2015 MLB Draft: Early Look at Top Players at Each Position
The 2015 MLB draft is now less than six months away.
The order is set (well, mostly). The top talents have been identified.
College baseball squads are getting ready to head back to the diamond, and high school squads across the country are waiting for the fields to thaw so they too can get back on the field.
This year's draft class isn't particularly strong, and while it doesn't offer that one guy who's a surefire No. 1 pick, it does offer a great variety of players.
Athletic high school infielders. Check. See Brendan Rodgers.
Seasoned college bats. Check. See D.J. Stewart.
Projectable high school lefties. Check. See Kolby Allard.
Hard-throwing college pitchers. Check. See Michael Matuello.
Heck, this year's draft class even has a large collection of second- and third-generation soon-to-be professionals.
The top prospects are so varied that the easiest way to preview them all might be to break them down by position—rather, the position they are projected to play at the next level.
Let's start by taking a look at the top talent available at each position.
1. Chris Betts, Wilson HS (California)
Committed to Tennessee, Betts will likely be the first catcher drafted this June. He has earned several favorable comparisons, including one to Brian McCann. Checking in at 6'2", 200 pounds, he's built similarly to McCann, and he likewise offers plus arm strength and borderline questionable movements behind the plate.
His bat, however, will be what teams will be paying for. He has shown the raw talent to hit for both average and power.
2. Garrett Wolforth, Concordia Lutherna HS (Texas)
This switch-hitting senior became eligible for the 2015 draft recently after reclassifying and should be one of the first backstops taken. He'll be just 17 years old on draft day and now figures to be one of the youngest players drafted.
Wolforth has a plus arm that produces big league pop at times, and has shown polish beyond his years at the plate. At 6'3", 190 pounds, he should be able to stick behind the plate, but he's athletic enough to move to the outfield should some team want to move him through the minors at an accelerated pace.
3. Wyatt Cross, Legacy HS (Colorado)
Another solidly built (6'3", 200 pounds) catcher, Cross has a very high ceiling. Defense should be high calling card, and it's a toss-up as to who's the better defender, Cross or Wolforth. He possesses plus arm strength and has excellent footwork for a high schooler.
At the plate, he is less polished, but he's shown flashes of raw hitting ability and slightly above-average power. He's committed to UNC, so he'll be a tough sign and could drop due to signability concerns.
4. Mike Hickman, Seven Lakes HS (Texas)
Hickman is a stronger defender than Betts, but he's not as polished offensively, resulting in a ranking a notch below both Betts, Wolforth and Cross. While he does possess incredible raw power, Hickman has struggled to translate it into games. Behind the plate, he possesses above-average arm strength and enough athleticism to remain a catcher long term. Hickman is committed to the University of Oklahoma.
5. Lucas Herbert, San Clemente HS (California)
The battery-mate of projected top-10 pick Kolby Allard, according to FanGraphs' Kiley McDaniel, Herbert is a prospect in his own right. A commitment to UCLA might drop him into the later rounds, but there's no doubt he's among the top handful of high school catching prospects.
A great athlete, Herbert has shown solid skills behind the plate, but his average arm strength doesn't measure up to those ranked above him. At the plate, he's shown hitting ability and good raw power. Some time at UCLA would probably make him a better prospect, and he could be one of the top catching prospects coming out in 2019.
1. Taylor Ward, Fresno State
A preseason All-American, Ward figures to be the first catcher drafted from the collegiate ranks, and depending on whether he can carry over the momentum generated during a solid 2014 campaign (.320, 6 HR, 41 RBI), he could be the top pick at the position. At 6'2", 190 pounds, Ward is athletic enough to stick behind the plate long term, but his bat will be key to how high he's drafted and how far his career goes.
2. Jameson Fisher, Southeastern Louisiana
A former 24th-round pick back in 2012, Fisher was a beast at the plate in 2014, reaching base almost half of the time. His .389 average was good for 15th in the nation, and he clubbed 17 doubles and drove in 39 runs.
He was just as impressive behind the plate, throwing out 12 of 32 runners who attempted to steal. His receiving skills could use some work (eight passed balls and 11 errors), but he's athletic enough to become at least an average defender.
