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Yup. Illinois wasn't going to get swept out of Vandy without having Jay make an appearance. Win or go home.
Also worth noting the weekend starters were pretty good college starters. So the thought was it was more valuable to have Jay impacting multiple games a week than just one as a starter. It can be debated whether that was the right move for Illinois, but it seemed to work out. The other starters were pretty darn impressive, Jay was nails in his role, and the Illini made it to the Super Regionals (losing to Vandy after sweeping through regionals).
Illinois had a veteran staff so Jay was basically just the "dude" on staff that came in to pitch multiple innings. Which is why he amassed over 60 in a collegiate relief role. Wasn't really a closer in the traditional sense, though he regularly closed out games -- often multiple innings a pop.
I am not sure this is true. At least, not in my experience. Area scouts build a network with coaches and other "players" in their respective region for the express purpose of trying to gain an edge on the competition in identifying talent. Further, many regional scouting organizations run showcases outside of the big national companies specifically to make sure the kids they are seeing/hearing about can be seen at a centralized location.
Are the big travel ball tournaments still heavily scouted? Of course. But if scouts are relying solely on these tournaments to find talent then they are in the bottom percentile as far as evaluators doing their job.
I get the narrative, and I too dislike the idea of players essentially buying their way to *more* visibility. But in today's game it's rare that a draft-worthy, or scholarship-worthy, player doesn't get seen. Regardless of socio-economic background.
Same week every year. Just put it on your calendar and google on July 1 to confirm dates didn't change due to scheduling conflicts with other events (almost never happens). Tickets available on location so no need to purchase ahead of time.
But was he really ruling/dominating that period of erraticism? Sorry, Jeff. Couldn't pass it up.
Thanks. I knew he logged some time in the outfield with the Collegiate National Team but thought he was exclusively infield w/USD.
Zero in the minors; pretty sure he was exclusively infield at USD.
Would have been first in Red Sox system. Filed prior to his signing.
Comes down to consistency in execution, which is usually a combination of complication in mechanics, athleticism, strength, and flexibility. The more complicated a pitcher's mechanics the more reliant he is on possessing the requisite athleticism and flexibility to repeat those mechanics in a uniform manner, and the requisite strength (some refer to it as "stamina" but you're mostly deriving from avoidance of muscle fatigue which I've always found correlates well with raw strength) not to see deterioration in actions over the course of a game (and more frequent deterioration as a longer season wears on).
Don't fall into the trap of stopping your analysis at the mechanics or the numbers -- a thorough dig should try to figure out what type of body/athlete you're dealing with, what mechanical changes he's successfully implemented in the past, and the like.
Finally, don't forget you have to run through that analysis through the lens of each pitch. That can get pretty nuanced, but if you're working fast and dirty some good rules of thumb are: 1) a lot of variance in trajectory/shape/velocity from pitch to pitch usually means there is more work to be done in finding a sweet spot w/r/t execution; 2) certain "quirks" in mechanics work against long term consistency in execution of certain pitch types for different profiles, and 3) [tangential issue] command may or may not impact pure grading on a pitch but it's seldom you have a pitch that grades out poorly but comes with good command scores.
Was in consideration for "On the Rise"; figures to be in the top 10 picture next year if he performs in his full season debut.
Yes, he was written up with the Padres list in December as a "Notable Omission":
Brewers were fine with the medicals when they traded for him and there isn't a question at this as to whether or not this is a major league caliber arm. Developmental risk is low.
Did not make top 10. By the time he is make throwing meaningful innings he will have missed almost two full seasons and we won't even know what that looks like until this fall (most likely).
Imagine a highly touted college freshman had a solid but not spectacular year, then missed all but two starts of his sophomore year trying to rest/rehab his way out of TJ surgery, only to have it the winter of his junior year. He is then drafted/signed after that second missed season.
That's the boat Fried is now in. We know that, healthy, he is a highly talented arm with a strong case for Top 100 status and maybe even one of the top lefty arms in the minors. But at this point it isn't just about TJ surgery. It's also about missing two years' worth of developmental time and simply not knowing what it's going to look like when he is back and throwing in games.
Not particularly close. Next 50 or so names.
Who is "most"? Which prospects? Give me some specifics and I'd be happy to elaborate.
We'll drop it into the supplemental piece.
Definitely a talent grouping. They should all be a lot of fun to watch.
Depends on travel schedules, but we'd love to make it work!
Noted! It will be a fun pairing to follow all the way up the ranks.
Right, his "clean-up" surgery followed.
Fair point, for sure. Note for 2013 I have 108 IP for Zimmer and 149 for Taillon. Is that not accurate?
In any event, Taillon has multiple years of start-to-finish production as a starter (albeit with the Pirates managing his innings/pitch counts). Zimmer is a converted infielder that has never really lasted a full year's worth of innings. It might not be fair, but the facts we have to work with show an inability to hold-up to a full-season starter's workload. Some of it is bad luck (oblique) but the recurring shoulder issue isn't something I take lightly.
Tough profile to get a handle on given the non-linear progression thus far, so hopefully this is a blip that he quickly puts behind him.
I think the jury is still out as to whether Schwarber can in fact catch 60 games a year at the highest level. There's just a lot of pressure on the bat with limited pro sample size to draw from outside of his dominance of levels for which he was clearly too advanced.
Assuming he is primarily a left fielder, and not a first baseman, you could be talking about the potential outcomes ranging from 2014 Nelson Cruz to 2014 Matt Kemp -- each of whom were productive talents with Cruz an above-average producer in the aggregate (with negative value running/fielding) and Kemp a fringe-average producer in the aggregate (with negative value running and significant negative defensive value).
Regarding Bryant, I think he's a very dangerous bat immediately upon promotion, and his ability to be a transcendent talent will be tied to his ability to continue to close coverage gaps and unload on balls in his kill zone. He's a great kid who will work hard on his craft, so I'm a believer he gets there. The only reason he ranks where he does is there is a little less foundational value because of the defense/run so the risk on the bat is magnified some.
The hands and arm are good and play well at third. But, in the words of an evaluator whose opinion I really value, "Looking good on the balls you get to is not the same thing as playing the position well."
Franco is not a bad third baseman, but it's more than fair to question whether he really fits best there. Definitely a strong finish, offensively, before the call-up, but the call-up also showed us why it's dangerous to bank on an overly aggressive bat with some coverage holes -- major league arms tend to do a good job of finding out how to exploit those profiles in short order.
Still a testament to be on the top 101 in spite of some struggles/setbacks, and in all honesty it was a name Mellen and I discussed bumping up a bit at the last minute, though I believe we were both comfortable settling on him as a 90-100 guy at present (hopefully Mellen will correct me if I'm misstating his thoughts at all!).
We have those breakdowns -- I'll check and see if/what is planning to be published.
Mellen is much closer to the pulse on the Mets, and particularly with respect to "who gets the first call", but my expectation would be Syndergaard is the guy and he is a clear cut ahead of Matz as far as the player we expect him to become.
I don't have any make-up concerns w/r/t Syndy.
Not at all. He was close to making the 101 and was a name Mellen and I both kept coming back to in order to see if there was a spot for him. He fell short for the 2015 list but I remain very bullish and I think most of the BP Prospect Team believes in the profile, long term, as well.
Off the 101. Could make an argument for fringe-101 status if you place emphasis on defensive versatility and proximity/probability.
He's not refined enough on either side of the ball for us to push him that high at this point. Great developmental foundation and better than expected performance in the lower levels. But still needs to slow the game down, adjust to advanced spin, and still not sure if power will project.
I'll buy an argument for him being on par with Mondesi as far as aggregate present value (and accordingly slightly less distance than the nine or so spots currently separating them), but not the likes of Russell/Correa/Seager/Lindor.
Seager is the lowest ranked SS prospect out of those four, is 8 months older than Crawford, and crushed 2014 by both evaluative and analytical/productive standards while splitting the year between High-A and Double-A. I can't see lining them up side by side at this point.
One has almost 300 innings between 2012 and now (including this past missed season) and a clearly identified issue/surgery with anecdotal and analytic evidence to suggest there is a clear road to coming back in solid form.
One has around 150 pro innings between 2012 and now, has missed time with a myriad of injuries (bone chips, oblique, multiple shoulder issues, and now "clean-up" off-season surgery), and has yet to demonstrate an ability to stay on the field.
I think there's a strong argument for healthy Zimmer ranking higher than healthy Taillon, but at this point there is more certainty with the latter. Both should be "late starts" in 2015, but I think there is a more definitive roadmap for Taillon, barring any setbacks.
Turner is a Padre for several more months or until the commissioner's office tells us otherwise. He was not in consideration for the 101. Ross was just on the outside, and will be mentioned in the "just missed" supplement.
Very close in parsing that one, and it essentially came down to wanting to see Correa back and on the field for an extended period of time. Correa has the higher offensive upside; a little more positional certainty with Russell.
Could reemerge as a pitcher -- book isn't closed on him.
His college usage and performance are definitely part of the profile taken into account, both for the White Sox list and the 101.
DJ Peterson and Maikel Franco are two that could end up there soon. Pure 1B probably Dom Smith and Matt Olson, each of whom were close to making the list.
It's a good question -- my gut is that he's approximately in line with the arms around him as far as grades, but can't say so definitively without going back to the lists. He was a 6+/5+/moderate. I know Heaney and Appel, the next two arms ahead of him, were around 6+/6 and 6+/5+ low/moderate, while Aaron Blair and Henry Ownes, the next two behind him, were around 6+/5+ and 6/5+ moderate/low.
Mellen and I used grading to help cluster but dug deeper in trying to parse the rankings once we had our clusters. There might be some instances where we ended up jumping or dropping someone inconsistent with the clusters, but an example doesn't come to mind.
Will expand on this a little more in a supplemental piece, but he's likely in the 8 to 20 range depending on where you come down on the defensive profile. I would lean closer to 8.
I can see a strong argument for him being a little low. The same, a couple of us (and many in the industry) have a long evaluative history with Rodon, and the 9 appearances totaling just 24 innings in pro ball weren't enough to completely erase that history. If you asked me which of our rankings could look the silliest at this time next year it would likely be Rodon, simply because if he does manage to get everything to click and stick he will be an impact arm almost immediately. We just didn't see enough in the track record to assume that would be the case.
Time will tell! Good question, thanks.
More of a testament to Giolitto's immense upside and the fact that we don't view him as being as far away from contributing as his recent usage might indicate. Thor is a dude, no question.
PECOTA question best left to the gents who are elbows deep in that feature. As far as the prospect team rankings the shortest answer is that we ended up viewing it more as a low-risk solid everyday asset than a higher upside skill position asset. But I do understand the value in the profile and, as I said, buy into him being one of the top 101 prospect eligible talents if your scale is skewed to that skillset (which would also have ripples in our rankings, such as pushing someone like Susuc higher).
Combination of positional value, defensive value (which is slightly different), and some coverage issues that may or may not have a material adverse effect on his offensive performance against major league arms.
He would have been top 150 for sure on my personal list, but does not receive universal love. It's a borderline profile for a lot of folks.
He wasn't in the discussion but I can buy the argument for him being a top 101 type profile.
He was 30 on the midseason top 50, so it was technically a fall from when he was last ranked at BP. The power numbers were a little light for what you'd like to see from a corner outfield bat, for sure. But his contact ability borders on elite and he has demonstrated an ability to make adjustments as he's progressed up the ladder.
To me, the lynchpin question is whether or not he will be successful in working to find the pitches he can drive at the highest level. That's a big "if", so I don't have an issue with others taking a more conservative approach. But it's no small feet to make contact at the clip he does given less-than-special bat speed, and overall it's the type of profile I don't mind rolling the dice on.
Is it contempt for readers or tired one-liners like "I'd like to see the analytical science involved in that one..."?
Peruse the rest of the comments and let me know which is more likely.
Thanks very much for reading; we really appreciate it!
Yup - 19 on the last 101 and 26 on the midseason top 50.
This was a very hotly debated pairing throughout the off-season. Definitely supporters for Norris over Sanchez and vice versa (in-house and among industry contacts). The floor on Sanchez was roughly set as impact late-inning arm and it was enough to tip the scales slightly in his favor. But there are very good arguments for having Norris ahead, for sure. It's a really impressive profile; one of the top prospect lefties in the game.
He was among a grouping of arms in consideration and could rank anywhere in the 75 to 125 range depending on your preferences. We actually had Flaherty as the next Cards' arm with Kaminsky right behind him -- both came up when we were putting this together.
Folty was just on the outside. Peraza's write-up in the Braves Top Ten pretty much sums up the profile and I think his ranking reflects those realities. Candidate to climb.
AND we kept Buxton and Correa in the top five -- are we even trying at this point?
Not even in consideration. I am a fan, but he will have missed almost two full seasons by the time he is back and throwing meaningful innings. Think of him as a college arm that had a solid freshman year then missed his sophomore and junior seasons before getting drafted -- is that a guy you'd expect to see ranked on a list like this?
I tried desperately, but we couldn't push him in (and it was the right move to have him just on the outside). He's getting "just missed" love, don't worry.
It's possible, not probable. 10%
The injuries were a significant set-back for his overall value. Even so, he was right on the outside looking in, and a healthy season will see a very big jump for him. When he's on the field he's a potential top 30 prospect, and you'll find evaluators that would push him even higher than that.
He wasn't far off -- was in a group of 25 or so that dipped in and out during the process but ended up missing the cut.
I'm putting it together right now.
Newcomb was not far on the outside (next fifteen to twenty) -- Albies wasn't really in the discussion.
He was on a couple different variations of the list but missed the cut when Mellen and I finalized.
Some of his struggles can be tied to the wrist, but in general the approach was inconsistent and it was tough to discern to what extent soft contact was coming due to wrist issues (and resultant swing quirks) and to what extent he simply couldn't get the barrel where he needed it.
He'll have an opportunity to get back on track in 2015.
Fits in the 11-15 range but season didn't mesh with On the Rise or Factor on the Farm designation. So he missed out on a full write-up this time around.
He's on the old side (turns 20 this June) and has enough physicality to handle a full season load.
Heaney was #1 on Marlins list. Would have been #4 on Dodgers list.
Gamer, but college product from top tier conference who still hasn't reached Double-A. Players can come on late, but don't let Cal League numbers unfairly inflate your expectations.
Fun but impossible question to answer. But we'll try!
Let's assume only prospects come back. Add two high quality ML ready prospects and two or three more upside kids a few years away. You're left with Heaney plus two more quality ML ready talents, Newcomb/Gatto/Ellis/3 more high ceiling types, a cluster of high floor/low ceiling upper-minors ML contributors/bullpen arms, and a cluster of upside complex level/international kids. Could be a borderline top ten system at that point.
Sanchez would have been #3 or #4; he was jostling with Gatto.
A former BP prospect team member/now pro scout got an early look at Delgado during 2013 instructs and pretty much nailed him in that first look. Upside bat/power, limited defensive profile, and lack of overall feel. Delgado has made some progress as to the latter but still sits as a high risk proposition. It's a long developmental burn, and he has yet to take that first significant step forward. If/when he does, he could build momentum pretty quickly. So, I can say my opinion hasn't really changed on Delgado, but I'm sure there are voices at BP who might be higher on him as the profile currently stands.
Not close to the top ten. He was among the final six or so names in consideration for on the rise. Limited profile, bat speed isn't special, lots of pressure on the power to fully come together. It can work, but I would like to see evidence of that at higher levels before pushing the asset.
I don't take issue with a 60 grade. He was more consistently just below that for me.
Was under very early consideration when I was putting together initial tiers but fell out early in the process.
Ruiz was 6-10 range (I believe 7th) prior to the trade. You'll get a full write-up on him and others (like Folty) who missed out on write-ups due to timing of trades.
Very much so. It isn't flashy, but he's quite refined for his age and is a steady producer in the field. He lacks strength at the plate, and there won't be much incentive for advanced arms to pitch to the margins until he shows he can make them pay. That has the added adverse effect of cutting into his on-base utility. Still lots of time for him to continue to add strength, and it's a big deal to be as far along as he is defensively. I don't necessarily see impact, but it certainly looks like a future major leaguer in some capacity, and an up-the-middle defender to boot.
He has about 2 full seasons' worth of pro at bats under his belt, all of which came as a teenager playing against competition 2, 3, 4 years his senior. It could be that he has a long term issue with splits, or it could be he's still figuring out the lines and which pitches he can and cannot drive against same side arms. Ability to track, understanding of the strike zone, leveraged swing, emerging strength, and good bat speed all add up to a big upside bat, and his overall performance is without question admirable. I like the kid a lot, even with the present warts. Still lots of time for him to continue to log reps and refine.
Part of a meaty 11-20 collection in a deep deep system. Similar to Guzman, sometimes it's just tough for big bodied teens to get a handle on their body. Shine isn't off, but it's a nice reminder that development usually isn't linear and making the jump from raw tools to in-game production is just as hard as you'd think it would be.
To his credit the approach wasn't terrible, but the execution left a lot to be desired. Too much soft contact even when picking out the right pitches to attack. Still tracks well and has an idea as to what he's doing, but he needs to find a comfort zone with respect to the swing. Get it right and the power and on-base are going to come naturally. But he'll never hit his stride if his timing, weight transfer and swing path are in constant flux.
I don't know about underrated -- he's listed as the 9th best prospect in a system that is top 5 in the game or close to it. The swing still comes with holes and inconsistencies, so the upper-levels are going to pose a challenge as he more frequently runs into arms with a better ability to execute a game plan and vary sequencing. It was a good developmental year; if he does it again he's going to establish himself as a premium talent. As it is he's knocking on the door, and ranked as high as sixth on certain iterations of this list do to the built-in value in the glove and speed.
I agree with #Koko -- exactly how I would have explained it.
Both were right there. Gut tells me if Gasparini had been healthy and logged a full (short) season he would have gotten the nod. The quick looks were good looks and at this point most folks know the Starling story.
It still isn't the direction I personally would have gone (if I wanted the upside college arm I would have gone Shipley with the first pick, as I had him comfortably ahead of Manaea and was surprised he was still on the board, and then looked at best available for the comp round pick). That said, the backlash at the time was always over the top and I think everyone has to be pleased with the first full year from Manaea and Dozier.
I think there is a lot to like, and while it wasn't a banner developmental year for a number of the Royals top guys they have interesting talent coming in at the lower-levels to help counter-balance. A mid-tier system right now that could easily be top ten in the game next year with even a solid 2015 on the farm. Don't go looking for bridges to jump off of just yet.
Not a question of "that bad", though it's a little stronger out of pen than later in starts. Bottom line is even 88-92 with the FB (touching higher) and an average SL/CH (which I wouldn't say is a present grade) is going to require precision against major league lineups, and we have around 20 career pro starts to work off of at this point. Not unreasonable to want to see him navigate Double-A lineups with that repertoire before buying in completely, though it was definitely a nice developmental year for him.
