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Friday, February 24, 2012

John Sickles: Top 120 Prospects for 2012

1) Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
2) Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
3) Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
4) Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers

In the past, I have avoided combining lists for hitters and pitchers, preferring to separate them since they are different species. I still think that is the right thing to do philosophically, but nobody seems to agree with me on that, and demand for combined prospect lists is very high. So, here’s a combined list.

As with all such lists, the trick is finding a balance between short-term expectation, closeness to the majors, and long-term potential. A list that looks at nothing but long-term upside will look much different than a list focused on players poised to make a quick impact. This list is a hybrid of the two types and some of the rankings will reflect that.

JJ1986 Posted: February 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: prospect reports

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: February 24, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4067911)
Messed up the tags. What is the correct <bq> tag now?
   2. Mark S. is bored Posted: February 24, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4067914)
blockquote instead of bq
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4067937)
I think Sickels does the best job. Looks like a solid list.

Is it just me or are there are dearth of 1B on prospect lists? Has that always been the case or have scout-types focused more on athleticism or are we just at a dry spell for good 1B prospects?
   4. Barnaby Jones Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4067943)
Dry spell. A few years ago, the top 100s were swimming in 1B.

link
   5. Randy Jones Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4067947)
I think it's always kinda been this way, with players getting moved to 1B as their progression with the bat outpaces their defense. Delgado was a catcher in the minors, McGwire, Giambi, Pujols, and Teixeira all played third. Those are just the ones I remembered off the top of my head.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4067950)
Hosmer and Freeman graduated at a very young age. Montero might be a 1B by now if he'd come up with a different team.
blockquote instead of bq
Thanks and thanks to whoever fixed it.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4067951)
I think Sickels does the best job. Looks like a solid list.

I agree. I also like the "letter grade" system. Seems more consistent year to year than the "Team X top 10".

We really shouldn't care if an A- is 13 or 19, or a B+ 54 or 71.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4067957)
Is it just me or are there are dearth of 1B on prospect lists? Has that always been the case or have scout-types focused more on athleticism or are we just at a dry spell for good 1B prospects?
Dry spell. A few years ago, the top 100s were swimming in 1B.
How much of that is just a change in the way the game is being played? Ten years ago everyone was looking for the big sluggers and now the speed and defense player is being valued more highly. Are we truly in a dry spell or are sluggers who might've been 60-70 on the prospect lists of 2002 being shunted aside for a similarly abled but differently styled player?
   9. Guapo Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4067962)
Idea for the day:

"Sickels and Hammer"

John Sickels writes up his prospect reports in rap format, to be performed and recorded onto MP3s by MC Hammer. Sell them on Itunes for 99 cents each.

*surfs over to Kickstarter*
   10. JJ1986 Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4067965)
are sluggers who might've been 60-70 on the prospect lists of 2002 being shunted aside for a similarly abled but differently styled player?
The only guy I can think of who is like that is Matt Adams and Sickles lists him.
   11. Willie Mayspedes Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4067966)
So are Harper, Moore and Trout all worth > $100 million for the next 6 years since they are above Yu?

I guess the hitters will they get paid ~$50 million or so in the finals years of their arb and I forget what Moore got but still thats kinda crazy.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 24, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4067968)
So are Harper, Moore and Trout all worth > $100 million for the next 6 years since they are above Yu?

Worth? On a FA basis?

If you assume the usual $5M/WAR FA figure, $100M is 20 WAR, or 3.3 WAR per season. Seems reasonable for the absolute best prospects.

Still a lot of risk their, especially for a pitcher. Even a guy like Harper or Trout could give you 10 or 40.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: February 24, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4067978)
So are Harper, Moore and Trout all worth > $100 million for the next 6 years since they are above Yu?

I guess the hitters will they get paid ~$50 million or so in the finals years of their arb and I forget what Moore got but still thats kinda crazy.