3. Luke Lowery, East Carolina
You wouldn't know it from the four home runs he hit last season for the Pirates, but Lowery has some of the best power among this year's crop of catchers. He slugged five more in the Cape Cod League, in just 78 at-bats, to lead all catchers in the circuit.
More concerning is the fact that he struck out a whopping 32 times and hit a paltry .231. Defensively, Lowery doesn't offer much value, and at 6'2", 240 pounds, he seems destined for a position change in the near future.
1. Josh Naylor, St. Joan of Arc HS (Canada)
Few prospects offer as much raw power as Naylor, which is good, because he seems to be a man without a position.
He'll likely settle at either first base or an outfield corner. Built more like a fullback (6'1", 225 pounds) than a baseball player, Naylor doesn't offer much speed, which leads one to think he'll be a better fit at first. His arm, however, is strong enough that he might be a defensive threat in right field. Wherever he ends up, he'll have to develop his power into an usable tool to warrant a high selection.
Chances are high he ends up at Texas Tech instead.
1. Chris Shaw, Boston College
A former 26th-round selection in 2012, Shaw could be the Kyle Schwarber of this year's draft class. While his stats (12 home runs in two years) don't scream power hitter, the 6'4", 250-pound beast is slowly learning to translate plus raw power into his everyday game.
He put forth an incredible performance in the Cape Cod League last year, leading the circuit with eight home runs while driving in 34 runs. For his efforts, he was named the league's top prospect.
Should he carry that performance over into the 2014 campaign, he could be the top position player drafted from the college ranks. He's played mostly outfield at the collegiate level, but his arm strength, or lack thereof, leads one to deduce he'll be stationed at first as a pro.
2. Patrick Mazeika, Stetson
A former freshman All-American who hit .382 in his debut season, Mazeika's bat stayed hot in 2014. He posted a .354/.479/.471 line and, for the second consecutive season, drew more walks than strikeouts.
Mazeika has split time between catcher and first base during his first two years, but at 6'3", 220 pounds, he'll end up at first base or an outfield corner before too long. If he could manage to stick behind the plate, his value would rise dramatically.
1. Alonzo Jones, Columbus HS (Georgia)
Despite a compact 5'10", 182-pound build, Jones might be the fastest runner in the 2015 class. Luckily, he's no slouch at the plate as a switch-hitter who offers solid hitting ability and average raw power, meaning he's incredibly likely to be a first-round selection.
There seems to be some uncertainty on where on the diamond Jones will end up, but it will likely be in center field or second base. Jones does have a commitment to Vanderbilt in his back pocket, so he'll come with a pretty high price tag.
2. Lucas Wakamatsu, Keller HS (Texas)
The son of former big league manager Don Wakamatsu, Lucas has a lanky frame that seems conducive to some more physical growth, leading many to think he'll be forced off of shortstop, where he's spent the majority of his time. Even at second base, he offers a solid package of tools. A switch-hitter, he has shown both above-average hitting ability and average raw power. Wakamatsu has a commitment to Rice.
1. Alex Bregman, Louisiana State
Bregman exploded onto the draft scene as a freshman at LSU, batting .369 with six homers and 52 RBI. He regressed a bit in 2014 but still showed the tools worthy of a first-round selection. At the plate, he's arguably the top hitting prospect in the draft, showing a smooth, uncomplicated swing, impressive bat speed and above-average raw power.
Defensively he's solid, showing above-average arm strength and amazing instincts. Still, shortstop might be too much of a challenge for him, and second base would be a perfect fit for his offensive profile.
2. Ian Happ, Cincinnati
The preseason pick for American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Happ has shown similar tools to Bregman, including incredible versatility. But unlike Bregman, he seems like a great fit at second base.
He too has shown above-average hitting ability and power, even though he's only clubbed 11 home runs in two years at Cincinnati. Making for an even more enticing package, Happ also offers plus speed, having stolen 44 bases during his career.
Happ will likely be the second middle infielder selected from the college ranks.
3. Kevin Newman, Arizona
A year after becoming the first freshman to ever win the Cape Cod League batting title, Newman made history again, this time becoming the first player to win back-to-back batting titles. While a hell of a way to make a name for himself, the feat overshadows the fact that Newman doesn't have a single tool, aside from hitting, that would grade out as above average.
He's a below-average runner with below-average raw power, and his arm strength doesn't wow scouts. Fortunately, Newman can hit, and as such, he'll be a highly sought-after commodity on draft day.
