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November 1, 2012

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

The Baseball Prospectus Prospect Rankings Primer

by Jason Parks

It’s that time of year again, when the failures of all but one team are forgiven and the dreams of a better tomorrow supplant the stinging agony of defeat. Please allow me to sell you hope, packaged in promise, tied with a bow of unlimited possibilities. I know of a player who can solve all your problems and keep your sleep patterns regulated, and if you buy a subscription to Baseball Prospectus, you can read about that player. I’m a prospect prognosticator: the Zoloft salesmen of baseball. How may I comfort you?

In all seriousness, prospect rankings aren’t about selling hope or compartmentalizing a future joy to lessen the ennui of the offseason months; rather, prospect rankings are pop-up art shows, galleries of photographs that capture a particular moment in time. Not to lessen the appeal or diminish the importance of the work, but snapshots don’t have lungs and they don’t crawl to land and progress over time. Rankings throw a net over a designated slice of the calendar, and then shine a bright light on the apprehended prospects. But the ebb and flow of player development has a chance to wash away any static snapshot when the mood sees fit, and the player who was cast in a starring role is quickly reduced to the fringes of the spectrum. The hope that was sold in the fall often confronts the reality that exists in the spring, and by the following fall, hope has officially transformed to helplessness.

I mention these things not to weaken the product, but to remind people that players change, opinions change, and rankings most certainly change. While its important to document the moment, it's even more important to keep perspective on the long-term realities of the process, and the ultimate goals inherent in that process, which are to acquire, develop, and promote talent in order to strengthen the major-league team. That journey to maturity is different for every player; the obstacle course is tailored to a player’s individual strengths and weaknesses, so the achievements and the failures will also be unique. When we swoop in with our fluorescent lights and our prospect tweezers looking to expose deficiency, the end result of that probe is often quite superficial and narrow in its range.

Just keep that in mind when you see a player “written off” for the sake of a limited ranking. You can remove the sensationalism from the approach--and we’ve tried to maintain a high level of professionalism here--but you can’t remove the shallow nature of the exercise itself. This is not an exercise of right/wrong or good/bad. When evaluating and projecting human behavior, it’s a fool who frowns on unpredictability in favor of a standard script. You might suggest that prospect no. 10 is superior to prospect no. 1, and I can call you ill-informed and unqualified to make such a pompous claim. But what I can’t say with any certainty is that you are wrong, as only time will tell if you hold an advantage in that argument. Until then, all we can do is present our point of view and sit on the sidelines and wait for the outcomes.

The Process
Putting together rankings is a subjective act, and the product is better served if you just admit that personal experiences, biases, and preferences help define the list as much as the raw tools of the players in question. In the past, Kevin Goldstein was the only man at the wheel on the rankings front, and his product was a doozy, respected by fans and the industry alike. The current product might feature my name at the top of the page, but the process in which it is compiled stands in contract to the lists of the past, as a team of writers helped hammer out the details that you will read. Instead of one voice and one subjective stance, we want to offer you multiple voices, a choir of subjectivity and preference that will help shape the rankings in a unique way. This is how we put them together…

It all starts with a casual email to the minor league staff at Baseball Prospectus, with the team-of-the-moment’s name in the subject line and a flypaper request to throw any thoughts that might exist into the thread. Participation is welcomed but not mandatory, and those who have interest in the team or a particular experience with the prospects will respond and the ball starts rolling. As names get thrown into the mix, I’ll start working the phones, calling scouts and industry sources to get as many outside opinions as possible. My desk is too small to house Goldstein’s Rolodex, but over the years I’ve built up a respectable network as well, and I feel very comfortable with the quality of opinion emanating from these sources.

After a few days of intense information reconnaissance, I start making up my list. I love my sources, but I tend to rely heavily on my own eyes and my own thoughts; not because my opinions are superior to those I receive information from, but because I like to see talent in person and I trust my own evaluations and I’m not looking to produce a list that is strictly source driven. I like to take my in-person accounts and make a sandwich with the scout sources and then serve the product to the BP minor league staff so they can add their own delicious deli meat to the plate. Too much?

