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.
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 2015
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.
* Note: also a great name for a punk-jazz fusion band.
Full Scouting Report for Julio Urias
SB 13 BA 51 SC BP 35 SN ES 14 ML 64
A tall lefthander from California, Boston prospect Henry Owens is a raw but high-ceiling pitcher who many project as a future relief specialist, though he's shown the durability and maturity to survive as a starter. Owens fastball is a low-90's offering with movement, which should pick up a few more ticks on the radar gun as he grows and gains strength. At present, he usually mixes in two curves, one hard and one soft, with varying degrees of effectiveness, and a weak changeup that does almost no good whatsoever.
With command to improve and strength to build, Owens won't be an All-Star anytime soon, but his raw ability shouldn't be overlooked. Given another year or two of good guidance and hard work, he could find himself taking an MLB mound every fifth day, or at least for an inning or two twice a week.
Full Scouting Report for Henry Owens
SB 15 BA 40 SC 12 BP 69 SN ES 42 ML 30
A smallish but smart-throwing lefthander from Oklahoma, Marlin prospect Andrew Heany is the proud owner of a quality three-pitch arm. On a Marlin club shallow in the pitching department, Heany could move quickly: while originally on track for 2015-16, we wouldn't be surprised to see him arrive as early as this season, especially if the Marlin rotation suffers any losses.
Full Scouting Report for Andrew Heaney
SB 19 BA 30 SC BP 30 SN ES 34 ML 29
The number three overall pick in the 2014 draft, White Sox pitching prospect Carlos Rodon has fans dreaming of a rotation that features both Rodon and fellow lefthander Chris Sale (himself the 13th pick in 2010). Unlike the wiry, whiplike Sale, Rodon is a big, sturdy-looking college arm from North Carolina State who features a heavy 95mph fastball and a wipeout slider, both of which he commands very well. As is usual with prospect pitchers, a changeup is only barely-there, but as long as he develops a passable one, he'll be a top-tier pitcher in MLB very, very soon.
Full Scouting Report for Carlos Rodon
SB 20 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A lefty who can touch 96mph with a sizzling fastball, Toronto's Daniel Norris is a bit of a sleeper who should be gaining a lot more attention in the months and years to come. Norris already complements his heat with a hammer curve that can be devastating, and if he manages to get a third pitch up to even major-league average, he'll be an ace on a team known for discovering gems.
Full Scouting Report for Dan Norris
SB 31 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A rapidly-developing lefthander who rode a mechanical change to a breakout season last fall, Venezuelan Edwin Escobar and his plus breaking ball could reach MLB as soon as 2014, probably in a relief capacity.
Full Scouting Report for Edwin Escobar
SB 56 BA 56 SC 31 BP SN ES ML 95
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.
Full Scouting Report for Max Fried
SB 59 BA 53 SC 39 BP 55 SN ES 48 ML 43
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 75 BA SC BP SN ES 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.
Full Scouting Report for 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.
Full Scouting Report for James Paxton
SB 88 BA 99 SC BP 68 SN ES ML
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 91 BA SC BP 78 SN ES ML
The number two overall pick in 2011, Seattle pitching prospect Danny Hultzen is a solid lefthander who draws more than his share of Cliff Lee comparisons. With a fastball that drops in around 94mph and a no-nonsense workmanlike approach to the game, the comparison isn't far off base, either. In three seasons of duty at the University of Virginia, Hultzen went 32-5 with a 2.08 ERA. The Cavs ace also struck out a nasty 148 batters in 103 innings in his final season.
In addition to the well-advertised pinpoint fastball, he showed advanced ability to find and locate a nifty cutter, a decent change, and an occasionally-wicked slider, though he may back-shelf that one for awhile. He looked ready for MLB last season, but with not much to play for, the Mariners erred on the discretionary side, which should keep their soon-to-be-stellar rotation affordable a little bit longer. Look for him this season.
