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Monday, February 05, 2018

2018 Top 100 Prospects | FanGraphs Baseball

Rk Name Team Age Position FV Variance
1 Shohei Ohtani LAA 23 RHP/RF 70 Low
2 Ronald Acuna ATL 20 CF 65 Low
3 Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. TOR 18 1B 65 Low
4 Victor Robles WAS 20 CF 65 Low
5 Fernando Tatis, Jr. SD 19 3B 65 Med
6 Eloy Jimenez CHW 20 RF 65 Med
7 Nick Senzel CIN 21 3B 60 Low
8 Forrest Whitley HOU 20 RHP 60 Med
9 Bo Bichette TOR 19 2B 60 Med
10 Kyle Tucker HOU 21 RF 60 Low

Jim Furtado Posted: February 05, 2018 at 02:36 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: prospect rankings, prospects

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   1. bartap74 Posted: February 05, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5619856)
Gleyber Torres doesn't make the top 10?
   2. Fat Al Posted: February 05, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5619860)
He's at 12. I imagine the surgery recovery knocks him back a bit. Vlad Jr. is fascinating.
   3. MikeTorrez Posted: February 05, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5619885)
What's interesting from the Yankee fan perspective is that Torres is ranked out of the top 10 (12th), but Andujar is ranked higher than I've ever seen him (14th!).
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5619889)
Vlad Jr. is fascinating.

I wonder how an 18 y.o. who doesn't have a defensive position is low variance. If he's a 1B/DH as they describe, he's got to absolutely mash to be a star.
   5. MikeTorrez Posted: February 05, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5619891)
If he's a 1B/DH as they describe, he's got to absolutely mash to be a star.
Well, I think the assumption is he's going to absolutely mash.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5619903)
Well, I think the assumption is he's going to absolutely mash.

Sure, but we don't know that. He hasn't played above High-A. He also hasn't shown much power.

I'm not seeing how he's lower variance than say Lewis Brinson, who has already mashed in AAA, and is a good enough athlete/defender to play CF.

Also, I don't trust any prospect who's not a good enough athlete at 18 to play a real position.
   7. Paul d mobile Posted: February 05, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5619906)
He's playing 3B now.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2018 at 04:10 PM (#5619921)
He's playing 3B now.

But, at 18, there are already questions of whether he can hack it.
   9. Lars6788 Posted: February 05, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5619926)
MLB Tonight: Top 10 3B Prospects

Jim Callis on Vlad Jr. 0:30-1:29
   10. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 05, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5619937)
Baseball America gave Vlad Jr. an 80 for his hit tool. 80. One of the BA guys compared him to Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. These are crazy ridiculous comps, but an 18 year old doing what he's doing is really impressive. Besides, it doesn't hurt to get excited about a guy; after all, he still has to keep doing it to make the big leagues.
   11. bfan Posted: February 05, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5619938)
Well, I think the assumption is he's going to absolutely mash.


Yes, and his stature has risen. In the last month he has gone from the son of a former MLB star, to the son of an MLB hall-of famer.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: February 05, 2018 at 08:24 PM (#5620073)
I don't really get the FV grades. The article links to this explanation which states that 65 is an "all-star" or a "#2/3 starter." Are we to understand that there are only 5 future all-stars on this list? And not a single pitcher with the potential to become more than a #3 starter?

I get erring on the side of conservative, but that just seems silly.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 05, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5620076)
But, at 18, there are already questions of whether he can hack it.

Seems like an 18-year old might be able to improve his defense with some work. If Vlad, Jr. can hit as reported, some patience with his defense seems in order.
   14. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 05, 2018 at 08:46 PM (#5620079)
Well, I think the assumption is he's going to absolutely mash.

Yes, and his stature has risen. In the last month he has gone from the son of a former MLB star, to the son of an MLB hall-of famer.


Primey.
   15. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: February 05, 2018 at 09:16 PM (#5620087)
1 Shohei Ohtani LAA 23 RHP/RF 70 Low
2 Ronald Acuna ATL 20 CF 65 Low
3 Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. TOR 18 1B 65 Low
4 Victor Robles WAS 20 CF 65 Low
5 Fernando Tatis, Jr. SD 19 3B 65 Med


So how come Shohei Ohtani, Sr. wasn't a star? Huh? Huh?