1. Cornelius Randolph, Griffin HS (Georgia)
This might be the best year ever for talent in the state of Georgia, and Randolph is one of the more exciting infield prospects to come out of the Peach State in quite some time.
An incredibly aggressive hitter, Randolph has shown above-average raw power to go with average hitting ability. There are some doubts about whether he'll be able to make consistent contact, but he'll put in the work to ensure he does. Defensively, the Clemson commit has all the tools to play shortstop, including an above-average arm and average speed, but he simply might outgrow the position.
2. Julian Infante, Westminster Christian HS (Florida)
The term "big league-ready" rarely applies to a high schooler, so we'll instead call Infante "college-ready." Should he honor his commitment to Vanderbilt, he'll likely earn playing time as a freshman and should have no problem against collegiate pitching.
A physically mature specimen, Infante shows slightly above-average offensive tools across the board. Defensively, it's the same, as he possesses the arm strength and athleticism to be an above-average defender.
3. Brendon Davis, Lakewood HS (California)
At 6'4" and 170 pounds, Davis has plenty of room to fill out, and once he does, there's very little chance he'll be playing shortstop. That will be OK, though, because he's shown above-average hitting ability and above-average raw power. He's always played up to his level of competition, especially on the showcase circuit.
Defensively, he would be an asset at third base. He's got above-average arm strength and great instincts. Davis, who followed in the footsteps of 2013 first-round pick and Lakewood High alum J.P. Crawford, will have to be persuaded out of a commitment to Cal State Fullerton.
1. David Thompson, Miami
Thompson showed first-round talent as a freshman in 2013, but he missed a good chunk of his sophomore campaign when he was forced to undergo surgery for a blood clot in his arm. When healthy, Thompson, a 38th-round selection back in 2012, flashes above-average hitting ability and power. Both tools play up due to his above-average plate discipline.
In the field, he shows above-average arm strength and enough athleticism to qualify him as an above-average defender at third base. Should be bounce back in 2015 and show all the tools that made him a well-known commodity during 2013, he could rocket back into first-round consideration.
2. Matt Rose, Georgia State
A former 24th-round pick by Toronto in 2012, Rose figures to be drafted significantly higher in 2015. A two-way player as a freshman, arm trouble limited Rose to mostly DH duties in 2014. His bat didn't seem to mind, as he hit .312 with 11 homers. He carried over that performance into the summer Valley League, where Perfect Game and Baseball America each named him one of the top prospects in the circuit. (h/t GeorgiaStateSports.com).
Despite his prowess on the mound (90-93 mph), Rose possesses the tools to be a power-hitting corner infielder.
3. Edwin Rios, Florida International
Rios has packed on nearly 40 pounds to his 6'3", 202-pound frame since his senior year of high school, and while he was once a top prospect at shortstop, he now seems destined for life at the hot corner.
He made 11 starts at first base as a freshman at FIU, but his plus arm strength would be a better weapon at third. After an impressive showing as a freshman (.332/.412/.548), Rios came back to earth a bit in 2014, but he still showed a smooth line-drive swing capable of producing average raw power. Like most prospects with an undefined defensive role, Rios will have to hit to distinguish himself.
4. Matt Gonzalez, Georgia Tech
Compactly built at 5'11" and 195 pounds, Gonzalez was previously drafted in the 11th round by Oakland back in 2012. He opted to attend Georgia Tech, where he has established himself as one of the top power-hitting infielders in college baseball. He's slugged just four homers in two seasons, but as evidenced by his 21 doubles last season in just 64 games, the raw power is there. He just needs to learn to tap into it during games.
Defensively, he could probably handle shortstop, but his thick build leads many to believe he'd be a better fit at the hot corner. His above-average arm would be a defensive asset anywhere.
5. Travis Maezes, Michigan
Michigan doesn't churn out many big league regulars, but Maezes could be one of the rare few. He hit .302 and stole 19 bases as a sophomore, showing just enough talent to put him on the radar for the 2015 draft. He played catcher in high school but moved to shortstop and started 58 games there last year.
His actions aren't entirely smooth and his footwork needs plenty of improvement. His arm strength, which was such a weapon behind the plate, should allow him to slide over to third base as a professional.