Full Scouting Report for Danny Hultzen
SB 98 BA SC 88 BP SN ES ML
A starter moved to the bullpen in the spring of 2014, Mississippi State's Jacob Lindgren thrived in the role, enough to gain the attention of the New York Yankees. The Bombers took Lindgren with their first draft pick in 2014 (55th overall), and whether they were after the devastating fastball/slider combination he displays as a reliever, or the grinding sinker that he rode through his earlier college days is anyone's guess. If they choose the path of the reliever, he's a player who could see action very very soon, and who looks a lot like a future closer, even if he'd be a lefthanded one.
Full Scouting Report for Jacob Lindgren
SB 103 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big, strong strikeout artist who's been held back thus far by control issues, homegrown Phillies lefty Jesse Biddle still gets a very high nod thanks to his crazy-good stuff. He struck out a batter per inning at low-A Lakewood last year, which is enough to give him a pass (for now) on the fact that he also walked exactly one batter per odd inning. 96
Full Scouting Report for Jesse Biddle
SB 112 BA 71 SC 60 BP 94 SN ES 77 ML 53
One of the bundle of top prospects sent to Miami for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and company in November, Justin Nicolino is a finessey lefty in the Tom Glavine fashion. Nicolino can dial his fastball up to 92 or 93, but not much more than that. It's more than enough, though. Nicolino had what might be the best debut by a Jays prospect ever in 2011, and has continued to blossom since. If he makes the big leagues in 2013, which is possible, he'll do it on the strength of an easy, repeatable throwing motion (balls will come down, down, down on hitters from his tall frame and overhand motion) and a propensity to throw strikes, strikes and more strikes.
Full Scouting Report for Justin Nicolino
SB 118 BA SC 93 BP SN ES 93 ML 81
A lightly-built lefthanded starter from Venezuela, Boston prospect Eduardo Rodriguez is a steadily-developing pitcher who could help out the BoSox of the near future. He's risen smoothly through the minors so far, and is getting very close to MLB-quality.
Rodriguez isn't a strikeout artist, at least not yet, but his excellent control and quality slider do seem to inspire poor contact from hitters, giving him excellent ground ball ability. His fastball, which can touch 95mph, is good enough thanks to its natural movement, but his changeup isn't special yet. Keep an eye on him when he starts to face more advanced hitters to see if they're fooled as easily as low-level ones have been.
Full Scouting Report for Eduardo Rodriguez
SB 119 BA 65 SC 72 BP 61 SN ES 43 ML 68
A lefthanded power pitcher with a dominating mound presence, top Angel prospect Sean 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 124 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Team USA's ace for 2013's 18-and-under World Cup, lefthander Brady Aiken has raw power and solid overall athletic ability, though he's still learning how to truly pitch. His stuff is certainly there: his mid-90's fastball approaches 100mph in short use, and his curve and change are very advanced for such a young ballplayer. Whether TNSTAAPP or not, Aiken looks like one of the best teenage arms to come along in a decade.
Full Scouting Report for Brady Aiken
SB 144 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Dominican lefthander signed in 2012, Giant prospect Adalberto Mejia showed good control in his first visit to American ball, charting a respectable 3.97 ERA and 1.34 WHIP across 107 innings. He spent half his time as a starter and half in relief, as the Giants are looking hard at him as a fast-track bullpen option. Should they reconsider, he could impress with his quality changeup. If he remains in the bullpen, it'll be his low-90's fastball with decent motion and occasional wipeout slider that are called upon most often.
Full Scouting Report for Adalberto Mejia
SB 160 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Not to be confused with the Mississippi product and Royals prospect of the same name, the Cody Reed drafted and signed by the Diamondbacks in 2014 is a stronger, sturdier and younger lefty who could be a faster-riser despite his younger age and later start in pro ball. He's also even more of a power pitcher. In his senior year of high school, he posted a 10-2 record and a 0.46 ERA, not to mention racking up five different no-hitters. Most of his appeal comes from his mid-90's fastball and strong, projectable frame, but his changeup shows flashes of brilliance, and his slider/cutter (we've watched it hundreds of times and we're still not sure) is a real professional's offering. Still very young, he's also blessed with almost everything he needs to succeed in the bigs, so he could move rather quickly. As always, consistency of command, especially with that off-speed pitch, will set the milestones here.
Full Scouting Report for Cody Reed
SB 161 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Top Prospects 2013