Top Baseball Prospects for 2016
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.
If you think you have found a mistake, please read
this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best Southpaw Prospects for 2016
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
A very young lefthander who is raising eyebrows all over minor league ball with his electric filth*, Julio Urias is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Dodger system today. His stuff is plus-plus, and while there are concerns about his slight frame and ability to handle an MLB workload, the youngster is in good hands, and if anyone can maximize his potential as he grows, it's the Dodger coaching crew. While his raw stuff is MLB-level already, he's got enough to learn that he really should spend another full year in the minors. Let's see if the Dodgers have enough patience for that.
* Note: also a great name for a punk-jazz fusion band.
Full Scouting Report for Julio Urias
SB 12 BA 4 SC 7 BP 6 SN ES 5 ML 4
A lefthanded power pitcher with a dominating mound presence, top Angel prospect Sean Newcomb went to the Braves in the winter of 2015, further strengthening an embarrassment of pitching riches in Atlanta's rebuild. Newcomb has a heavy, sinking fastball that lives around 95mph but can reach 99, more than enough to qualify him as one of the hardest-throwing lefty prospects in the game. His sweeping, hard slider is already a strikeout pitch, while a developing change and curve, while still rough, show occasional flashes of quality. He'll need some time to smooth out his big delivery and learn to repeat it more easily, but he's an exciting pitching prospect in an organization desperately in need of some.
Full Scouting Report for Sean Newcomb
SB 16 BA 24 SC 20 BP 32 SN ES 30 ML 21
A Tampa Bay prospect who's ready to push his way into the MLB rotation, Seattle native Blake Snell zipped up prospect lists by opening 2015 with forty consecutive shutout innings, and that's pretty much his game in a nutshell: a ground-ball control freak with frustrating stuff. Snell can repeat his low-90's sinker with ease, and he leans on it heavily, mixing in a quality cutter and a classic wipeout slider to produce strikeout numbers higher than one usually sees from a sinkerballer.
Tampa Bay may not be quite ready with their retooling project, but right around the time the rest of the team gears up into win-now mode, Snell should be a part of that machine.
Full Scouting Report for Blake Snell
SB 19 BA 12 SC 14 BP 21 SN ES 14 ML 14
With first Zach Wheeler and more recently Noah Syndergaard racking up column inches, it's easy to overlook the left handed part of the Future Mets Pitching Dynasty. Steven Matz is a local New York product whose recent addition of a quality change to his plus fastball has kicked his game to the next level; he looked awfully good in a partial 2015 with the big club. While MLB hitters are bound to adjust to his novelty in 2016 (expect a bit of a drop-off), and the return of NY's beaten-up rotation will push him down the chart a bit, long-term he still looks like a solid mid-rotation anchor. Heck, even if his pitching talent magically evaporates, he could probably even help the team at the plate: Matz was a lumbering, power hitting first baseman in high school, and he still has the physique and the swing of a corner slugger. He's going to surprise a few opposing pitchers with his bat.
Full Scouting Report for Steven Matz
SB 25 BA 13 SC 13 BP 9 SN ES ML 15
A lefthander acquired in the trade of KC's trade for Johnny Cueto, Cody Reed is a fast-rising lefthander in a system that could use some starting pitching. The hard-thrower broke out in 2015, posting a shiny 2.41 ERA with 144 strikeouts in 146 innings split between high- and double-A ball. His mid-90's heater would play in MLB right now, as would the erratic but electric slider, but it's that developing change that is propelling him up prospect lists. If it's on, he'll be in Cincinnati this season.
Full Scouting Report for Cody Reed
SB 53 BA 34 SC 48 BP 47 SN ES 54 ML 66
A young, hot arm, Kolby Allard was drafted in the first round of 2015 and promptly showed just why, striking out twelve in his first six innings of rookie ball while walking nobody. A real ace in waiting with a plus fastball and a plus curve to go with it, Allard would move to MLB very quickly on a contending team. On the patient and rebuilding Braves, he looks like a solid piece of the 2018 rotation from here.
Full Scouting Report for Kolby Allard
SB 63 BA 84 SC 87 BP 82 SN ES 43 ML 89
A polished pitching prospect who boasts a real plus curve, Red Sox prospect Brian Johnson is also very adept at changing speeds and inducing bad contact by adding and subtracting to a four pitch mix that tops out at about 92mph. After a 9-6, 2.53 ERA / 1.10 WHIP season at AAA Pawtucket, complete with a tidy 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio, he doesn't have much left to prove in the minors, which means he's probably going to get a full-time shot at Fenway this year.
