February 2012

An uber top 100 (and then some)

So, the prospect ranking season has come and gone. Obviously, it continues all year as prospects on various rankings either live up to, exceed or fail to meet expectations. Over on our Prospect Watch, we will update lists especially as players “graduate” off of them (when they get past rookie status levels).

By now, though, most, if not all, of the big prospect watchers have put out their lists. It’s always fun to compare and contrast the lists — it’s why we do them in the first place, right? It leads to more conversations and debate.

It seems like there is general agreement on a “Big 4” and I’m honored that people put me on this Prospect Mount Rushmore. The others, in no particular order, are the fine folks at Baseball America, Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus and ESPN’s Keith Law. You’ll need a subscription to read some of the stuff, but if you’re a junkie, it’s worth it.

That doesn’t mean, by the way, that there aren’t many, many other prospect rankings to digest out there. There’s Project Prospect and John Sickels’ MinorLeagueBall (list coming out today, it seems), just to name a couple more. Seriously, a search for rankings would keep you busy for a long, long time.

For now, though, lets stick to the first four mentioned. What would a combined list of all four of our rankings’ look like? Would it be the most thorough list ever? I started compiling in a spreadsheet a while ago, thinking I’d post this. Before I got around to it, BaseballbyTom beat me to it with a combined Top 50 list, something he called the Frankenlist.

I’m going to go a little further. It’s a simple process really. Average out the placement on all four of our lists and rank according to that average. For simplicity, anyone who didn’t appear on one of our lists got a 101 ranking. I’m not breaking ties, just running the ranking as is (Matt Moore and Bryce Harper have the same average, for example. Moore has two No. 1 rankings, Harper has one. But Moore has one No. 3 ranking and Harper was ranked No. 2 by the other three who didn’t put him first… you decide who’s No. 1 there). In total by count, 138 players made at least one Top 100. While Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes only made it into one list, I included them (BA’s rankings with 101s from the rest of us). Here’s all 138 with their average score:


AVG Name Team POS
1.75 Matt Moore TB LHP
1.75 Bryce Harper WAS OF
2.50 Mike Trout LAA OF
6.25 Jurickson Profar TEX SS
7.00 Shelby Miller STL RHP
7.25 Manny Machado BAL SS
8.00 Julio Teheran ATL RHP
8.50 Jesus Montero SEA C
9.25 Dylan Bundy BAL RHP
10.50 Gerrit Cole PIT RHP
12.50 Trevor Bauer ARI RHP
13.00 Jameson Taillon PIT RHP
15.50 Devin Mesoraco CIN C
16.00 Travis d’Arnaud TOR C
19.00 Taijuan Walker SEA RHP
19.75 Wil Myers KC OF
20.00 Tyler Skaggs ARI LHP
20.25 Jacob Turner DET RHP
20.25 Miguel Sano MIN 3B
20.75 Bubba Starling KC OF
22.25 Anthony Rendon WAS 3B
23.50 Manny Banuelos NYY LHP
25.25 Archie Bradley ARI RHP
25.50 Danny Hultzen SEA LHP
27.50 Nolan Arenado COL 3B
27.50 Carlos Martinez STL RHP
29.00 Martin Perez TEX LHP
30.00 Zack Wheeler NYM RHP
30.25 Francisco Lindor CLE SS
33.25 Drew Pomeranz COL LHP
33.25 Jarrod Parker OAK RHP
38.00 Arodys Vizcaino ATL RHP
38.75 Matt Harvey NYM RHP
39.25 Christian Yelich FLA OF
41.75 Hak Ju-Lee TB SS
42.00 Billy Hamilton CIN SS
43.00 Gary Brown SF OF
48.75 Anthony Rizzo CHI 1B
49.25 Jonathan Singleton HOU 1B
49.50 Brett Jackson CHI OF
50.00 Jake Marisnick TOR OF
50.25 Rymer Liriano SD RHP
51.00 Nick Castellanos DET 3B
51.50 Mike Olt TEX 3B
51.75 Mike Montgomery KC LHP
54.50 Zack Lee LAD RHP
55.25 Jean Segura LAA SS
55.75 Jake Odorizzi KC RHP
55.75 Anthony Gose TOR OF
56.00 Yasmani Grandal CIN C
56.75 Yonder Alonso SD 1B
56.75 Randall Delgado ATL RHP
57.00 Xander Bogaerts BOS SS
57.25 Gary Sanchez NYY C
59.00 Wily Peralta MIL RHP
59.00 Casey Kelly SD RHP
59.25 Jarred Cosart HOU RHP
59.50 A.J. Cole OAK RHP
59.75 Josh Bell PIT OF
59.75 James Paxton SEA LHP
60.25 Starling Marte PIT OF
62.50 Dellin Betances NYY RHP
62.50 Trevor May PHI RHP
62.75 Oscar Taveras STL OF
63.00 George Springer HOU OF
63.75 Michael Choice OAK OF
65.75 Will Middlebrooks BOS 3B
69.00 Brad Peacock OAK RHP
71.00 Javier Baez CHI SS
71.75 Nick Franklin SEA SS
72.75 Mason Williams NYY OF
73.75 Sonny Gray OAK RHP
76.75 Yu Darvish TEX RHP
77.75 Cheslor Cuthbert KC 3B
78.00 Wilin Rosario COL C
79.00 Jedd Gyorko SD 3B
79.25 Yoenis Cespedes OAK OF
79.50 Cory Spangenberg SD 2B
80.25 Garrett Richards LAA RHP
80.50 Chad Bettis COL RHP
81.00 Jonathan Schoop BAL 2B
81.75 Chris Archer TB RHP
82.50 Taylor Jungmann MIL RHP
84.00 Allan Webster LAD RHP
84.75 Eddie Rosario MIN OF
86.00 Addison Reed CWS RHP
86.25 Drew Hutchison TOR RHP
86.25 Luis Heredia PIT RHP
86.50 Nathan Eovaldi LAD RHP
86.50 Joe Ross SD RHP
86.75 Daniel Norris TOR LHP
87.25 Brandon Jacobs BOS OF
88.50 Aaron Hicks MIN OF
89.00 Zack Cox STL 3B
89.00 Robbie Erlin SD LHP
89.25 Daniel Corcino CIN RHP
89.75 Andrelton Simmons ATL SS
91.00 Jesse Biddle PHI LHP
91.00 Robbie Grossman PIT OF
91.75 Bryce Brentz BOS OF
91.75 Matt Szczur CHI OF
92.50 Leonys Martin TEX OF
92.50 Jed Bradley MIL LHP
92.50 Tyrell Jenkins STL RHP
93.00 Matt Adams STL 1B
93.50 Blake Swihart BOS C
94.25 Joe Wieland SD RHP
94.50 Taylor Guerrieri TB RHP
94.50 Neil Ramirez TEX RHP
94.50 Zack Cozart CIN SS
95.25 Jeurys Familia NYM RHP
95.25 Matt Davidson ARI 3B
95.75 Brody Colvin PHI RHP
95.75 Jose Fernandez FLA RHP
95.75 Kolten Wong STL 2B
96.00 John Hellweg LAA RHP
96.25 Drew Smyly DET LHP
96.25 Mikie Mahtook TB OF
96.25 John Lamb KC LHP
96.50 Alex Meyer WAS RHP
96.75 Christian Bethancourt ATL C
96.75 Enny Romero TB LHP
97.00 Oswaldo Arcia MIN OF
97.25 Sammy Solis WAS LHP
97.50 Matt Dominguez FLA 3B
97.50 Noah Syndergaard TOR RHP
97.75 Derek Norris OAK C
97.75 Joe Benson MIN OF
98.25 Ryan Lavarnway BOS C
98.50 Matt Purke WAS LHP
98.75 Tim Beckham TB SS
98.75 Jordan Swagerty STL RHP
99.00 Grant Green OAK OF
99.25 Austin Hedges SD C
99.75 Aaron Sanchez TOR RHP
100.00 Tim Wheeler COL OF
100.25 Francisco Peguero SF OF
100.75 Christian Villanueva TEX 3B





Just who did the Yankees get for Burnett?

The deal is now official and A.J. Burnett is a Pirate. I think this was a good deal for the Pirates, a flier worth taking. Rather than get into that into too much detail, I suggest you read my colleague Matthew Leach’s take on it. He’s smarter than I am anyway.

One of the things that does make it a positive is that the Pirates didn’t give up too much from their ever-improving farm system to get him. Not that long ago, of course, any trade that sent minor leaguers away from Pittsburgh hurt. But there’s so much more depth now. Even if the Pirates don’t have the top system in baseball, it’s come a long way. I noticed it particularly when I was constructing their Top 20 prospects list. It used to be difficult to find 20 guys worthy of being listed on such a rankings. Now there are leftovers who could be legitimate prospects in the future.

