In the past, we've run those contributions as BP Roundtables after the list is announced in late February. This year, we'll be running a series of roundtables in advance of the list, leading up to the release of Baseball Prospectus 2005 in late February. The final list will be revealed here on February 22, and the book includes capsule evaluations of all 50 players, as well as 1500 others.
Today, the catchers…
Rany Jazayerli: Catcher is not a very deep position. Daric Barton is clearly the best prospect at the position, even though he probably won't catch at the major-league level. Sure, he's still four steps from the majors, but .313/.445/.511 is a truly remarkable performance from a player who was 18 for most of the season.
Will Carroll: Barton is clearly on the first tier, but like you said, he was in low-A, is likely to have numbers skewed by the Texas League this year, and isn't likely to stay at the position. I'm unsure if we've had a prospect with this skill set or even one relegated to DH so early. He's certainly Joe Mauer's equal with the bat if he can show at Double-A, but lacks the defensive value. Losing the injury risk the position carries might be a wash.
Nate Silver: Barton's projected WARPs for the next five years: 3.1, 2.9, 3.0, 3.6, 3.2. His noteworthy comparables include Mauer, Casey Kotchman and Adrian Gonzalez. His WARP (and EqA) numbers are a little bit funky, as there aren't too many players who hit like this at age 18. That, of course, is exactly why Barton is as good a prospect as he is. He probably won't catch in the majors, but I'm not sure how much that matters.
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