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 Outfield Prospects for 2016
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
A big, slugging lefthander from the Dominican Republic, Ranger prospect Nomar Mazara has never lacked for strength, though his ability to put the bat cleanly on the ball isn't always quite up to snuff. Still, he took enough of a step forward in the minors last year (.296/.366/.443 in a year split between Round Rock and Frisco) to raise his lifetime average by 40 points. In the field, he's a bit slow but has a strong arm, projecting as a league-average right fielder.
Full Scouting Report for Nomar Mazara
SB 4 BA 21 SC 18 BP 5 SN ES 9 ML 18
A lukewarm cup of coffee in 2015 has some observer's down on Twin phenom Byron Buxton, but things like plus base-stealing ability and plus-plus defense are not skills that deteriorate. While it might take a bit longer than hoped, Buxton remains a future star. At the plate, he's a line-drive hitter with a little pop, and more power expected in the years to come. Minnesota is well-known for cooking their prospects until they're well-done, and he has a scary wrist injury to come back from in 2015, so don't expect him to light up scoreboards right away, but don't forget about him, either. He'll be around for a long time.
Full Scouting Report for Byron Buxton
SB 5 BA 2 SC 4 BP 2 SN ES 2 ML 2
An all around standout athlete, Ranger outfielder Lewis Brinson looks like a shining star being forged deep in the heart of the Texas prospect furnace. In the field, he's always had such speed and grace that his ability has never been in doubt, but it's only recently that the offensive side of his game has started to really develop.
Brinson breezed past Low-A ball in 2014 and seemed to find his level with a .246/.307/.350 line during his year-ending tour of High-A pitching, when more patient pitchers were able to pick apart his sometimes too-aggressive swings. In 2015 he stepped up, though, adjusting to even AA pitching (.291/.328/.545) before showing off by stroking .433/.541/.567 in eight games with the AAA team in Round Rock. Along the way, Brinson kept showing ever-improving strike zone control, adjusting to newer and better pitchers at each stop, and re-learning how to make hard contact. He's got a shot in the major league outfield this season for Texas: even if he stumbles in April, he'll be a phone call away all year long.
Full Scouting Report for Lewis Brinson
SB 17 BA 16 SC 15 BP 15 SN ES 32 ML 16
A Golden Spikes winner as a 2015 sophomore, Red Sox prospect Andrew Benintendi destroyed Division-I pitching with a .376/.488/.717 slash line and twenty home runs. Drafted seventh overall by the Sox, he's on a fast track to Fenway. A slight but strong outfielder, he uses his average speed to full effect by running smart routes and getting a very good jump on most batted balls. At the plate, he's a full-on masher with advanced discipline who already shrugged off A-level Greenville to a 313/.416/.556 tune last year. He should be in AA ball before summer. After that... well you know the rest. Target him for a full-time gig next season.
Full Scouting Report for Andrew Benintendi
SB 23 BA 15 SC 41 BP 46 SN ES 18 ML 25
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.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Meadows
SB 28 BA 22 SC 26 BP 22 SN ES 16 ML 20
A tall, strong left-handed hitter who Cleveland hopes to park in the outfield for the next decade, Brad Zimmer reminds some scouts of Christian Yelich, thanks to his upright stance and simple line-drive swing. More hitter than slugger, he's shown a propensity to use the whole field rather than reach for the bleachers, and he doesn't seem too bothered by breaking balls. He hasn't shown advanced base-stealing ability, but he has plus speed to tap into, so that should come in time. In the field, that speed combined with a very strong arm and a solid glove means he'll be a very, very good all-around contributor. With that much all-around game as his floor and a ceiling that's anyone's guess, he's one of the safest bets in the prospecting business.
Full Scouting Report for Bradley Zimmer
SB 31 BA 31 SC 38 BP 23 SN ES 21 ML 26
A potential Bronx star in the making, California boy Aaron Judge is a monster slugger who could give the Yankees a serious offensive jolt whenever he arrives. Drafted in 2013, he hasn't really been challenged in the minors yet: after slashing .308/.419/.486 in his first look at A-ball in 2014, he put together a half-season in AA that catapulted him to the front of prospect lists: .284/.350/.516 with 12 home runs in 63 games.
While it's true he cooled off when bumped to AAA for the end of the year, he should be back to mashing this year, giving fans in Trenton, Scranton and maybe even Manhattan a chance to see his talent. He's a keeper.