It certainly could -- command and consistent execution can get you a long ways, with the latter often being the determinant as to whether or not the command profile can operate at the highest levels with that thin margin for error. Continued success at Double-A will go a long way towards solidifying his prospect status.
Better than expected but buoyed some by rookie league competition. I really like how easily he's able to drive the ball the other way, and comfort and confidence radiate off of him in the box (different story when he's running). There is some hitchiness to the load/launch and even with his strong pro debut we saw hints that soft stuff could be an issue, particularly from same side arms.
I have a potential 5/5 hit/power on it now but expect that will change once he gives us full season looks. Good name to know but will really have to hit as a pure corner profile.
He was actually in consideration for on the rise, but didn't quite make it. Some encouraging signs and many aspects of his game project very well to the major league level. But he's still a step or two away with the bat before I'd feel comfortable saying I think he is on his way to figuring things out. Still hanging in there.
Extra skin on eyelid from birth. Does not negatively impact vision/performance.
Chance for average hit/power/glove; lots of room between current skill set and profile he'll need to be an everyday guy. Upside is legit first division talent.
He fluctuated in and out as I worked through different iterations.
Bird was outside the top ten but a finalist for the On the Rise section. As a general matter scouts liked the arm/frame/presentation and were split as to whether he holds it together at the higher levels. Predominant opinion is future fastball-heavy reliever.
I don't see much of anything in the stats that supports Crick "figuring things out".
Your first/second half stats are broken down by month and not actual halves of the season, right? So what we really have is:
April/May/June -- 54.2 IP, 60 SO, 39 BB
July/August/September -- 35.2 IP, 51 SO, 21 BB
25 BB would have had Crick at the exact same walk ratio. Further, if you break down by game there is no discernible trend, outside of the fact that sometimes Crick could hold it together well enough and other times the wheels would fall off. His walks and innings pitched by appearance over the final three months (which is the evidence you're putting forth as him making progress) look like this:
5 IP / 2 BB
5 IP / 3 BB
6 IP / 1 BB
6 IP / 3 BB
6 IP / 4 BB
1 IP / 1 BB
4 IP / 3 BB
1.2 IP / 4 BB
1 IP / 1 BB
Most importantly, the scouting doesn't back up the idea that Crick made progress throughout the season. As noted in his report, the stuff is loud and is going to miss bats -- especially Double-A bats. But if Eastern League lineups are able to run up counts such that Crick can be often chased early from his starts, it's highly likely big league lineups will do it on the regular.
That's the crux of the issue -- there is neither scouting evidence nor data analysis that points to much progress. As noted in the write-up, I think he can be a valuable asset even if forced to relief, but developmentally 2014 seems to me to be a net neutral year at best for Crick, and I'm not sure there is a strong argument against that view (though I'm more than open to hearing one).
I don't think this is an accurate statement. In order to make that jump you really need to point to the variables that you expect to change in order for improved control and execution (it's not just spotting, it's consistent release so that the pitches do what you expect them to do) to manifest.
With Mejia I can point to firmer physique, natural maturation of the body, arm speed, etc. all as factors that point towards a potential step-up in stuff. What are the factors working in Crick's favor outside of a general "he could figure things out in time"? Do you consider Crick a superior athlete that has demonstrated above-average body control or an ability to implement tweaks in his mechanics without throwing other aspects out of balance? Have there been incremental improvements in the repetition and fluidity of his motion that indicate he's trending in the right direction? Those are important considerations.
Still in a "wait and see" pattern on Carbonell. AFL reports weren't great, but it's probably not worth putting too much stock in that small sample, particularly given the whirlwind summer he had. Likewise, the numbers were nice in San Jose, but came with concerns on the evaluative side that the swing would not necessarily play against better velocity and sequencing. Would probably fit in the 16-25 range for me right now.
Webb saw a spike in stuff this spring, then regressed after signing and wasn't overly impressive in the summer or fall. If he can get back to where he was in April/May, it's definitely an arm of interest.
Woods is a longer lead developmental case, as a limby big man that will require reps on reps to get his motion to the point where he's uncorking his stuff with uniformity. Upside guy that will probably be eased into the pro game and could emerge in 2016.
Austin Slater was a toss-up with Ysla for that third spot "On the Rise", and is a bat worth keeping an eye on. Good feel for contact and could move quickly, though the ceiling is limited. Seems like another future MLB contributor that will plug a whole at some point, and folks will ask "Why didn't this guy get more prospect love?"
It's a good question -- the body was certainly soft throughout the season, and tightening things up should aid in his working towards finding mechanics that he can repeat more consistently. Further, as the body continues to mature there is room for the stuff to take a step forward across the board. It's still a projection case, but with enough present feel that it's worth getting excited about. The suspension throws a wrinkle into things, but maybe that off-field time can be devoted to conditioning/prep work and Mejia can treat this as a reset button to kick-off the final half of his minor league development.
Just wash't enough to go on to force his way into the top 10. I like the profile, but now we're waiting until 2015 for him to get his first taste of the upper minors, as a 25 year old. It's too bad he's missing this developmental time. If he swings it in the Eastern League like he did in the Cal League, I'm pretty confident he'll be a top 10 guy next year.
I think you can make a strong case for Susac at number 1 right now, given Crick's struggles and Mejia's suspension. From Susac's write-up:
"a pretty strong case could be made for Susac as the top prospect in the system"
Beede doesn't really belong in the conversation -- at present he's essentially Crick, six months younger, without the same raw stuff, without a track record of missing bats at multiple pro levels, and without proven durability.
The delta between Crick and Mejia is very small right now, and there is enough uncertainty with each that I could argue either way. The number ranking is aesthetics -- don't get overly hung up on it. The meat and import is in the write-up, and I'd be excited as a fan to have either in my system.
Really nice of you to say. Thanks very much.
I think this is an instance where there can by diverging views, primarily because the stat sheet and the scouting aren't fully in unison. It's absolutely noteworthy that McMahon was able to produce as he did. The same, there are not insignificant contact issues and particularly against same side arms and spin.
Considering the pedigree, a "breakout" for me personally would be the type of showing that unquestionably places him into that top tier of prospects in the game, and I think there were enough questions relating to the swing, as well as some physiological uncertainties relating to how the body finishes filling in and how that will impact the defensive profile, for McMahon to remain more a projection case than established stud. I wouldn't fault anyone who has already fully bought in, though. There is a whole lot to like and good reason to be optimistic.
ETA should be 2015 -- thanks.
His stock hasn't evaporated, but keep in mind he was shut down again in May and didn't resume throwing until this fall. The hope is he shows up next spring ready to go, giving us all an updated look and better idea as to which direction the profile is pointing moving forward.
Not much to report. Missed most of this year hoping to avoid surgery, then had Tommy John in August. That means he'll miss most of next year and about 20 months worth of developmental time altogether. Remains a high upside arm, but absolutely no way to know what he is at this point. We likely won't see worthwhile innings from him until 2016.
It was actually supposed to be high/wasted...dude likes to party...
I have those reports mostly written and we'll be folding them into a Top 10 supplement that will cover the players who have switched orgs and missed consideration for lists.
Name (OFP/Likely OutcomeRisk) - Quick hit
Ross (6 no.3/5 no.4/Moderate) - Good progress w/SL but lacks pitch to change eye level
Eflin (6 no.3/5 no.4/Moderate) - Lacks flash but solid repertoire and should eat innings
Smith (High 5 above-average CF/High 4 4th OF w/ pinch run utility/High) - despite Cal showing still questions if he'll hit
J. Peterson (5 ML regular/High 4 UTL/Low) - Enough stick to play everyday/versatility added value to 25-man
D. Peterson (High 5 above-average 3B/High 4 corner UTL INF/OF/High) - long lead upside bat; tracks oppo arms better at present
"Most glowing scouting reports are due to lack of competition/scouting"
I think this is only true if you are asking for a scouting report to be something it is not intended to be (notwithstanding the fact you and I may have a different opinion as to what constitutes "glowing").
I think that's right, and to expand some this is the reason we work to build a strong narrative in the Stregths/Weaknesses/Year Ahead sections -- the grades attempt to set the four corners of the profile and the narrative paints you the picture housed within. I like that approach and think it works.
I think the picture is adequately blurred such that "wait and see" is the appropriate, if not wholly interesting, approach at this point. Never say never, but I'm not sure he should be counted upon for significant contributions at this point.
Potential indicates there is evaluative reason to believe a player has the capacity to grow a tool to a certain level. This isn't a blanket hedge that a player "could get better", it's a targeted examination of characteristics of a profile that give reason to believe that there is a substantive reason to believe the improvement will occur.
As to actual grades versus potential, we'll consider for next year. I think for the most part the narrative of the write-up gives a pretty clear picture as to who the player is now, what he might be, and what the variables are that could affect outcome. But if the preference is for a now grade just have something tangible to point to it certainly doesn't hurt anything. I do wonder as to the utility of assigning a "now" grade to players 2/3/4 years away, but even if it doesn't add anything it certainly doesn't hurt.
He could arrive earlier than 2017. I don't know that it's a foregone conclusion he'll skip Modesto in 2015 after only about a month's worth of ABs at that level thus far. Talented enough to force the issue, though.
The OFP drop is probably more notable (though not unusual for low-minors, tools profiles). The glove didn't progress as much as expected, which played into the future projection. In the grand scheme it's a small tweak, and a High 6 vs 7 isn't a huge distinction when we're talking about a player who is still two-plus years away.
Bat speed plays and is readily evident in his ability to catch-up to velocity as well as the surprising pop he generates. Barrel stays on plane for a long time -- I believe in his ability to hit his way to the Bigs.
It's a very slight adjustment from last year that shouldn't be read as a negative turn. As noted in the write-up, Tapia comes by his impressive contact in an unorthodox manner, and I gave a nudge more weight to the conservative evaluations who feel Tapia is walking a tightrope with his aggressive approach and could be exploited some when he faces arms better able to disrupt his timing.
If nothing changes but the level of competition and age -- same swing, same approach, same results -- I'll feel more comfortable going harder on the 7 at this time next year.
Definitely not a nitpick; good questions. Thanks for reading.
Later in the year for game action.
I think Lamb has a chance to win and hold the third base job, so the question will be whether or not he can 1) figure out same side arms, and 2) put together a strong enough approach to overcome the deficiencies in his swing that leave him too often empty in the zone.
Drury is a very nice player, but he's not a sure thing either. Appraisals of his glove range from "I think he'll be able to handle third or second" to "I don't like it, but he probably won't kill you" to "I'd be shocked if he's not at first base within the next three or four years".
I think there is time to let things play out, and maybe Drury proves capable at second and the DBacks end-up with both in the lineup come 2016/17.
It's hard to project without the benefit of knowing how well he'll adjust to the MLB game, but pressed I'd say 4 hit, 6 potential power (playable). It's definitely a riskier proposition than Cespedes/Puig/Abreu, since he doesn't have the same level of tools as Cedpedes/Puig and he isn't as physical as Abreu.
To be clear, he wasn't considered for the rankings, as noted in the article, due to his professional experience and likely jump to the major league level.
Big body, big arm. Young enough to still straddle the line between future starter and future reliever. "Velo only" is too strong a statement, but the curve and the change both lag developmentally. Heater can kiss upper-90s but is more 91 to 94 with regularity at present with some life.
Uses size to advantage and drives ball downhill at his best. Control well below average; needs reps on reps to get the mechanics in sync and to start seeing more uniformity in his execution. Definitely an interesting arm to keep an eye on. I'd expect he'll spend some time in Hillsboro and maybe Kane County next year.
As I'm sure you know Arizona tried shifting him to right field to help get his bat going in the Midwest League, but he didn't take to the swap and was shifted back behind the plate upon demotion to the Pioneer League. The overall game looked better in short-season ball, and the feeling seems to be that Trahan is just plain more comfortable in his skin when he's behind the plate. So, as of right now the Diamondbacks are going to continue to work with him there (he showed some progress between the end of the year and fall instructs, which is encouraging).
The power is legit, but he has some quirks in his load and trigger, and the bat isn't particularly smooth through the zone. So you get a lot of swing and miss, but also a lot of hard contact when he does square it up. He's definitely a name you need to keep tabs on, and were I in another org I would jump at the opportunity to try and buy low on him if the opportunity ever arose. As an aside, Trahan has had the misfortune of having to deal with some tough off-field stuff dating back to his draft year, so evaluators with a deep history with the player seem more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. But 2015 is going to be very important, developmentally.
He was in the 7-9 range prior to being traded.
Ha! I read "meteoric". My guess is editing did too. Embarrassingly I did not know meteoritic was a word (simply have never had a reason to use it or know it). Good stuff!
Urena -- With Barreto out of the system and at the same level the door opens back up for him to continue to work at short. Solid progress this year with a chance to breakout in full season ball. Needs to prove non-traditional swing will continue to play.
Tellez -- see above
Boyd -- Too advanced for High A and numbers showed. He won't miss this many bats as he continues to move up the ladder, but can throw strikes with all four offerings and has a little bit of deception, so it's a potential starter profile in spite of pedestrian pure stuff. Otherwise, he'll provide some value in the pen as a swing-type.
Borucki -- Solid progress coming off of TJ surgery. Quality FB/CH and progressing breaker. Whippy arm and has done well to make mechanical adjustments to reduce effort/stress. Back on track as a potential starter; we'll have a better idea as to reasonable upside/probability when we see the Jays allow him to hang more innings on the arm.
Jansen -- One of the few prep players from my neck of the woods! Good year of rookie level ball. It's a nice snapshot of the upside, which is solid power and average glove at a high-value position. We know he's used to the dreary Midwest weather so that shouldn't shock him when he tackles full-season ball. I like the approach but don't get ahead of the profile solely based on the numbers. Still a cold-weather kid who hasn't been challenged with regular advanced stuff at any point in his amateur/pro career, so a lot of risk here. Definite player to watch, though.
Hollon -- TJ this summer. Good luck Clint!
2014 production aside, it's still a very long shot. He doesn't have a natural feel to hit (more technically sound), and everything is going to be tied to power because he doesn't run well and he needs to put enough pressure on the pitching to force arms to work the perimeter of the zone in order to build the on-base profile via walks. Interesting name for the database, but not worth hitching your wagon until we see him do it consistently in full season ball. Just isn't enough foundational value to warrant more attention than that.
I wouldn't say lost cause. You watch him and get flashes of what a quality finished product could look like, and it's still impressive. But there is a lot of work to be done on all sides of the ball, and perhaps most importantly he needs to come up with 1) a plan at the plate, and 2) a much better ability to ID and lay-off spin. The speed will get him some extra hits (and bases) along the way, but there isn't anywhere near enough quality contact at this point. Just turned 20 this year so still time. Next year will be important.
Big issue is the fact that the power hasn't started to manifest in-game with any impact. He's choppy at third, so the bat really needs to be plowing the prospect road for him, and while he was solid for Lansing (in my looks this year) he wasn't a standout with the stick. Some plate coverage issues (limited "hard contact" zones), lacked natural lift, and didn't handle velocity particularly well. Not a lost cause, but not tons of visible growth in his game this year, either.
Apologies if you were joking (tough to detect tone on the internet). Obviously, "meteoric" as generally used relates to the speed/brightness of a meteor, and not it's trajectory. Just to be sure I'll quick search...
"resembling a meteor in speed or in sudden and temporary brilliance "
I think those are valid concerns. The good news is that the stuff is good enough for him to grow into a legit shut-down reliever if the command precludes turning over MLB lineup two or three times. He's a major league contributor in some form, without question. And even if it's relief it can be a multiple-win contribution year in and year out. I guess risk, as a concept, is relative. If you think in terms of proximity and probability that he will provide major league value, the risk is close to nil.
I'm tied-up this afternoon but will spin through comments and respond this evening -- promise! Thanks for reading and for all of the questions!
He was a late cut due to Justin Williams's addition. The hit tool is major league caliber but evaluators were less bullish on the pop playing at the highest level. .280ish average at peak with gap power and potential to provide value on the bases and needs to rein in aggressiveness some. Potential solid contributor but still straddling line as to whether he projects to every day profile.
The less damning appraisal would be that Tampa stressed ceiling over probability once they were a successful MLB club and drafting later in the process. There is no question that the draft and develop process has not yielded a great deal of fruit over the past few seasons.
See above discussion re: Ball -- could make an argument across that 11-20 range.
Mellen will provide further detail later, I'm sure. Ball remains an upside play thanks to a decent developmental foundation, projectable frame, and room for growth in his three offerings. Evaluator's didn't love what they saw in his first full season, but it's far to early to panic and there is a lot to like about a projectable lefty that has flashed plus velocity and an impressive curve in the past. It will take time for him to build-up strength and find more consistency in his mechanics -- as he does the stuff will progress and we'll get a clearer view as to a likely outcome for the profile. Depending on your evaluative history with the player he could slot in pretty much across that 11-20 range.
Mellen and I have had an ongoing dialogue about our mutual affection for Bogaerts for a few years now, and even with Betts's incredible breakout I think I can speak for Mellen in saying we still favor that profile over Betts at present, even viewing through the 2014 lens. Moore is certainly correct that you can find strong opinions on both sides of that coin, and in Al's write-up he notes how close of a call it was for him when constructing the 25U.
In the end, I wouldn't read too much into the Betts/Bogaerts ranking other than both are really good young players. Someone has to be #1, and I think Al's framing of that discussion lays out a logical argument for having Betts slightly higher as of today.
Yes, that's correct. Thanks, Sam. My inartfully expressed point was that those names were miscast as foundational talents in the middle of a competitive lineup, and that Tomas was a potential improvement to that collection.
FYI, I have not double-checked but was told yesterday evening through NL East/NL Central we are at 70 players with OFP listed at 6 or higher, compared to 71 last year.
I think what you're hoping for is .290/.365/.445 type of output, which is light on power for right field (based on 2014 and 2012-14 output for the position in NL) but above average in hit/on-base utility. High side production comp not dissimilar from what Jayson Werth produced this past season (I don't expect the on-base to be THAT good and I don't expect the power to play that well, but it's the quick/dirty stat comp that jumped to mind).
I haven't specifically looked at a side-by-side comparison of each list, but am generally cognizant of what we wrote last year and do try to note when the official BP stance (articulated in the rankings vehicles) seems to have changed significantly as to a particular player. I don't believe there has been any such shift, but I'll take a closer look and respond in this space later this evening.
Just looking at STL right now (since I have it open in front of me, 2014 has a lower OFP for Piscotty and Kelly, Gonzalez and Reyes are the same, Kaminsky saw a half grade bump, and the rest are new to the list.