Full Scouting Report for Brian Johnson
SB 71 BA SC BP SN ES ML
SB 73 BA 73 SC 91 BP 77 SN ES 86 ML 69
A top pitching prospect from the 2013 draft, Sean Manaea (rhymes with pariah) went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 17 starts for Indiana State in 2012, striking out 115 batters in 105 innings while walking only 32. The son of proud parents Opal and Faaloloi (yes, he's Samoan), Sean brings a mid-90's fastball to the plate that should improve as he fills out further. His secondary offerings, a nasty slider and a developing change, aren't good enough for the Show just yet, but they're advanced for his age. Sean is also known for having a Pettitte-like pickoff move that holds even talented baserunners at bay.
Full Scouting Report for Sean Manaea
SB 76 BA 48 SC 37 BP 45 SN ES 59 ML 68
A onetime top-prospect who's slipped somewhat, Cardinal lefty Marco Gonzales is easy to forget about among the dazzling stars of that system. He'll be looking to re-find himself in 2015, and he should spend at least some of the year polishing up that low-90's fastball and plus-plus changeup in the minors.
Full Scouting Report for Marco Gonzales
SB 80 BA SC BP SN ES 76 ML
A first round draft pick from those sneaky Twins in 2015, Tyler Jay is a smart, well-rounded pitcher who projects to be a well-oiled part of the Minnesota pitching machine in the years to come. Jay has precocious command off a plus fastball and slider, which is all he ever needed as a college closer. Of course, the Twins would like to see if they can grow him into a rotation anchor first, so he'll need to keep working on his curve and change, both of which have potential.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Jay
SB 91 BA 80 SC 51 BP SN ES 61 ML 60
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 Draft, lefthanded Tommy Aiken is clawing his way up the prospect ranks after spending 2014 and most of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Before his surgery, many saw Aiken as having the best raw stuff of any left-handed prospect in baseball, so there's little reason to believe he can't return to the top ranks.
Pre-surgery Aiken had three potential plus pitches in his fastball, change and curve, with his fastball topping out near 98mph, though he tended to work in the 93-94mph range for better movement and control. His curve showed a similar behavior, often improving late in games as his strength waned. If he recovers his form, he'll be an MLB ace in fairly short order.
Full Scouting Report for Brady Aiken
SB 106 BA 71 SC 84 BP SN ES 99 ML
2013's Cape Cod leader in strikeouts and WHIP, Colorado lefty Kyle Freeland keeps batters very off-balance thanks to a deceptive delivery that makes his low-90's fastball look a lot hotter. It also helps that he brings it with natural sink, leading to a whole lot of poorly-struck ground balls. His secondary pitch is a biting slider that sometimes looks like more of a cut fastball, a pitch with its own completely-different movement to keep batters uncomfortable at the plate. His deception and low-arm angle, not to mention that fastball-slider combination, look like relief material to most, but the Rockies didn't use the eighth overall pick in 2014 on a player they see as a LOOGY: he'll be developed and grown as a starter first.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Freeland
SB 110 BA SC BP SN ES ML
SB 152 BA 81 SC BP SN ES ML
A lefthander the Orioles took away from Houston back in the spring of 2015, Chris Lee shows all the makings of a power ace. With a well-controlled fastball that's usually 92-94mph but can touch 98 from time to time, he's already top-shelf, and the quality of his hard slider and changeup remove any remaining doubt. With a smooth, easy delivery that he can repeat deep into games, Lee rose through three levels of ball in 2015, and he should spend all of 2016 getting ready for his debut in the Show.
Full Scouting Report for Chris Lee
SB 176 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A high-school All American who fell to the Twins in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB draft following a suspension for off-field issues, Stephen Gonsalves is a fast-rising prospect in the minor leagues. A loose, easy-going pitcher who reminds some coaches of Barry Zito, Gonsalves showed very good command of a low-90's fastball during his tests at low and high-A last season, locating it on both sides of the plate very well. He mixes in some unusual breaking balls: a hammer curve, a split-fingered change and a slurvy slider, none of which looks like a plus offering but all of which look passable. He'll keep working on those secondary pitches in 2016 while also building up stamina. He could reach AA this year, but even with good progress, he's a couple of years away from anyone's projected MLB rotation.
Full Scouting Report for Stephen Gonsalves
SB 179 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013