Debate ensues, numerous emails, IMs, and text messages get exchanged; frustration, annoyance, and name calling get a moment in the sun, and then the list is whittled down to the top 10 prospects, the three prospects on the rise, and three prospects likely to contribute at the major-league level (in some capacity) in 2013. A volunteer steps forward to create the top talent under 25 list and subsequent breakdown, and then I’m left to fill in the scouting information on the players chosen for inclusion on the actual prospect list. This is when I will contact the organization of the moment, but only to confirm tool profiles and to get developmental updates on players that we haven’t put eyes on. I think it’s important to leave the organization out of the rankings discussion. It’s one thing to ask about makeup or tools or developmental progression, but it's another to seek evaluation advice from a team that can’t remove itself from the tether of the organization or the agendas that are often along for the ride. It’s like asking a parent to give an honest answer to the question: “How ugly is your son?”

All told, the process takes anywhere from 25-40 hours per team, and that’s from first contact to last paragraph. The reports are thick, running anywhere from 3500 to 4000 words, so I’m not anticipating any feedback suggesting the content is underweight. We aren’t reproducing Goldstein’s model, although the format is similar, and we aren’t making any apologies for only ranking the top 10 prospects rather than drifting into the gray areas that exist in the 20s and 30s. This is the new BP model, and I think going heavy on the details of a top 10 has more value and relevance than going thin just to go deep into a system. This is a sample of what a player profile will look like:

Carlos Correa

Position: SS

DOB: 09/22/1994

Height/Weight: 6’4’’ 190 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, PR Baseball Academy (Santa Isabel, PR)

2012 Stats: .232/.270/.355 in GCL (39 games); .371/.450/.600 in short-season Appalachian League (11 games)

The Tools: All of them; 8 arm; 7 power potential; huge makeup

What Happened in 2012: After creating impressive buzz on the amateur showcase circuit, Correa was selected 1:1 in the 2012 draft by the Houston Astros and quickly became the highest-ceiling player in the entire organization.

Strengths: Massive factory of physical tools; great size and fluid athleticism; highly skilled hands; has necessary fielding actions to stick at position; huge arm (8); solid-average run that plays up; plus bat speed; middle-of-the-order power potential; super young; plus-plus makeup.

Weaknesses: Hit tool is currently underdeveloped in relation to other tools; swing can get long and setup unbalanced; game power could be slow to come; fast-twitch athlete, but body could escape him and limit range at position; massive collection of raw tools that need to find game refinement.

Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star

Explanation of Risk: High risk because of age and current level of tool refinement; huge makeup and instincts keep the risk from being extreme

Fantasy Future: Could end up among the best players in the game, with a future 6 hit tool, 7 power, and the baserunning instincts and quickness for stolen bases. At his peak, he could be a .280/.380/.500 shortstop with above-average defensive chops.

The Year Ahead: Correa could stumble and it could look ugly before he blossoms in professional ball. Tool refinement and utility can take time, and Correa will play the 2013 season at the age of 18, where he should get his first taste of full-season ball and full-season level pitching. I don’t expect an explosion yet, but don’t jump off the bandwagon if Correa happens to stumble. He has legit star potential at the highest level.

Major league ETA: 2016

Pretty cool, huh? I like it and I really hope you do as well. One of things we decided to do was produce the lists in a manner similar to professional reports, which is just another way of saying we decided not to alter some of the language in order to make it more palatable to people outside of the game. We aren’t working in baseball front offices, but we are well-versed in the vocabulary of the game and I want to stay true to the communication and expression of the world this derives from. If you are looking for a watered down prospect list written for the casual fan, this isn’t it. But even the most die-hard prospect fans will run across terminology that is either specific to the field or specific to the author in question; admittedly, it’s hard to keep up with all the ridiculousness that comes out of my mouth and ends up on a page. To make things easier, here is a glossary of terms that might appear in these reports:

2/8: Scouting scale; often used as the 20/80 scale; used to denote physical tool grades both in the present and the future. The scale can also indicate a future player role, i.e., future major league grade (overall) at tool maturity. This is the breakdown:

2=Very poor

3=Well below-average


5=Average; major-league regular

6=Above-average (plus); first-division

7=Well above-average (plus-plus); all-star

8=Elite; bacon

Big Raw: Power (or the power tool) is often just referred to as “raw.” 

