With the 2015 MLB Rule 4 draft less than two weeks away, one would think that the teams with early first-round picks already know who they’re going to take. However, due to a lack of impact players at certain positions in this year’s class, as well as the injuries to some of its more talented arms, there’s still little clarity as to how the draft might unfold outside of the first few picks. (And they aren't even a sure thing, depending on who you ask.)
Although this predraft ranking highlights many of the important names in the 2015 class, there’s still plenty of time for players to improve their stock before the draft, especially with the College World Series on the horizon and most prep prospects busily working out for potential suitors.
With that being said, here are the top-75 overall prospects for this year’s draft, complete with a look at how the class stacks up at each position, as well as some of its top tools.
The 2015 season is not even two months old, but already a number of notable prospects have received call-ups to the major leagues. Undoubtedly, there are more to come—and soon.
Highly regarded youngsters like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Roberto Osuna and Archie Bradley have been seeing regular action for their respective clubs for quite some time now. Others, like Carlos Rodon and Noah Syndergaard, are still getting their feet wet.
In the past week or so, the big prospect promotion belonged to Maikel Franco of the Philadelphia Phillies. The 22-year-old third baseman has started 7-of-24 (.292) with three extra-base hits, including his first big league home run, since coming back up.
Beyond that, the Houston Astros brought up right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. fresh out of Double-A, just like Washington Nationals infielder Wilmer Difo, and the Baltimore Orioles gave a start to righty Mike Wright, who turned in 7.1 scoreless innings.
It's late May, which means that although the first quarter of the season is complete, the July 31 trade deadline is still a good two full months away.
While the latter part means there likely won't be any major deals coming for several weeks still, it's never too early to start speculating about potential trade chips.
In this case, the focus is on a handful of prospects whose strong starts to 2015 have turned them into intriguing, coveted pieces whom contending clubs might dangle to land an in-season upgrade to fill a need or address an injury.
Because promising prospects are very valuable currency on the trade market.
Because the baseball season is so long, it's often unwise to put too much stock in early-season performances before teams and players have a chance to find themselves. This is particularly true for prospects, who can be even more volatile while needing even more time to figure things out.
The other angle, however, is that these young players have provided less to go on in their still-nascent careers—they are prospects for a reason—making any noticeable change in production that much more stark.
On the pages to follow, there are 10 prospects whose early 2015 performances stand out—for better or for worse—and could indicate a new path.
Keep in mind that these players are still eligible as prospects—meaning, they have not exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the majors—and also are currently in the minors. That rules out, say, Preston Tucker, the Houston Astros outfielder who was leading the minors in home runs and RBI at the time of his call-up this week to help cover while George Springer is out.
The 2015 season is only a month old, but already a number of notable prospects have received call-ups to the major leagues. Undoubtedly, there are more to come—and soon.
Highly regarded youngsters like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Roberto Osuna and Archie Bradley have been seeing regular action for their respective clubs for quite some time now. Others, like Carlos Rodon and Michael Lorenzen, are still getting their feet wet.
In the past week or so, the Boston Red Sox brought up Blake Swihart, and the same happened for Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres. With those two up, along with Kevin Plawecki, Andrew Susac and J.T. Realmuto, there's now a handful of top young catchers in the majors.
Beyond that, the Atlanta Braves recalled right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who won his first two starts in the majors since the beginning of May, and the New York Mets called on second baseman Dilson Herrera to help cover the infield while David Wright is out.
The Carlos Correa countdown is on. The Houston Astros—check that, the AL West-leading Houston Astros, who sport the best record in the American League at 18-8 entering play Tuesday—suddenly find themselves in a position where promoting their young shortstop and No. 1 prospect to the majors might come sooner than expected and would make plenty of sense for a few reasons.
First, there's the recent injury to Jed Lowrie, the club's starting shortstop who will be out until after the All-Star break with a torn ligament in his right thumb, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
Lowrie was playing very well in his return to the Astros, hitting .300/.432/.567 in 18 games. His loss means Houston has been forced to try to hold down the fort at short by turning to the likes of Jonathan Villar and Marwin Gonzalez, neither of whom is worthy of starting at the position for a team that actually is looking to return to relevance, if not contention in 2015.
Speaking of which, reason No. 2 has to do with just that. The Astros, of course, have been undergoing a necessary and extremely lengthy rebuilding process in recent years. They are coming off six straight losing seasons, tying them with the New York Mets for the longest active stretch of nonwinning campaigns in baseball.
Early arrivals by some of baseball's top prospects turned out to be a major storyline during the season's first month.
The Chicago Cubs captured all the headlines with their decision to promote phenoms Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, but we've also seen the big league debuts of other highly regarded prospects such as Carlos Rodon (White Sox), Kevin Plawecki (Mets), A.J. Cole (Nationals) and Michael Lorenzen (Reds).
However, those are just a few players in what should be a steady influx of young talent into the majors throughout the season.
Using Bleacher Report's ranking of the 100 Future MLB Stars, here is an in-depth look at the early returns on baseball's five-best prospects in 2015.
It’s hard to not get excited when projecting the future impacts of baseball’s top prospects. Unfortunately, with that excitement usually come unreasonable expectations, which, when not met, can cause younger players to be unfairly perceived as “disappointments.”
These players won’t necessarily have bad years, but it might be difficult for them to live up to the high expectations ascribed to them at the beginning of the season. Of course, expectations for prospects come in all different shapes and sizes, as one player might be expected to make an impact in the major leagues, while another is expected to prove he belongs at a certain level in the minors.
With all that said, here are seven top MLB prospects who won’t live up to sky-high expectations in 2015.