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Friday, July 06, 2012

Baseball America Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Top Ten!

1. Dylan Bundy, rhp, Orioles
2. Jurickson Profar, ss, Rangers
3. Wil Myers, of, Royals
4. Taijuan Walker, rhp, Mariners
5. Danny Hultzen, lhp, Mariners
6. Gerrit Cole, rhp, Pirates
7. Tyler Skaggs, lhp, Diamondbacks
8. Jose Fernandez, rhp, Marlins
9. Manny Machado, ss, Orioles
10. Zack Wheeler, rhp, Mets

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 01:55 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks, mariners, marlins, mets, minor leagues, orioles, pirates, rangers, royals

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4174720)
Jose Fernandez is the biggest difference I see between this and Sickels' midseason 120. Neither publication had him ranked coming into the year, but BA is going all-in on his big half season in the Sally League.

BA and Sickels disagree about the best Red Sox prospect - is it Barnes (#13/#41) or Bogaerts (#32/#11)?
   2. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4174749)
BA and Sickels disagree about the best Red Sox prospect - is it Barnes (#13/#41) or Bogaerts (#32/#11)?


I always forget - what are the differences between the kind of weightings for level v. ceiling for BA and Sickels? I always got the sense that Sickels gave more weight to higher ceiling guys and would give a higher rating to a high ceiling guy in A than BA would. But of course I could be wrong, and probably am.
   3. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4174755)
If the Orioles think they can stay in the hunt, Bundy might be coming up sooner rather than later, now that Arrieta has been sent down to join Hunter and Matusz in Norfolk.
   4. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4174764)
I think you have it backwards, ellsbury.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4174765)
I always forget - what are the differences between the kind of weightings for level v. ceiling for BA and Sickels? I always got the sense that Sickels gave more weight to higher ceiling guys and would give a higher rating to a high ceiling guy in A than BA would. But of course I could be wrong, and probably am.
Sickels usetabee the stathead prospect writer, and back in the early aughts, that would mean he valued certainty of production and skills over upside and tools. (Sickels invented the term, "seven skills" as a counterpoint to "five tools.")

But now that the great convergence has occurred, and BA has started paying more attention to skills while stathead writers have learned the importance of underlying tools, it's hard to say which is which.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4174770)
It's still somewhat the case. Martin Perez is pretty much the greatest tools goof in the pitching world, and BA had him #31 in their offseason list, which Sickels had him #85. Perez has the most extreme gap between tools and production in the game, so I think that point to the extent of the conversion more than the extent of the divergence. Back in the day, BA would have had him up in the top 10, and Sickels and Rany Jazayerli would be making jokes about his fungibility.
   7. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4174780)
But now that the great convergence has occurred, and BA has started paying more attention to skills while stathead writers have learned the importance of underlying tools, it's hard to say which is which.


If this is true, what is Sickels's value? Isn't he just presenting his opinion vs BA's "consensus" opinion of all their people? I'd rather have lists that actually used unique approaches that meant something.
   8. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 06, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4174784)
I think BA's ranking of Fernandez shows they'll still go all in on a kid in the lower levels. Granted, a lot of Fernandez's rise has been because of the numbers he's putting up, but in their chat yesterday, either Callis or Cooper said it was the scouts who kept telling them to move him higher.

Perez is in the majors now, or was a week ago. You can't keep a guy with that divergence ranked that high forever.
   9. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4174817)
You can't keep a guy with that divergence ranked that high forever.


BA has had him ranked 31 or better 3 times
He did pitch extremely well in the Sallie League, back in 2009...

he was pretty good in the Texas league in 2011- but was godawful upon his promotion to the PCL, his overall PCL numbers are quite frankly bad, ERA of 5.26, K/BB of 86/58 in 133 IP, and he wasn't all that good in 209 AA numbers

   10. Spivey Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4174819)
I do think BA is very understanding (perhaps too understanding) of bad numbers, if you're one of the youngest players in the league. I think BA is generally a pretty good balance, though my main concern with them is I think occassionally their scouting angle is just listen to whatever scouts want to tell them.
   11. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4174826)
BA has had him ranked 31 or better 3 times

Yes but I am pretty sure 31 would be the lowest of those rankings. MCOA's #6 seems to be saying Perez's 31 this year is a sign of their lowered willingness to rank a guy who projects really well but doesn't put up the numbers in their top ten or so.