He did a much better job of quieting his delivery and repeating. Very high praise from evaluators as to his progress on that front, and the chance for him to really explode if he continues to make progress as to off-field preparation, conditioning, etc. It's an electric profile that could be scary if everything comes together, and the progress made in 2014 (after early season disappointments in particular) is a big deal.
The organization likes him, and I think evaluators in general believe this is an interesting profile, but everyone seems to want a longer look before pushing in on backing the profile. He was highlighted by industry contacts as a name to consider for "On the Rise" but always with the qualifier "but I completely understand wanting to wait and see more before pushing him". He could certainly take off in 2015, and maybe that makes his omission in this article look like a miss next year, but we can only work with what we see on the field and with opinions we're able to get trusted evaluators to stand behind.
Also, it's worth noting he's in part a victim of the Cardinals having no shortage of interesting names to cover in this type of article. In a weaker system he probably would have received mention with a bunch of "buyer beware" language sprinkled throughout the write-up.
I don't think there's been a large shift -- Mellen and I were always very much on the same page with respect to previous years' rankings, and we had a loud voice in the process, which I'd like to think helped shape those rankings. This year's lists still have the Gleyber Torres/Gilbert Lara/Amed Rosario/Reynaldo Lopez types, and I'd argue Flaherty's prominent placement on this list (or Carson Sands's inclusion in the top 10 with a deep Cubs system) is every bit as aggressive as some of the rankings BP has rolled out in previous years. I think it comes down to a case-by-case examination of the particular profile, as well as the comparative assets in the system vying for top 10 shine.
Anna was signed to a major league deal and accordingly added to the 40 man. I imagine he'll have a chance to contribute in a back-up/utility capacity for St Louis in 2015 depending on how the rest of the off-season/spring shakes out.
It was a net neutral developmental year for Bryan. Tools are still there, but evaluators were generally underwhelmed by the lack of in-game power (his speed did help him tally solid 2b/3b totals which buoyed his ISO) and overall feel, particularly on the bases. He's still a name to watch and retains his impact upside, but there wasn't a compelling reason to continue to push that upside in light of the limited growth overall over the past calendar year.
If he stays healthy he could definitely be more than that. Strong showing in Triple-A this year coming off shoulder surgery and has lots of electricity in his game. Hopefully he stays on the field next year and St. Louis can give him some major league reps to get a better idea as to the extent to which they can rely upon him moving forward.
Evaluators in and out of the organization were very pleased with his AFL showings, but the general consensus still seems to be "wait and see". He received consideration for both On the Rise and Factors on the Farm when he was eligible.
Jeff definitely had a lot of positive things to say about Parra. Ultimately there wasn't enough consistency in stuff or execution to warrant mention in the article at this point. It's debatable whether he'll get a chance to step all the way up to the Midwest League next summer, as the word seems to be he's more likely to continue to work with the dev staff in extended and make a run at the short-season ball. He's an interesting arm to know but not one of the top 10 talents in the system at this point.
2014 draftee Ronnie Williams is probably the arm more likely to push his way through the system quickly. Very strong reports on his progress in pro ball, and there is good arm strength, a feel for secondaries, and low mileage thus far. He was a very late cut for the On the Rise section.
That's a comment written by Bret with respect to fantasy baseball value. The rankings are "real world" valuations of the players, including (among other things) defensive value.
Defensive value is a big component in evaluation, without question. With guys this far out, a lot also depends on the extent to which you think progress will reasonably come in the various areas of concern. Aquino plays a more valuable position without question, but is not at present, and it's questionable if he projects to be, an impact talent with the glove.
A case can be made, but I think you need to hang it on Stephenson's lack of progression in the "feel" department. On pure natural upside and track record, Stephenson was a comfortable step ahead.
LaValley is a little more comfortable in the box with natural bat-to-ball and ability to work across the field, and has yet to really be exposed to advanced pro instruction and reps. Aquino is a very, very interesting talent that took a nice step forward this year, and has a higher upside, but the approach is a little less refined and it's a little more difficult to anticipate growth in that area.
There's a strong case for Aquino over LaValley, without question. The case for LaValley is that once the mechanics are cleaned-up a little and he works into a pro routine with respect to conditioning and strength training, his natural bat speed will play up more in games and his natural bat-to-ball and strike zone awareness will be more fully leveraged.
It's a big hurdle either way, but I preferred the "harder to teach" feel LaValley has, even if it comes in a non-traditional package, because I believe there's a solid chance he is able to make the mechanical tweaks necessary and natural physical maturation will take care of a lot.
Good thoughts. I think you can get a pretty solid feel for an evaluators likes/dislikes by having them express thoughts about the Reds system.
The college reliever to pro starter conversion approach is interesting. It seems like the Reds have the right idea as far as the type of profiles you peg for that sort of conversion, but there's that ever-present question as to "what does this 'wow' 9th inning collegiate stuff look like over 5 professional innings every five days?" It's nice to have that late-inning reliever safety net sort of built into the profile, for sure. But you do wonder how many of the conversions will ultimately be successful?
I don't think he's necessarily relegated to 4A status -- there is definitely growth and developmental progress being made and he's doing a better job of getting to his raw power in-game and learning what pitches he can drive. The big issue is he really has difficulty with same side arms, and particularly making *good* contact against lefties, and he's limited to a corner in the outfield. So he has a chance to be a contributor with the big club, be it's most likely as a bench/platoon bat with an outside shot that he makes enough progress against lefties to put together average everyday production.
Not near top 10. Should stay a starter at minimum to log more innings and continue to develop and has chance to stick if he 1) proves durable enough, and 2) achieves enough consistency to make a decent base of secondaries work. Whole game needs refinement and, most importantly, innings/reps.
First seven MLB games:
28 PA, .533/.563/1.267, 3 HR, 21% (SO/PA)
Last 17 MLB games:
69 PA, .222/.261/.397, 2 HR, 26% (SO/PA)
Evaluators, and the numbers, agree that Soler failed to adjust to big league arms after his first handful of games where he was primarily tested with fastballs. Once arms began working him away and relying more heavily on spin and offspeed his strikeout rate rose, his linedrive and flyball rates dropped, and his ground ball rate shot up as he continually rolled over balls and made soft contact.
I think he'll make adjustments, but thanks to an incredible first three games in the bigs general fan expectations have outdistanced the skill set a bit. He's graded out as a likely above-average regular with all-star upside. If you think that's underselling him then I think maybe your expectations are outdistancing the skill set a bit, too.
I'm confused by the comment. Of the rankings that have posted BP has been aggressive at the expense of safety in a number of instances, including with lower-level talent.
Talent evaluators are paid to give as accurate an assessment of a player as they can. I believe that's what BP is doing, and based on discussions with front office personnel and on-the-ground pro/amateur scouts I believe our work product is consistent with the efforts being put forth within the industry itself.
Sale for Betts may not be crazy considering cost/control and the fact that you have an impressive MLB debut (spanning over 50 games and 180 PA) to work with. How about apples-to-apples if we are talking about assigning value (anchored by risk) with prospects?
After 2013 Betts had enjoyed a breakout year between Low and High A while Chris Sale finished fifth in Cy Young voting and had four years of team control left prior to extension. Are you trading your top five Cy Young vote getter, who is cheap and under control for four more years, for the High A breakout second baseman with 200 low minors games to his resume?
Coming at it from a slightly different angle...
The hypothetical "perfect" scouting report would have one number -- this is what the player will be, and you should value this player based on this number. Because we deal with a significant number of variables in the prospecting world, that is an unreasonable expectation, so our framework allows for identifying a player's potential and a likely outcome for the player. The more those numbers diverge, the further we move from the "ideal" of one perfect number that completely encapsulates the player and perfectly predicts his future. Sometimes circumstance forces that variance wider than you'd generally like, but whenever possible you try to narrow that range of potential outcomes to the point that you are comfortable assigning some form of value to the profile that can used comparatively.
The further you move up the scale the more important and potentially impactful that player becomes. The more frequently you assign high grades that are not realized, the less weight those grades can reasonably carry in the future when you are comparing players. It's a terrible thing to make a 7 (or wow an 8) less meaningful than it should be. Those numbers should jump off the page and scream "come acquire me" or "whatever you do don't trade me unless you're getting a whole lot back in return." If you are realistically conservative in your evaluations you can be confident you are alerting your audience (be it readers or your boss in the front office) that this is a player they without question need to pay attention to. The more liberal you are with your grades, the greater risk you run that your audience will not know what you *really* mean when you hand out that seven.
I'm not sure how to restate the point. Your last sentence, to me, indicates a misunderstanding as to what these numbers are supposed to represent. There generally shouldn't be a huge difference between OFP and realistic outcome. If there is, it's almost because of a large number of unknowns and to-be-determined variables that are difficult to project, and you almost exclusively run into that with younger players with whom there is limited evaluative history.
If I tell you that a player's OFP is a 7, but the realistic outcome is way down at a 5, how is that useful? Ideally I would never have that broad a spread -- and if I did, again, it would because of a huge number of unknowns. I mean, couldnt we just say every prospect above a certain point will be somewhere between all-star and average and call it a day? Further, if you have a player who profiles as a potential perennial all-star, but is realistically just an average major leaguer, what is that player worth? What does that player even look like outside of a projection-based teenager?
Perhaps more importantly, what is the narrative that explains those different outcomes (one based on potential and one based on likelihood)? There is a LOT that separates a future no. 1/2 from a likely no. 4/5. Think about the impact of working off of reports that generally had that type of spread. How do you value that player when trading him, or trading for him? When looking at your 25-man one, two, three years into the future, how is that report helping you to understand what your needs might be, and what holes this player might reasonably fill?
I guess I'm just not seeing the issue you are highlighting. It takes a lot to make a number one starter and history tells us they simply don't come along very often. It doesn't strike me as odd that you might have only one or two arms in all of the minors that present a developmental road you can logically follow to a number one starter outcome. And I'm not sure how having a large pile of "potential" number ones, many or most of which end-up back-end or bullpen arms, is doing any better job of telling the story of those particular profiles. I don't see the utility in that type of approach aside from raising expectations past reasonable levels.
That's really the heart of it. Looking at Player X, knowing what you know about that specific player, all similar player profiles from the past, and more broadly any relevant info relating to past players at the position/age/experience level/etc., what's the real world "potential" (things go well, he good be as good as this ________). Now, what's a realistic outcome (he addresses these areas of concerns, but these other areas are less likely to be addressed, and he ends up as this _________).
Those are the two numbers we are talking about.
I disagree as to your take on the process itself. OFP isn't intended to be "everything possible breaks right" projection -- if that were the case it would lose all meaning. OFP is intended to be a number assigned to a player's potential anchored to the realities of the profile. Based on what we are working with, the end product could be this good...
When calculating OFP, that "potential" is limited by the realities of the risk profile. Risk profiles for young arms weigh down OFP as a rule, which is the juxtaposition I was addressing. The young arms tend to have the most room for developmental strides, allowing for that big growth in their skill set, but they also have significantly more questions tied to them (on average) than an arm throwing at Double-A or Triple-A. The physically projectable complex level arm throwing in the low-90s has a lot more room to add velo (generally) than the Double-A arm throwing the same velo but maxed-out physically. But the complex league arm hasn't demonstrated any ability to navigate a full season, log regular starts every fifth day, or utilize a broad arsenal against advanced bats.
I would argue that ignoring those risks and focusing on the potential upside is borderline useless. What good is assigning an OFP if you don't actual think there's a chance the player gets there? The point is to give an upside opinion (this is an outcome that I could see coming to be) and a more practical opinion (considering the areas of improvement will likely not all be addressed, and taking into account other variables based on history, similar past players, etc., this is a reasonable expectation to have).
It isn't about hedging, it's about presenting a complete picture of a player. The reality is that prospects are not major league ready impact assets (with a very few examples every once in a while). There is *something* that has to happen between present skill set and future major league reality. That likelihood of that *something* happening is what helps us figure out what the major league reality could be. The better the raw materials you are working with, the more impressive the potential major league profile. But that profile needs to be tied to reality based on a player's overall profile and the volume of data we have in general when it comes to evaluating prospects on the whole.
OFP will never be a certainty, but it should at least be a number you are willing to stand behind with some confidence. The fact is that most pitchers don't possess a profile, risks and all (general and specific), that easily lend themselves to a high level of confidence.
I guess I'll also note that we are only through the NL East and part of the NL Central, and you might find that things aren't as bunched as you might think. But there are supposed be more fives than sixes, more sixes than sevens, etc. We aren't actively shaping that breakdown as we work through the systems, but it's a reality I fully expect to see reflected in the numbers when all is said and done.
The number of potential #1s (skill set based) at the lower levels is much larger than the number of prospects that still show that potential further along the developmental path, at which point warts start to appear and injuries crop up.
Further, it's tough to get that no. 1 tab the further you are from the bigs due to risk/probability. Combine those factors and you get a situation where very few profiles actually warrant no. 1 hyping.
There's a school of thought that says no.1 labels can't even be earned until an arm has shown an ability to do it at the major league level. When you think about the difference between turning over a Triple-A lineup and turning over an MLB lineup, then doing it over 30+ starts, it not such a crazy thought...
Evaluators skewed bearish on Hanson. Physical tools still there but not a lot of believers that it will actually come together. He shuffled around a fair amount in the back half of the rankings but ultimately there just wasn't enough industry support or internal support at BP to justify a higher spot
Just the added risk tied to Taillon's surgery. Regaining feel might be a challenge and command/control/consistency was already a bugaboo. So if we were to parse "moderate risk" then the snapshot would have Taillon closer to high-moderate as of today.
It's posting Friday -- apologies for the confusion. There was some shuffling in the rankings after updated reports came in and I didn't get fully through the re-writes until yesterday. Final piece is with editing, so you'll definitely see it up next. Thanks for your patience!
He's not an aesthetically pleasing player, so it's tough to find ardent support from the pro scouting ranks. Since his game is strength-based and he lacks in athleticism and fluidity, he'll need to prove capable as he rises through the ranks before solidifying his prospect value. Production is production, so the hope is that Coulter is firmly back on track and can let his production speak for itself moving forward.
The upside is huge, no doubt. His game is still raw, however, and the Brewers will likely (and appropriately) allow him to progress slowly at first until he proves he is without question ready to be challenged. There is plenty of time for him to build the skill set before being tossed into the fire.
So snark isn't really my thing in comment section discussions, but...
Regarding Russell vs. Baez, I don't believe that statement is accurate -- certainly not to the extent you claim (among pro evaluators, at least). I'll say I could understand someone making the argument for Baez over Russell, but I don't personally agree based on where each stands today.
Also, I'm pretty sure your parenthetical statement is outdated, as well (but I can't be sure since I work here at BP). Might want to double-check your back-up. Try searching "midseason rankings" instead of using those that came out last winter -- things sometimes change with prospects.
Regarding Castro, I am not sure I understand the actual complaint. Castro was "dismissed" with a #2 ranking on the 25U list?
I don't think the rankings are surprising at all, agreed. It's at least interesting that you could whiff so mightily, and with such confidence, on your complaints. Yikes...
We'll put the post-trade stuff on our "to do" list and, most likely, publish a couple pieces this off-season that cover updates across multiple lists. Thanks!
He's not a good outfielder, even by left field standards. Passable, but not giving you positive value so the glove isn't making-up for any other shortcomings in the profile.
It works. Glove first with feel for contact. Arcia has a little more projection in his offensive game but both at same stage faced similar issues relating to focusing approach to be more selectively aggressive to 1) help on-base ability and 2) increase frequency of hard contact.
Gatewood's struggles during his pro debut and during fall instructs would have been easier to overlook had we not seen this same struggles dating back to summer 2013. It's impact potential, maybe as a middle-of-the-order third baseman or right fielder, but his swing has regressed from his junior year of high school ball and there hasn't been enough progress since then to warrant a high ranking. Even evaluators who thought he was a good pick where he went were in wait-and-see mode. Lot's of clean-up; if he starts to address the swing issues we'll hopefully see him On the Rise next year or even in the top 10 discussion. As of today he's maybe a 16-20 type guy in the system.
With that kind of raw power there is always a chance for enough value to carve a spot out somewhere on a 25-man, but the swing-and-miss is a real problem. Further, he's not particularly comfortable in the box and the game doesn't come naturally to him. If there was another aspect to the skill set that could be a solid positive contributing force to a big league club I think it would be easier to accept the shortcomings. But at this point, it's mostly shortcomings with impressive raw power and one of the best bodies you'll see.
No real consideration; great raw power but still figuring things out and a lot of risk he never gets to that power consistently in game action. Limited defensive/baserunning value, as well. Org guy right now but plenty of time for him to make developmental progress over the next three to four years.
It's big raw power, without question. I see the power production falling closer to plus-plus than truly elite, but the right adjustments could see him reach that elusive "8".
Impact may be a bit heavy, but he could be an asset. Without a more consistent breaking ball he'll need to tighten up his fastball command in the zone. It plays a little loose now, which could leave him susceptible to regular hard contact at the major league level.
Arm plays in right for sure, but "older" is being kind. Fun year for a prospect who's value bounced around in college and hadn't done much prior to this year. But it's likely still just an org guy.
Might be finally time to let go of that dream.
I think it makes sense to keep running him out as a starter provided it doesn't lead to increased risk of injury. It's a delicate balance, and I'm sure the Cubs will take the appropriate factors into consideration. The good news is he should be a useful piece regardless of ultimate role.
I actually have Caratini as an above-average arm with industry support for a plus grade, dating back to his time at Miami-Dade. There was a focus at fall instructs on putting the catchers through their paces, so the org is definitely working to figure out the long term solution with plenty of candidates in the pipeline (though as you point out there isn't a slam dunk favorite at this point given proximity/experience/refinement).
I'd think the Cubs could explore outside options as a bridge to whichever asset best develops over the next two or three years.
As to Caratini specifically, he'll hit, could be adequate or better defensively, and the catch-and-throw should play, but he's still a good two or three years away and the entire game needs growth.
For me, Derek Hill (DET) would slot right around Schwarber; Sean Newcomb (LAA) would probably slot right behind Torres.
You hit most of the big points. Depending on how you view/project secondaries there is an argument for Sands or Underwood as having more upside in that department. For me, I like Sands's feel, steady growth, projection, and ability to quickly integrate suggested changes into his game and implement pro instruction despite limited exposure.
Underwood has definitely gotten things back on track, which is great. He didn't miss the top ten by much at all, and will take another step forward with more consistency in those secondaries and in his command.
Once we start looking to next year's process we will be examining the whole process from nuts to soup in looking for potential improvements. We'll definitely keep this suggestion in mind; thanks!
Jimenez might give you a little more to dream on, but Torres's higher floor has somehow given rise to a narrative in the public space that he's a lower-upside play. There's legit impact in the profile and I may even be selling the glove short a little simply because he's so far from physical maturity that I don't fully buy the range effectively playing to and through the margins when all is said and done. But he looks good on the dirt at present and there's a real chance to see sixes on the hit, glove, and arm. Russell's tools were louder at the same stage, but Torres is similar in that he's working with a broad set of skills that could likewise allow him to provide value on all sides. I like this kid a lot.