Checkmate, atheists!
   16. A triple short of the cycle Posted: February 06, 2018 at 01:19 AM (#5620144)
Deleted for stupidity
   17. Hecubot Posted: February 06, 2018 at 01:28 AM (#5620146)
This is the best showing for the A's of any of the top 100 lists, with 6 players. Murphy really upped his stock with his AFL showing.
   18. Rally Posted: February 06, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5620175)
I don't really get the FV grades. The article links to this explanation which states that 65 is an "all-star" or a "#2/3 starter." Are we to understand that there are only 5 future all-stars on this list? And not a single pitcher with the potential to become more than a #3 starter?

I get erring on the side of conservative, but that just seems silly.


Could be that 5 are considered likely to be future all stars, but plenty of the others could do better than expected and turn into all stars, we just don't know who.

Also, all star quality players probably have an average MLB career of 10-15 years. The 2025 all star game will have 50-60 players on the roster, but only a small fraction of them are eligible for a 2018 prospect list. The others are already in the big leagues or have not been drafted yet.

   19. Boxkutter Posted: February 06, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5620320)
Seems like an 18-year old might be able to improve his defense with some work. If Vlad, Jr. can hit as reported, some patience with his defense seems in order.

If I am not mistaken, it's not that he plays defense poorly, it's that his frame is so large that when he fills out he's going to be too big for 3B. Same for Fernando Tatis Jr at SS. He's playing the position fine right now, but he has a large frame that will add size easily which will likely cause a move to 3B. Both of these kids were only 18 last season, and like many of us, were pretty gangly and wiry at that age, but as soon as they start to hit the weights and eat more they will put on weight relatively easily and quickly. And it's not "bad" weight, it's just filling out.
   20. Boxkutter Posted: February 06, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5620329)
I don't really get the FV grades. The article links to this explanation which states that 65 is an "all-star" or a "#2/3 starter." Are we to understand that there are only 5 future all-stars on this list? And not a single pitcher with the potential to become more than a #3 starter?

I get erring on the side of conservative, but that just seems silly.

I've seen Longenhangen comment on that before. It's so hard to predict which pitchers are going to take that step to be an ace that it would be malpractice to start assigning that title right now. Plus, right now many of the pitchers who could reach that level have some serious warts. Players like AJ Puk and Michael Kopech have serious control issues. Alex Reyes and Walker Beuhler have an injury history. Mitch Keller and Brendan McKay currently don't have the "stuff" to dream on being more than a #2. There is a reason that only one pitcher (other than Ohtani) is in their Top 15. Most of the guys who have shown some elite-level skills are still in the low minors, like Sixto Sanchez and MacKenzie Gore. It really takes a special pitcher to become an ace. You need one pitch that is double-plus, or plus-and-a-half, plus two other plus pitches, and plus command and control. You also need to learn how to pitch when it comes to sequencing pitches.
   21. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 06, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5620337)
I don't understand how Eloy Jimenez is listed as 30/50 for hit tool?

Michael Kopech have serious control issues.


Kopech cleaned up his control issues last season. There is some lag on evaluating him right now but he dominated AA in the 2nd half.
   22. Rally Posted: February 06, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5620403)
I don't understand how Eloy Jimenez is listed as 30/50 for hit tool?


That means he should turn into a .260-.270 hitter but if you bring him up right now he's a .220 hitter. Or something like that.
   23. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 06, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5620626)
That means he should turn into a .260-.270 hitter but if you bring him up right now he's a .220 hitter. Or something like that.


Yea sure -- it just seems absurdly low for a guy that just hit over .300 in every league he played in (including .353 as a 20 year old in AA) and that dominated the Dominican League (I believe he had something like a 330/380/600 line in 100 or so PA) as well.

If Eloy Jimenez is a 260 hitter in his prime then something went very wrong. I'd say most Sox fans are expecting at worst something like a perennial 280/330/550 line. We are hoping for something like 320/390/600.
   24. aberg Posted: February 06, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5620628)
If Eloy Jimenez is a career 260 hitter in his prime then something went very wrong. I'd say most Sox fans are expecting at worst something like a perennial 280/330/550 line. We are hoping for something like 320/390/600.


If your reasonable upside is Albert Pujols, you're probably higher than #6.
   25. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 06, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5620650)
If your reasonable upside is Albert Pujols, you're probably higher than #6.