That's an interesting question, but I think you are misinterpreting the list a little. If you want to look at 6-year chunks, the rankings are not supposed to necessarily indicate the next six years, whereas Darvish's contract does cover that time frame. I.E. the list might be predicting that Harper's age 25-30 seasons will be worth the same or more than those of Darvish. Or the list might be suggesting that the Rangers paid too much.
   14. Willie Mayspedes Posted: February 24, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4067990)
#13 I guess that just reflects exactly how hard it is to define these prospect lists. From a team perspective the first 6 years of control are much more important than what the guy does after that unless they sign a long term contract. Maybe the prospect guys should just make a list and try to make valuations of the first 6 years of service but that would probably just be too much detail.
   15. AROM Posted: February 24, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4068014)
From 1901-2011, there are 20 1st basemen (50% games played at 1B) with 50 career WAR. The positions at which they started:

McGwire 3B
Palmeiro OF
Foxx C
McCovey 1B
Murray 1B
McGriff 1B
Gehrig 1B
Bagwell 3B
Pujols 3B
Giambi 3B
Perez 3B
Cash OF
Mize OF
Helton 1B
Greenberg 1B
W Clark 1B
Olerud 1B (+P)
Hernandez 1B
Terry P
Sisler 1B

Missing because of all his time at DH is Jim Thome, who started at 3rd. Plus I'll throw in Carlos Delgado (C), who I was surprised to see only had 44 WAR.

So of the 22, the breakdown is:
True 1B: 10
3B: 6
OF: 3
C: 2
P: 1

So if you don't think this list has enough 1B, then look for the larger/poorest defenders of the 1B and OF.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: February 24, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4068017)
Well, the main thing of course is that the Rangers didn't get to choose among Darvish, Harper, Moore and Trout. Sure, if they paid $100 M for Darvish when they could have paid $50 M for Harper, then there's a debate.

As to Darvish at #4 -- not sure exactly what Sickels is "projecting" but if he's looking long-term then, due strictly to age, Darvish is disadvantaged in terms of likely career production relative to those top 3 guys. One could think that Darvish is as good as Moore, even over the next 4-5 years, but Moore's got 3 years on him and so has better career potential.

But my instincts (and it's purely instincts) are betting on Trout.

And I still say Jurickson Profar sounds like a character from a sci-fi novel.

EDIT: I may be misremembering, but wasn't Sickels the one who didn't count Darvish in ranking the ML systems (and so Texas came #2)?
   17. Walt Davis Posted: February 24, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4068028)
McCovey 1B

but played quite a bit of LF ages 24-26 ... which must have been entertaining.

Some of those 3B and OF should be "3B" and "OF" not just because they stunk at fielding but also because 1B was blocked when they came to the majors. At 22 in AAA, Palmeiro split time 1B/OF and, by my memory, when he came up everybody said he'd be a 1B eventually. But the Cubs had Durham at 1B then (still solid) and then Grace came along and it made more sense to have Grace at 1B and Palmeiro in the OF. The second he got to Texas, he was a 1B.

Cash is "cheating" even more. He played OF only in his first "season" but that was just 13 games overall and 4 in the field (and 8 PA -- Cash as pinch-runner! :-) He was at 1B thereafter except for 7 games 2-3 years later. Does look like he might have been an OF in the minors though.

Actually I guess the "3B" were "3B" only due to crapping fielding. I think they all did play 3B in the minors as their main position.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: February 24, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4068032)
And I'm glad to see Brett Jackson ranked pretty high. Not that it guarantees anything. Between Corey Patterson (Cub) and Austin Jackson (same last name), I can't shake the feeling he's gonna flame out, so it's nice to be reassured a bit.
   19. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: February 24, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4068041)
I can't shake the feeling he's gonna flame out

He does strike out a lot.
   20. DL from MN Posted: February 24, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4068046)
look for the larger/poorest defenders of the 1B and OF


Miguel Sano is likely to spend as much time at 3B as Miguel Cabrera did
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4068059)
Cheslor Cuthbert seems like a guy that will move over to 1B eventually, but the early reports have been pretty good about his defense.
   22. JoeHova Posted: February 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4068093)
Miguel Sano is likely to spend as much time at 3B as Miguel Cabrera did

So, the next 9 years then?
   23. John Northey Posted: February 24, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4068112)
Norm Cash is only listed in the outfield during his minor league seasons (at least the ones at B-R). Palmeiro had just 9 games at 1B and 247 in the outfield in the minors. I'd say both would've been listed as outfielders if this list was being done back then.
   24. just plain joe Posted: February 24, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4068121)
but played quite a bit of LF ages 24-26 ... which must have been entertaining.


In a Greg Luzinski sort of way.
   25. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4068165)
I find John Sickels lack of faith in Tyler Pastornicky...disturbing.

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