Bore: A pitch that shows intense arm-side movement into the hitter standing in the arm-side box (RHP/RH; LHP/LH).

First-division: A player that could start for a playoff-caliber team 

Life: action/movement on a particular pitch; usually used to described the late movement on a fastball.

Makeup: For me, makeup is about work ethic and the desire to improve and maximize the potential suggested by the raw physical tools. Makeup is not about being a jerk or being likeable or being a sweetheart to fans in the stands. Makeup is a major component in a player’s ability to respond and adjust to failure and setbacks on the field. 

OFP (Overall Future Potential): The measure of all tool futures based on the projected growth and maturity of those tools. The individual grades are calculated and assigned proper weight, and the result of that division is the player’s OFP, or projected ceiling.

Pitchability: Put simply, the overall command and feel for the act of pitching. It’s a broad term, but its usually used to describe pitchers with instincts for their craft, sequencing ability, understanding of how to get hitters out, how to pitch east, west, north, and south, etc.

Run: Another way of describing the speed tool; also used to described a pitch that will show movement to the arm-side of the pitcher, hence running away from a hitter in the opposite box.

#Want: The manifestation of human desire and physical yield; when the yearning for perfection becomes visible to the naked eye. 

*If you are unsure or unfamiliar with any scouting term or phrase, please let me know and I’ll add the definition to this glossary.

I have to say, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the start of this series since Kevin told me he was hanging up his public prospect spikes. I consider the work to be a challenge, but it goes deeper than that. It’s an honor and privilege to have this platform and this audience to work with. The level of baseball knowledge that exists on this site sits comfortably in the plus-plus range, and the readers have high expectations as a result. You can’t get away with hanging breaking balls or flat changeups at this level, and that motivates me more than anything else. In my rapid progression from Baseball Prospectus reader, to part-time contributor, to full-time writer, to the person fortunate enough to take over the reins of this particular task, I’ve neglected my own enjoyment in the reflection of the journey. Now that the time has arrived, I can finally let a smile tickle my face. I get to write about prospects for Baseball Prospectus. Man, that’s really cool. I hope you enjoy the series. The Astros list will be published on Monday.

My electronic door is always open for feedback that wears any face.

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

Related Content:  Prospects,  Carlos Correa

68 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


Beyond excited to see these start rolling out. Love the new format, I think it will work out very well. Kevin will still be missed, but I think we're in good hands here. Thanks in advance for all the hard work, Jason and team.

Nov 01, 2012 02:28 AM
rating: 9

One suggestion for this is that you will inevitably end up with a bunch of material on the guys who don't end up making the top 10 for whatever reason. Obviously some of that will filter into the guys on the rise, or those who might contribute in the big leagues soonish, but it would be interesting if some of that could be shared. Even if you just provided a list of 5-6 near misses, that would add value, especially for some of the deeper systems - going 10 deep in Toronto, San Diego or Texas will result in missing out some very decent prospects indeed.

As a thought, and it's probably too late for this year, might it be better to provide coverage on all prospects of a certain standard or better, rather than a set number for each team. If Texas has 20 good prospects, and Cleveland has 5, I'd prefer a big list for Texas and a small one for Cleveland, rather than missing out good prospects in one list and reading about very marginal guys in another one.

The format looks really good - the more that you can quantify tools and skills the better, for me at least. It makes it much easier to compare people across different lists and to evaluate how players may turn out.

Nov 01, 2012 04:59 AM
rating: 13

I would like to second Behemoth’s suggestion on the near misses, even if they appear as an article, or series of articles once the top ten lists are completed. When I heard that Kevin was leaving BP for the big leagues I was concerned the prospect content at BP might take a hit. I am glad to see it hasn’t.

Nov 01, 2012 05:41 AM
rating: 2

Great suggestion from Behemoth, and the only potential flaw I have seen in the new process. Regardless Jason, all your hard work is appreciated and the extra step to communicate things clearly is the "gravy on the cake". heh.

Nov 01, 2012 09:30 AM
rating: 0

Agree with Behemoth. Particularly for deep systems with a long tail of 2-star prospects, a cut-off at 10 feels arbitrary.

