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 Righthanded Pitching Prospects for 2015
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
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.
Full Scouting Report for Noah Syndergaard
SB 11 BA SC 25 BP SN ES 17 ML 10
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.
Full Scouting Report for Lucas Giolito
SB 12 BA SC 4 BP SN ES 8 ML 8
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.
Full Scouting Report for Jameson Taillon
SB 14 BA SC 37 BP SN ES 36 ML 28
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.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Glasnow
SB 17 BA SC 7 BP SN ES 13 ML 16
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.
Full Scouting Report for Archie Bradley
SB 19 BA SC 16 BP SN ES 21 ML 9
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.
Full Scouting Report for Jonathan Gray
SB 22 BA SC 40 BP SN ES 22 ML 11
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.
Full Scouting Report for Eddie Butler
SB 23 BA SC 68 BP SN ES 33 ML 26
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.
Full Scouting Report for Tyler Kolek
SB 24 BA SC 22 BP SN ES 34 ML 23
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
Full Scouting Report for Robert Stephenson
SB 25 BA SC 48 BP SN ES 49 ML 17
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.
Full Scouting Report for Dylan Bundy
SB 26 BA SC 28 BP SN ES 26 ML 12
The son of mustachioed Angel closer Bryan Harvey, North Carolina's Hunter Harvey is a big righthander with a big fastball and a quality curve. The fastball comes in at low-90 readings, though it does touch 96 on occasion. The curve, though, is what makes Harvey exceptional. Prep pitchers aren't known for having quality secondary offerings, but Harvey's Hammer (trademark pending) is a beautiful one. Harvey's change is still coming along, but it's about as well-advanced as can be expected at such an early stage of his career. He looks to be the complete pitching package, and seems likely to work his way into the middle of an MLB rotation one day.
Full Scouting Report for Hunter Harvey
SB 30 BA SC 21 BP SN ES 16 ML 31
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.
Full Scouting Report for Alex Meyer
SB 31 BA SC 45 BP SN ES 30 ML 27
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.
Full Scouting Report for Aaron Sanchez
SB 33 BA SC 49 BP SN ES 51 ML 35
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.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Wisler
SB 34 BA SC BP SN ES ML 61
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.
Full Scouting Report for Kyle Zimmer
SB 36 BA SC 36 BP SN ES 25 ML 47
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.
Full Scouting Report for Kohl Stewart
SB 39 BA SC 89 BP SN ES 53 ML 21
A 21-year-old righthander who started his college career as a shortstop before being converted to the mound, Oregon native Braden Shipley developed quickly enough to become one of the top pitching prospects from the 2013 draft class. He's moved up quickly because he's commanded his low-90's fastball so well that he hasn't needed much from his (still developing) change and curve yet. Tall, limber and athletic, he looks like just the kind of raw material that many MLB coaches would love to develop into a viable ace.
Full Scouting Report for Braden Shipley
SB 42 BA SC 27 BP SN ES 19 ML 42
A big, strong strike thrower, Appel was selected eighth overall (Pirates) in the 2012 draft, but didn't sign, allowing him to reenter the 2013 draft, where his hometown Astros flattered him with the #1 overall selection. One of the best pitching prospects in the last few years, he should provide the big anchor the rebuilding Astros so desperately need. He'll be ready in 2014 -- heck, he's ready right now -- but the Astros will do their best to slow down his arbitration clock while they assemble the rest of a competitive team to play behind him.
Full Scouting Report for Mark Appel
SB 46 BA SC 58 BP SN ES 44 ML 41
A big pitcher with an even bigger fastball, Michael Foltynewicz is a teenaged right-hander who scrapes 6-foot-6 and 220, with a heavy, moving fastball that can touch 98. Striking out 125 in 152 innings of Sally League work is a nice hint at what he can do, but the high contact and walk rates he also logged are the indicators that he's not reaching his potential yet. He's still raw, and a couple of years away, but definitely worth watching closely.
Full Scouting Report for Michael Foltynewicz
SB 47 BA SC 71 BP SN ES 47 ML 57
A fireballing righthander from Tampa Bay, Houston prospect Lance McCullers (Junior) is one of the best bets to be a future star for the new-look AL Astros. With a hot-moving fastball that lives in the upper 90's and a hammer curve that can be a real strikeout pitch, he's everything the team could want. Questions about his mechanics abound, but he's young enough (just 18 when drafted) that he'll certainly have opportunities to harness himself. If the Astros contend in 2017, McCullers will probably be a big part of that movement.
Full Scouting Report for Lance McCullers
SB 52 BA SC BP SN ES ML 75
Top Prospects 2013