The reports were largely consistent with what we've come to expect for Edwards. The stuff stands out as impressive, but it's tough to project him maintaining it over the long haul of a major league season. Worked into the mid-90s with the fastball and breaker showed shape and bite. The door is not closed on him starting by any means, but he hasn't given evaluators ample reason to believe that is a likely outcome.
Tseng would fit comfortably in the next ten prospects as a high floor back-end type arm. There isn't much projection left in the body or the stuff, so while he handled Low A admirably there are serious questions as to how the stuff will play at the upper-levels. The fastball might play a tick above-average thanks to his command, but there isn't really a putaway offering here for Tseng to hang a mid-rotation hat on.
I don't believe the BP staff as a whole was hyping Tseng this year. Though there were one or two prospect team members advocating for him to slot in somewhere in the article, he was never really close to making the top ten cut, and lacked the impact or room for projection to slot into the On the Rise section.
It's fun to finally roll this series out. Ryan and Doug do great work and this is a natural fit with the rest of the rankings content. Glad you like it!
Sorry, should have been High 5/High 4.
I believe he was a High 5/High, low risk profile; made several iterations of the list before the article was finalized and published.
Cecchini likely needs the bat to play-up, given his limited defensive impact, for the profile to reach everyday caliber at shortstop. He's likely a better fit at second base where the glove, range, and arm all play a little better. It's not a foregone conclusion the Barbe product will fall short of a first-division future, but there's a fair amount of work to be done to get him to that point. Fortunately, there's no real reason to rush him, and the Mets have enough invested in his development that he's certain to get every opportunity to prove his worth as he rises the ladder.
Mellen is probably the better person to answer as far as direct comparative questions (using the Tocci writeup above), since he had the privilege/responsibility of thoroughly cross-checking everything, in addition to actually producing the ranking and the write-ups for this organization. Since that process is what produced the "5+" in question he'd be best suited to explain where Quinn would be comparatively.
For me personally, I think Quinn is a 4+ hit tool with a risk it settles lower. The approach and bat-to-ball provide a decent sized delta between present ability and the level it would need to be to qualify as average at the major league level. That said, he has speed on his side and there is a low bar for "average for center field" production. Not the number I'm betting on, but I don't begrudge evaluators willing to back the profile on spec. Tools are always enticing and he certainly has the ability to flash tools.
There is a tentative order (which I believe is going to be released soon). Might be some audibles called, but it's roughly worst to best record NL East through West then AL East through West.
I think there are parallels in the profiles as far as risk, but they aren't uniform. To me, ultimately, you're looking at two "likely outcome" 4th outfield/bench types. I don't have an issue with someone feeling strongly about preferring one profile to the other.
Is there reason to believe that with two further years of development/maturation Tocci might look better than Quinn today? Is there risk inherent in looking for added strength when the body may not profile to hold much more pure bulk? Is power reliant on physicality or is there adequate ISO floor provided the swing allows for XB-skewed contact and the batter is strong enough to keep arms honest? It's all a part of the calculus and there are a lot of ways to slice it up and look at the individual parts.
For me it's as simple as the offensive profile being a bit light, the presence of contact issues, and the fact that he was limited in action this year due to the Achilles. I could see him in the Top 10 next year with a strong showing and some refinement on the offensive side. I'd also grant that you can make a case for him being a Top 10 guy this year depending on how willing you are to buy into his game on spec.
Ultimately what we are buying and selling are risk profiles and upside. For me to buy into Quinn as an unquestionable Top 10 guy I need to believe the foundational value (value that is inherent to his profile) is high enough to outweigh the risk on the offensive side.
He'll swipe bags but needs to continue to improve upon his reads on the bases and jumps to limit the outs he makes. He has taken well to center field, but I don't think it's imprudent to want a slightly larger sample before you buy into him as a legit plus or better defender.
Lots of scenarios where he completes 2015 with a firm foothold on the org list, and maybe even the Top 101 discussions. Improved offensive profile, a full year of top tier glove work in center, improved base stealing acumen and better reads on the bases in-game, etc. He hits a couple of those and the stock rises quickly. But, at least for me, he's not there yet.
Mellen will have some more input, I'm sure. For me it's a year early on Encarnacion. I certainly won't fault anyone for getting excited about the upside, but he's behind fellow 2013 J2ers like Gleyber Torres and Rafael Devers as far as approach, and loses some value due to added risk associated with defensive profile. Good guy to know, and I wouldn't be surprised if he emerged next year as a Top 10 type guy.
This year the format is staying the same. As always, we are definitely open to suggestions for future additions/subtractions on the content side. We will have new supplemental contact rolling out with the Top 10s soon, so be on the lookout for that!
We will have a group at the fields at the end of the month. I will be down in Florida, but you'll definitely have some BP Prospect Team members to chat up!
The Yankees certainly have a number of candidates, Mateo included, that could make big developmental jumps next year. Lot's to like there.
The stat line was ugly, without question, but there is some statistical noise there (levels drop-off pretty evenly with BABIP drop) and the expectations weren't incredibly high entering the season. He's been an established Top 100 or so prospect for a few seasons, but has never really climbed outside of the bottom quartile of that grouping (to my knowledge). I know he was a borderline guy for us the last two years when we were kicking around the final ordering with Parks.
Definitely could have been written up. To my mind, I didn't think the narrative was as interesting as it was for Hedges, who we have pretty strongly supported and whose season had a greater potential to negatively impact his stock.
Speaking for myself, I considered writing about Bradley but the injury and limited innings clouded the picture for me.
But the lynchpin issue is whether his relief work tells us much of anything when trying to figure out what he looks like in a major league rotation. There's a pretty convincing argument that showing minimal developmental growth over 100 innings in a rotation (against minor leaguers) is more valuable information than 30 innings in limited exposure to major league hitters who have never seen him before and get one crack at the stuff.
Respectfully, I think it takes a deeper dig to really start to pull apart and understand the profile (and whether or not it's changed, and on what trajectory).
Often times the difference between starter and reliever is not the ability to get out big league hitters. There's a big difference between handling batters with pitches 1-30 and with pitchers 50-80. There's a big difference between getting out big league hitters the first time you face them in a game and the third time you face them in a game. There's a big difference between being able to throw six strong innings against an organization during their first good look at you and throwing six strong strong innings against an org after it's thrown resources into advance scouting and picking apart the analytics.
I think it's great that Sanchez has look good in limited relief action at the Major League level. I don't view that cross-section of data (scouting or otherwise) as priming the much larger volume of data (scouting or otherwise) we have with respect to Sanchez, both this year and, for purposes of comparison and analysis, years prior.
To be clear, each writer was free to select a player with a "disappointing 2014" and provide a take/analysis. This wasn't intended to be the ten most disappointing seasons, so there were certainly prospects out there that could have been covered and were not.
With regards to Mondesi, some of the disappointment on the production side (his stat line) is softened by the fact that he started the season in High A as an 18 year old and didn't turn 19 until midway through. That's a really big factor in the equation, for me, and while there's still separation between Mondesi and Russell/Correa, he's basically operating at a pace around a half-season faster than those two (and he also offers a little more value on the glove/run side, setting a higher default floor).
While my preference is always to see success in the stat line, I'm encouraged by the fact that Mondesi was still showing an ability to drive the ball some (and in particular that he was doing a much better job of it as the season progressed), and held his own as far as K-rate and BB-rate in spite of climbing a level and taking on more advanced arms. He's working on an accelerated dev path, and that is going to lead to stumbles along the way.
I could make a case for the season being a disappointment, but in honesty I don't consider the outcome that surprising. If he had put up a .275/.340/.385 triple-slash as an 18 year old shortstop in High A with good glove/run chops, we'd be talking about him as a potential top 10 prospect in the game. The same, if he had dropped his 2014 line while running through a repeat stint in the Sally, we'd have a big question as to why he seemd to have stalled on his dev arc.
If the projection from April to September has shifted from potential impact arm logging 175+ innings per year to potential impact arm logging 65+ innings per year it would seem to me that's a substantial hit in value.
If you told me the day he was drafted that Sanchez would develop into a very good late-inning arm, I'd gladly take that as a "win". But that's not the point of reference for the piece. I'm not sure there's a good argument that the work we saw at Double A and Triple A for 100+ innings represented developmental progress, though I'm open to hearing one. Pointing to 30 innings of relief work (regardless of level) falls well short.
The silver lining is Sanchez is gaining experience, adjusting to big league lineups, and learning what it takes to 1) gameplan and 2) execute at the highest level. If he builds on that and returns in 2015 with some of his control/execution issues ironed-out, that's great. If he's in the pen for good, I'm not sure how that's painted as a positive, as opposed to a satisfactory fall-back.
One note from last week's ten pack, I received an email noting I was light on Derek Fisher's speed. Upon review of my spring notes from my UVA look-ins I agree. Over multiple in-person looks Fisher was plus out of the box and plus underway on the bases (in the field, good closing speed when tracking). While I did receive comments from some that his speed played to average in May/June, the profile is that of a plus-speed guy. Apologies for the misstatement; I certainly don't want to undersell any player in this space.
Hope you enjoy today's entry; lots of good stuff. -njf
I think you could make a case for developing him at 3B, 2B, and even C.
Definitely; the new podcast is in the works.
Great point, John. A big focus of our in-season coverage for next year addresses this very issue -- I'm confident you'll be happy with our approach to making sure you on top of all of the breakout guys in real time.
The product itself for each team will be produced by either Chris or myself on a team-by-team basis. As in year's past when Jason produced the lists, we will be basing the rankings on personal observation and analysis, leveraging BP institutional knowledge by soliciting thoughts from the prospect team, and of course cross-checking with industry sources.
Yes, and that work is already underway, as well!
Don't laugh -- the work is underway! The even better news is, while we will be operating at a quicker pace this year we are, as a team, using this as a transition to an even more aggressive publishing schedule in 2015.
I think you will all enjoy the stuff we have rolling out over the next few months. By December 2015 I think you'll look back five years and be blown away by how far we've expanded and improved this side of BP's content. That's a testament to Parks, Joe, Ben, Sam, Chris, Bret, etc. and the back-end time we've put into building the best evaluative machine this side of the industry wall.
Thanks, all! We're excited to run with this a build upon the incredible team and product that sprouted from the mind and efforts of Professor Parks. Lots of great stuff on the horizon; excited for you all to get a look at it!
I guess we don't have to film in Fiji...
Identifying "loud contact" is part of evaluation. If you watch enough amateur/minor league/major league baseball, you can absolutely distinguish the quality of impact by the sound. I do think the phrase "the ball just makes a different sound off of his bat" is overused, but being able to discern "loud contact" is an actual thing, not a shallow scouting platitude.
Thanks! I don't think there is any way we revert to the old system, but there will undoubtedly be tweaks to how things are run.
I think at minimum it would make sense for the Astros to audit their process and consider whether, in retrospect, there is anything they would handle differently. If so, how do they make sure they don't end up in a situation like this in the future.
The only folks who have the full body of evidence as to the process, the facts, and the individuals responsible for negotiating and ultimate decision making are in the Astros front office. Were I a fan of the organization I'd trust them to drill down and figure out what, if anything, needs to be fixed.
If the commissioner's office were to do the unlikely and force the Astros to honor the agreement with Nix, that would be about as big a disaster as can befall a team looking to transition from rebuilding to contention.
I think this is one of those approaches that makes theoretical sense, but doesn't hold up in practice. There is so much uncertainty as to what the class will look like 11 months from now that it is tough to envision a scenario outside of a Harper or Strasburg whereby a team would be excited and confident enough to try and pull something like this off.
Think about last summer -- almost exactly one year ago Carlos Rodon put up a painfully dominant start against the Cuban National Team, showing a legit 80 slider, plus fastball, a solid change, and good command across the board. Fast forward to June and he slipped to the White Sox at third overall after suffering through an up and down spring.
I think there is too much uncertainty this far out for teams to try and game the system in this manner with any sense of confidence.
Sorry, should have been Aiken + Nix + Marshall at an $8 MM investment. $5 MM in the aggregate would obviously be wonderful for the Astros...
I touched on this below. Given the facts we have, including how the actual draft played out and how the timeline unfolded, I don't know that there is a convincing argument that the Astros valued Nix or Marshall enough such that:
1) Aiken was only worth a $3.1 MM investment, but
2) Aiken + Marshall + Nix was worth a $5 MM investment.
I would be very interested to see evidence otherwise (if that was in fact Houston's calculation). History (and research tells us that the practical value of over-slot draft prospects (and HS arms in particular) is much much lower than their theoretical value, since so very few of that cross-section of draft profiles pan out, relative to other draft profiles.
Put another way, if your decision to sign Aiken is contingent upon adding another player, you do yourself a disservice by limiting your possible additions to persons that will require $1.5 MM to sign.
See my below comment regarding my feelings that there would have to be interesting math for 1) Aiken to be unworthy of signing for more than $3.1 MM but 2) Aiken/Marshall/Nix being worthy of investment at $8 MM.
Here's another article that came out today with more specifics as to the medical condition -- would have linked to it had it been posted prior to this article going up:
I'm fine with not planning for a small probability event, so long as you don't let that small probability event sink your other plans. Had Houston simply walked away after the $3.1 MM offer, indicating they actually believed Aiken was no longer a worthy investment, I think the story would be a lot different.
Some people are privy to a broader set of facts then others. I certainly don't think the Astros front office is stupid. I think the process that lead to their series of actions was flawed, and resulted in a very bad outcome for the organization.
Covey was the party to walk away from the table, electing to attend San Diego while he learned to adjust his life to account for his medical condition.
It's possible the Astros 1-2 and 1-? picks next year end up better than Aiken and 1-?, sure. But the team also lost out on the opportunity to sign their fifth rounder and otherwise spend that money. That's not taking into account the fallout on the PR/industry side.
I see where you are going. My issue with Marshall being the key to an Aiken investment is that history tells us most draft picks (even seven figure draft picks, and especially high school pitchers) have a lot of obstacles to overcome in order for a drafting org to start realizing any ROI. If the Astros truly believed the investment in Aiken was doomed, why offer up $5 MM just for the opportunity to spend another $1.5 MM on a long shot profile? Isn't the organization essentially just paying $6.5MM for Marshall?
I get the narrative, and it's a defensible approach from an analytical standpoint. But even if that was exactly how it went down I think that sort of approach to negotiations of this nature puts you on a very thin tightrope. In order for any of this to work out you need Aiken on board, and it doesn't seem like the organization put a high premium on making that happen.
I could completely understand the Astros walking away from the table because their docs/analysts determined this was not a good investment. It's hard for me to picture the addition of Marshall and Nix (who is also a low probability arm) would be enough to counterbalance the supposed catastrophic issues with Aiken.
FYI, SOF also covers performance contracts wherein the contracted for performance cannot be completed within one year.
You might be thinking of statue of frauds, which in part requires a sale of goods exceeding $500 to be memorialized in writing?
As noted in the article, it doesn't seem to me as if there is a strong case for there being an enforceable contract in place, as a matter of law, re: Nix. MLB/commissioner's office has more leeway in its interpretations, though.
Sorry, no. I don't think it's appropriate to publicly speculate on that specific point.
I'm looking at the rules -- not sure of an online source.
I think your analysis is well thought out as a general matter. My best guess would be that Houston approaches the two picks as the otherwise would; trying to get the best return on their money invested. Could be straight investment playing board or gaming some to free up cash if the right targets are expected to be available later.
I am not aware of a draftee switching advisors post-draft, pre-signing. I have heard of players switching advisors pre-draft.
Also, I think it's important to note that Close clearly assisted Aiken in making a decision that was right for Aiken, even though Nix ended up collateral damage. By all accounts it looks like he handled the situation ethically and professionally.
Note, under the new CBA comp picks for unsigned draftees are protected for two years, so they will still have flexibility for one more year without worrying about losing the pick altogether.
Thanks very much!
Thanks! I agree, Houston's BATNA is to make the qualifying offer, get the 2nd pick next year and miss out on Aiken/Nix. I think the raising of the offer to $5 MM is most telling. Houston clearly didn't view the "abnormality" or whatever word you want to use as so problematic that they were flushing money down he toilet. At that point, I think you need to get the deal done and make sure you get Aiken and Nix -- then maybe see if you can convince Marshall to come along for the ride.
I'm obviously not negotiating this deal, but I've been involved in a lot of high leverage negotiations with big time tension and hot heads. When you see negotiations slipping off the rails it's so very important to hit the brakes and try to reset things. Once you've tipped past the point where you think the other side isn't negotiating in good faith it's really tough to get that level of trust back.
Agreed; that was our thinking.
In-person reports are a single data point and the evaluative opinion of one person. Rankings take multiple data points and viewpoints into account.
Sean Newcomb -- Could find a spot on the Top 101 with good showing this spring/fall. Unrefined showings this spring, so could be candidate for big jump in value with incremental improvement or could struggle to establish foothold on rankings if pro transition takes some time.
Bradley Zimmer -- Ranking will likely hinge on how he looks in center field in second half and during instructs. Value takes hit in right field and swing isn't unlocking over-the-fence pop at present. Cleveland likely won't tinker until the fall, so my guess is he doesn't crack Top 101 until he puts together a track record at pro ranks.
Casey Gillespie -- Should hit very well in low-minors; needs to show ability to find pitches, square velocity, and adequately cover plate at upper-levels to establish prospect value. Good raw power, but serious questions as to how it will play. Need some pro looks/data here.
I imagine he will be back in the Top 50 with a strong summer/fall and some improved reports on makeup.
Taillon has 380+ minor league innings and several fall instructs and spring trainings to help anchor his profile. Not only do we not know what Hoffman will look like when he comes back, but we don't even have a good idea as to what he will look like throwing every fifth day.
I'd argue aggressively ranking Hoffman with so many variables at play would be borderline irresponsible.
Taillon would have ranked higher if healthy, sure. Just like Bundy/Giolito have seen their respective stock vacillate in connection with their injuries.
There's a list of names above, right after Almonte at #50:
(In the Top 50 mix: Max Fried, Reese McGuire, Michael Foltynewicz, Clint Frazier, Ryan McMahon, Matt Wisler, Lewis Brinson, Alexander Reyes, Rob Kaminsky, Sean Manaea, insert your favorite prospect [here])
He was not in consideration for the list at this point, so far as I recall. Don't remember him being included in any of our serious discussions.
We won't have an idea as to how Hoffman takes to his TJ surgery until after the Top 101 publishes next winter. Accordingly, he's not really a name that will impact the list, though assuming he comes back strong he should certainly figure into the following year's Top 101.