Two other items on the "wish list" - and not meant as a criticism at all of the excellent work that consistently appears in PWBYH and that will make up these prospect lists:

- Would love to see the deeper prospect list suggested above, only curated by the anticipated "graduating class." OK, I know I can DIY this, but it does help to put the list in context of decisions the FO will need to make moving forward.

- Knowing this is difficult, but a ML comparable player (e.g., Adrian Beltre, Joe Saunders, Alcides Escobar, etc) to the toolset is a nice frame of reference. Would only really be apt for the top prospects at the more advanced levels.

REALLY looking forward to the lists!

Nov 01, 2012 12:44 PM
rating: 0
Craig Goldstein

Really looking forward to this. Thanks for the breakdown Jason!

Nov 01, 2012 05:22 AM
rating: 0

I am looking forward to the rankings! I am certain your product will be excellent.

Thanks for the primer. It is very helpful. Perhaps you might link this page to each ranking page. That would be helpful to slower guys like me, who may need to refer back to the primer from time to time.

Thanks again!

Nov 01, 2012 05:47 AM
rating: 1

Just a couple of logistics questions...

You're starting with Houston which was the worst team in MLB. The last couple of years KG did his order by reverse winning percentage which I always thought was a good idea. Does this mean you're keeping that or just a coincidence?

Without asking you to commit to timelines or anything, what's the general pace you're looking to achieve - 2 teams per week?

Nov 01, 2012 05:49 AM
rating: 0

Second the motion. I would like to know what your schedule is, if you have one yet.

Can't wait for these! It helps me get through the long, cold winter.

Nov 01, 2012 08:45 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Tentative order of teams is in draft order.

Nov 04, 2012 12:17 PM

I do appreciate the primer on terminology, and I do think it helps to periodically, like every few months, republish them for newer readers.

Nov 01, 2012 06:11 AM
rating: 3

Looks great. A lot of detail, though I will miss the triviality of the emphemera. I'm excited to see what you all produce, which I'm sure will be great.

Nov 01, 2012 06:34 AM
rating: 1


Nov 01, 2012 07:02 AM
rating: 0

Color me intrigued. Would love to have you publish any of the collaborative content that is amusing.

Nov 01, 2012 07:10 AM
rating: 0

Jason, Kevin was the main reason I subscribed to BP and I had concerns when he announced his leaving. After reading this though, I see the content I loved most on BP will remain just that - my favorite part of BP. Thank you for this preview and I look forward to reading the first of the prospect reports next week.

Nov 01, 2012 07:11 AM
rating: 1

Jason, the thing I am going to miss the most with these prospect rankings will be when wrapping up the previous weeks posted rankings on the podcast, and you and Kevin ask each other "So who's your guy". How am I going to know Who's your guy now?

Nov 01, 2012 07:12 AM
rating: 7

Adding onto the "Who's your guy?", maybe an article at the end by all the people compiling listing a handful of prospects they are their "guys". Always interesting to see into the mind of the compilers to see who they really like and get to see more of what they value.

Nov 01, 2012 07:25 AM
rating: 7

This all looks awesome and makes me very excited about the lists to come out. One request I have, really the main issue I had with the lists in past years, is to reflect any major trades in the rankings by adjusting them after they happen. Some prospects last year never showed up on a Top 11 list. For example, the San Diego list was already out when the Latos trade happened and the players sent SD way were not longer in the Red's organization once that list went online.

Nov 01, 2012 07:15 AM
rating: 3

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"(singing) new format looks great i love the 20-80 scale grades and industry terminology. any consideration to throwing a 'sleeper' at the end of the list with a 1-2 sentence blurp i love going back and looking at kevin's sleepers and see how they've done

Nov 01, 2012 07:17 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

The list will include three prospects on the rise; the type of player to crack the team top 10 the following season. Those are basically sleepers. We aren't going to include a specific sleeper category, but we can always discuss players that weren't included in the rankings in the comment section of the article or in the follow-up chats.

Nov 01, 2012 09:00 AM

ermahgerd. i am #wet

Nov 01, 2012 07:32 AM
rating: 3

So Run and Bore are opposites?