When you have some depth, you can trade a couple of pieces away and not have it derail efforts to build a system up. In the past, a player like Diego Moreno, the pitcher going to the Yankees in the Burnett deal, may have been protected on the 40-man roster. But not this past offseason.

The 25-year-old Moreno, signed back in 2006 for $6,000 out of Venezuela,  hasn’t exactly moved quickly, with just a smattering of games above A ball. And yes, he had some disciplinary problems earlier. But he does have arm strength that’s allowed him to strike out 9.8 per nine batters. He’s also walked only 2.3 per nine and a scout I spoke with said he’s generally a strike-thrower. When he first signed, he was throwing about 86-88 mph. Today, he’ll touch 98 mph and couples it with a wipe-out slider that breaks bats. He’s started and relieved, with most thinking that his plus two-pitch mix is ideal for bullpen work.  He still needs to show he can get hitters out at higher levels, but perhaps his strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason will help.

The Pirates spent much more to sign the second player in the deal, outfielder Exicardo Cayones. Both Cayones and Moreno were signed by Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo and scouting supervisor Rodolfo Petit in Venezuela. The Pirates gave Cayones $400,000 in 2008, the most they had paid any player from Venezuela (It had been noted it was the largest payout given to any international amateur player by the Pirates and that was true, at least until they gave Mexican RHP Luis Heredia $2.6 million in 2010.

Cayones is still just 20, so there’s time for him to tap into his solid tools. He’s a graceful player who still needs to develop and mature physically. He’s received comps to Carlos Beltran, both in terms of his actions and temperament. For him to reach his potential, though, he’ll have to show a little more intensity, a little more sense of urgency in his game. He’s spent two summers in the Gulf Coast League and will have to show soon an ability to move up and face the challenge of a more advanced league.

So while the Yankees largely made this deal to rid themselves of Burnett and a chunk of his salary, and while the Pirates didn’t give up anyone “of note” for Burnett, there is the chance that this pair of Venezuelans could pay some dividends. The chances might be slim, the payoff might not be huge and it may take some time, but there is a little talent there to keep an eye on in the coming years.


The Burnett deal: Who the Pirates won’t include

Well, it looks like this A.J. Burnett to the Pirates trade is all but official. One thing that’s not known at this point is who the Pirates are sending to the Yankees in return, other than what are being considered “low-level prospects.” So the question is: What does low-level mean?

There are some obvious prospects who won’t be on the table either, starting with names on the Top 20 list.I’ve been told by a source that no one on that current Top 20 is involved in this deal. So, Pirates fans who were worried that “low-level” for one person might not be for someone else, you can relax. Anyone from the 2011 Draft is excluded anyway — you can’t trade them yet — so here are the rest of the names of Pirates prospects who will not be included in this deal:

Jameson Taillon

Starling Marte

Stetson Allie

Luis Heredia

Tony Sanchez

Robbie Grossman

Jeff Locke

Justin Wilson

Kyle McPherson

Nick Kingham

Rudy Owens

Bryan Morris

Alen Hanson

Colton Cain

Zack Von Rosenberg

Jarek Cunningham

More as I can get info…

Annnnd, we’re back

If you’ve been over on Prospect Watch the last couple of weeks, I’m hoping you’ll understand why I haven’t been on here in a while. We’ve provided quite a bit of prospect-related content over there:

  • Top 10 by position
  • Top 100 overall
  • Top 20 per organzation

That’s at least 600 player profiles for your perusal. Needless to say, this took a while to put together. It was largely a labor of love (at least that’s what I tell myself). I’d also like to say that every effort like this has unsung heroes, those who do all the heavy lifting but don’t get any credit. For Prospect Watch, that person is Jason Ratliff, who’d likely get annoyed I mentioned him in this capacity. But without him, Prospect Watch doesn’t exist. Plain and simple.

Please look around PW (as we like to call it) and let me know what you like, don’t like, etc. I’ll leave you with 2 questions and with a promise to start blogging more consistently again.

1. Who is the best prospect not listed on a team Top 20? Give a few nominees if you’d like in comments.

2. What else would you like to see on PW? Some things we might have in the works include an international amateur Top 20 and a Draft Top 100… so keep coming back.




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