A healthy Hoffman would have been at the top of the 2014 draft class -- he would have been included with the Aiken/Rodon/Jackson/Schwarber discussion above.
I'd consider taking him with my second round pick. Upside is upside and you can always run him out there as a pitcher.
Again, how can caught-stealing percentage (for example) reliably tell you anything of import at the minor league level (particularly over a career) when you are dealing with pitchers that have such a wide variance in present ability to hold runners and maintain solid times to plate?
At the major league level there is less noise.
The power upside is a fairly big separated, but even setting that aside Swihart shows a much better feel for the barrel, projects, and has demonstrated a better ability to realize the hit tool in-game thus far.
Witt's ability to evaluate outdistances his ability to follow instructions.
Why would you use career minor league numbers to measure anything? These guys are not only developing themselves, but also working with pitchers that are developing, and at different rates. The variables at play are immense, and make it impossible to even know what most of those defensive-centric numbers mean without a great deal more context (time to plate from pitchers, ability to hold runners, number of balls in the dirt, number of balls 8+ inches from target, etc.).
For me, Swihart is the better overall athlete and has more room for growth in his game. Assuming the floor is about the same, Swihart has a much better chance of realizing another developmental jump (particularly at the plate) and emerging as a true all-star type talent. Swihart is almost a year younger, as well.
Thanks; editing has been notified.
Without question. It's all about limiting pitch plane and swing plane overlap.
To add on to that, I saw Gray twice late in the summer while he was in college throwing for Team USA. In each case he looked the same as he did earlier in the spring, showing big, loud stuff and holding velocity late. That was after throwing in game action from February through July.
As Jeff points out, Berrios's knock is tied to actual evidence of tiring and trouble holding up to a long pro season. I think you'll be able to note when the winds have change have blown evaluators away from small body bias once we see that characteristic cease to negatively impact amateurs and their draft slot/bonuses.
I thought Chris and Jeff did a pretty good job of sharing their grades for the pitchers and their general future projections. That said, I'll try to pay more attention to it as we finish the rest of our moderated debates. Thanks for the feedback!
I think that's a great point and would be interested to hear Chris King's thoughts on that. One thing to keep in mind is that Toronto tends to be conservative with their young arms, as far as innings are concerned. The Low-A club out of Lansing often piggybacks with the young arms in particular. As Norris was a couple years younger than the other starters on the team, it wouldn't shock me if his innings-per-start were more a product of org treatment than an indication he didn't have the ability to go deeper into those starts.
At the same time, if we are going to question Berrios's value based on durability concerns, it certainly seems like fair game to point out Berrios is logging more innings per start, regardless of the reason.
Note, yeah yeah Vandy isn't "warm weather"...
Anecdotal, but Vandy is in the CWS finals right now and has four Massachusetts prep products on their roster (Beede, Wiseman, Ravenelle, and Bowden).
I agree college recruiting is largely regional, but the elite products that do come out of New England are all afforded the opportunity to play at warm weather schools. The second and third tier players that don't blossom until later on are much more likely to wind up at regional colleges.
I think you are seeing a combination of factors (generally speaking):
1. Players that are good college prospects but have not developed enough for the pro game due to lack of reps, so:
A. They go to a quality college program (south/west) and are drafted there two to four years later, or
B. They require an above-slot (or more than their profile would require based on risk/upside) in order to get them to sign, skewing the valuation of the player than the scouting would otherwise indicate
This effect is further skewed during the years in which the data was compiled, as teams were then able to spend without limit, so you were more likely to see a team roll the dice and give $700K to a projectable New England high schooler that was a comparative long shot when lined up with a $700K second rounder from Southern California. It will be interesting to see what the numbers look like in several years now that teams are forced to make more difficult decisions when it comes to handing out signing bonuses.
A smaller point -- I think the "value" you are seeing in areas like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. is probably in part skewed by the fact that, as a general matter, inner-city kids as a grouping tend to be more willing to sign for slot or below and get started with their pro careers, as compared to smaller private school kids in New England (for the various reasons noted in the article). That's of course a generalization, but I do believe it has an effect on the numbers when we are talking about the money doled out to these kids once drafted.
Agreed; I actually left it at "Indiana product".
I'm sure you could find many people to agree with you.
I was scouting an amateur showcase while this redraft was going on. I mentioned the Zunino 1:1 pick to multiple evaluators and not one questioned it. Some mentioned they wouldn't make the same choice but almost everyone stated they saw the value in having an everyday catcher locked up.
Harry's pick may not be what a consensus of decision makers would select, but it is clearly a defensible pick, and I'd argue a more interesting and thought-out pick than simply looking at a prospect list from the start of the year and picking the guy up top.
Selections; thanks for the clarification.
It does; more money for later overslots.
But next year.....(insert evil laugh).
Next year's has the potential to show a lot more volatility since there was so much depth.
I think folks need to see what it takes to sign Keller and Supak before they complain about the Bucs being "cheap". I'd be surprised if they don't utilize their pool allotment effectively over the draft class.
Depends on how they view his usage. He did not throw in the post season but was heavily used down the stretch. They may opt to rest him and bring him back for the AFL with an eye towards early promotion in 2015. That would likely be my approach.
No; hitters hit.
I think this is fixed; thanks, editors!
Right. The leverage is limited since the timing of the injury means he won't really have ample time to show he's healthy and back to his pre-surgery self prior to the 2015 draft.
That said, there is leverage in place due to his profile, which was without question one of the top three talents in the entire draft. So, he's not entirely without a case for top ten overall money.
Great write-up; one of my favorite baseball venues of all time.
Same as "pancake".
Excellent; appreciate the kind words!
I think he's a second baseman long term, though you could shift him to centerfield and probably get a pretty good defender out there. Provided he goes early enough (which I think he will) I'd be surprised if he doesn't sign.
The hit tool is a real question mark. Like "Will he make it out of Double A" question mark. It's definitely possible someone pops him earlier -- particularly if their dev staff has a good idea as to what can be done to clean things up. But pitch ID was almost nonexistent at NHSI and he was regularly swinging through low- to mid-80s fastballs in the zone. I think the supp-1st makes a lot of sense as a landing spot and honestly wouldn't blame teams if he slipped well into the second round.
As noted in the intro, the exercise is really about who the author would take.
"The rules of this exercise are simple: pick the player you would pick if you were calling the shots for your assigned team. These selections were not made with organizational preference in mind, or with a nod toward any real-world hints about which targets these organizations have begun to zero in on."
I think there are arguments for Hoffman still going in the top 10, and we were more interested in trying to get thoughts on additional names as opposed to rehashing the same guys at the top.
You are correct, the first set was completed before Hoffman's TJ surgery was announced, and this week's was conducted after the Fedde announcement. I think there is a good chance Fedde still gets popped in the 21-41 range.
I've passed on to editing -- my mistake when breaking out headers for each of the write-ups. Thanks for the catch!
No because then he would take my pick!
And we have our first topic for Dissecting the Draft series...
Ceiling from a draft slot perspective? Bottom of the top 10. I think the profile is a better fit in the mid-1st. Solid everyday guy with a chance at above-average CF. Good value.
I don't think so. There will be potential impact talent available to Minnesota at 1:5, as well as lower risk/quick return propositions. Five is a fine spot to pick in this draft.
I welcome any of the other participants to share their thoughts. For me, he isn't close to a top five overall profile. I think it's a stretch to view him as a top ten guy given the glut of high ceilinged talent available in the class and his inconsistencies throughout the spring. Like Gatewood, however, it only takes one team to buy into the package for him to get popped early. I'd guess 11-20 range, but wouldn't be wholly surprised to see him slip to late first round.
Tiering in this class is a little odd (which I'll touch on later this month). The lines tend to blur between the tiers, so you have clusters and very small incremental steps. The result (for me) is you start slotting guys and sort of transition into tiers without there being a distinct bright line dividing them.
That said, the top four are generally the top four, though Holmes would be neck and neck with Aiken and Kolek if he had a little more size. A bunch of the college arms could easily end up popped in that top five space for a variety of reasons. The high school arms are a huge collection of awesome -- you can make arguments for 20-plus kids being defendable Day 1 selections.
It was a pretty monster class in 2011, but the fact that it was the last year of "free spending" probably had more to do with high schoolers getting gobbled up than a special spike in talent. That said, you might recognize some of these names (2011 high school position players):
Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Bubba Starling, Austin Hedges, Bubba Starling, Austin Hedges, Blake Swihart, Josh Bell, Dan Vogelbach.
I think workouts could make or break his value. If he has a strong enough workout with the right team he should be a mid-first round guy, maybe higher. If not, probably late 1st to supplemental to a team with multiple picks. Wide range of potential landing spots.
More the former, but it is a shallow class for collegiate positional prospects for sure.
Walks may come down if MLB arms find pockets to challenge in the zone. Projection systems don't always capture that.
No, not brothers.
Error when I was shuffling around the order. Gilliam is from Parkview (Lilburn, GA). Will pass along to editors, thanks!
Well, if we are just going to purely scout stat lines, this is what jumps out to me:
At Double A:
Lindor (age 19, around 100 PA) .375 wOBA, 7.7% SO rate, 15.4% BB rate
Baez (age 20, around 240 PA) .435, 28.8% SO rate, 7.9% BB rate
Baez put up huge power numbers, no question. But utility at the highest level matters, and there are legit questions as to whether Baez is a .300/40+ HR monster or a useful .265/25 HR bat with swing and miss issues. Either way his on-base delta likely tops out at, what, 40 points? 50 points?
You stated Lindor is Brendan Ryan. Ryan was four years older at the same level in the minors with a lower walk rate and a higher strikeout rate, as well as an ISO 70 points south of Lindor's and a wOBA 60 points south of Lindor's despite a 40 point edge in BABIP.
You're underselling Lindor's bat and overselling Baez's certainty. You very well may be familiar with Baez, but based on your descriptions of Lindor I am not sure you have a feel for his profile at all.
All that said, it's of course reasonable to state a preference for Baez, I just disagree with some of your justifications. Thanks for the interesting dialogue and, of course, for reading.
I'll have notes on his performance at NHSI later this week. The bat is impressive, but shy of impactful at this point. I think his catch-and-throw game probably outdistances the rest of his defensive game by a fair amount. He isn't a lock to stick at catcher, though it is clearly where he fits best. It would be nice to see a tighter physique.
His draft status will probably come down to his asking price. The profile isn't a typical early round profile, but Somewhere in the 5th to 10th round is possible for a team that really likes the bat. He might be best served tightening up the game and body at UF and building a track record of performance at the collegiate level.
Smart money would be on Brady Aiken (lhp, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA)). He has had a very strong spring, seen an uptick in stuff, and is a lefty with a solid delivery.
Tyler Kolek (rhp, Shepherd (Shepherd, TX)) has size and velocity and could sneak in if enough college arms fail to finish strong.
Right now, no HS bats standing out as good top 5 bets with the depth in arms at the top of the class.
For me, there is simply a limited number of space for write-ups and I wanted to touch on two guys that I expect to see early in the year in my neck of the woods.
If you have a specific question, I'll try to answer or get an answer from the guy who wrote-up the player. Generally, evaluating amateur players is more about understanding a spectrum of outcomes than taking loud stances that attract page clicks. But I absolutely want to give any additional info we can if you guys want more info.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks; really appreciate it!
Appreciate. Hope to have a lot more out to you soon! NHSI notes/video next week and I'm sitting on a bunch of reports the BP team has submitted covering more high profile high schoolers!
Thanks! For me, it's size and effort. It would certainly be interesting to see him make a run as a starter. I'm generally open to undersized guys starting if they show the ability to turn over a lineup and there's some sort of pitch to change eye levels and help make up for the flatter plane. Would love to see Vandy turn him loose in the rotation to see what happens. I wouldn't be surprised to see him succeed (I saw him hold stuff/velo as a high schooler), but if I'm giving out seven figures I'd have a harder time doing it with a starter profile in mind if he operates exclusively as a reliever through his college career.
Thanks, jwise. Great program you have there in OSU! Conforto is a lot of fun to watch, it's just a tough profile to peg for pro teams, I think. You don't want to lose the impact of the bat, but it's probably worth trying to clean-up the swing some to see what kind of player you can tease out. In the end, maybe doing nothing and having a .260/25 hr left fielder that gets on base at a decent clip is all you need. There is also some concern that the contact issues will impact his walks at the next level because more advanced arms won't have to nibble to get him to swing through pitches -- but that's to be sussed out more in the minors.
Thanks for reading!
Stone, like Braxton, will be covered in the HS outfield positional preview. We'll get updates for the weekly ten pack, as well. Thanks.
We wrote about him last summer and I think the reports show how much I, and others, like him. He is featured in the next positional preview piece which will post as soon as I have time to finalize.
His lack of mention in the draft ten packs is more a product of the fact his season isn't that far underway (I believe he's only played one game thus far?). He'll be discussed often, I'm sure, in the coming weeks. Definite 1st Round potential and an argument for best overall bat in the class.
Great question. This class is particularly flush with power arms, so it is a bit atypical in that sense. All of the arms mentioned in this article are 1st or second round guys right now. Bonfield and Lane are both early round candidates, but their stock is a little more up in the air. We have run the first three pieces of our positional preview series for the draft, so definitely check those out for a better sense of tiering for the HS catchers, middle infielders and corner infielders. I will be publishing the rest of that preview -- just got sidetracked by early scouting travels for the college season and some end-of-prospect-season stuff.
Finally, I will ALWAYS be available on twitter and in the comment section to give any thoughts on current stock of players, and where I think they might fit in. My one condition is you understand my projection is based on our player valuation with a little bit of industry thoughts sprinkled in, and at the end of the day teams value these players so differently that a fourth round talent for some could be popped in second round.
Thanks as always for reading!
I think there is some truth to that. Perhaps more importantly, teams don't know exactly how they are lining these players up yet. So while I think it's fair to say Nick Gordon looks like a lock for the first round passed on his current profile, that could mean 7th overall or 27th overall depending on the rest of the spring and the wants of the particular teams drafting.
I would not.
Yup -- brothers as well!
Yes, Kyle's younger brother (Kyle also attended San Fran).
Correct -- lawyer in that context is interchangeable with advisor. I believe only parents/legal guardians are permitted direct involvement without jeopardizing eligibility.
It's generally the position of the ball in the hand -- that position will vary pitch to pitch, which is why when you see Parks or one of the BP Prospect Team members reference a pitcher "flashing" the ball early it has a negative connotation. In the case of Hoffman, I think the stuff is so good that you can afford to wait for hitters to capitalize on his minor tells before you worry about changing anything. Teams' opinions on the matter, however, may vary org to org.
Also, if you go to 2:50 in the video embedded in the article, you get a slow-mo version of his two-seam and change-up back to back. You can see the slightly lower release and the hand turning the change over. Let me know what you think.
The slot is slightly lower, but the pitch has so much movement (and velocity) that the early warning isn't as destructive as you see with a slow breaker or a change piece coming with low-80s velo. It also helps that the slightly lower slot is a result of slightly less shoulder tilt, as opposed to an actual lowering of the arm angle. It's something that could be easily adjusted if hitters start to take advantage, but with a hard curve providing a different look, and the big fastball, I'm not overly concerned at this point.
Parks is right; Gorbachev is not downstairs.
Mellen is right; Strasburg is the pick for me too.
You should go watch Giolito throw. You'd think differently.
I also believe that the person(s) who reported the alleged violations to the NCAA believes he/they were justified in doing so.
My understanding is Monda and Wetzler were not represented by the same advisor.
Fair point -- the piece's focus on the no-agent rule is really meant to highlight the fact that the existence of one silly rule has the potential to dramatically, and unfairly, impact the life of a young ballplayer.
Strasburg is 8/8/7.
Not Todd, but I'll answer as to Weaver/Gausman. In his final year at LSU, Gausman showed borderline elite velocity deep in games, a nice change up, and two breaking balls that were hot/cold depending on the night. He was a better overall prospect then than Weaver is now, by grades, pedigree, and general mechanical analysis.
Top 10 seems unlikely to me given the composition of the draft class on the whole, but he could certainly climb to mid-1st round. And, of course, it only takes one top 10 team to fall in love with an aspect of the profile for him to get popped early.
My guess is his stock will split between camps that like the production but question its utility against Major League bats, and camps that think the unique aspects of the profile will be advantageous to the righty. One evaluator with whom I've spoken has quipped some changes in arm slot could really help the breaking ball, but doing so could negatively impact the life on the fastball/fade on the changeup.
Stanford - Blandino, Taylor, Jose (if playing), Vanegas, Slater. Underclass Avis, Stalwart, Quantril, Jackson.
Texas - Peters, French, Curtis, Schiraldi. Underclass McGuire, Barrera, Hinojosa, Sawyer, Goins, Hollinsworth.
$230 is an overpay...
As is the case with most underclassmen, you will see varying reports (often widely varying) this far away from draft day.
I myself do not have a recent look at Dean. Per someone who does, as of today he'd be on the list of top prospects in Southern California's 2015 draft class and will be watched closely over the course of his draft year, beginning this June.
Great article; thanks, JK.
Also, as commented on below, it's a deep year for MiLB talent, so I wasn't really interested in going down to the multi-year dev horizon guys if I didn't really love the profile/upside. Those names are all good names; I just thought there were generally more interesting options that didn't quite the same lotto ticket label.
Tirado was in the mix for me during the last three rounds, but I opted for higher floor with what I felt was undervalued ceiling in Gonzales, Jagielo, and Rosario.
I considered him starting in the fourth round but ultimately liked my other options better each time through. He's well rounded, but his prospect value is in his defense, and his MLB value will be in his glove and in his fully developed hit/obp ability. The biggest jump to his value will come if he improves his technical approach re: stealing bases. The speed isn't impact, and his jumps are not always helpful in SB efforts (though he runs the bases well underway).
Just taking my eighth round pick for example -- Rosario carries more real world risk, but the SB upside makes him a more enticing option for me (not to mention the off chance he gets second base eligibility), and he has AVG and R upside, as well. It's a really deep minor league pool this year, and there's enough upside with reasonable risk not to need to rely on "safe" picks in this type of exercise. All personal preference, though.
Will be covered in the OF piece. For these previews, there was some shifting around for players that log time at multiple positions. When May rolls around and we do our final look at the positional talent, my guess is he'll be grouped with the corner infielders.
He was on a short list for me in the last three rounds, but I never took him.
Thanks! We'll have a variety of content covering the draft throughout the spring, followed by a positional breakdown again in May with updated tiering.
Sabino lives in Pennsylvania (Keystone); attends school across the border in NJ (Garden) at Blair Academy.
I like Jones a fair amount.