Well since becoming a Sox, Eloy has hit something like a combined 330/390/600 over A+, AA and DWL. He did this at 19/20. So us Sox fans couldn't be anymore hyped on him. I think some scouts think he has a long swing and will struggle against top flight fastballs. We'll see. I'm really disappointed our annual "30 something aged bachelors in Seattle go somewhere warm in early spring" trip this year isn't spring training. Seeing Moncada last year was a lot of fun and seeing Eloy would be too.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5620692)
Deleted for stupidity

Is this a thing now? Cuz if it is, I've got a lot of cleaning up to do. And there goes youtube.

Snapper speaks plenty for himself but his point is not that Vlad shouldn't be a highly rated prospect but that a prospect with highly limited defensive value shouldn't be described as low variance, at least not at age 18. He has one path to the majors -- mashing. He hasn't done that above A+ ball and if anything goes wrong with that tool, he doesn't make the majors or at least his arrival is delayed for several years.

Just as a first guess that came to mind, Jon Singleton hit 290/393/479 at A ball at 18. He followed that with 298/392/441 at A+ at 19 (much better after the trade but maybe that's league/park effects) and 284/396/497 at AA at 20. I doubt his career went awry purely because of the pot.

So we've got a "variance" from Singleton to Miggy with still some reasonable chance he doesn't even make the majors. Age 18 is simply too young to consider anybody "low variance."

And on a statistical note -- for rate or count variables, the variance is almost always associated with the mean, generally increasing as the mean increases. The low variance players then are the ones who have little shot at the majors, followed by the ones who project as bench players, etc. I know that's not what we're interested in really nor what they're trying to capture with "low variance" ... maybe it would be better labeled as "probability of being a good major-leaguer is high."

Per P-I, 804 position players debuted between 1995 and 2010 and accumulated at least 500 PA in their first 7 "seasons." (The PA restriction mainly to weed out pitchers; 7 "seasons" is a rough proxy for pre-FA period, allowing for a cup of coffee). Of those, 270 made it to at least 8 WAR in those 7 seasons. Ugh, that's 16 years, oh well ... that works out to about 17 position player debuts per season for guys who will provide reasonable value pre-FA.

The guy at the top of the list is Pujols. Interestingly the next two guys are guys who aren't really what we're after -- the late-debuting Utley and Ichiro. And #7 is Josh Donaldson. Longoria at #4 is a bit more typical top prospect, Andruw is arguably more the Vlad type. The top defensive-limited guys are Tex, Helton and Votto at 8th, 11th and 12th.

I don't know where you want to draw the star line. Obviously lots of guys start kinda slow then bust out into big stars (Andrew McCutchen). I suppose to make it to 20 WAR in your first 7 years, you would almost always have had at least 1-2 AS quality years and 84 guys made it to 20 WAR (rounding) with Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Bartlett, Dan Uggla and Elvis Andrus being among the least impressive near the bottom. Still more guys like Youkilis, Zobrist, Melvin Mora, Hideki Matsui that we wouldn't think of as classic prospect types.

Not sure where I'm going with this other than maybe about 5 position players a year will debut who go on to become "big" FAs of at least Todd Frazier level.

Doing the same for pitchers using a 70-inning cutoff returns 1,124 debuts over 16 years. Bearing in mind it's hard for a reliever to get to 8 WAR over 7 seasons, only 205 made it to 8 WAR rounded (Matt Guerrier -- is that who we think a top prospect is?) -- and only 43 made it to 20 WAR rounded. That list has El Duque, Kuroda, Nomo. 20 WAR seems too high a threshold for pitchers -- rough starts or great starts followed by injury and many pitchers provide to value in their late 20s, early 30s. For example, Strasburg has just 17 and everybody would love to have him ... of course Jarrod Washburn made it to 15. (Have I mentioned that pitcher WAR seems kinda weird sometimes.) How about 136 pitchers with at least 10 WAR and average or better performance. Looks like about 20% of those are relievers so about 7 above-average, reasonably durable SP debuts per year.

Trying to find relievers, I went with GR>=200 and at least average and that turns up 192. Breaking that down about, about 12 average or better relievers debuted per year; about 9 of those got to at least 1 WAA, about 5 got to at least 2.5 WAA. Matt Guerrier is at 3.4 WAA, #58.

So ... out of an average year's best debut players, you'd have a very good core of position players (5 guys of 3+ WAR quality), a full rotation of average or better SPs and a very good bullpen. So the Dodgers? The Astros with a good pen? The Cubs with a better pen?

The second team would give you probably half of an average offense, a below-average rotation and a pretty lousy bullpen but that probably still gave you amazing seasons here or there.

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