August 1, 2012
Prospects Will Break Your Heart
Rarified Air: The Top 10 Prospects in the Minors
It’s not that I’m against prospect rankings; it’s just that they’re not my bag. I stand in awe of those who excel at the process of these classifications, as it takes a balanced approach, one measured against the overall subjectivity of the operation. You have to look at the tools and projection, but you also have to respect and appreciate game production, with each prognosticator assigning their own weight to each variable. National writers like Kevin Goldstein, Keith Law, and Jim Callis have established their bones in this particular brand of prognostication, and I always look forward to their lists.
Last week, a Twitter question coerced me to suggest that Jurickson Profar is the top prospect in the minors, a comment that soon prompted a series of follow-up questions about the prospects who would round out my top five. I never intended to execute a formal ranking, mostly because I like to assign tools and projection more weight than I probably should, and once I fall in love with a prospect, I’m hitched for the long haul. I’m a hypocrite: I try to be as objective as possible when scouting a player, but I struggle to remove the thorns of love when it comes to ranking players against each other. Francisco Lindor was going to be in my top 10 regardless of what he did on the field in 2012. I really like Francisco Lindor, and it’s my article, and that’s my approach. Admittedly, it’s not the best approach. But I’m honest about my intentions, and I did try my best to make this more than just a prospect popularity context. As requested, here are the top 10 players in the minors, with detailed write-ups of the top five.
Prospect #1: Rangers SS Jurickson Profar
Profar doesn’t have plus speed, but he’s an above-average runner, with a quick first step and the aforementioned instincts that make his 50/55 speed play up in game action. His defensive skill-set receives a lot of hype, but I don’t see an elite shortstop; rather, Profar will be above-average, with a big arm, a good glove, and a knack for the big play, but not a defender on the same level as incumbent Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. The total package is an All-Star in the majors, with a potent bat—contact, on-base skills, and above-average power for the position—a good defensive profile at a premium position, and the type of feel for the game that is found only in the DNA of the best players. He should taste the major leagues at some point in 2013.