Nov 01, 2012 07:50 AM
rating: 0

Yeah, I'm a little confused, too. Isn't a movement away from a hitter in the opposite-side box the same as movement toward a guy in the same-side box? At least from the perspective of the pitcher?

Nov 01, 2012 08:34 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Nope. They can be similar. Bore is when the pitch has late horizontal action into a hitter on the arm-side. Boring into the hitter. If its RHP/RH, a boring pitch would move into the hitter's kitchen, which could also be described as arm-side run since the ball is technically showing horizontal run. I tend to view bore as the action on a pitch that really digs into a hitter's hands. Run is the more standard movement to the arm-side.

Nov 01, 2012 08:48 AM
dREaDS Fan

So no 1- to 5-star overall grade? How do you translate from the 2-8 overall grade to KG's old 1-5 star scale?

Nov 01, 2012 08:11 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I don't. We discontinued the star ratings. Players are simply ranked 1-10, with detailed scouting notes and risk factors included in the breakdown. 2/8 is the scouting scale, but not every prospect with the highest ceiling (or role grade) will be the top prospect in the system. Other factors have to be considered as well.

Nov 01, 2012 08:57 AM

The how can we compare, say, the #4 prospect from one system to the #4 from another? They could be of very different calibres.. At least with the star system, there was a way.

Nov 01, 2012 09:58 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

That's an easy problem to solve. You can read the scouting reports of the players you wish to compare. They should give you a detailed picture of the player, which will include tool profile, ceiling, and risk factor. Using that information, you should be able to compare players without much issue.

Nov 01, 2012 17:38 PM

I'm going to applaud the decision to scrap stars. I don't think they tell us anything useful really, and not everyone in the same star was remotely comparable in any case.

Nov 01, 2012 16:17 PM
rating: 4

Greetings Professor,
My sincere wishes for your good health and safety in this time fraught with devilish weather.

Building on the suggestions of "who's your guy" from AndrewBokermann and the 5-6 near misses from Behemoth above, I found the discourse between you and Mr. Goldstein on the late and lamented (long may it live) Up and In: The Baseball Prospectus Podcast the most fascinating aspect of the prospect ranking season. The stream of consciousness discuss often proved more revealing than a structured commentary printed in ink or pixels. How else would one know that you scoffed at KG's selection of Ronny Rodriguez as his guy in Cleveland's system were it not recorded so succinctly: "He's not going to pass Lindor"

Indeed he's not.

So to get at last to my question: any potential for such conversations, or the perennial favorite round table with Jim Callis and Keith Law?

Looking forward to the deliverable. I think you guys are doing great work.

Nov 01, 2012 08:14 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

"So to get at last to my question: any potential for such conversations, or the perennial favorite round table with Jim Callis and Keith Law?"

Probably not.

Nov 01, 2012 08:50 AM

didn't expect it, but as the saying goes, if one does not ask, one does not get.


Nov 01, 2012 09:09 AM
rating: 0

Really excited to read the whole series.

Nov 01, 2012 08:43 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Thanks for the comments/suggestions. After a great deal of thought and debate, we are satisfied with the construction of the series. The posting schedule will start with the Astros on Monday, and follow draft order until the series concludes with the Giants. Articles will most likely appear twice a week, and I will be doing chats after every 3-5 teams to answer follow questions, etc.

After the series is concluded, we will definitely explore follow-up articles about prospects that didn't make the cut, or perhaps, shouldn't have made the cut, as well as some point/counterpoint pieces that will highlight some of the prospect disagreements we face along the way. The next four/five months are going to be a lot of fun.

Nov 01, 2012 08:55 AM
Kendall Guillemette

I'm appalled that #rig isn't in the glossary... For shame.

Nov 01, 2012 08:57 AM
rating: 1

Awesome, awesome job Jason. Looking forward to this.

Nov 01, 2012 09:06 AM
rating: 0

I think I am going to like the new format even better and the resources being brought to bear on this site are tremendous! BP is taking it to a new level, and this deal just keeps getting better for subscribers! I would simply request a beer and advice column or linked to a new site!

