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 Padres Prospects for 2015
Current Overall SB ranking shown in grid below.
The number one catching prospect in the Padre system until Yasmani Grandal came to town, Austin Hedges is still a top prospect with a very high ceiling. Not quite as ready for the majors as Grandal was, Hedges is still barely out of high school. But he's very valid: long-seen as a strong-armed defensive catcher, he slashed an unexpectedly-solid .260/.333/.390 in 86 games split between high and double-A in 2013, propelling him into the 'complete catcher' category. He's not quite ready, especially in the game-calling department, but he's not very far off, either. Despite his youth, 2015 is his sweet spot, and he could get a look at Petco even sooner than that.
More Scouting Book Info on Austin Hedges
SB 23 BA SC BP SN ES ML 22
A tall, thin pitcher being developed in the Padres system, Ohio native Matt Wisler looks every bit a future rotation anchor. In 20 AA starts last season, Wisler struck out almost exactly one batter per inning while walking barely more than one per game. That's exactly the sort of performance that the control-obsessed Padres love to see, and it's enough to put him in the mix for MLB consideration in mid-to-late 2014.
Wisler works a couple of different low-90's fastballs with accuracy to both sides of the plate, but it's his slow curve that turns heads and misses bats most often. How he'll perform against better opponents is an open question, but if he continues his careful, clever approach while trusting his stuff, he should succeed.
More Scouting Book Info on Matt Wisler
SB 39 BA SC BP SN ES ML 61
A quality lefthander who looks close to MLB ready, San Diego pitcher Max Fried should see Petco sooner rather than later. Fried's fastball doesn't exceed 92mph very often, though he can add a bit more when he really needs it and gets more outs thanks to its sinking nature than its velocity, anyway. His cutter and change are average pitches already, and should be better than average by the time he's anchored into the Padre rotation.
More Scouting Book Info on Max Fried
SB 53 BA SC BP SN ES ML 68
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 72 BA SC BP SN ES ML 71
The thirteenth overall selection in the 2014 draft, San Diego infield prospect Trea Turner has the eye, bat and legs to be a premium tablesetter on top of an MLB roster someday. Better than the usual crop of defense-first players with speed, Turner also brings a plus contact bat and very good plate discipline to his game, at least when he doesn't get homer happy. Hopefully the Padres will remind Turner they don't need him to be a power threat: they'll be more than happy enough with the on-base skills and superior defense he's more equipped to deliver.
More Scouting Book Info on Trea Turner
SB 99 BA SC BP SN ES ML 95
A fireballing righthander with a 96mph heater, De Los Santos has a good future ahead of him, likely in the bullpen. While his secondary pitches are acceptable, an even slightly-improved change would help him get better results with his fastball, making him a potent late-inning option. Scuffling through a so-so season in Midland and Sacramento in 2011, Fautino actually looked better once he was called up to the A's, and his 11.61 K/9 rate as a major leaguer is impressive enough to give him a shot at the MLB bullpen at any time. Traded to Milwaukee at 2012's deadline, his opportunities in the NL look a bit brighter, despite his recent wildness.
More Scouting Book Info on Fautino De Los Santos
SB 141 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Casey Kelly is big, strong pitcher who came to San Diego from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Young Kelly is already 6-3 and 200lbs, with more size and strength to come as he fills out.
He took an uncomfortable step backwards with the Red Sox back in 2010, which probably precipitated their sudden willingness to part with the once-untouchable asset, but his stuff is still there, just waiting for his ability to catch up: Kelly's fastball was rated the best heatuh in the Red Sox system in 2010. And so was his curve. And so was his changeup. Put all that together with his plus control, and it seems pretty clear we're looking at a possible Padres success story. Like any pitching prospect, he needs luck on his side to stay healthy, and if he gets that, he'll be a solid number two or three starter, and maybe even a future ace.
More Scouting Book Info on Casey Kelly
SB 167 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Adys (or, sometimes, Adis) Portillo is a hard-throwing right-hander who shows more polish than most Venezuelan prospects. Portillo exhibits a dominating mound presence and great composure, featuring a moving fastball that tops out at about 94mph. It's the raw stuff he wields with three possible plus pitches, though, that puts him into the upper ranks of pitching prodigies.
More Scouting Book Info on Adys Portillo
SB 171 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A two-way star in high school, Jaff has a beautiful swing from the left side of the plate to go with a 94mph darting fastball... also from the left side. The Padres are viewing him as a centerfielder for now, though, and he has the bat and the range to hold that position down. He's young and still growing, and we're still waiting for him to figure out how to handle breaking balls, but we'll give him a pass for another year or so. After that, if he still isn't showing adeptness against advanced pitching, it might be time to reconsider a mound career.
