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.
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this blog entry before telling us. Then tell us. The Best Righthanded Pitching Prospects for 2015
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
The Mariners' first round pick in 2010, righthander Taijuan Walker looks like a number one starter on almost any MLB team. On the Mariners, that probably makes him a number three. (This team's pitching depth is just plain sick.)
Walker's progress took leaps and bounds forward after a step back in 2013, including some time in Safeco in which he looked more than capable of holding his own. Walker works mainly with a 94mph darting fastball that has great late movement, and when he mixes in a sometimes-effective straight change at 82mph, the fastball is nearly unhittable. His breaking pitch is a slurvy curve that isn't yet ready for regular use, but he'll have time to develop. Walker has higher upside (and higher risk) than either Hultzen or Paxton, but he's also a lot younger, and will probably take longer to realize his full potential. Still, there's not much left for him to learn: service-time concerns and workload-watching notwithstanding, there's no real reason to keep him out of the MLB rotation anymore.
More Scouting Book Info on Taijuan Walker
SB 7 BA 11 SC 9 BP 8 SN ES 16 ML 6
Seen by many as the best pitching prospect of the 2013 draft class, Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray is a towering righthander with high-90's heat that breaks 100mph from time to time. More often, he throws it at 94 or 95 with good late movement that busts righthanded hitters. His real showcase pitch, though, is the hard slurvy slider that comes in near 90mph but drops dramatically off and away, making even good hitters look like weak-kneed noodle-slappers. If Gray has a weakness, it's his not-there-at-all changeup, a pitch he may need if he's going to handle lefthanded hitters with as much skill as he deals with righties. Regardless, he's a top flight prospect who has the stuff and maturity to handle pitching, even at Coors Field.
More Scouting Book Info on Jonathan Gray
SB 8 BA 12 SC 22 BP 16 SN ES 12 ML 14
The younger of Baltimore's Bouncing Baby Bundies, the growly-looking Dylan is a righthander with ace upside, but he remains relatively untested against pro hitters, and under professional pressure. His ungodly 0.25 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 71 innings as a high school senior earned him honors as the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, BA's High School Player of the Year Award and USA Today's National Player of the Year. That said, he's still what we in the business like to call
a high school pitching prospect, which is a term of art meant to indicate that this category of gamble is among the riskier bets in baseball. His fastball/cutter combination is a genuine plus combo, and he's been improving his command and control while working on improving his changeup in the minors. He'll need that to succeed. The Baltimore organization has done nothing in the last few years to suggest they're not one of the very best incubators for pitching talent, so overall, we're still believers.
More Scouting Book Info on Dylan Bundy
SB 9 BA 15 SC 4 BP 15 SN ES 31 ML 20
The classic all-promise righthander, Arizona's Archie Bradley is a potentially-outstanding pitcher who's only a changeup short of a major league career very, very soon. Of course, that's the pitching equivalent of a hitter who can handle everything except a curve ball, so this youngster's future will depend mighty heavily on how many MPH he can
subtract when called upon to do so. If he stumbles, his big fastball and plus curve should still serve his team well in relief, but we won't know for another year or so which road he'll be taking.
More Scouting Book Info on Archie Bradley
SB 12 BA 9 SC 7 BP 9 SN ES 9 ML 5
A righthander with three possible plus pitches, righthander Lucas Giolito had a chance to be drafted #1 overall until he was sidelined by UCL problems. If he's really back at full strength, he's one of the best pitching prospects left in the Washington system, or any system, and the team's best bet to be a future ace. And considering the depth and quality of that system, that's really something. With a stable of quality arms at all stages of development, the Nats are better-poised, pitching-wise, for the coming decade than any team in baseball. Think of them as the anti-Cubs.
