1. If your favorite player is missing, then chances are a lot higher it was a copy/paste fail and not my complete and utter lack of baseball knowledge. I mean, sure, it could still be the latter, but if there’s somebody obvious that I’ve ignored, please give a gentle reminder in the comments or via email (robozga at gmail dot com). It’s also possible I mentally shifted a guy’s position in my head, so don’t rule out your player suddenly popping up on another position list.
2. Players designated as FAVORITEs were given that tag prior to the season, or, in some cases, upon enrolling in college. In other words, just because a guy is a FAVORITE doesn’t mean he’s automatically guaranteed a high placement on the list. I’m stubborn about which players I like, true, but I’m also quite cognizant of the fact prospect status is fluid.
3. Final opinions are all mine, but information has been culled from a variety of sources. Like anybody likely reading this site, I’m an avid follower of all things Baseball America and Perfect Game. Seriously, if you are into the draft/prospects at all, I highly recommend getting subscriptions to both sites. I also have a small but trustworthy network of friends in the game I occasionally call upon for information on prospects, especially those off the beaten path. Consider the little scouting notes section on each player a synthesis on what I’ve read, heard, and seen about each player. I’m in no way an expert and literally nothing I write, positively or negatively, influences what pro teams actually do on draft day. I’m just a baseball loving guy who has taken a hobby way, way, way too far.
4. I’m happy to answer any and all questions I can over email or in the comments. Also, for the sake of my already waning sanity, I didn’t include everything I had on every player — you’ll see some blank spots sprinkled throughout — so please don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something about a specific guy you want answered.
5. There’s a little more science in scouting college prospects than when it comes to evaluating high school guys. This is all art and totally up to interpretation. The rankings are rankings because they are…rankings (I say it every year, but next year I want to do tiers), but that doesn’t mean Prospect #3 is leaps and bounds better than Prospect #15. I’m not trying to preempt any criticism of the list or anything, just getting it out there that nothing I write should be taken as more than the semi-educated opinions of what some weird guy on the internet thinks about a bunch of ballplayers. Cool? Cool. Here we go…
1. 1B Dominic Smith (Serra HS, California): really, really good hitter; good approach; plus power; average speed; might be stuck at 1B (instead of RF), where he’s easily plus; popular and logical Jonathan Singleton comp; good athlete; all he does is hit, special ability with bat; 90-92 FB; PG Todd Helton comp, also have heard Adrian Gonzalez; has experimented behind plate, not seriously but showed impressive willingness to play anywhere; love his swing; plus arm; can hit it anywhere; great patience; young for his class unique plus hit/plus glove first baseman; polled many who have seen him often and got a variety of interesting comps including lefty Edgar Martinez, shorter Olerud, pre-steroid Palmeiro, Keith Hernande, Jim Edmonds, Mattingly, Wally Joyner, Mark Grace, and Will Clark; favorable comps don’t guarantee success, but…nice list; FAVORITE; 6-1, 200 pounds
2. 1B Rowdy Tellez (Elk Grove HS, California): plus raw power; very strong; limited to first base; average arm; runs well for size; love his approach; as much a hitter as a slugger; FAVORITE; 6-4, 230 pounds
3. 1B/C Zack Collins (American Heritage HS, Florida): impressive bat speed; good approach; really advanced bat, close to best in class; above-average to plus raw power; really good at 1B; might be athletic enough for corner OF; much improved defender behind plate; Mike Napoli comp by me; FAVORITE; 6-3, 215 pounds
4. 1B/LHP Cody Bellinger (Hamilton HS, Arizona): plus glove; well above-average raw power, but haven’t seen much of it yet; strong hit tool; can run and throw a bit; good athlete; good pitch recognition; 85-88 FB; PG Christian Yelich comp; BA Adam LaRoche comp; FAVORITE; 6-3, 170 pounds
5. 1B/LHP Nick Longhi (Venice HS, Florida): absolutely punishes baseballs, saw him with one of the loudest BPs I can remember; legit plus-plus bat speed; ball explodes off his bat; younger than classmates; plus raw power; FAVORITE; might be able to hang in LF; natural born hitter; big power; not much arm; slow; 85-90 FB; plus CB; 6-2, 210 pounds
6. 1B/LHP Bryce Harman (Lloyd C. Bird HS, Virginia): big power upside; exciting hit tool; 86-88 FB, 90 peak; 76 SL; 6-6, 210 pounds
7. 1B Pete Alonso (Plant HS, Florida): plus defender; intriguing power, can hit it the other way; strong arm; decent speed; raw power beginning to manifest, doing it off of good pitching; 6-3, 215 pounds
8. 1B Jake Bauers (Marina HS, California): very big raw power, above-average at least; really like his hit tool, naturally gifted bat; popular Daric Barton as hitter comp, most famously by BA; slow; poor arm; average at best glove; 6-1, 200 pounds
9. 1B/LHP Joe Dudek (Christian Brothers Academy, New Jersey): great approach; plus power; plus bat speed; hitter first, power second; 87 peak; FAVORITE
10. 1B/3B Ian Hagenmiller (Palm Beach Central HS, Florida): plus arm; interesting power upside, plus for some more like above-average for me; can definitely hit; solid defensive tools; FAVORITE; 6-1, 210 pounds
11. 1B/RHP Derik Beauprez (Cherry Creek HS, Colorado): above-average raw power; good athlete; good defender; stuff down enough this spring, that I’d try him as hitter first; at his best is 88-92 FB, 93 peak; good 70-76 CB; good 77 CU; 6-5, 220 pounds
12. 1B/C Corey Simpson (Sweeny HS, Texas): really quick bat; great athlete; big power upside; questionable defender behind plate; has plenty of power, but not clear he’ll hit enough; 6-3, 220 pounds
13. 1B David Denson (South Hills HS, California): big raw power; good athlete for his size; patient approach; average arm; average at best glove; 6-4, 240 pounds
14. 1B Ben Rodriguez (Desert Mountain HS, Arizona): big raw power; good athlete; 6-5, 220 pounds
15. 1B Tyler Green (Williamsville North HS, New York): good defender; good approach, uses whole field well; 6-6, 225 pounds
16. 1B/OF Joe Corrigan (Harvard-Westlake HS, California): good approach; average athlete; strong hit tool
17. 1B Drew Bridges (Carthage HS, Missouri): average or better hit tool; some power upside; below-average speed; average arm; BA comp: Brett Wallace; 6-4, 220 pounds
18. 1B Manny Ramirez (IMG Academy, Florida): interesting power upside; slow; decent bloodlines; 6-4, 215 pounds
19. 1B/OF Michael Hoard (Salpointe Catholic HS, Arizona): strong hit tool; 6-0, 185 pounds
20. 1B William King (Anacortes HS, Washington): good athlete; 6-4, 200 pounds
And one more for good measure…
21. 1B Brandon Brosher (Springstead HS, Florida): interesting raw power