1. Brendan Rodgers, Lake Mary HS (Florida)
If you're looking for the consensus top player in the 2015 draft, this Florida State commit is about as close as you'll get. Solidly built at 6'1", 190 pounds, Rodgers excels in virtually every aspect of the game.
His range at shortstop is incredible, and he makes the difficult plays look easy, utilizing his above-average arm strength. He doesn't have great speed, but he makes do. Stealing bases won't be his thing anyways, not with his short, easy swing that produces above-average raw power. He should hit for average as well.
There is literally no hole in Rodgers' game.
2. Cadyn Grenier, Bishop Gorman HS (Nevada)
Grenier is incredibly polished for a high schooler, and he has a solid package of tools that should warrant a Day 1 selection. Defensively, he has all the tools to stick at shortstop long term, including above-average arm strength. His footwork and accuracy are tops among the high school shortstop class.
At the plate, he makes consistent contact and flashes good raw power. The cherry on top is his above-average speed, making him an even more appealing target should he choose to forgo his commitment to Oregon State.
3. Nicholas Shumpert, Highlands Ranch HS (Colorado)
Physically mature, Shumpert has done nothing but improve since exploding onto the draft scene as a junior. Committed to Kentucky, it's unlikely he will set foot on campus.
Like Rodgers and Grenier, he seems a pretty safe bet to stick at shortstop. He can make all the plays but sometimes loses focus while performing the routine ones. His arm strength isn't as impressive as the two players above him, but it's strong enough. At the plate, Shumpert is still pretty raw. He has above-average raw power but tends to be a swing-or-miss hitter. He also offers above-average speed.
4. John Aiello, Germantown Academy (Pennsylvania)
Another physically mature (6'2", 200 pounds) prospect, Aiello will have plenty of suitors on draft day. Despite his size, he's shown fluid actions at shortstop, and if he stops growing, he should be able to stick there long term. Plus arm strength would allow him to slide over to third base if he does keep growing.
At the plate, he can hit from both sides and shows good contact skills and surprising plate discipline. He hasn't shown much power, but as he continues to grow, he should develop at least average bat strength. Aiello shouldn't be too hard to pry away from his commitment to Wake Forest.
5. Kyler Murray, Allen HS (Texas)
There's no telling where Murray will be drafted due to his commitment to play for the Texas A&M football squad. As one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation, it seems unlikely, but if he does decide to give up the gridiron, there will be plenty of teams clamoring for the chance to develop him. He's shown five legitimate tools, including above-average raw power and plus arm strength.
1. Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt
The cream of the crop of the collegiate shortstop class, Swanson has actually yet to see time at the position. He has the athleticism and arm strength to become an above-average defender there, though, and he should play there the majority of the 2015 season, giving teams a long look at a physically mature player who has an impressive offensive skill set as well as plus speed on the basepaths.
While he doesn't offer much power, Swanson should be a doubles-machine at the next level.
2. Richie Martin, Florida
Martin has looked surprisingly human during his time at Florida, mustering a career .279 average in 419 at-bats, but he broke out in a big way this past summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
He will look to carry over that momentum into 2015, and if he can, he should be one of the top players drafted. Defensively, he has few flaws, although he is prone to lapses in concentration, leading to some pretty embarrassing errors. He's a plus runner, which would obviously be more of a tool if he could get on base at a higher clip.
His development at the plate this season will be key to where he is drafted.
3. Blake Trahan, Louisiana Lafayette
Trahan has done nothing but hit since going to Lafayette. He boosted his batting average nearly 40 points as a sophomore, showing decent power and good speed. His plate discipline and pitch recognition are second to none among the top prospects at the position, and all signs point to him developing into an above-average hitter.
Defensively, he improved his game dramatically during his second year, cutting down his errors while handling more chances.
4. C.J. Hinojosa, Southern California
A former 26th-round pick in 2012, Hinojosa turned down a deal with Houston to honor his commitment to Texas. The book on him in 2012 was that he showed elite hitting tools, and he even earned comparisons to former first-rounder Anthony Rendon.
In two seasons, he's fulfilled that promise, showing the ability to hit for average and some power. Defensively, he's managed to stick at shortstop, despite a frame more conducive to second base. He'll likely start his pro career there but might be forced to move in order to accommodate his bat.