Full Scouting Report for Aaron Judge
SB 37 BA 76 SC 45 BP 18 SN ES 36 ML 31
A fast, slappy hitter with good speed and plus defense, Rockie prospect David Dahl looks like a good fit for the 'new' Coors Field, where speed is a special asset. He's more than a raw tools candidate, though: Dahl uses his speed well on the bases and in the field, and shows a good eye for situational hitting. For such a young player, he's quite polished already, though he'll need another season or two to really show us what he can do.
Full Scouting Report for David Dahl
SB 38 BA 39 SC 42 BP 31 SN ES 58 ML 46
SB 39 BA 56 SC 38 BP 14 SN ES 25 ML 45
A disciplined, determined hitter, outfield prospect Max Kepler is a very fast-rising star. While his play in 2015 was limited and sometimes impaired by a shoulder injury, Kepler looked dominant when he was healthy, manhandling AA pitching and announcing his arrival with authority. While his defense in the outfield isn't spectacular, it's probably good enough to keep him on the field, and as long as he's on the field, he can produce.
Full Scouting Report for Max Kepler
SB 42 BA 30 SC 86 BP 60 SN ES 33 ML 44
A high school outfielder selected fifth overall in 2013's draft, Clint Frazier is a five-tool athlete with an advanced bat for such a young player. Some scouts disparage his small size, but his athleticism and performance rival (and in most cases exceed) his more universally-praised teammate Austin Meadows. A long-term building block for the Indians, he'll be moved slowly, as the team tries to slide all the necessary pieces into place in a coordinated roster rebuild.
Full Scouting Report for Clint Frazier
SB 48 BA 44 SC 47 BP 53 SN ES 72 ML 27
Another raw athlete in a draft filled to the brim with such potential, ex-Ranger prospect Nick Williams fit the cliche perfectly: great natural tools and athleticism, good speed, strong arm, very raw skills, and a swing that shows glimmers of greatness... but also one full of more holes than a beer-league infield. While his game has tightened up a lot in the last year or so, he's still lacking some of the polish needed for the higher levels of pro ball. Give him another year or two.
Full Scouting Report for Nick Williams
SB 52 BA 27 SC 36 BP 25 SN ES 74 ML 64
A two-sport star in high school, Mississippi native Anthony Alford was considered unlikely to sign with an MLB ballclub out of high school, and so fell to the sneaky Blue Jays in the third round of 2012's draft. To the surprise of many, he did sign, albeit on the condition he could play football for Ole Miss while developing, and in the years since has risen swiftly to become the team's very top prospect. He's been a baseball-only athlete since October, 2014.
A nominal centerfielder who may move to right as he continues to grow, Alford is still very raw, but continues to amaze coaches with his athleticism and natural baseball instincts. A line-drive gap hitter for now, many scouts see power in his future. In the field he's a bit raw with routes, but has good speed and a strong arm, quelling any fears that he might be an all-bat prospect. Give this latecomer a year or two to polish up his game; he'll be showing off in the bigs soon enough.
Full Scouting Report for Anthony Alford
SB 62 BA 25 SC 56 BP 44 SN ES 52 ML 42
SB 63 BA 33 SC BP 29 SN ES 49 ML 63
A polished all-around hitter in the Cincinnati system, Florida native Jesse Winker has burned up the charts in the past two years by combining a very good eye with plus bat control with developing power. After a slow start in AA last year, Winker turned it on, ending up with a .282/.390/.433 slash line and 13 homers in 443 at-bats. Even if the power never comes, he looks like a solid offensive force in the near future. He could be a quality number two hitter.
Full Scouting Report for Jesse Winker
SB 66 BA 51 SC 83 BP 50 SN ES 41 ML 34
SB 79 BA 61 SC 66 BP 93 SN ES 67 ML 74
SB 80 BA 87 SC 67 BP 67 SN ES 47 ML 76
SB 83 BA 74 SC 88 BP 85 SN ES ML 75
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. He's hit well at all levels, 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.
Full Scouting Report for Hunter Renfroe
SB 84 BA 86 SC BP 90 SN ES ML 92
So many outfield prospects... so little outfield. The Cubs number one pick in 2012, outfielder Albert Almora would project to be a Northside star soon, if we were confident there would be a place to play him. Signed when he was only 18, he's not quite ready yet, but he's already got scouts drooling: his across-the-board toolset is solid, and he's still improving. His leadership ability and poise are especially impressive, as is the .272/.327/.400 line he put up in his first season at AA Tennessee. His baserunning needs work, as he doesn't seem to have the skills to match his better than average speed potential, but other than that he projects as a high-average contact hitter who could contribute at the major league level soon... very soon. A trade might be necessary to give him an opportunity, however.
Full Scouting Report for Albert Almora
SB 85 BA SC BP 83 SN ES 88 ML 86
Top Prospects 2013