For those that haven't seen it, we posted a video at the BPProspectTeam YouTube page of a 16-pitch Devers at bat from a showcase I attended last January:
It's in large part a matter of the sheer volume of psychic and physical attention a player needs to devote to developing the craft. Generally speaking, there is also a larger delta between "acquisition time" skill level and "Major League ready" skill level with regards to hitting and catching than maybe any other skills in the game.
You're correct that if one side of the game develops to potential, and the other does not, you are probably still getting a contributor. The problem is when both sides develop to half expectancy -- then you're left with little utility.
Working down is big. The breaker is hard enough with enough north/south to keep hitters' honest on swing plane. The fastball is big enough to throw by hitters up, particularly when set up.
Per your questions, Rendon would be at 3b if Machado isn't ready to start the season. He would most likely then spend 2014 at 2nd, with the off-season/spring to determine whether he or Schoop (or another option) would man 2b/3b.
I think durability is a concern for Rendon at 2b. The question is whether or not an org is willing to take on the risk (and what level of risk they assign to that positional pairing).
Thanks! It's obviously incredibly difficult to nail down particulars with an exercise like this -- and with three way deal it's especially important for there to be a free dialogue between the front offices (I'm not sure if that's truly the case as relates to CHN/BAL/WAS) in order to tweak as necessary.
But I ended up really liking the framework for this deal. There are big reasons for all three to say no to the proposal, and perhaps they'd each be better off solving their respective issues in a less complicated fashion.
As an aside, I've received feedback from each fanbase that includes "terrible" and "no brainer", so maybe it's a fair deal for all sides after all! haha
Cute; clever. Clever and Cute!
In Gray's case, so long as he's under team control.
It's just not loud stuff and the total package (and production to date, taking peripherals into account) plays best as maybe a #4. I could see mid-rotation value if he can log 185 IP on the regular. I don't think any team with plans to compete would view him as a reliable #3, and certainly not a #2.
"Most pitcher-friendly park in the Cal League" is akin to "cleanest needle in the medical waste bag." There's contamination, regardless.
Looking at the splits, he OPSed 200 bips higher on the road, slugged 150 bips higher on the road, and hit 200% more HR on the road (21 vs 7) despite having essentially the same number of plate appearances.
He is also 23, completing his second full season of pro ball after a Div I career, and still hasn't reached Double-A. His defensive profile is limited.
I'm only speaking for myself, not Parks, but that profile doesn't read "top 10 prospect", even in this system, he's not close enough to the bigs to get a nod in F.O.T.F., and there isn't enough intrigue in the skill set to land him "On the Rise" over the three players mentioned.
For me, the answer is that I don't know what clicked (if anything), but the numbers have forced me to at least reconsider my previous projection. That was the impetus behind my quote -- I still see very much a similar player to the 2012 (and 2011) version of Springer, which was that of a future average regular. But the production was so good, and I was so vocally critical of the potential holes in his offensive game, I just didn't feel I could stick to that appraisal without trying to really drill down on him in the spring.
I am confident in my evaluations, but when those evaluations seem to run counter to a player's actual production, I try to take a step back, wipe the board clean, and focus solely on the player that's in front of my at a particular date and place. For me, spring will be the next opportunity to do that, and I look forward to the challenge. Maybe another Prospect Team member has stronger feelings about a "change" in Springer's game.
Baseball is a war of attrition that runs for nine months. The bigger, stronger, more athletic guys tend to be better disposed to surviving that war. There are exceptions, but generally speaking the big and athletic players are the guys you want.
Sorry, touched on Cosart but passed over Altuve. He's flirting with positive defensive value at an up the middle position and has shown an ability to be an asset on the bases and with the bat in previous years. While his production did not drop much, it was enough to make me consider whether or not to drop him on the list. Because his previous production was more in line with the projected player profile I saw when watching him in the minors, he bought himself a year of grace. But his game only plays to that fringe first division level if he's doing the little things well (baserunning, getting on base, fielding, etc.). If he does those things merely adequately, the profile drops a notch and he starts to look more like a placeholder than a long term solution.
Hope that helps -- sorry for the oversight.
Stretching my memory, but I'd imagine top half, behind Bonderman?
Didn't put any thought into it since he wasn't eligible. Maybe consideration for the back of the U25, but he doesn't make enough contact right now. The full profile plays fringe second division regular for me, but closer to bench bat. The plus-plus raw is big, but when the rest of the profile is so limited it ties an anchor to the upside.
For the observed games, I found that to be the case. This was a product of Votto being pitched primarily away and being content to make hard contact oppo. Lots of low-and-away stuff turned into line-drives to left field or between 5/6 hole.
I would not feel comfortable stating affirmatively that "Phillips is still hurt", but it was observable that even with very solid contact he was upper-half heavy and the ball simply didn't have the same explosion we've seen in the past.
I am not qualified to express an opinion on dangers of further injury, particularly when I do not have knowledge of specifics regarding any particular current ailment. I think the Reds are looking to win a World Series and will continue to try and run out the best players they can to achieve that -- can't fault them at all if they did in fact decide to allow Phillips to play at less than 100% (I mean, who is really at 100% by the end of the season anyway, right?).
I actually got depressed digging into Votto vid and watching so many of his at bats in a row -- it made me realize I've been underappreciating him for some time. The over-the-fence pop is down from where I've seen in the past -- in particular to the opposite field -- but the contact and ability to find the ball with the barrel is really incredible.
Granted, the span I watched he was locked in and had very few bad at-bats. But he looks like he's poised to have a loud post season if he carries over what I saw into a series (provided they get past Pittsburgh).
Here's the Bruce link, nschneider: tinyurl.com/BruceAdvance
Thanks for checking it out!
Interesting question taking overall value into account. Taylor has better physical tools, so there is a chance he makes a jump on both sides and ends up a solid hit tool providing plus defense. I think Almora's overall upside, however, is much higher. The variables that could reduce his value defensively (namely, adding bulking and losing a step) should have an inverse affect on his power tool, so even if he's a slightly different player than I currently see in my mind's eye, I don't see the value decreasing. Add to that Almora's advanced feel and he's still a tier above "best case Taylor".
Would love to have both in my system, though.
I don't see it, but maybe you could find evaluators who think the hit/power might look something like that. Of course, Alvarez can play 3b, which matters when we're talking about overall value, too. I think you're more likely to find evaluators that place him as a future up-and-down guy than a future star. There's a lot of clean-up required in his game, and a ton of pressure on the bat realizing.
Pop is definitely there in BP -- very loud'n'long. Finding it in-game is the tough part...heck, finding consistent hard contact can be a struggle.
Jason and Chris may have further observations from workouts -- to me his swing looks longer than it has in the past, and there seems to be more collapse on the backside. Appears like he's really trying to sell out for pull side power.
Long term, I don't think it's an issue. He's shown a more controlled swing in the past, and particularly for an event like this it's not uncommon for the players to let it rip in an effort to make a splash. Still a potential early-first rounder -- just had a rough couple of stops on the circuit.
Also, for me, he's likely a third baseman long term. But I think he can develop the power to fit well at that spot.
Thanks! Yes, Parks, Chris Rodriguez, and I are putting something together. Should post later this week.
Both are likely to be in consideration for top-of-the-draft attention. So much depth up top I wouldn't personally feel comfortable calling anyone "by far the best prospect" at this point.
Could not find uniform that would fit him -- have to special order in the off-season.
When formulating draft profiles you are largely balancing ceiling with probability. Different organizations tend to prefer different slices of that spectrum. Philly, historically, preferred physical, athletic types with high ceilings, even if probability was much lower than other potential targets. Other orgs, historically, might prefer higher probability in the form of a college player with solid performance track record, even if there was less "to dream on".
Hope that helps.
Unfortunately, we won't have a good feel for Ward until he gets to full season ball. Generally, he's had a solid start in the GCL, but the hurdles for him will be hit tool realization and growing into his power potential -- each of which won't start to become readily evident until we see him tackling more advanced arms.
The good news is that he is underway with his pro career. Originally, he was a class of 2014 kid, but successfully petitioned MLB for inclusion in this past year's draft. That extra year of developmental time is a very good thing.
Generally speaking, evaluators that buy into the hit tool tended to view him as a second to third round talent, and evaluators that were softer on the hit tool tended to view him as a better fit in the fourth to six round.
"Rolling over" a pitch is making contact after the wrists have rolled, out in front of the plate, usually resulting in soft contact/groundballs to the pull side. Timing issue with the swing that can be caused due easier fixes (e.g. a swing being bit out of sync) or larger issues (e.g. inability to identify offspeed, laks, or tendencies for front-of-center contact in weight transfer). My guess is Taylor is just a little worn down and coming out of his swing some.
No worries -- it was not the cleanest presentation.
Sorry, poor writing on my part. I was trying to string together these thoughts:
1. Shortstop might be a stretch long term
2. He has the arm to stick on the left side of the infield (3B)
3. The best fit might not be third, but rather second base (the "keystone"), where the power profiles better.
I believe both Parks and Cole recently sat on Hickory for a series or two.
Au Naturale Cosmetics
No, just a typo. July.
He has been successful with the bottom-heavy approach thus far in 2013, and the FB has regained the explosiveness it had prior to 2012. Has been a fun arm to follow through the first half.
Evaluators with a history with Gray shouldn't hold durability concerns. His first two years of college ball he threw from February through June with Vandy before continuing through July with the USA Collegiate National Team. With the CNT, he had no regression in stuff and was consistently maintaining through the late innings. His junior year with Vandy he likewise through Feb to June, continuing in the minors after signing with no regression in stuff.
Pre-draft, you could make the argument that shorter rest could have a negative impact, but his minor league track record seems to have addressed that. I think pitch plane is the larger evaluative concern, and from that standpoint Gray has responded by 1) pounding the bottom shelf consistently throughout 2013 thus far, and 2) improving his secondaries to the point he has four viable offerings to mix-in.
It's pretty clear he's a starter until MLB hitters prove otherwise. I certainly wouldn't bet against him...
Mid-season Top 50:
I was -- this year's class is much deeper throughout, and in particular up the middle. While there were a number of interesting arms last year, as well, this year's crop blows away 2013's.
Now, last year's PG Nat'l was my "Come to Jesus" moment w/Clint Frazier, from evaluative standpoint. Was top prep in the class for me from that weekend on. Didn't see that one crazy loud performance this year, though Hill, Jackson, Flaherty, Deichmann, and a couple more all had a very impressive showcase.
This class has a little something for everyone -- an excellent collection of talent and should be an opportunity for teams to put together highly customized approaches to their respective drafts.
I feel comfortable answering: "Nope."
Thanks; it was definitely an exciting start of the scouting season for evaluators. Lots of buzz amongst the scouts and even a nice regional talent distribution so everyone has SOMETHING to be excited about in their coverage.
Really looking forward to seeing these players through the rest of the circuit, and the college crop is looking pretty stout, as well!
Received email regarding Cameron Varga (rhp, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (Cincinnati, OH)) -- he was covered in my earlier piece here:
Rather than go over him again, I wanted to hit on some additional arms since there were so many deserving at the event. The link above has notes and video on Varga, if anyone is interested.
Chad Pinder is a dude.
I agree with Parks' general assessment. In particular, for me, the swings-and-misses should eventually show up in his OBP via batting average, so I think the overall offensive production is likely to take a step back in the second half. Either way, I am sure the end product of this summer will be a highly encouraging 2013 for the former Huskie.
I'd be curious to hear details from Cole as to how the defense -- and in particular the decision making and accuracy on the throws -- looked in his most recent series.
Awesome; thanks for the words of encouragement!
It's more a question of production -- at least that's how I interpreted "taking a step back." Holmberg is inducing some soft contact, but not missing enough bats to maintain the preventative run production he's notched in the first half -- at least in my opinion.
Using June as an example, in 23 innings he has allowed just 10 hits, despite around 80% of his batters faced putting the ball in play. His BABIP against during that time is around .150.
Fantastic -- everything I was hoping to get out of the series! Glad you (1) enjoyed the pieces, and (2) were inspired to go through some of these issues and mental exercises on your own. I think it will put you in a much better position to try and figure out exactly what your favorite team is trying to accomplish in this space.
Thanks! It was an enjoyable series to put together, and I've greatly appreciated the feedback!
1. Yes, prep players always have more inherent leverage than a college senior. From a negotiating standpoint, we are always concerned with the worst case. For a college senior, it would be indy ball; a prep player has the potential (though it comes with risk) to improve their signing bonus after further exposure in college. Additionally, prep players are younger and therefor more appealing from a developmental standpoint. A college senior that heads to indy ball might be 24 before he begins to work through the minors.
Now, all seniors are not created equally. Obviously Mark Appel isn't signing for scraps, and even someone like a Matt Boyd or Brandon Thomas has enough in the tools department to probably demand more than a token signing bonus. But for the most parts, the seniors are over a barrel and need to take what they can get.
2. The slot allotments were set up above the amount for which players at those slots would typically sign with the idea that teams were to be able to use the extra money elsewhere (mostly at the very top of the draft). Additionally, whether or not a player signs below slot depends on leverage. If a player is mostly getting interest from teams picking in the teens, and you pick in single digits, they are incentivized to agree to sign for below slot (which could still be above what they'd otherwise be likely to have available to them when they are eventually picked).
In other words, if it looks like I'm likely to be picked in the 12th to 17th overall range, the allotment for those slots is 2.1 to 2.7 MM. If the team picking 7th or 8th asks if I'm willing to sign for 2.9 or 3.0 million, why not tell them yes, get the more prestigious draft slot and more money?
That bat wouldn't be close to ready. He's a 3 yr developmental guy, minimum, at this point.
Moran's profile isn't one I like in the top 10. I consider adding players to the mix to the extent something changes with that player requiring a reassessment. For example, both Manaea and Boldt were dropped from consideration altogether due to injury/performance.
I think Moran's profile is an excellent fit for the early- to mid-teens, but his carrying tool is his hit tool, and he doesn't come by it conventionally. If the hit tool falls at all short you have an average bat, fringe average defense and fringe average power at 3b. Not the profile I'm looking for in top 10, particularly when the ceiling is at least somewhat limited since the defensive production isn't going to be great and the power is a big question mark.
Now, I could very well be wrong in my assessment of Moran, and that's a risk I'm willing to take in this project. I do think there is room for hit-first profiles (Kolten Wong was a favorite of mine), but Moran looks better this year because of the college bats he's standing next to.
Very much appreciate the feedback; thanks!
With the caveat that the particulars would matter, one of those arms would likely jump to the top of the pref list and would be the selection.
If Frazier were available in addition to the college arm, and Frazier is the better signability pick, he'd probably get the nod.
But the Tier 1 guys are guys we'd have to take if they are available and make a run at signing them. I'm confident in our ability to get value elsewhere, and we could still be reasonably agressive while freeing up around $500-600K between the 6th and 10th rounds.
Yes -- I'll be doing a "supplemental entry" on the BP Unfiltered Blog that will likely post after the first pick and during the remainder of the first round. Middle infield is a strong option at the 45th overall pick, though it will depend in part on which names drop out of the first round that I general expect to be selected.
Thanks for reading, and for the kind words!
Thanks for the kind words! I'll speak with my colleagues here at BP about how we'll handle this in the future. Personally, I prefer not to speculate as to signability of players, and to the extent I am privy to specifics I think it's important not to pass along that information in order to maintain the integrity of the process of negotiation.
The only time signability numbers leak is when one side believes it to be to their benefit. I prefer to avoid assisting either side -- be it intentionally or inadvertently -- and there are plenty of media sources who are happy to speculate or float rumors.
Perhaps a nice compromise would be to look at profile types that have generally proved difficult to sign and identifying the players that fit into that historical grouping. Would be an interesting research project, as well, so let's circle back up on that at a later date.
Thanks again, both for the feedback and for the kind words.
Every once in a while I get one right...
Thanks, Andrew. We'll have lots more uploaded throughout the week and the coming month -- hope you enjoy!
Went into decent detail on Moran here:
Touches on the big points.
Personal preference. One tool guy. High floor; don't love the ceiling. Risk outweighs reward for me in top 10. Think he's a good mid-round profile in typical draft, and probability certainly bumps him up the boards of those who greatly value probability.
If hit tool only plays to, say, 75% projection, what are you left with? That's assuming the rest of the package plays as projected, too.
I don't see the need to get Moran -- he's not a 1-1 guy for me and you should be able to get at least one (in reality, should be each) of Gray/Appel/Frazier/Bryant for $6MM or less, which frees up an additional $1.7MM for later use.
There aren't tons of worthy candidates for significant over-allotment money, so unless you have a particular player in mind and that player is going to cost you north of $3MM, I'm not sure why you'd need more than that extra $1.7MM (plus around another 500K you could scrape together in later pick savings).
Finally, even if you do save the money with a particular player in mind, there are a handful of teams that could beat you to the punch in popping your target(s). That would leave you with a bunch of extra money and no great use for it.
All that said, Houston has a lot of really smart people breaking this stuff down, so I'd certainly give them the benefit of the doubt as you watch the draft unfold. They will have worked the angles, and then some, I'm sure.
Frazier is a legit five tool guy, but is well behind Buxton in speed, potentially future defense, and there are at least some questions as to the health of his arm (he's been fighting tendonitis in his elbow since late last year). Buxton looks the part much moreso than does Frazier, but I've seen enough of the latter not to bet against him. Though he comes with a fair amount of risk, I wouldn't be shocked if he shoots through his projections.
I don't think Houston rolls the dice on him if they like Appel/Gray/Bryant. More safety with that trio and shouldn't be handing out more than around $6MM to any of them (leaving plenty to spread around elsewhere).
Almora/Baez, JBJ/Bogaerts, Clint Frazier/anyone.
I'm touching on this in tomorrow's Dissecting the Draft piece. In short, I don't think it has any effect. Some org's could try to use this as leverage against Gray, but I don't see that as a viable approach to negotiations -- primarily because it would require teams like Colorado, Cleveland, and Miami to indicate disinterest for the benefit of Houston and Chicago.
Certainly upgraded from the limbo of 2012. For me, on par with where he was when drafted. Potential #2.
Appel and Gonzales would be the most likely candidates for quick promotion -- next year would certainly be reasonable.
Clock face from scout's perspective (behind home plate).
Slow and steady improvement, more than flicking on. He is simply going to take some time to improve his reads off the bat and his routes. No shortcut, so Detroit has to keep running him out there and working with him on the side.
As far as when he could be ready, that will depend on how much Detroit wants to roll the dice on the glove. I personally would want him to finish the season at Toledo, and ideally you don't need him until next year (after which point he'd have some additional instruction in the fall and perhaps some AFL time, as well as another full spring training).
Yes, your (and Bruce's) thoughts are spot on -- the risk is low in that he's a high floor/probability bat, and the existence of some discrepancies in certain splits are to be expected. In other words, it's highly likely he's a contributor in some form. The concern comes when you have an elite bat (statistically) that posts wider than expected splits, and those discrepancies dovetail with scouting concerns. Certainly, the home run production is top notch regardless of splits. But raw power isn't the concern, it's his future ability to make enough consistent contact (and hard contact) to get that raw power to play against Major League arms.