More Scouting Book Info on Lucas Giolito
SB 14 BA 21 SC 15 BP 13 SN ES 21 ML 44
A righthander buried a bit too deep in the Blue Jays refreshed farm system, Aaron Sanchez struck out a batter per inning while moving from rookie ball to low-A Vancouver in 2011, then looked even better at A-level Lansing in 2012. Spending all of 2013 at high-A Dunedin, Sanchez posted a 1.19 WHIP in 86 innings while racking up a satisfactory 75:40 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His mid-90's fastball can reach the high-90's on occasion, though it moves better when thrown at less than maximum velocity. When located well it can be quite devastating, making his second pitch (a quality curve) not very necessary. The changeup isn't all there yet, but that's typical in young arms. Sanchez will be working on repeating the delivery of all three pitches this year once again. The sign everyone is watching for is improving control: if he can contain or further-reduce his walk rate, he's big-league ready and should spend the bulk of the year in the majors. If not, he'll be up and down until he can do so.
More Scouting Book Info on Aaron Sanchez
SB 18 BA 32 SC BP 31 SN ES 30 ML 23
A sometimes-dominating college starter who struggled with control issues from time to time, Colorado prospect Eddie Butler was drafted in 2012's supplemental round on the strength of his best performances, in which he looked downright unhittable. Butler somehow produces a 98mph sinking fastball from a smallish and lightweight frame, and manages to command it well to both sides of the plate despite (or thanks to) its late life. His more traditional breaking balls are less consistent, but if the Rockies can help him to add even average command to his toolset, he'll be a powerful starter or reliever in the near future.
More Scouting Book Info on Eddie Butler
SB 21 BA 24 SC 11 BP 26 SN ES 17 ML 41
Yes, he sounds like a character from snowy Skyrim, but Texan Noah Syndergaard is more of a dusty cowpoke than a haughty Jarl. The Blue Jays thought highly enough of him to say 'no' to the Oakland A's when the Athletics were shopping Gio Gonzalez around in 2011, but they caved in 2012 when the Mets dangled Cy Young winner RA Dickey, making Noah one of the very top Mets pitching prospects today.
The move to New York means he's no longer a sleeper candidate, and now that he's an NL talent, he's even more appealing. When this polished righthander arrives, it'll be thanks to the plus command he shows with his decent 94mph fastball and near-plus curve. Of course, as with any young pitcher, it'll be the quality of his developing change that will determine whether he's an ace or a middle-of-the-pack starter a year or two from now. He's very, very close to ready.
More Scouting Book Info on Noah Syndergaard
SB 22 BA 16 SC 18 BP 11 SN ES 24 ML 11
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 24 BA 46 SC 40 BP 42 SN ES 20 ML 27
Selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2011 Draft (27th overall), righthander Robert Stephenson was a rare high-school choice from the usually conservative Cincinnati franchise. The tall Californian overpowered his peers in his senior high school season, posting a 1.19 ERA in 76 innings that included not one but two no-hitters. A power pitcher in the classic mould, he can already top 98mph with his fastball. As always, though, it's how well his secondary pitches develop that will determine his fate in pro baseball. So far, all signs point to a 2014 opportunity
More Scouting Book Info on Robert Stephenson
SB 25 BA 19 SC 20 BP 22 SN ES 29 ML 19
With a lively fastball that can touch 95mph, native Georgian Lucas Sims is the latest entry in the Atlanta pitching derby. He's raw, but he the righthander already gets so much life on his pitches that there's little doubt he'll be effective in some role or other.
More Scouting Book Info on Lucas Sims
SB 28 BA 57 SC 75 BP 40 SN ES 40 ML 60
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 30 BA 22 SC 17 BP 19 SN ES 27 ML 16
A square, powerful righthander from the University of San Francisco, KC pitcher Kyle Zimmer's calling card is his 98mph fastball, which he brings from a great rock-solid arm angle. It dazzles hitters from either side of the plate thanks to late life and movement. It's Zimmer's selection of other pitches, though, all of which look to be near-MLB ready, that will get him to the Show to stay. Give him another year or so, and you'll have a top-shelf pitcher on your hands.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Zimmer
SB 32 BA 23 SC 32 BP 34 SN ES 10 ML 25
A smart, talented righthander with College World Series experience, ex-LSU Tiger Aaron Nola was drafted by the Phillies in the summer of 2014, and should rise to the team's very top prospect ranks very shortly. He brings a nice, low-90's fastball with great natural sink from a smooth three-quarter arm slot, repeating it effortlessly and commanding both sides of the plate. His changeup might be even better, as he's able to throw it almost anywhere on command, making that fastball seem more frightening than it might look in isolation. His breaking balls aren't as sharp, but assuming the Phillies don't rush him to the Majors (and, really, why should they?) it will have time to catch up to the rest of his game, which is already MLB-caliber.