I have my doubts whether they'd ever have put a guy has far through a system that high if he wasn't backing it up.

I live in Little Rock and I've seen Perez pitch, in addition to reading his statlines. I think 31 is still a huge oversell.
   12. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4174828)
If this is true, what is Sickels's value?

I think these lists have more value collectively than individually. If three different rankings all say Player X is a top three/five/ten prospect, then that tells the rest of us the kid is a really damn good prospect.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4174850)
I think BA's ranking of Fernandez shows they'll still go all in on a kid in the lower levels.


It also shows that they were probably too conservative with Fernandez in the winter. I had never heard of the guy, so I just googled him, and a bunch of articles from March and April pop up that talk about his crazy talent. The top hit for "Jose Fernandez Marlins" is a BA blog report from April 7, after the first start he made this year, that already seems skeptical of his absence from the previous top 100 list, and says that he could "move up the prospect rankings in a hurry." One of the other top hits is a website called Baseball Instinct that ranked him as the #79 prospect in the bigs last February.
   14. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4174862)
That too, PF. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that Fernandez wasn't considered projectable like a low-minors guy should be. I have read in some of their recent reporting that he is a pretty big boy (not fat) who is considered to be pretty much matured physically. With those low-A recent HS draftees, they like the spindly guys who are chucking it up there and still figure to add 30 pounds and throw even harder, etc.
   15. Cabbage Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4174863)
If this is true, what is Sickels's value?

I think rankings have a lot less value than the analysis. BA and Sickles write rankings because they're popular and in high demand -- I would too if I were a prospect guy. Instead, the value comes from learning the thoughts of a knowledgeable person. Sickles himself has made the point that he approaches this stuff differently than the BA guys because he was trained as a historian and most of them were journalists. That's in line with what I think is his primary value as a prospect analyst: he remembers how few players become stars. He tends to be a tough grader, and to remind readers that a "durable #2 starter" is a really good projection.
   16. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4174872)
I think these lists have more value collectively than individually. If three different rankings all say Player X is a top three/five/ten prospect, then that tells the rest of us the kid is a really damn good prospect.


I would buy this more if the lists had used different approaches in analyzing the players. If all three do things roughly the same way and the differences are basically the different gut feelings of Sickels vs Goldstein vs BA Consensus, then I see a lot less value in looking at all 3.
   17. Danny Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4174873)
But now that the great convergence has occurred, and BA has started paying more attention to skills while stathead writers have learned the importance of underlying tools, it's hard to say which is which.

I liked how BA rated Tom Milone (led AAA in K% and BB% last year) as the A's 10th best prospect this year, while BP didn't have him in the top 20 (KG: "Milone is 84-88 mph and won't miss bats in the big leagues. His ceiling is a fringy reliever.")
   18. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4174878)
Most of those guys would be best used as trade chits for real major leaguers.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4174888)
Is it strange not to see many Braves in that list?
   20. AndrewJ Posted: July 06, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4175194)
And nary a one out of the 50 affiliated with the Phillies. Oh joy, oh rapture.
   21. Squash Posted: July 06, 2012 at 11:47 PM (#4175292)
I liked how BA rated Tom Milone (led AAA in K% and BB% last year) as the A's 10th best prospect this year, while BP didn't have him in the top 20 (KG: "Milone is 84-88 mph and won't miss bats in the big leagues. His ceiling is a fringy reliever.")

BA and BP both still underestimate the value of simply making the major leagues. Beyond Milone, in particular they both seem to consistently undervalue pitchers who can step in and fill the back end of a rotation tomorrow - those players have a lot of value but are never ranked well on their lists, even though they end up producing more value than a lot of the guys above them. Sickels for my money is the best balance between star potential and high-floor potential. I like the way Cabbage puts it, in that he remembers that very few of these guys are going to become stars regardless (and that many stars are going to come completely out of nowhere) - therefore you can't overlook the guys who are simply going to make it.
   22. Squash Posted: July 07, 2012 at 02:03 AM (#4175318)
I would also like to note that the A's, who many people on this site and in the national media speculated might lose 120 games this year, are now 42-42. We're going to need them to lose their next 78 games consecutively to hit that goal - possible, but unlikely.
   23. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: July 07, 2012 at 03:10 AM (#4175326)
BA and BP both still underestimate the value of simply making the major leagues. Beyond Milone, in particular they both seem to consistently undervalue pitchers who can step in and fill the back end of a rotation tomorrow - those players have a lot of value but are never ranked well on their lists, even though they end up producing more value than a lot of the guys above them.


