractive right now. He's a few years away, but has one of the highest upsides in the system.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Travieso
SB 208 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A switch-hitting catcher from Indianapolis, Tucker Barnhart is an all-around ballplayer with great raw tools and more than a small idea how to apply them to the game of baseball. Drafted out of high school by the Reds back in 2009, Barnhart has shown a quality batting eye and good patience at each level of play, slashing .278/.371/.409 last season at high-A Bakersfield and earning a promotion to AA at the end of the year. He's got a little pop, but with less than a dozen homers in three hundred pro games, he won't be winning any home run derbies. Behind the plate, he's a quality receiver with what looks to be a preternatural gift for keeping pitchers in the zone. While Devin Mesoraco has the Reds catcher-of-the-future award in hand for now, Barnhart could be in the running in another couple of years.
More Scouting Book Info on Tucker Barnhart
SB 278 BA SC 94 BP SN ES ML
A college infielder with an up-and-down career at Stanford, prospect Alex Blandino is a nominal shortstop who's probably destined to move off the position in the near future. Drafted at the tail end of 2014's first round, Blandino brings good bat speed and a sharp eye to the plate every time out, lashing singles and doubles to all fields. While he may or may not ever develop the power teams like to see from corner infielders, he's already got the quick hands, glove and strong arm to man third base.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Blandino
SB 408 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, toolsy third baseman with high power potential, Reds prospect Taylor Sparks looks like a slugger already, right down to his high strikeout and low walk rate. He'll need to hit for average in order to really reach the top level of offensive prospectdom. In the field, he looks like a better-than-average defender at third, with good range, soft hands and a strong arm, and he shows of better speed than one usually sees from a corner infielder, too. With so many tools to work with, and work upon, he'll be fun to watch develop.
More Scouting Book Info on Taylor Sparks
SB 416 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A thin, wiry righthander from the Dominican Republic, Reds prospect Daniel Corcino doesn't do anything fancy on the mound. He simply mixes a maxed-out 98mph heater with a quality breaking ball and gets hitters out. In a full year of AA-ball at Pensacola in 2012, Corcino went 3.00 / 1.23 while striking out 126 would-be hitters in 143 innings of work. His walk rate was up a bit, but AA hitters are notorious for being much more patient than lower-level players, so that's not a shock.
More Scouting Book Info on Daniel Corcino
SB 443 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Puerto Rican prospect Neftali Soto is a toolsy infielder who's growing up fast in the Reds' power-packed farm system. After looking like the future of the franchise in 2011, he took a step back in 2012 at AAA Louisville with a meh .245/.313/.400 full-season line. He did manage 14 homers and 30 doubles, however, showing that he hasn't lost his power stroke. His increasing size and strength knocked him out of third base contention, as expected, but he's a useful enough 1B-RF bat, and he could be a decent DH with another ballclub. But as long as he keeps hitting, that'll be just fine.
More Scouting Book Info on Neftali Soto
SB 545 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A contact hitter with college experience and decent power, Reds outfield prospect Jeff Gelalich looks like he could fit into an MLB lineup very soon. Drafted as a junior, he'll need a solid thousand at-bats or so before the Reds can really schedule his itinerary. The 127 he logged in late-season rookie ball last year is a good start, of course. If the polish he showed in his last season at UCLA sticks, he'll be ready for bench duty on an MLB ballclub by September, 2014.
More Scouting Book Info on Jeff Gelalich
SB 552 BA SC BP SN ES ML
One of the best hitting prospects in the 2007 Amateur Draft, Beau Mills went to the Indians, who at the time enough had no long-term 1B or 3B solution in their system. He turned out to be pretty much as-expected, a lumbering slow slugger with so-so contact skills but plus power. The .300/.358/.522 line he posted in AA Akron in 2011 was validated by a month-long tour with the AAA Clippers in which he turned in similar numbers while homering seven times in 35 games.
While his stumbles in 2012 led the now-loaded-with-bats Indians to pawn him off to the Reds, he still deserves at least a look in MLB.
More Scouting Book Info on Beau Mills
SB 555 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A college pitcher drafted by the Reds in 2012, righthander Daniel Langfield showed better than expected command and control late last season. Always a smart pitcher with a classic four-pitch repertoire, Langfield now seems to be commanding all his pitches better than he did in college. The slider, in particular, looks a lot nastier, and each pitch comes with a similar motion, making all of them more effective in combination. Assuming he keeps it up, he will almost certainly be promoted all the way to AA by the end of the year.
More Scouting Book Info on Daniel Langfield
SB 577 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Gabriel Rosa is a young but well-rounded infield prospect in the Reds system. A second round pick back in 2011, Rosa has played only short seasons punctuated by injury since. He'll get a full season of pro ball in 2013, we hope, and scouts remain anxious to see how his raw bat speed and baserunning talent develop. In the field, he's still pretty rough, but he's got a couple of years to master the fast feet and glove necessary for the hot corner.
More Scouting Book Info on Gabriel Rosa
SB 581 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Jon Moscot is a polished righthander in the Reds minor league system who's nearly ready for MLB action. Moscot mixes a low-90's fastball and an average changeup that already looks good enough for the bigs. He's only made a few short starts in rookie ball, so it'll be mid-2013 before we really know what he can do, but on stuff and poise, he's already as promising as any pitcher in the Big Red Pipeline. As soon as he can find an effective handle on his slider, and/or harness his loopy curve, he'll be ready for higher levels of play.
More Scouting Book Info on Jon Moscot
SB 618 BA SC BP SN ES ML
An infield prospect with more wood-bat experience than most high-schoolers, Reds prospect Tanner Rahier's numbers don't pop out as a result, but scouts seem impressed with his maturity and skill-set nonetheless. A nominal shortstop who may outgrow the position sooner rather than later, Rahier is a line drive hitter with gap power that could bloom into unqualified power in years to come. In the field, his range is so-so but his arm is strong, further argument for a move to third base.
More Scouting Book Info on Tanner Rahier
SB 623 BA SC 100 BP SN ES ML
A projectable power hitter, Kevin Franklin has already shown that he knows what he's doing at the plate, as light-tower home runs were a regular fixture of his high-school career. Naturally, his contact skills will remain a question as he attempts to transition to grown-up baseball, but from all reports he's a passionate student of the game and a tireless worker, so he's got good chances moving forward in that department. Defensively, he looks like a solid-average third base candidate, though he's already quite big, so first base or right field are always future options if he can't maintain the quickness required for the hot corner.
More Scouting Book Info on Kevin Franklin
SB 656 BA SC BP SN ES ML