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 Righthanded Pitching Prospects for 2016
Overall SB ranking shown in parentheses.
One of baseball's very top prospect pitchers, Lucas Giolito is a Washington righthander with three possible plus pitches. He may have been drafted #1 overall if he hadn't been held back by UCL problems, but if he's really back at full strength now, he's the Nationals' 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 5 BA 5 SC 3 BP 3 SN ES 3 ML 3
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 at least as high. He doesn't command his fastball perfectly, but isn't afraid to use it inside as well as outside, which is enough to keep hitters skittish. Glasnow also 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 year of easy repetition, though, and he should be Show-ready. Give him another hundred innings or so, then let him fly.
More Scouting Book Info on Tyler Glasnow
SB 6 BA 14 SC 6 BP 11 SN ES 6 ML 5
Another slow-cooking pitching prospect in a system that never seems to run out, Cardinal righthander Alex Reyes is pushing against the minor-league ceiling and should be contributing in the St Louis bullpen or rotation just as soon as there's an opening. A power righthander, he's often described as a copy of Cardinal project Carlos Martinez, though he actually looks a little more like Shelby Miller in action: a big, booming fastball that he throws deep into ballgames, peppered with a mix of so-so breaking stuff that's just enough to keep hitters honest. If his changeup ever truly blossoms, he's an ace, but even without he looks like a competent middle-of-rotation arm, and he's pretty much ready to fly right now.
More Scouting Book Info on Alex Reyes
SB 11 BA 7 SC 9 BP 10 SN ES 8 ML 13
SB 15 BA 23 SC 21 BP 28 SN ES 60 ML 24
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. A top-flight phenom in a system good at maximizing pitcher value, there are few more certain things in the iffy business of pitching prospects: those last four starts he made at AAA in 2015 (32 strikeouts, 4 walks) made every last scout sit up and take notice.
More Scouting Book Info on Jose Berrios
SB 20 BA 28 SC 17 BP 17 SN ES 26 ML 19
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 Jon Gray
SB 26 BA 37 SC 29 BP 33 SN ES ML 33
Selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2011 Draft (27th overall), righthander Robert Stephenson was a rare high-school choice for 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. He's done a very good job handling higher levels in the minors, which means only MLB is really left for him now.
More Scouting Book Info on Robert Stephenson
SB 32 BA 32 SC 25 BP 30 SN ES 31 ML 35
SB 33 BA 20 SC 72 BP 63 SN ES 40 ML 41
SB 35 BA 70 SC 34 BP SN ES 37 ML 38
Kenta Maeda is the latest established Japanese pitcher to land with the LA Dodgers, a team that has never shown any fear of signing foreign-born starters.
A control righthander who works a mix of two- and four-seam fastballs in the low-90's, Maeda had a successful and full career in Japanese baseball, spending seven seasons with the Hiroshima Carp before his posting. He built up an impressive 2.44 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP during those seasons of work, while striking out 1,058 batters in 1,303 innings of work. He also owns a tidy set of ten complete game shutouts. Maeda's secondary pitches (a decent slider, a below-average curve and a so-so changeup) have scouts divided on his likely success rate in America. While fastball velocity and control usually translates well, the physical differences between US and Japanese baseballs, as well as the significant differences between approaches taken by Japanese and American batters, makes the effectiveness of breaking balls much more difficult to evaluate.
More Scouting Book Info on Kenta Maeda
SB 36 BA 50 SC BP SN ES ML
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 a little more time for polish and conditioning, and you'll have a top-shelf pitcher on your hands.
More Scouting Book Info on Kyle Zimmer
SB 39 BA 85 SC 62 BP 89 SN ES 94 ML 65
SB 43 BA 69 SC 33 BP 59 SN ES 50 ML 36
An advanced prospect with strong command of three good pitches, Red Sox prospect Anderson Espinoza is a smallish pitcher with surprising heat. While some scouts worry such a small player might hurt himself by throwing so hard, so young, the Red Sox don't seem to mind finding out. He'll be developed as a starter for now, but a bullpen role is always possible in the future. Give him a full year in A-ball, another in AA, and we'll see.
More Scouting Book Info on Anderson Espinoza
SB 45 BA 19 SC 89 BP 73 SN ES 38 ML 39
A big, limber righthander who was hitting 98mph on the radar gun before going under the Tommy John knife in May 2014, pitcher Jeff Hoffman still had enough upside to be selected ninth overall by the Blue Jays in that summer's draft. Before surgery, Hoffman was commanding that fastball along with a plus curve (a true 12-6 knee-buckler that he used as a strikeout pitch) and a very good changeup, two pitches that he'll need to rebuild in the years to come. A big part of the return the Rockies netted for Troy Tulowitzki, Hoffman is expected to be finally ready to show what he can do in 2016.
More Scouting Book Info on Jeff Hoffman
SB 47 BA 68 SC 35 BP 24 SN ES 90 ML 52
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 48 BA SC 63 BP 48 SN ES 84 ML 72
If Tampa Bay returns to championship ball in the next couple of years, the trip will come on the backs of their very strong pitching talent, and all of that talent can be seen in young righthander Brent Honeywell. A physically athletic pitcher who flings fastballs, changeups and even screwballs from a locked-in 3/4 arm slot, Honeywell has struggled on and off with control issues, though part of that comes from the effort he's been making to refine a sometimes-wild curve ball, the weakest pitch in his arsenal. Still, Honeywell's ascension through the system will be locked to his control. No scout doubts that the stuff and gamesmanship are ready, so once he's consistently striking out more batters than he's walking, he'll be ready.
More Scouting Book Info on Brent Honeywell
SB 51 BA 65 SC BP 52 SN ES 64 ML 43
A power righthander who can reach 95mph with his fastball, Aaron Blair is more noteworthy thanks to a better-than-average change that he uses very effectively as a setup pitch. While he doesn't yet command his curve with the same confidence he brings to other offerings, he's already a lot more than just a raw arm, and he should continue to develop at higher levels of play, including MLB, especially if he remains under his new tutors in Atlanta. Expect a look-see in 2016, with a 2017 rotation spot up for grabs.
More Scouting Book Info on Aaron Blair
SB 52 BA 60 SC BP 43 SN ES 39 ML 56
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 at any time, with a legitimate shot at being an ace a little further down the road.
More Scouting Book Info on Jameson Taillon
SB 54 BA SC 53 BP 51 SN ES ML 54
One of the Mets prospects traded to the Tigers in 2015's Yoenis Cespedes deal, righthander Michael Fulmer is a near-MLB-ready pitching prospect who could impact Detroit's plans this season. A big, sturdy pitcher who has hit 98mph with his fastball, Fulmer alternates it with a hard slider, a true plus pitch with huge break. With his change and curve being much, much less polished, it's easy to imagine the big man in an MLB bullpen soon, and while that's possible, the Tigers will first exhaust their patience by letting him continue to work on those secondary pitches as a starter.
More Scouting Book Info on Michael Fulmer
SB 64 BA 47 SC 59 BP 87 SN ES 48 ML 53
The brother of prospect Colby, young Grant Holmes is probably the stronger pitcher, mixing a fastball that has touched 100mph with a hard, sharp-breaking curve and a promising change. He'll need to use his changeup more at the next level, though it does show some promise. He already looks like a quality reliever, but if he can convince the big league staff that he can handle the workload, he'll be given a chance to start first.
More Scouting Book Info on Grant Holmes
SB 66 BA 72 SC 43 BP 40 SN ES 71 ML 62
Top Prospects 2013