5. Kal Simmons, Kennesaw State
He wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school, so Simmons took his talents to Kennesaw State, where he has honed his craft and emerged as one of the top shortstops in the college crop.
A solid defender, Simmons should be able to stick at shortstop long term. He has above-average arm strength, has been clocked in the mid-80s off the mound and has shown great instincts. At the plate, he's shown good contact skills and impressive pitch recognition. He doesn't offer much power or speed.
6. Drew Jackson, Stanford
Like many a highly touted Stanford prospect, Jackson saw his stock at the plate drop dramatically during his time in Palo Alto. A .207 hitter as a freshman, Jackson mustered only a .167 number in 39 games as a sophomore. He's yet to homer in 190 at-bats and has driven in only eight runs. Not the kind of player you'd expect to see drafted early on.
On the plus side, Jackson is an above-average defender who has been clocked as high as 90 mph on the mound. He also has plus speed, although that too hasn't been showcased during his time at Stanford.
7. Mikey White, Alabama
A classic overachiever and "baseball rat," White has done a little bit of everything during his two years at Alabama. His average has hovered around .300 during his career, and he's shown more pop than anyone expected. One thing he does have is an incredibly strong arm, which should allow him to stick at shortstop. Provided he keeps developing as a hitter, he might be a better fit at second base, though.
1. Mitchell Hansen, Plano HS (Texas)
You're not likely to find a more projectable prospect than Hansen, who checks in at 6'4" and 197 pounds. He's committed to Stanford, but with his projection and skill set, he's likely to hear his name called very early on draft day.
He's a five-tool guy, with the best of those being his above-average speed. He hasn't shown much power, but as a guy who'll likely end up around 6'5", 220 pounds, he seems a good bet to develop at least average power.
Defense is where Hansen will offer the most value. With his speed, smooth actions and great instincts, he should be an annual Gold Glove contended.
2. Kyle Tucker, Plant HS (Florida)
Florida has an impressive crop of outfield prospects coming out in 2015, and Tucker might be the only guy who can challenge D.J. Stewart for the top spot. Tucker has it all. At 6'4" and 175 pounds, he offers plenty of projection. He has a smooth left-handed swing that produces easy line-drive power. He hasn't displayed much usable power yet but has shown flashes of raw power that has drawn comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr.
He'll be an asset in the outfield and could possibly stick in center, but his profile fits a corner spot better. He's committed to the University of Florida, and if he does honor that, he'll be an easy first-round selection in three years.
3. Daniel Reyes, Mater Academy (Florida)
Following in the footsteps of Albert Almora, Reyes could be the second first-round selection from the prestigious Mater Academy in three years. While he's an all-around talented hitter, Reyes' best tool is power. He's shown flashes of above-average strength and has been so impressive on some occasions that it has moved concerns about his swing to the back burner. That's definitely something to keep an eye on this spring.
In the field, he's quick to fly balls, but his arm strength isn't such that he could man center field for very long. He's likely looking at a career as a power-hitting corner outfielder. He would likely benefit from some seasoning at the University of Florida, where he is committed.
4. Greg Pickett, Legend HS (Colorado)
Colorado has produced some pretty impressive prospects the past few years, including Greg Bird and Kevin Gausman. Pickett isn't likely to be as good as those two, but he's talented enough that he's earned a scholarship to Mississippi State, assuming he doesn't turn pro.
At 6'4", 210 pounds, Pickett oozes raw power. He's earned comparisons to 2012 pick Joey Gallo. And while he looked uneven at the plate at times in 2014, in part due to a leg injury, he enters 2015 as a guy who could rocket up draft boards if he performs to his ability.
The majority of Pickett's value comes at the plate, where he also flashes all the tools to project him as an above-average hitter as well. In the field, he's no slouch, but he shouldn't be more than an average defensive corner outfielder.
5. Ryan Johnson, College Station HS (Texas)
Johnson has three above-average tools that should make him a highly sought-after prospect on draft day, and with a strong spring, he could work his way into first-round consideration.
Any conversation about Johnson starts with his bat. The TCU commit has shown an advanced feel for hitting, utilizing great bat speed and impressive pitch recognition. He's shown flashes of above-average raw power. At 6'3" and 205 pounds, he doesn't offer much speed, but he has enough to steal 10-15 bases per year. Arguably his most impressive tool is his arm strength. He's been clocked in the low to mid-90s on the mound.