It may be the difference between averaging 35 home runs a year or 25 home runs a year. As noted in the article, either way he's an excellent draft prospect. But the only question we are setting out to answer in this examination is whether or not he is safe enough to be considered an elite selection. Opportunity cost requires we make surgical distinctions between our top draft targets--an inherently difficult task in a world that requires us to project undeveloped players one to four years into the future.
As a broader matter, we are shooting to rely on scouting for projection and overall assessment of a draft prospect's draft day value, while looking to statistics to add context. Because competition varies so much at the collegiate level, we further parse the statistics to highlight any potential problem areas.
Later this summer, once the draft is behind us, I'd be happy to explore some of these issues in more detail. The most extreme split (SP/RP) I've seen regarding a potential top 5 round guy was a report I provided to an area scout that showed a 140 bip delta. Loosely, I'd consider 0 to 25 bips noise, 25 to 60 bips "noteworthy", and 60 or greater bips potentially problematic. Even in the case of problematic splits, there has to be a corresponding scouting concern in order for me to consider strongly dinging someone. Otherwise, it's just a further data point to toss into the AOFP calculator.
Hope that helps; thanks very much for the feedback. If I can flesh things out further, please let me know.
Thanks! Yes, I run splits for most of the top guys I examine. As a general matter, you expect better performance against lesser competition, but I look for severe splits as a potential indicator that a player is buoying his stats against a certain player type. Again, not looking to find decision makers in the stats, but rather trying to make sure I have the right context when viewing the stats as a whole.
The pitchers are slightly different in that we have the opportunity to do a few more "fun" exercises with their numbers, and overall I think their splits tend to be more telling, overall. Most of the time, whether pitchers or position players, this exercise doesn't reveal a ton--just serves as reinforcement for the general stats. Other times, such was the case with Dustin Ackley, you get fairly convincing indicators that aspects of the player's game (in Ackley's case, "emerging power" his junior year) are not what they appear to be.
He does, but the bat speed has thus far precluded the hitch from being an issue.
Sorry, meant "overall composition of the draft class".
It will depend on the circumstances of their selection. If Manaea is still able to land in the top half of the first round, he may be wise to take the money and run. He has had difficulty shaking this hip tenderness, and his showing on the Cape last summer is more an outlier than the status quo for those scouts that have followed his progress throughout his collegiate career (including this past fall). He could plant the seed now that he's looking for top sevenish money, angling for a team like Minnesota, Houston, etc. to free up some extra money for the supplemental or second round.
Wilson is in an interesting position, as well, having already turned down seven figures once in the draft. Like Manaea, he could try to angle for extra money in the supplemental round if he's looking for top ten dollars. Conversely, he could take the later Day 1 money he's likely to get and get going with his pro career.
Those are certainly two players that could provide for interesting game planning leading up to the draft. There are a handful of prep players, as well, that would seem to be candidates for hard line negotiations, and the overall compensation of the draft class could both help and hinder those efforts, depending on which teams are highest on those players.
Really great read; thanks for this!
Left leg; landing leg.
I was at the game as well -- it was not a good start for Appel. I'd say it's important to keep in mind that on field demeanor, particular in one-off instances, is seldom evidence of good or bad makeup.
I have seen a good amount of Appel over the last three years and will say that his overall approach has been more aggressive this year than in years past. In previous years I questioned Appel's desire/ability to take ownership of his stuff and just go out there and shove it for 9 innings. Those concerns have been somewhat quelled with his 2013 performance.
He needs to get stronger, for sure, which is one reason he is probably unlikely to move quickly through the lower minors. His profile is more a back-half of the 1st Rd in a typical year, but I would assume a number of teams in the top half are going to kick the tires.
Barring any substantive changes in Frazier's stock, or details relating to the money his looking for, Frazier would be my selection in that scenario provided Gray and Appel are off the board (a near certainty).
As noted in the article, I would expect a player in Frazier's position with his profile to be a risk for moderate overslot request with a fair likelihood he will sign at slot allotment at 7th overall. The first factor (and most important) is that he is in competition with Gray and Appel for early selection, and both are near MLB ready with demonstrated success/dominance at the collegiate level. Were Frazier to require elite bonus money (think Byron Buxton from last year) he would effectively be pricing himself out of a lot of potential suitors.
Assuming Gray and Appel are strong bets to be off the board in board very early, Frazier is likely looking at only a couple of teams that could reasonably absorb a signing bonus of $4MM+ without having to significantly limit their aggressiveness the rest of the way through the first ten rounds. True, he and his advisor could sandbag, indicating they are interested in signing for top ten money, and then negotiating hard for top 4 overall money, but that runs the risk of frustrating a drafting org enough such that they simply move on (not having had the opportunity to appropriately plan their remaining top ten round picks accordingly.
Last year Albert Almora was selected 6th overall and received $3.9MM -- if Frazier negotiates hard, I would expect him to max out around this amount to the extent he falls outside of the top 5. All bets are off if he is convinced he's a #1 overall type of talent and could earn $6MM as a collegiate junior, but I'd be willing to wager he will be signable.
So, short answer, I'd grab him. Boston has about $3.2 MM to spend on the first pick, so I'd plan on freeing up around another $700K as a safety net, starting with cost-saving selections in rounds 6-8. If I can find a third round selection that fits an org need and would otherwise go in the 4th or later, I might pop him in the third if I think I need that extra money, as well (this based on the expected available talents at that slot given the composition of the draft class).
It's certainly a possibility. His offensive profile fits well in that slot -- it all comes down to where you view his defensive home. Additionally, the Astros will likely have some extra money to play around with, and with limited elite talent in the draft they may not have the option to wait to the third round if they are going after an "over slot" guy that drops.
I'd say it's certainly a down year for collegiate bats, and the composition of the prep bats up top is a bit atypical (good number of catchers, limited big time power in the first 50 picks).
As far as others I'd likely consider as Tier 2 targets if drafting in the 11-15 range, I guess that would primarily include a few more college bats (DJ Peterson (New Mexico), Colin Moran (UNC), Hunter Renfroe (MissSt) and perhaps Austin Wilson (Stanford). I think I'd stay put on college arms, with the remainder, to me, a fair step down from the crop currently targeted. I'd probably keep Boldt as a Tier 2, rather than dropping to Tier 3 with the knee injury last week. Quick and dirty, that's how I'd see it shaking out five to seven spots lower.
Yes -- he's a young'un, but was a college kid.
Just didn't happen to make the cut for Tier 2. There's enough heat on him that he doesn't really qualify for Tier 3, so he ends up on the outside looking in. I'll make sure there's plenty of info on him for the Center Field portion of the Scouting the Draft series, w/vid, tool grades and more details on profile.
He'd be on my list in the 11-15 range as a Tier 2.
I think the best bet would probably be somewhere in the 12-20 range, but I actually like Denney as a Top 10 target (he's one of the 14 in consideration for the 7th overall pick in the Dissecting the Draft series). The biggest question for him (and I'll discuss in more detail on his player report) is that his game has been a little inconsistent. When he is on, he looks like an easy bet to stick behind the plate. But there are plenty of teams that don't like the risk that goes along with prep catchers early in the 1st, and will gravitate elsewhere if there is comparable talent.
That's the reason for putting a 1st or Supp-1st tag on him in the above summary. If I'm the decision maker, he's definitely on the short list in the 1st half of the 1st Round.
And thanks for the kind words!
Great stuff, Cole. Loving the format and the vids.
I honestly don't remember what led me to the Astros after shifting over from Baltimore. This year, after a fair amount of work, I've developed a process for loosely ranking the "advantages" of the various organizations. I then looked at teams outside the top and bottom third of that loose ranking and pared down options based on which slots I thought presented the most interesting options for this draft class.
After we're through the 2013 draft, we'll definitely take a closer look at the misses and the hits in an effort to discern if there are patterns we should be avoiding moving forward. Keep in mind, a miss in a vacuum isn't really a useful data point in this context, since a one-in-five hit of a particular profile type could be a worthwhile investment. Should be fun to explore and discuss!
Matusz was taken while I stood in the shoes of the O's (this project spun out from a shadow draft that originated with Jon Shepherd over at Camden Depot (the ESPN SweetSpot Orioles affiliate), so that was the starting point. That year the top five I had marked as targets for Baltimore in our draft went as follows:
If you recall, the night before the draft Posey floated a $10MM signing bonus demand (or something in that range). Keeping in mind we were trying to work within expected confines of the Orioles organization, I struck Posey from the list (face palm) and Matusz was the best available when the pick came up.
Re: Gray, I had selected, and failed to sign, Karsten Whitson the previous year, so I had the 9th and 12th picks (drafting for Houston). The short explanation is that, when my pick came up, my "must haves" were off the board. The pairings I was hoping to have available after about pick five were Lindor/Gray, Lindor/Fernandez, and Lindor/Bradley. With Lindor gone, I shifted gears and went pure upside with Swihart. That meant I wanted a little less risk with my next pick and opted for the college arm (Gray) over the prepsters.
Got it. Well, I keep it pretty simple. If the player doesn't sign with his real drafting team, I don't get to add him to the shadow system. You're absolutely right I don't have control over actual negotiations, so the best I can do is look at the process.
Using Smoral/Bregman, had Smoral not signed I would have been out the player, but could look at the approach I took and take a side note that in the "real world" I might have had the flexibility to notch Bregman. I keep track of the non-signs, as well, as it's a good stat to follow. If those non-signs go on to be high drafts later, it's at least an indication I'm ID'ing some talent.
Likewise, let's say Bregman DID sign, I'd have to make the decision as to whether to take both Smoral and Bregman, along with the MLB instituted penalty, or only add one to the shadow system in order to stay within my allotted budget.
Thanks; I should probably have made clear in the article (and will do so in the next installment) that the goal is certainly not to question any approaches teams have and are taking. I pick a team to shadow simply so there is a construct -- the goal isn't to compare my 2013 draft class with Boston's.
In fact, and this is something we'll explore in more detail when the draft is in the rearviewmirror, I am a strong believer that anyone promoting one draft strategy across the board probably isn't doing enough digging into the various approaches (and accordingly the various benefits of taking different approaches) to draft acquisitions. Teams are coming at the draft from very different circumstances, beyond slots. The Red Sox, Rays, Rockies, Twins and Angels will all have a multitude of variables particular to that organization that should help determine the best draft strategy possible.
It's about maximizing opportunity, and those opportunities are not only slot specific, but are also organization specific.
It would absolutely be an interesting exercise -- unfortunately, outside of routing for players from my alma mater to be selected early and often, I don't have much insight into the evaluation of NFL draft-eligible players. I know one glaring difference between the NFL draft and MLB draft is the simple difference in time-to-production, meaning top NFL draftees are usually expected to contribute almost immediately, whereas even the top baseball draftees are routinely expected to log at least 1.5 years in the minors, with an adjustment period upon arrival to The Show.
I've now exhausted my NFL draft knowledge....
Thanks, philly. It should be a fun series leading up to the draft (with a focus on the actual shadow draft), and thereafter discussing larger draft issues.
I have kept signability and total expenditures in mind in the past, as I think that's the only way this exercise really works. Exploring the challenges of operating under the new system's slot allotments will absolutely be a large part of what we discuss. As far as last year is concerned, I drafted in place of the Astros, meaning I had a good amount of flexibility. My strategy was similar to Houston's (I was really happy to see this on draft day) -- here is how the top 11 rounds went:
1. A. Almora (looking for $1.5-2.5 MM savings on $7.2 MM allotment)
1S. M. Smoral (planning to require $500K-1MM add'l to slot)
2. M. Brown (plan called for HS arm -- 4 lined up/two were available)
3. K. Diekroeger (plan called for HS arm but went with upside college player when it looked like Buttrey might fall; had to build in possibility of overslot)
4. T. Buttrey (plan called for one more overslot early-rounder)
5. B. Jackson (plan called for portfolio balance -- here, needed a HS position player)
6. J. Elander (portfolio -- college position player and value for me)
7. J. Rathjen (money save to add cushion for pick 2 and 4)
8. Semmelhack (money save to add cushion for pick 2 and 4)
9. M. Snyder (portfolio pick -- college corner bat)
10. K. Brady (portfolio pick -- college arm)
11. Alex Bregman (insurance/negotiating leverage for Buttrey/Smoral)
I'll dissect this in greater detail, maybe in July as a comparison piece with the 2013 draft, but the general strategy I settled on was taking Almora at a discount on the full allotment and spreading the excess to cover 1) Smoral or McCullers in the supplemental round, and 2) an available early-round talent in the 4th Round. The Bregman pick in the 11th Round locked in insurance for Buttrey/Smoral negotiations, though that's an example of real world planning that is difficult to implement in this format (obviously I don't get to actually negotiate these deals, so I run the risk of the actual drafting team not signing a player).
If you have questions about specific players ages/schools I can answer here. I believe I have most of these birth dates in my database.
Starling actually did not attend any Perfect Game events, but played elsewhere on the scouting circuit the summer/fall before his senior year. Tournament of Stars (and later with Team USA's 18U team), Under Armour All-America Game, Area Code Games, etc. He showed marked improvement throughout the summer, as well, and took to instruction (largely, I'd wager, because his athleticism allows him to incorporate suggested changes). He was routinely singled out as one of the top players at these events full of the best draft eligible prep players for 2011.
Correct. Control is the ability to realize a pitch. Command is the ability to effectively wield it.
Having control of a fastball is possessing the ability to knock over a pyramid of six stacked cans. Having command of a fastball is possessing the ability to pick the top can off the pyramid.
This is to what a scout is referring if he says something like "his breaking ball is a solid pitch but he doesn't consistently command it yet." It's conveying they idea that the pitcher, say, can throw the slider it to the outer half, but too often leaves it a bit up or with too much of the white.
Another consideration is that with secondaries, the execution of the pitch can affect command much moreso than control. If my curve has inconsistent break, I may be able consistently bury the pitch, but might struggle more to land it at the knees (since the landing spot will vary depending on deep the pitch comes on a pitch-by-pitch basis.
Control = ability to throw strikes, or to a general area (e.g. throw in the dirt)
Command = ability to throw to particular spots (e.g. just off the plate; lower-in quadrant)
If you control a pitch, you are able to consistently execute it such that it is a usable weapon. If you command a pitch, you are able to surgically implement it to quadrants or just outside the zone.
Ha. Perfectly put -- love it.
The Daily Videos are being shelved as a BP entry but you'll have access to them two ways:
1) Here at BP through the Scouting the Draft series, which will give scouting notes and draft vids regularly (usually weekly starting next week), but bunched together in one place as opposed to one-offs each day.
2) On Twitter
Thanks very much; it was a grind, and Parks of course shouldered the load. But the prospect team discussions, I think, added a lot to the final lists and helped produce a really impressive product. Thanks for reading; now on to the season!
Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for reading!
I gave some serious thought to that trio (Votto/Bruce/Phillips) for sure, and we could have kicked that around some in the piece. Good catch.
Much appreciated -- thanks for reading!
I tried mightily to shoehorn a Stanton/Yelich/Someone case into the equation, but every time "Marlins" and "top 2013 talent" appeared in the same sentence my word processor kept auto-correcting.
Thanks! It was fun to kick the questions around -- ready for the season to start!
Votto was mentioned, but fell short of Cabrera by, I believe, unanimous consent. Certainly a talented hitter, and one that should continue to compete for batting titles.
Fielder is a 7 for me, and I could be talked into 7+. Limited peak and rapidly decreased bat speed as a result, but for the prime years he was legit.
Simmons and Ryan got lots of love.
Radar guns are used by scouts on the amateur side during infield/outfield (depending on surroundings). I have used guns in-game for infielders when I really needed data or had limited looks at a player (which essentially involved standing behind first and praying for a groundball that would necessitate a hard throw -- not fun).
Baseball Prospectus has teamed up with Perfect Game USA on a number of amateur items (as of this winter), and I believe the large scale draft rankings may fall under this category.
I'll be posting video and player write-ups weekly throughout the spring, and am always happy to answer draft related questions in the comments sections, on twitter (@NickJFaleris), or in one of my Baseball Prospectus chats. I am also accessible by email -- nfaleris at baseballprospectus dot com.
Thanks for reading!
Yes, that's the translation.
Both are potential top 10 guys -- Frazier ahead of Meadows for me. Will be seeing them both next week, weather permitting.
Drew's father is Andy -- I am not sure if it is "the" Andy, sorry.
Sure -- it's basically being caught in between two pitches. Usually, it's the result of improper execution on one breaking ball that leads to giving it characteristics of the other.
For Lilek, he can fail to get on top of his curve, which leads to action somewhere between his slider and curve (velo in between, as well).
This is an important distinction to keep in mind when comparing this year's list to the 2012 BP 101. Thanks, ttt.
Russell would be the "5th" right behind Sano, sorry.
Almora, Hedges, Baez, Sano would naturally slide up depending on who graduates. There is potential for one or two draft-eligibles to debut that high (though no one is close a lock at this point). Could see big jumps from high-ceiling guys like Rendon, Correa, Soler, etc.
I'm not a fantasy expert by any means, but I assume AL only would mean the threshold for "productive player" is lower from a counting stat perspective. In the usual categories, he could have upside around .285+ BA, 90+ R, 60+ RBI, 8-12 HR (considering home park), and 20 SB. Not a world beater, but a fine little player.
The Ellsbury question will come down to internal valuation, but JBJ is closer to MLB ready than is Cowart. The path may be cleaner for Cowart, but if the profile isn't there for him to succeed, it doesn't matter, right? That said, if Cowart were to make a large developmental jump at Double-A, sure, he'd potentially be positioned to make an impact more quickly.
Keep in mind there is some noise in the rankings in that the comparison is going from the work product of one evaluator to the work product of another. To some extent, there is going to be fluctuation based solely on Goldstein and Parks viewing the prospect landscape through different lenses.
The conversations the prospect team had regarding to this list almost never made arguments for or against players based primarily on their most recent performance. These were high level looks at each full player profile and detailed discussions as to what separated those profiles.
JBJ is likely to give you the quicker return and is a safer bet to be a solid contributor in average, runs and some SB. Cowart has a wider gap between current value and future potential but has the higher fantasy ceiling because of the power potential. Cowart carries more risk, and isn't likely a significant producer in 2013 or 2014, but could be a valuable trade chip during those seasons.
If you don't need help soon, you can stash Cowart. If you're looking for contributions over the next 18 months, JBJ is the better bet.
Keep in mind when comparing media reports of pre-draft prospects against post-signing prospects, you are often getting different circles of evaluators providing insight. It's not uncommon at all for pro scouts to read "reports" on newly drafted players they will be seeing and completely disagree with that report once they put their own eyes on the player.