You're saying guys like Graham Godfrey have a lot of value? Or do you mean guys like Dana Eveland? Or do you mean guys like Joe Blanton? How bad of a pitcher are you talking about that has "a lot of value"?
   24. Walt Davis Posted: July 07, 2012 at 04:39 AM (#4175331)
who many people on this site and in the national media speculated might lose 120 games this year

Really? Many people? 120 losses?

I might have speculated that they might not score 120 runs and that's looking pretty solid right now. :-)

They are doing a lot better than I expected, especially the pitching/defense. But despite Reddick, Gomes and Cespedes (mystery man at the time) all doing a good bit better than expected, that offense is still putting up just a 84 OPS+. And it was brilliant of Beane to know that Moss would hit a HR every 8.5 PA but hide him away in AAA for the first 2+ months. :-)
   25. bfan Posted: July 07, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4175348)
And it was brilliant of Beane to know that Moss would hit a HR every 8.5 PA but hide him away in AAA for the first 2+ months. :-)


and it would have been longer, had the sensitive crowd who felt that a man cannot be sent to the minors if his wife is expecting won out. Thank-goodness the sports writers of "Yahoo" do not run the A's.

By the way, who does fill those jobs now-college kids with journalism degrees but no other background?
   26. Squash Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4175395)
Really? Many people? 120 losses?

I might have speculated that they might not score 120 runs and that's looking pretty solid right now. :-)

They are doing a lot better than I expected, especially the pitching/defense.


The 120 losses thing was idle banter a few people threw around as disgust when the A's traded Gio and Cahill - I don't/didn't think they were truly serious (although some probably were, or close). Just as I was not being truly serious. But you could find a whole lot of people saying they would/could lose 100, and that's a pretty terrible team. I felt before the season that people were not being rational about the team and it was more fatigue with the management that was leading to these kind of predictions, and the team wasn't actually that bad. I have a lot of fatigue with the management too, but I had them at 75-80 wins when all was said and done (and felt, incidentally, that they were "too" good and needed to get worse to get a better draft pick). I think they'll likely end up at the lower end of that scale if all else stays equal - which it probably won't as it never does. But this team is not nearly the disaster a great, great many people seemed to want to believe they were going to be.

re: pitching and defense, how many times do we have to be surprised by what they do there? How many years in a row are we working on the pitching and defense is better than expected? At some point you start to wonder if they're onto something we haven't figured out yet because they're always better than we expected.

Now, as you note, if they could only stop being clown shoes terrible on offense they might be onto something. I don't have a ton of faith. Take the under on your 120 runs.
   27. Danny Posted: July 07, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4175533)
BA and BP both still underestimate the value of simply making the major leagues.

I wasn't saying BA was underrating Milone. Rather, I just thought it was interesting that BA thought a guy with all results and no stuff was a real prospect while BP dismissed him entirely. BA putting him behind Jermaine Mitchell was silly, but I've come to expect nothing better from Jim Shonerd.

As for the A's unexpected mediocrity, I think it's less about the good performances from Moss/Cesp/Smith/Gomes (which are more than balanced out by the putrid performances by the entire IF they started the year with) and more about the fact that every pitcher (prospect or not) they call up from AAA finds success.

Assuming Fangraphs is accurate about rookie designations ( I think Norberto is wrong, so I removed him), the A's have gotten 381 IP (51% of total) of 2.86 ERA from rookie pitchers this year. Their current rotation has four rookies and the bullpen has another four. Some of these guys (like Jim Miller and his 1.78 ERA in 25 innings) are flashes in the pan, but it looks like the pitching could keep them near .500 even if they unload Colon, McCarthy, and Balfour.

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