6. Demi Orimoloye, St. Matthews HS (Canada)
At 6'4" and 225 pounds, Orimoloye looks like a pro ballplayer, and his skill set and overall makeup make it likely that he'll reach his ceiling. He has a chance for five above-average tools, the most impressive of which is his above-average power. He's shown some holes in his swing, but when he connects, look out.
His arm strength would be a good fit in center field, but he hasn't shown the kind of defensive ability that would allow him to stick there. He's going to be a better fit in a corner spot. Orimoloye is committed to Oregon.
7. Nick Plummer, Brother Rice HS (Michigan)
Another player who has the body of a big leaguer, Plummer is also a very impressive athlete whose best tool is his hitting ability. He makes consistent contact and has great pitch recognition. He also offers above-average raw power, making him a highly sought-after prospect.
Defensively, the Kentucky commit is nothing special, but he should be a perfectly adequate corner outfielder. He'll go as far as his bat takes him.
8. Trenton Clark, Richland HS (Texas)
Physically mature, Clark is an explosive athlete who offers two above-average tools: speed and power. There have been some questions about his swing, so the power isn't yet a usable tool, but he's flashed enough raw power to make scouts drop their jaws. In the field, Clark doesn't offer much arm strength, so he will be limited to a corner outfield spot. He is committed to Texas Tech.
9. Kyle Dean, Poway HS (California)
At 6'1", 195 pounds, Dean doesn't offer as much projection as guys like Tucker or Hansen, but he's a solid all-around prospect who offers some impressive hitting ability. He should be able to hit for average and has shown above-average power as well with a smooth line-drive swing. He's got slightly above-average speed and he has the tools to be an above-average defender.
Dean was headed to San Diego but decommitted late last year. He has yet to pick another school, although that decision could come before he starts play this spring.
1. DJ Stewart, Florida State
An all-state two-sport athlete from North Florida, Stewart turned down an offer from the Yankees to honor his commitment to FSU. He's done nothing but hit since setting foot on campus, earning selections to the Freshman All-American and NCAA All-Tournament teams during his first year and being named ACC Player of the Year as a sophomore.
He's a career .358 hitter who has slugged 44 doubles and driven in 109 runs in just two seasons. He has the hitting tools to win batting titles and could hit 25-30 homers a year. Despite a heavy build (6'0", 230 pounds), he's a surprisingly good athlete, but projecting him as anything other than a corner outfielder would be wishful thinking.
2. Brendon Sanger, Florida Atlantic
After an impressive high school career, Sanger exploded onto the scene as a freshman, hitting .347 in the regular season and a ridiculous .579 in the Sun Belt Conference tournament. He carried that momentum into his sophomore campaign, where he once again led FAU in most offensive categories, including batting average (.332). He was a machine at getting on base, leading the Sun Belt in OBP and walks, and looks to be the same kind of player at the pro level.
Hitting will be the tool that carries him. He doesn't offer much power but grades out at least average in every other area of his game. He's played mostly right field for FAU, and that too should continue to be the case at the next level.
3. Rhett Wiseman, Vanderbilt
Despite immense talent, Wiseman slipped to the 25th round in 2012 due to his strong commitment to Vanderbilt. He honored that commitment and has been one of the Commodores best players the past two seasons, filling up the box scores with doubles, triples, runs, walks and steals.
A legit five-tool talent who shows flashes of at least four above-average tools, Wiseman should be one of the first outfielders drafted. Speed and power are his most impressive tools, and while he's shown little of each at Vandy, they're definitely there. In the field, he's an above-average defender who can chase down almost anything.
4. Joe McCarthy, Virginia
It's hard to do more than McCarthy has done during his first two seasons at UVA. He was named ACC Freshman of the Year in 2013 after hitting .336 and driving in 51 runs, and in 2014, he was named first-team All-ACC after setting career highs with 16 doubles, six homers and 55 runs. Both seasons he was able to maintain an OBP around .450, a number boosted his an insane number of walks.
His plate discipline is exceptional, and he offers slightly above-average hitting ability and power. McCarthy's rise shouldn't surprise anybody; his father, who played for South Carolina was also a college star.