Nov 01, 2012 09:07 AM
rating: 0

Awesome Correa write up. It's going to be great. Are you planning on keeping the Top 10 "Under 25" for the Org at the bottom. I really liked that part too.

Nov 01, 2012 09:09 AM
rating: 3

So awesome, Jason, can't wait. Can't hardly wait.

Nov 01, 2012 09:42 AM
rating: 0

I agree - the top 10 under 25 added a lot of information regarding the relative potential of prospects. I would love to see you continue that.

Nov 01, 2012 09:42 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

From the Primer: "A volunteer steps forward to create the top talent under 25 list and subsequent breakdown.."

The U-25 lists will continue.

Nov 01, 2012 09:50 AM
John Carter

Hmmm. I wish you great success with this, Jason. I'm a fan.

I'm not mourning the loss of the star ratings, but I do want to know about prospects who may lack high ceilings but have a good chance of success in the Majors. There seems to be some disagreement in the scouting and sabermetric worlds about how closely minor league success with the proper league/park adjustments applied translate into Major League success. If a guy with AAA success is going to cut it or not - I want to know the odds - whether or not he has the potential to become an all-star.

Nov 01, 2012 09:43 AM
rating: 0
John Carter

That last sentence could be misleading. Please, substitute "regardless of whether" for "whether or not".

Nov 01, 2012 09:49 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

If he has the potential to be an all-star, he will most likely appear in the top 10 players being ranked, or the "on the rise" prospects, and a detailed scouting breakdown will explain the reasons for the projection and the risk factors involved. All-star ceilings are pretty rare, so it's highly unlikely that a player not included in the article will own such a lofty projection.

If a player wasn't covered in the article, please feel free to ask me or any member of the prospect team about them in the comment section, in chats, or on Twitter. We will always answer prospect related questions, especially if they relate to the rankings.

Nov 01, 2012 09:55 AM
John Carter

Thanks. What I was trying to say was that, besides the highest ceiling prospects I am very interested in all of the prospects who are doing well in the higher levels of the minors. I want to know how likely those guys will continue to succeed in the Majors - the nearly ready bunch. I promise not to be shy about asking for them (although, I don't twit, I e-mail), but I was hoping you and the BP folks can help us keep tabs on them in a well organized fashion - perhaps, a could-be-ready alert? (Joe Hamrahi never answers my e-mails, by the way, so I don't know if that is a useful route.)

Nov 01, 2012 11:52 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

As mentioned, the list will also contain three prospects set to taste the major leagues in 2013. Beyond that, feel free to ask me about any player that fails to make the list. I'll answer to the best of my ability.

Nov 01, 2012 14:27 PM

Have you ever considered doing a regression analysis of prior years' amature rankings, perhaps side-by-side with those of Baseball America, Scounts Inc., etc., against later MLB data to see how the amature rankings have panned out? Geoff Young did a smaller version of this exercise a few days ago comparing the Giants' drafting against their NL West rivals which was pretty interesting. I'd be curious to know if BP's predictive success is more like Pedro Martinez's winning percentage or Adam Dunn's batting average.

Nov 01, 2012 09:44 AM
rating: 1
John Carter

I'm making this a separate comment because I know it is going to get dinged mercilessly. One quibble about your glossary: "First-division" - Any play-off team "could" get away with having a below average player in their line-up. Is Gregor Blanco a first-division player? I don't think that's what you meant. I assume you meant a "typical" starter on a first-division team - an above average starter. A 6?

Nov 01, 2012 09:47 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

It's just a general scouting distinction. Not every player on a first-division team owns a first-division grade. Yes; an above-average player; role 6

Nov 01, 2012 09:58 AM

Any chance you can add 'baseball age' behind the DOB for us lazy people?

Nov 01, 2012 09:48 AM
rating: 0

How old is Alex Rodriguez in "baseball age"?

Nov 01, 2012 14:23 PM
rating: 0

Are you going to be compiling a Top 100 for the Annual?

Nov 01, 2012 11:04 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff


Nov 01, 2012 11:06 AM

This is going to be great. Bring back Up and In! I miss it dearly.

Nov 01, 2012 11:14 AM
rating: 0

When can we expect your prospect rankings at La Masia?