More Scouting Book Info on Aaron Nola
SB 35 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A very big kid from Texas with a pretty big arm, righthander Kyle Crick was the his district's 4A pitcher of the year in 2011. He brings a typical power heavy fastball from a high arm angle, and complements it with a slider that shows serious promise.
By all reports his change and curve are very much works in progress, though, so don't get too excited about this kid too soon. Crick's 95 strikeouts in only 68 innings of work last year shows his key ability, but that 1.27 WHIP shows he's better rounded than the average strikeout artist, too. He'll try to climb to AA in 2014, and if he looks as wicked there, he'll probably receive a rewarding cup of coffee come September.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Crick
SB 36 BA 33 SC 45 BP 38 SN ES 69 ML 32
A prototypical hard-throwing Texas righthander, high-school prospect Tyler Kolek was taken by the Marlins as the second overall pick of 2014. The fastball that springs from his large, sturdy body often scrapes 100mph, and when he mixed it with a solid 12-to-6 curve, he can be almost unhittable. He's also added a slider recently, a nasty high-movement offering that's already better than most in the minor leagues. While there's no real changeup on the horizon, it might not matter: he's already more than capable of keeping batters uncomfortable and off-balance in the box. If there's a warning label on Kolek, it might be on his high-maintenance mechanics, which might suggest repeatability and command issues down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Kolek
SB 37 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Drafted as a teenager from Puerto Rico to open 2012's compensation round, Jose Orlando (J-O) Berrios is a smallish righthander with good arm strength that springs a compact but strong frame. His short delivery suggests mechanical soundness, even if it's a bit jerky, with a fastball that can pop at 96mph and a breaking ball that looks like a real plus offering. He'll slow-cook in Minnesota after signing, but if he stays healthy, it won't be long before he's seen as a top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Berrios
SB 42 BA SC BP 75 SN ES ML 90
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 43 BA 44 SC BP 47 SN ES 39 ML 78
A long and lean righthander from Texas, Kohl Stewart is the embodiment of pitching potential, and as long as he remains a Twin, he's got a very good chance at reaching that potential. His stuff is very raw, and other than his slider doesn't do much, but his fastball was already cracking 90mph as a high-schooler, which means there are almost certainly a few more ticks to come. As a starter for St. Pius X in Houston, Stewart made eight starts (40 innings) in which he struck out 59 and walked 16. (His ERA was an hilarious 0.18). A multi-sport athlete, he's also done very well as a football player (as a high school senior, he threw for 2,560 yards and 28 touchdowns). In a small taste of pro baseball last season, Stewart struck out 24 Rookie league batters in 20 innings of work while walking only four. He'll step up slowly, first to A-ball in 2014, and the Twins will take their sweet time making sure he earns every promotion along the way.
More Scouting Book Info on Kohl Stewart
SB 45 BA 52 SC 41 BP 54 SN ES 76 ML 40
First drafted by the Red Sox way back in 2008, righthander Alex Meyer passed on an alleged $2M signing bonus to go attend U Kentucky, in order to reenter the draft in 2011. Apparently, he spent his time in school eating well: the youngster now tips the scales at 6-10 and 230lbs.
A power pitcher (no kidding) with a high-90's fastball and a wicked slider, he's got stuff to burn, but a sometimes-wonky delivery and spotty command have plagued him through his young career. The Nats, flush with confidence at the depth of their rotation, parted with him in a trade to Minnesota in exchange for Denard Span, but that's no indication of any dodgy quality: he simply moves from being a top Washington pitching prospect to being a top Minnesota number one pitching prospect... and the Twins have shown a great ability to develop young arms. So while the move to Nicetown might slow his debut by a couple of years (the Twins are notoriously slow and cautious with young arms), it might also improve his chances of being solid and polished when he does arrive.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Meyer
SB 46 BA 45 SC 49 BP 32 SN ES 62 ML 28
Top Prospects 2013