5. Christin Stewart, Tennessee
Not to be confused with Kristen Stewart, the University of Tennessee outfielder has shown some pretty impressive flashes of talent during his two years as a Vol. He oozes raw power but has slugged only eight long balls in two seasons. Count him among the prospects excited to get back to using wood bats at the pro level.
He boosted his average 20 points to .330 as a sophomore, although there was a lot of swing-and-miss to him (2.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio). Defensively, Stewart offers very little: below-average arm strength and average, at best, defense and speed.
6. Gio Brusa, Pacific
Brusa is another player who benefited from an impressive performance in the Cape Cod League this past summer. The 2015 college crop of hitters leaves much to be desired, so Brusa's hitting ability really stands out.
In addition to his above-average hitting ability, he also offers above-average power. A former 37th-round pick in 2012, Brusa paced Pacific in doubles and RBI this past season. His average (.257) wasn't entirely impressive nor was his pitch recognition (2.33 K/BB). Like Stewart, Brusa offers several below-average tools on defense.
7. Donnie Dewees, North Florida
If you're looking for an underrated guy who could turn into a star, look no further than Dewees. He was a freshman All-American in 2013, hitting .347 overall and .405 in conference play. He only logged 47 at-bats last year before breaking his right wrist and missing the remainder of the season.
He was able to make an appearance in the Cape Cod League and showed an advanced feel for hitting and above-average speed. His speed is more of an asset on the basepaths than in the field, where below-average arm strength should restrict him to a corner spot.
8. Isiah Gilliam, Chipola JC
Gilliam took a winding path to the draft, transferring high schools three times before settling at Parkview HS in Georgia. Scouts got word just before the draft that he was eligible, and he was selected in the 23rd round by the Cubs. He opted not to sign with Chicago and instead chose to head to junior college in order to be eligible again this year.
While incredibly raw, he'll still be one of the most scouted prospects in the country due to his impressive skill set, including a quick bat and above-average power. While he played first base in high school, Gilliam seems likely to move to the outfield as a pro.
1. Daz Cameron, Eagle's Landing HS (Georgia)
The son of former big leaguer Mike Cameron, Daz is a premium prospect who has a commitment to Florida State. A five-tool guy who has drawn some comparisons to 2014 draftee Derek Hill, Cameron is an elite hitter who has an easy swing and explosive bat speed. He makes consistent contact, and like his dad, shows above-average raw power.
Plus speed is his other great tool, on the basepaths and in the field. He'll definitely stick in center field, and has very little physical projection left.
2. Jahmai Jones, Wesleyan HS (Georgia)
Another solidly built kid at 6'0", 210 pounds, Jones is one of the more impressive five-tool talents in the high school draft class, hence the commitment to North Carolina.
He has borderline plus speed and great defensive instincts, which pairs well with his above-average arm strength. At the plate he's shown above-average hitting ability and enough raw power to dream on him as a .280 hitter who averages 20 homers per season. He could end up in the infield due to his athleticism, but he'd be a better fit in the outfield.
3. Garrett Whitley, Niskayuna HS (New York)
Very rarely does elite talent find it's way out of New York, and while Whitley doesn't qualify as "elite," he should hear his name called pretty early on draft day.
Physically mature at 6'2" and 200 pounds, he offers two above-average tools: speed and raw power. He hasn't yet shown the ability to make consistent contact and without that his power will be useless, but if he can show development in his hitting during the spring, he could rise up draft boards very quickly. Whitley is committed to Wake Forest.
4. Doak Dozier, Arlington Heights HS (Texas)
Dozier offers one of the best combinations of projection and present skills. A lanky athlete at 6'3" and 180 pounds, Dozier is pretty raw, but he shows some damn impressive flashes of plus speed and plus arm strength.
He has a quick swing and has performed well on the showcase circuit against premium velocity, but there are questions about how he'll be able to handle premium breaking balls. He doesn't offer much power, but if he grows much more he'll likely be able to muster at least average power. He'll be an above-average to plus defender in center field. Dozier is committed to Virginia.
1. Kyri Washington, Longwood
An incredibly toolsy prospect, Washington has unfortunately shown more ability in workouts and in practice than in actual games. He hit a paltry .204 in the Cape Cod League last summer after hitting .260 as a sophomore and .249 as a freshman. He has shown some good pop, slugging a combined 35 doubles and 13 home runs, and that bodes well.