Actual rankings question, on overall grade, it would be helpful for a breakdown of how many current MLB players fall into each category (roughly). As I understand it, at least originally, the 2-8 scale was set up such that each number above or below the average was worth standard deviation.

In that world, ~68% of players (510 major leaguers) are a 4-6, ~27% (200) are either a 3 or a 7 and ~5% are a 2 or an 8 (38 total players). Is this about right, allowing for some variability (especially at the extremes, Trout's arrival in the majors didn't push another 8 player out of the game).

Nov 01, 2012 12:33 PM
rating: 1

I think you have your numbers wrong - if an 8 player is three standard deviations above the norm then only 0.3% should be that far from the norm.

Also, the whole idea that players can be rated as a single number which is normally distributed is pretty problematic - for a start, in the world, there are many more 2s than 5. In major league baseball, 2s or 3s don't get a job [Obligatory joke about Kansas City Royals rotation here], so there are some 4s (often utility guys or 4th OFs, maybe guys who can pinch run), a load of 5s, and then an ever diminishing number of 6-8s.

Nov 01, 2012 16:15 PM
rating: 3

You said you will start with the Astros and follow draft order until concluding with the Giants. But the Giants don't draft last, the Nationals do. What am I missing?

Nov 01, 2012 12:59 PM
rating: 1
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

It's what I'm missing; Nationals will be last. Giants will be 27th. I've been too focused on the rankings to speak with intelligence on any other subject, apparently. It will be in draft order. Sorry for that.

Nov 01, 2012 14:23 PM

Bookmark'd... Thank ee!

Nov 01, 2012 16:31 PM
rating: 0


Nov 01, 2012 18:36 PM
rating: 0

This looks great. I'm excited to see the rest of the prospects.

That said, I am annually perplexed by why Baseball Prospectus has dropped the most valuable and unique prospect predictor around: UPSIDE. Nate Silver used to do prospect projections using (I believe) the 10-year UPSIDE projections. Thus, it was the only real statistical projection tool for prospects on the market. He'd often compare these quantitative measures with the sort of qualitative evaluations seen above.

In any case, BP has this tool at its disposal, and yes, the readers could do the math themselves, but (a) that's a lot of work and (b) UPSIDE figures have consistently (since Nate's departure) been late to arrive and often way off the mark.

I'd love to see BP polish off and reissue the UPSIDE prospect projections.

Nov 01, 2012 19:14 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Because we like to see players in person and report based on those firsthand accounts and the firsthand accounts of scouts and industry personnel. I'm not against UPSIDE, but its not the direction I'm interested in pursuing. I think using stats to evaluate and project young, underdeveloped talent can be very limiting without the backing of firsthand observation.

Nov 01, 2012 19:26 PM

I totally agree. But first-hand observation without stats is just as limiting. That's why I'd love to see both.

Nov 01, 2012 20:33 PM
rating: -2
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

No, it isn't just as limiting. Stats at the lowest level of the minors can be very misleading. As you get higher in the minors and more mature in developmental growth, yes, stats can play a very important role. But you simply can't focus on stats when the talent is in the early stages of development. It's a very minor part of the equation at that level. It's not a 50/50 partnership. You have to see players in person to properly evaluate them. You can't scout from your couch.

Nov 01, 2012 20:43 PM


Could you give me a quick proper age to level reference guide.

Example: Rookie Level player are ? yrs old
A Players are ? years old

Thanks. I think this would the helpful when looking at the stats relative to age

Nov 02, 2012 11:02 AM
rating: 1

This is awesome. One suggestion....bleu cheese should be added next to bacon in the 8 category.

Nov 02, 2012 13:09 PM
rating: 0
Replacement Cat

Thank you, Jason. I will be asking "who's your guy" if somebody doesn't beat me to it...

Nov 03, 2012 05:01 AM
rating: 0

Count me as another who appreciates the need to read the reports rather than relying on the shorthand that was the star ratings. You're putting a lot of work into giving us the details about the players, and putting the work in on my end to understand those details will (I hope) make me a more knowledgeable fan. Thanks!

Nov 05, 2012 12:40 PM
rating: 0
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