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 Pirates Prospects for 2015
Current Overall SB ranking shown in grid below.
Like a taller twin to Gerrit Cole, righty James Taillon is a geniune monster power arm from Texas (via Quebec), a very high-ceiling pitcher who has already cracked 100mph on radar guns. If that's not enough to get your attention, note that while his slider and change are below average, his curveball is universally acclaimed as a plus pitch. If he can hold his arm together under increasing workloads and refine his command and control to pro levels, he could be a viable #2 or #3 starter by 2014 or so, with a shot at being a genuine ace a little further down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Jameson Taillon
SB 14 BA SC 37 BP SN ES 36 ML 28
A towering righthander who's as good at intimidating hitters as he is at actually throwing baseballs, Pirate prospect Tyler Glasnow might not be as well-known as some of Pittsburgh's other pitching prospects, but his ceiling is just as high. He doesn't command it perfectly, but isn't afraid to use it inside as well as outside, which is enough to keep hitters skittish. Glasnow shows a big curve on occasion that's impressive when it works, and a changeup that's rough but promising. He's firmly a prospect of the 'good stuff, needs to master it' type. Another couple of years of easy repetition is all that's needed here. Give him a couple hundred more innings.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Glasnow
SB 15 BA SC 7 BP SN ES 13 ML 16
Georgia high schooler Austin Meadows is an outfield phenom who attracted a great deal of first round attention in MLB's 2013 first-year player draft before falling to the Pirates with the ninth overall selection. A phenom with five tool talent, Austin is one of the fastest baserunners in the country, with speed that would make him one of the fastest players in pro baseball if he can get the rest of his game to half that level. His swing is promising, featuring a smooth and easy load with the makings of real plus power from the left side. He's been compared to players like Andre Ethier and Jacoby Ellsbury, and not without reason: few ballplayers blend across-the-board abilities like this. The only thing that might keep him from a minor league roster is 2014 is his commitment to Clemson University.
More Scouting Book Info on Austin Meadows
SB 38 BA SC 52 BP SN ES 32 ML 45
Nobody expected young Josh Bell to sign in 2011, which is probably why he fell to the Pirates in round two of the draft. But one should never underestimate the allure of five million shiny dollars, and young Bell shocked other managers by inking with the Pirates and passing on the University of Texas. Bell immediately became the biggest bat in a Pirate system that's very lacking in offensive muscle, but his primo status doesn't only come from relative dearth: he's a valid top prospect all on his own merit.
More Scouting Book Info on Josh Bell
SB 41 BA SC 34 BP SN ES 60 ML 29
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Alen Hanson
SB 76 BA SC 77 BP SN ES 89 ML 73
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.
More Scouting Book Info on Nick Kingham
SB 82 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.
More Scouting Book Info on Reese McGuire
SB 85 BA SC BP SN ES ML 73