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February 13, 2012

Future Shock

Top 101 Prospects

by Kevin Goldstein

Previous Rankings: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

As I was putting this list (exclusive to Baseball Prospectus 2012) together, two thoughts came over me that I thought were worth explaining before presenting the list.

1) Quite often, I go back and look at rankings from previous years. I look at what I was right about and, more importantly, what I was wrong about. "Wrong," however, is a very charged word when it comes to rankings. When I rank a player, whether it be in his club's farm system or as a Top 101 prospect, I approach it as if I were a major league club. What I'm sharing with you is what is known in the industry as a "pref list." That is, if I were an MLB club trading for one these players, this is the order i which I would try to acquire them. Every team maintains such a list for all 30 clubs; this is mine.

While it might look foolish in retrospect to have Franklin Morales ranked number 13 and Jordan Schafer at number 17 on my 2008 list (both ahead of Joey Votto and Andrew McCutchen, among others), their rankings are only half wrong. They are wrong in the sense that Votto and McCutchen turned into stars, and that's upsetting to me. I do try to figure out why I put one ahead of the other, but at the same time, when that list was published, the majority of teams would have had a pref list closer to mine than to what actually happened. Rankings can look faulty as time passes, and it's important to always learn from them and try to improve, but they are also snapshots in time as much as predictive tools. That's not an excuse—I wish I had Votto and McCutchen higher that year—but more of an attempt to explain the thinking that goes into these.

2) Based on my emails and Twitter feed, I'm guessing that the comments thread and today's chat could quickly turn into hundreds of people asking the same question about three Cuban players, so let's cut that out off at the pass.
Q: Where would Yoenis Cespedes rank?
A: Number 20, ahead of Nolan Arenado.
Q: Where would Jorge Soler rank?
A: Number 38 (or number 39 if Cespedes was also getting ranked), ahead of Yasmani Grandal.
Q: Where would Gerardo Concepcion rank?
A: Concepcion has signed with the Cubs, so he is eligible for this list, but he's not a Top 101 prospect for me.

As always, I look forward to the comment thread below, and this afternoon's chat to discuss the list. That said, here is the 2012 Top 101 Prospects List:

2012 Top 101 Prospects
1. Matt Moore, LHP, Rays
2. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
3. Mike Trout, OF, Angels
4. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers
5. Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves
6. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles
7. Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
8. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles
9. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates
10. Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals
11. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Diamondbacks
12. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins
13. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates
14. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners
15. Jacob Turner, RHP, Tigers
16. Travis D'Arnaud, C, Blue Jays
17. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
18. Gary Brown, OF, Giants
19. Wil Myers, OF, Royals
20. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
21. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Diamondbacks
22. Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds
23. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals
24. Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds
25. Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets
26. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals
27. Bubba Starling, OF, Royals
28. Jake Marisnick, OF, Blue Jays
29. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees
30. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets
31. Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals
32. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox
33. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins
34. Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Rockies
35. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners
36. Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers
37. Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks
38. Yasmani Grandal, C, Padres
39. Michael Choice, OF, Athletics
40. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
41. Randall Delgado, RHP, Braves
42. Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates
43. Josh Bell, OF, Pirates
44. Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs
45. Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers
46. Brandon Jacobs, OF, Red Sox
47. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Royals
48. Jarred Cosart, RHP, Astros
49. George Springer, OF, Astros
50. Jarrod Parker, RHP, Athletics
51. Trevor May, RHP, Phillies
52. Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres
53. Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres
54. Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays
55. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox
56. Starling Marte, OF, Pirates
57. Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Padres
58. Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Padres
59. James Paxton, LHP, Mariners
60. A.J. Cole, RHP, Athletics
61. Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies
62. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves
63. Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees
64. Brad Peacock, RHP, Athletics
65. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Rays
66. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs
67. Jean Segura, SS, Angels
68. Anthony Gose, OF, Blue Jays
69. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals
70. Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers
71. Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers
72. Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics
73. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros
74. Joe Wieland, RHP, Padres
75. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
76. Robbie Grossman, OF, Pirates
77. Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers
78. Casey Kelly, RHP, Padres
79. Chad Bettis, RHP, Rockies
80. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins
81. Addison Reed, RHP, White Sox
82. John Lamb, LHP, Royals
83. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Royals
84. Jessie Biddle, LHP, Phillies
85. Jonathan Schoop, INF, Orioles
86. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres
87. Eddie Rosario, OF/2B, Twins
88. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals
89. Jeurys Familia, RHP, Mets
90. Joe Benson, OF, Twins
91. Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals
92. Wily Peralta, RHP, Brewers
93. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Blue Jays
94. Austin Hedges, C, Padres
95. Joe Ross, RHP, Padres
96. Derek Norris, C, Athletics
97. Tim Wheeler, OF, Rockies
98. Ryan Lavarnway, C, Red Sox
99. Mason Williams, OF, Yankees
100. Grant Green, OF, Athletics
101. Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  Gerardo Concepcion

171 comments have been left for this article.

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