Unfortunately, a 5.48 K/BB ratio does not. If he can figure out what he's doing at the plate, Washington should be better able to utilize his plus raw power, and if he can get on base more consistently, he'll be better able to showcase his plus speed.
In the field, he has the tools to be an above-average defender in center field. Even if he doesn't improve his performance at the plate this spring, some team will gamble on Washington's skill set.
2. Skye Bolt, North Carolina
Owner of arguably the best name in the 2015 draft class, Bolt's draft stock has taken quite a tumble since he starred as a freshman. That season, he hit .321 and slugged six home runs, earning second-team All-ACC honors.
His follow-up campaign was less than impressive, as he saw his average tumble nearly 90 points and managed only 13 extra-base hits. He followed that up with a weak performance in the Cape Cod League, hitting .205.
Fortunately, Bolt shows all the tools to be an elite talent. He's flashed above-average power, speed and arm strength. He just needs to show some more consistency.
3. Cam Gibson, Michigan State
Son of the gamed Kirk Gibson, Cam is almost a complete 180 from his dad. A terror on the basepaths, the junior Gibson has stolen 28 bases in two seasons for the Spartans and has shown uncommon plate discipline, drawing more walks than strikeouts. He's been able to keep his average high by being incredibly selective, and while he doesn't offer much power, he will likely be able to rack up a ton of extra-base hits.
He's a top-of-the-order bat, and his defensive skills should allow him to be an above-average defender. He'll have to improve his contact skills at the plate, however, if he ever wants to be more than a fourth outfielder.
4. Harrison Bader, Florida
Bader wasn't an elite prospect coming out of high school, but he's done nothing but impress at the University of Florida. He's led the Gators in batting average the past two seasons and has stolen 28 bases.
He was outstanding in postseason play in 2014, earning a spot on the SEC tournament team and the NCAA Gainesville Regional team.
Bader makes consistent contact but offers very little power. He profiles as a top-of-the-order hitter whose gritty play and on-base skills should make him a highly sought-after guy in the later rounds of the draft.
5. Braden Bishop, Washington
Bishop turned down an offer from the Braves to attend Washington, and since signing, he's established himself as one of the top defensive outfielders in the nation.
He has all the tools to be an elite defender, including a ridiculously strong arm that has been clocked in the 90s on the mound, accuracy on his throws and above-average speed. At the plate, he has yet to show the same explosiveness. He boosted his average 30 points to .304 last year, but he notched only 10 extra-base hits and drew just 12 walks.
On the plus side, he did steal 21 bases. He also was hit by a pitch a ridiculous 22 times, further boosting his ability to get on base. Bishop likely won't be a first-team regular at the next level, but there's no doubt there's room in pro ball for his defensive skills.
6. Steven Duggar, Clemson
One of the top high school prospects in the state in 2012, Duggar honored his commitment to Clemson and has shown he's pretty much the complete package. While he's not worthy of a Day 1 selection, he should be highly sought after on Day 2 due to his all-around skill set.
He has two plus tools: speed and arm strength. He's been clocked in the low-90s and has stolen 40 bases in two years with the Tigers. He's an extra-base hit machine, although very few of those come in the form of home runs. If he can improve his contact rate, he will be an even more appealing prospect.
7. Andrew Stevenson, Louisiana State
A more stereotypical center fielder, Stevenson checks in at 6'0", 185 pounds. He's a true baseball rat who does a little bit of everything, but there isn't any one tool that really stands out.
He's held his own at the plate, hitting a team-best .335 as a sophomore. His best tool is arguably his above-average speed, but he's only stolen 14 bases in two seasons. He often plays up to top-notch competition and he performed incredibly well in the Cape Cod League, hitting .327 with 21 steals.
Defensively, he's a slightly above-average fielder. He won't be a Day 1 pick and likely projects as a fourth outfielder, but he should be a pretty quick riser to the big league level.
8. Craig Brinkerhoff, Utah Valley
Brinkerhoff was the 2011 SWAC Player of the Year, one year after Bryce Harper took home the honor. He took two years off to go on a missions trip but has returned and is now one of the top outfielders in the college crop.
He offers at least average tools across the board. He racked up 21 doubles for Utah Valley in 2014 and drove in 40 runs in just 53 games. An incredible athlete, Brinkerhoff won high school state titles in both baseball and football.