More Scouting Book Info on Jaff Decker
SB 180 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Widely seen as the best high school athlete available in the 2009 draft, outfielder Donavan Tate drew comparisons to Tim Beckham for his tools-to-the-wall talent and approach. Unfortunately, his progress since then has been eerily similar to Beckham's in terms of disappointment. The Padres will probably continue to move him slowly, one level per year, until he's ready for the Bigs around 2015. He's raw, of course, and very young, but he has a big, strong build and a swing that looks suited to major league power someday, once he fills out and adds muscle. Of course, San Diego's ballpark would hide so much of that anyway, so Tate might be better off working on his base-stealing skills: his success rate is still atrociously poor.
More Scouting Book Info on Donavan Tate
SB 226 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A top third base / outfield prospect in the Padres system, James (JD) Darnell is a well-rounded hitter who has more than just corner pop. Darnell also boasts real doubles hustle and good baserunning skills, despite raw speed that's only average. His fielding is a work in progress for now, and it's possible that his training may be cut short with a move across the diamond to first base in the future, but at present he looks like a good long-term value for the Padres, and his work in the minors will continue to focus on fielding drills and defense while he competes for an MLB job that he's almost qualified for already.
More Scouting Book Info on James Darnell
SB 233 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The lithe and wiry Reymond Fuentes shares a lot in common with his famous cousin, fellow outfielder Carlos Beltran. A superior defender who makes great reads and uses his plus plus speed to reach even the deepest gappers, Fuentes also brings a sharp and compact line-drive swing to the park. If he has weak spots, they're his lack of power and relatively weak throwing arm, but the highlight-reel catches he'll be making in expansive Petco should make those shortcomings easy to overlook. Once on a quick track to a 2013 debut, his offensive fumbles in AA slowed his progress. He'll need to improve his on-base skills if he's going to make all that speed good for something, offensively.
More Scouting Book Info on Reymond Fuentes
SB 257 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A toolsy player who is often compared to Michael Bourn, Padres' outfielder Everett Williams has a little more pop in his bat and a little less nitro in his legs, but is a similar contact hitter from the left side with all-around smarts. Drafted out of McCallum (Texas) High in 2009, Williams will need to show patience at the plate and with his career: he's several years away from a possible big league debut.
More Scouting Book Info on Everett Williams
SB 278 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A talented hitter signed out of Dominica at the end of 2007, Edinson Rincon didn't have much use for rookie ball, and didn't have much trouble at high-A Lake Elsinore in 2011, either (.329/.394/497). His fielding was such a mess, however, that the Padres have pretty much given up on him at the hot corner and now list him as an OF in their media guide. He's not ideal there, but there's time, and the team has to get him at-bats somehow: unless the NL adopts a DH, he won't be playing every day for awhile.
More Scouting Book Info on Edinson Rincon
SB 279 BA SC BP SN ES ML
With one of the fastest home-to-first sprints since Ichiro and an OBP over .400 in his first season of pro ball, Padres prospect Cory Spangenberg is already looking very capable of sitting atop a San Diego batting order very soon. The versatile infielder played third base in college but will almost certainly be a second baseman in San Diego. He's still a bit rough around the edges, so give him a year to push his way into AA ball before you start expecting him to crack the Padres' everyday roster.
More Scouting Book Info on Cory Spangenberg
SB 361 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The Topps Player of the Year for the (A-level) Midwest League in 2011, outfielder Rymer Liriano is a five-tool talent on the fast-track to major league duty in San Diego. His 2012 numbers (.251/.335/.377) might look inferior to his track record, but it was the youngster's first crack at AA, so it's actually pretty impressive. The Dominican native's award-winning minor league career is a tantalizing showcase of speed and power, just the thing the Padres could use at the top of the order. If he lights up AA pitching this spring, he could be in the majors by midseason. If not, he's still a near-lock for the 2014 lineup.
More Scouting Book Info on Rymer Liriano
SB 362 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall and thin righthander from Oakland, Joe Ross was the 25th overall draft selection in 2011, taken by the San Diego Padres. Reports on Ross are uniform in noting that his fastball and curve project to be major league average (that's good) while his change needs a great deal of work (that's bad, but not unusual for a youngster like Ross). Given the good pitching climate and coaching staff in the Padre system, Ross ranks a bit higher than he would elsewhere.
More Scouting Book Info on Joe Ross
SB 363 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Originally drafted by the Rangers, Righthander Joe Wieland is today a premium Padres pitching prospect with his sights set squarely on San Diego. A tall and thin kid with easy gas, Wieland works comfortably at 90-94mph, spiced with a genuine plus curve. Even his change shows above-average flash.
With exceptionally good command and control, he brought all that quality stuff to bear in 2012, making six starts for the Padres and posting a veteran-looking 1.27 WHIP and 24:9 strikeout to walk ratio. A fly-ball/strikeout pitcher, he should improve further in 2013 and fit perfectly into San Diego's style of play, not to mention that ballpark. If he's not in the rotation to open 2013, he will be by the end of the season.
More Scouting Book Info on Joe Wieland
SB 364 BA SC BP SN ES ML