In recent memory, Dustin Ackley and Francisco Lindor jump out as players that pro scouts noted were "not what they expected."
Also, keep in mind that amateur scouts generally have a much deeper history with newly drafted prospects, such as Russell. So the pro scout that sees Russell for a week isn't going to have history impacting his evaluation, where as leading up to the draft the amateur guys are essentially looking over at least a full year's worth of views -- the good and the bad.
I don't disagree -- it is certainly special that he came up and held his own at such a young age. It should be fun to see him at the MLB level for a full season this summer, for sure.
Good points, but if we are going to hang rate stats as a potential measures for future promise we have to also note the number of plate appearances over which those players compiled their rate stats:
Foxx - 473
Horner - 359
Matthews - 593
Machado - 202
Hornsby - 550
Horner is closest to Machado and still had 75% more PAs than Manny. I watched a lot of Manny, and there was a lot to be excited about. But the analysis you're using is potentially misleading. The sample size is small enough that simply removing his first four games drops his SLG to .383. Now, I'm not a proponent of carving out slices of games to prove an argument one way or another, but the sample size should be large enough that 4 games don't affect the statistic of measure by 60 bips.
Manny is a supremely talented young player, but there are legit areas to work on and I think it may be counter productive to start laying him next to Hall of Famers after 202 plate appearances.
For me, Gausman over Zimmer. Gausman was, in my mind, the top talent in the draft last year. I'm less bullish on Zimmer than was much of the BP Prospect Team, so I'd probably slot Machado ahead of him.
Much appreciated! Ultimately, it's a matter of taste as to how you come down on Machado/Bundy/Gausman. All three are potential All-Stars and it would not be a shock to see any of the three wind up with the most productive ML career.
Machado's bat at third base less impactful than shortstop and, even if Hardy were elsewhere, I'm not fully sold on Machado as a shortstop long term. Gausman was, for me, the top talent in the draft last year and is a potential front-ender with high floor. I do not take issue with any arrangement of the top three on the list, but right now Gausman is a better overall talent than Machado for me. Potential for three plus or better offerings (and maybe two plus-plus), great body, creates angles, good presence and big makeup.
This was an interesting case in that we had a fairly wide spread (by closer standards) between the player's submission and the club's submission. I believe Brad and I are tackling Romo next week, which I imagine will force a very different set of arguments.
Thanks for the feedback, and for reading, all!
Crawford, I believe, should be listed as a junior (though he listed is a soph. on the UF roster I have) -- played in 2011 and 2012.
Turner, Conforto, Fisher and Rodon are all high follows for 2014.
Berg is a soft tossing side-armer (low-80s). Not a draft prospect.
It is, indeed.
I don't think there is conclusive evidence as to the effect various PEDs have on players, and certainly not uniformly such that we can run the numbers through an algorithm an determine a "clean line" for use in statistical projection. Hedges has a higher upside than Grandal, but Grandal is at the big league level already. That weighed heavily in comparing the two players for purposes of a 25U list. If Grandal is an everyday first division catcher (which is still a question) that alone is arguably enough to rate him over Hedges for purposes of this snapshot look at the talent spectrum in the org.
That said, I wouldn't take issue with someone arguing Hedges as #1 here. The proximity disparity is just too great for me, personally.
I didn't consider the suspension to be particularly relevant to the rankings, but am happy to discuss here in the comments if there are specific items you feel warrant mention or discussion.
Thanks, wonk. Embarrasingly I missed that transaction. I let the editors know.
Dickerson's big issue entering the draft was that his raw power was heavily geared to the pull side and he had trouble covering the outer half against good arms, especially in his summer stints with wood. He's corrected that some as a pro, getting his upper and lower half working together more consistently, but he is going to really have to hit to carve out a full-time spot in The Show, because he's absolutely limited to first base, defensively, and is a plodder on the bases.
As an aside, he hit some of the most impressive BP homeruns I've seen at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, clearing the tree line just past the right field wall.
For me, Tabata's overall profile is more diverse and the secondary offensive skills are superior to Snider's. It's unlikely either is an impact player, but Tabata still has a chance to carve out everyday value with a little ISO improvement and some BABIP bounceback. I can still see a .275/.350/.450 line as a possibility, which I imagine combined with average defense and slightly above-average on-base value would make him around a 2-win player or slightly below.
Snider's bat-to-ball struggles make it harder for me to buy into him as an everyday hitter. There is still pop there, but I haven't seen consistent production from him in years outside of some stretches in hitter haven Vegas.
In short, Snider profiles to me as a straight up-down guy, while Tabata's profile still has some breathing room on the ML side, mostly because of secondary skills and the fact that the hit tool grades better. I wouldn't be shocked if I ended-up on the wrong side, but I feel pretty comfortable with their respective 25U rankings.
Don't forget this guy from your high school, too. Same draft; same fringe-NP status.
I would; Cole and Taillon being the highest draft grades I've given to pitchers over past five years outside of Strasburg. Gausman and Bundy not far behind.
I did not like Allie as a third baseman coming out of high school. Big raw power but big questions as to whether he would be able to get to it against advanced pitching -- never really stood out with the bat on the circuit, despite loud BP showings.
For me, he's a first baseman long term, which is admittedly a waste of at least a 70 arm. Likely negative defensive value, negative value on the bases and offensive profile is high risk/moderate upside. At this point, for me, close to NP.
Thanks very much; glad you are enjoying these. Lots more to come!
We will need some time this spring at least to see who, if anyone, makes strides up-the-middle at the collegiate level for 2014. Right now, it's another fairly thin crop, though notably deeper at catcher. Blandino (Stanford) and Chapman (Fullerton) are two noteworthy '14 shortstop follows that spring to mind. I believe Hockaday is getting time at shortstop for Maryland, but he's a third baseman long term (for me) at this point.
Pro teams have recently really been aggressive in the draft in signing up-the-middle talents out of the high school ranks, which has resulted in a thinning of that talent at the collegiate level from a draft perspective.
Pitching is a really difficult thing to do. It's tough to find someone with the coordination/athleticism to repeat their mechanics such that they can execute MLB quality pitches with MLB quality control/command/consistency.
It's also really difficult to maintain all of that stuff when you are throwing every fifth day via high effort performances over the course of six months. That means in addition to being athletic and possessing solid control over your body, you need to be physical.
6'3", loosely, tends to give you a physical body that has not grown so big as to be unwieldy. You'll find tall pitchers that are coordinated enough to thrive at the MLB level, but the longer the limbs generally the more difficult it is for someone to control them with precision. We see examples of this in other sports, such as the NBA, where a more athletic, and coordinated "big body" can run roughshot over their less coordinated brethren. That's part of what makes Lebron such a dominant force, right?
It's an oversimplification, but one that is partially based in science and partially based on historical precedent.
He's a Dude.
A more complex mechanical assessment is probably better given by Doug Thorburn -- I'll see if I can get his attention and have him respond as to comps.
From a scouting perspective, I don't have much trepidation relating to effort. Stanek gets to his velocity pretty easily and has improved his angles since high school while finding a little more consistency in his timing and release. He has a long loop on the back, and still struggles to repeat his arm path, but that is something he can improve upon with continued reps and instruction.
It's a nice starting point with which a developmental staff will be able to work. He repeats pretty well, but could stand to slow things down some at times -- his lower half can get ahead of his upper body too quickly, causing him to fail to finish and push the ball up and out.
Overall, I have no major issue with it, and he's athletic enough that I like the odds of him being able to make adjustments as needed. His control is already solid, and command should come with more consistency.
Projection, athleticism, good feel for two secondaries, solid shape on breaking ball, current "average" velocity on fastball with multiple looks, room for growth in pitches and mechanics that should make average or better command a real possibility. We're going to have lots of videos to show you as many quality draft prospects as possible -- not everyone is going to currently project to a top 10 pick.
That day, 90-1 with occasional cut. Changeup was 84 with good late drop.
I liked Boer a fair amount coming out of Oregon, seeing his future most likely as an 8th inning guy. Minnesota has kept him the rotation for the time being, I assume to get innings under his belt. I think in short stints he can miss some bats and produce soft contact with his sinker/slider. I saw signs of a solid change-up with Team USA but didn't see the same quality in the offering the following spring. Jason may have more insight as to what others in the industry had to say about his Midwest League showing this summer.
Ultimately, MLB, but it's a broad evaluative statement that really focuses on the jump a player makes to better, more consistent competition and wood bats. So you can lump the minors in there too.
From a general standpoint I'm not sure why range in left field would be substantively different than range in right field, outside of park-specific requirements at the MLB level and some quirky secondary defensive skills such as ability to finish on one side vs. the other.
I do think Wilson runs better in the field and better underway than he does out of the box (his home-to-second times confirm this, in my opinion).
I'll be seeing him opening weekend down in Houston, so I'll look forward to revisiting this when I have some first hand spring updates.
I guess it depends on what you were expecting out of Michael. I was shocked by some of Michael's hype leading up to the draft -- he is and always has been a guy that can do a little bit of everything in the infield but doesn't really stand out for any of it. Runs well, some secondary skills at the plate, but nothing jumps out as impact. I could see a utility future as Jason points out; is that a disappointment?
I think he profiles very well in right field. Moves well in the outfield and very strong arm. I think his size probably presents greater hurdles at the plate, since the playability of his power tool hinges on his ability to make consistent contact.
Why do you say a move to left is in the cards?
The language may be a bit harsh; fair point. But it was a statement made from an evaluative standpoint rather than based on MLB performance. To my mind he doesn't project well to an OF corner, and the bat is good but not impactful. There's a non-zero chance he hits enough to be a second-division starter type, but it will require more growth.
Yes -- I have hundreds of videos and plan on posting one every day. That's not to say there might not be hiccups due to travel or the like, but this is a new BP feature provided the readers are enjoying it.
His ceiling could absolutely fluctuate, though the extent to which it fluctuates is wholly a product of the evaluator. I've spoken to area scouts that won't submit a pitcher with significant arm injury history higher than 5. Personally, I prefer to use injury history as a data point that might or might not detract from projected OFP.
More to your point, if I submit pitcher A as a 6/mid-6, and he misses a year due to a shoulder injury, I would not be able to stand by that rating. How could I? He's clearly a different player at this moment in time than he was when I wrote him up. Step forward a year, if he has a year of production under his belt and looks to be on the trajectory I saw when I initially wrote him up, I'm more comfortable standing by that rating.
So, the answer to your specific question (I think) is that the OFP is set as of a moment in time, but could (and often does) increase or decrease at a future date of determination when an update report is filed.
70Glove, it's an interesting question, and one that is an unfortunate result of the "prospect ranking" format.
Because we are rolling out rankings, we are hit with two issues: 1) we have a cut-off date at which point we have to make a determination as to value, and 2) we have to slot a player somewhere (we can't say, check back in March for an updated list that will include currently injured players).
This means we're left with the info we can obtain from speaking with people in a good position to posit opinions, as well as a little bit of guess work, when it comes to anticipating how a player will return from injury.
Were this a pro scouting department we might have on file the most recent report, a note as to injury (and any info we have as to nature of injury). When he's healthy and throwing again, we'd have another report filed. Rankings don't allow us that wait-and-see approach so we do the best we can with the info we have.
It's a jumble in the middle of that 25U list, and was very difficult to line-up. Rosario really takes a chunk out of his own value behind the plate. A little more growth and he could certainly climb higher on next year's 25U, but thus far we don't have reason to project that growth. That bat is obviously legit.
I think Chris's point is well taken. The redeeming factor here is work ethic and make-up, each of which Vogelbach has in spades. That's not to say he is guaranteed to improve, but I am confident he will put in the work.
To me, that matters in that there is a wide enough gap of time between "now" and the MLB-readiness of his bat that it isn't a foregone conclusion Vogelbach will not be a passable first baseman by the time he's ready for the show (assuming continued development w/o setbacks).
Can't say a Khrushchev comp is what I was expecting...
Thanks for the comments, all. The process has been a great experience for all involved (so far as I can tell...). Looking forward to many more hours of debate/discussion with the BP Prospect Team and with the readers.
To me, he fits best as a third baseman. His ability to hold down multiple positions, however, is really the greatest value he provides.
My concern is that he ultimately profiles as a left fielder with a 5/5 offensive profile and not much positive defensive value or added value on the bases.
Agree with Joe. If anything, this was a marketing effort by Yak Baseball (for which they should be commended) showing off Smith's versatility and athleticism to the evaluators on hand.
This happens a fair amount with coaches/teams cognizant of marketing their players to evaluators at the next level. For me, the greatest (and most entertaining) example of this was Coach Martin at FSU playing Buster Posey at each position in innings 1-8 against Virginia Tech, then letting him close the game on the mound.
It's a little extra work to edit the videos for public viewing, but we think well worth it -- thanks for the feedback!
Yes, the WWBA World Championship, and I believe all Perfect Game showcases and Tournaments, are open to the public. There is generally an entrance fee for at least the larger events, though I am not certain if this is true across the board. In addition, scouts are provided with useful roster/player sheets -- very well run events.
I echo Joe's sentiments (though I think Rowdy Tellez is in the same ballpark in the power department). Williams, like Tellez, can run into issues manifesting his power in-game right now. He gears-up for power and can be exposed by secondaries when he does so. The good news is that he has already shown awareness in the box in choosing counts and situations he can sit fastball.
We broke him down in a little more detail in our HS outfielders portion of the Scouting the Draft Series -- definitely check it out if you haven't already (comes with our video of Williams from the Perfect Game National Showcase). We'll also have a full draft report on him in the Winter/Spring.
Sure! Williams was a pleasant surprise, showing much stronger than he did earlier this summer. He wasn't quite as sharp coming out of the rain delay that ensued, but his first couple innings were highly impressive.
Fastball was 89-92 hitting 93 twice on my gun and 94 on at least one other scout's gun. Changeup had very good velo delta (about 8-12 mph off the fastball) and came with late fade -- could be a future plus pitch. His breaker is an upper-70s curve that needs to tighten, but Williams has the armspeed to get there, I think.
Good, projectable body with high waist. Will benefit from learning to get out over his lower half more consistently and making use of his reach. June is a long ways away, but I really liked what I saw out of Williams on Thursday.
Here's our video from his start:
Thanks, mpmott; we're excited by our expansion as well! If there is any content type or player coverage you'd be interested, just drop one of us a line and we'll make it happen if we can.
Thanks a lot for reading!
Re: Jones - He has not had notable issues repeating his mechanics and has generally been able to spot his three offerings well. I have not seen any noticeable decrease in velocity out of the stretch (keep in mind the meaningful torque is more accurately created on the other side of his rotation with hip/shoulder separation). Pitchers like Branden Kline have had greater issues with the crouched delivery, inadvertently driving the ball up in the zone, but I have not seen these issues yet with Jones. He can, at times, rush his pacing some and drift through certain of his checkpoints, but overall he has been consistent throughout the summer.
Re: Morales - I believe the difference you are spotting in finish on breaking balls is likely a perceived characteristic created by limited sample size of video, but I'll keep my eye out the next time I see him throw. Morales is deliberate in his motion, but I have not seen it negatively affect his pacing; he hits his checkpoints so far as I've seen.
Re: Oakley - If you are referring to his step-in, leading to his leg lift, I would say it's a non-issue so long as his balance is adequate (which it generally has been). If a drafting org or Coach Fox and staff want to quiet some of the lower-body movement, however, it would be an easy fix.
Thanks for reading and for the thoughtful comments.
Thanks for the kind words. There are some excellent draft-level (or "amateur baseball") evaluators on the BP team and I think the site is going to bring the readers a lot of great stuff in the coming months. Hopefully by the time June rolls around we (the writers and the readers) will all be discussing the draft in detail!
Thanks again for reading, Behemoth.
Sorry for the delay in response -- traveling Wednesday through yesterday. Driver has generally shown a high release across the board, though he can tuck the curve closer to his ear in an attempt to get on top. He still needs to learn how to throw the pitch a little harder, but has a solid foundation from which to build.
Thanks, Nils. We'll hopefully have the next summer review piece (on HS pitchers) up tomorrow and intend to keep the content rolling throughout the year!
BP bat for me right now with little defensive utility. Maybe best raw power in draft class but from what I've seen isn't ready to match it against pro pitching.
Sounds like an interesting idea for a future feature piece, so I'll respectfully keep the meat of the analysis for that medium. Generally, Buxton's value is in large part due to the projection remaining in his game, as well as his elite athleticism.
Frazier has much less projection but is a more refined and impactful player at the same stage (though Buxton was a bit younger).
Meadows is somewhere in between -- more room for growth than Frazier but not quite the athletically-driven upside of Buxton. All three are very good amateur talents, all quite athletic, but with different developmental paths ahead of them.
Smith caught my eye last October with the Marlins Scout team in Jupiter. Good offensive upside -- power and a enough feel that he could hit for average too. Tends to get out in front and can be exposed by good secondaries (though nothing jumps out as uncorrectable).
Not a great runner, might be able to handle an outfield corner but probably fits best at 1st (and could be very good there -- incredibly soft hands and picks as well as any amateur player I can recall scouting). Of course, much more pressure on the bat developing to its utmost if he's staying at 1B.
Thanks, lewish. I have footage of infield/outfield for a lot of players, but in my experience the utility of that footage varies due to the slower speed of infield/outfield workouts as compared to in-game situations. That said, I'm happy to drop in some defensive footage when available, moving forward.
Yes, the step/rock into his swing is problematic and is partially to blame for his current issues with secondaries. There's certainly plenty of time to iron it out, but it's something to keep an eye on. Worth noting it's more pronounced when he's loading up in BP.
Thanks! Age is definitely a consideration -- particularly when comparing draft-eligible high school position players. As we delve into a deeper evaluation of these various players over the coming months we'll get a chance to discuss how much comparative weight we should assign to age when ranking player profiles.
Very kind of you; thanks.
Thanks! I'm looking forward to discussing the draft in more detail this winter/spring, but this series should be a nice opportunity to kick around some preliminary thoughts. Hope you enjoy!
Really interesting to see the different roads currently laid out in front of this collection of prospects. Another reminder as to how varied a player's progression can be as he works towards a Major League career.
Great notes, Chris. I saw a lot of Jackson as a prep player and really liked him as a good value pick in the 5th Round. Could be an interesting talent if development clicks (and Tampa is generally good at finding the right buttons to push).
I think the inclusion and placement of Daniel Norris and Jose Fernandez might make you look very smart down the line. Applaud the effort, Kevin. Nice list.
BaseballNumbers, I absolutely agree there are various avenues for evaluation that can help to identify talent. I do not think there is any substitute for seeing players up close when you are talking about complex leagues, short-season ball and to a certain extent even full season A ball. There are certain statistics that can serve as potential indicators, but probably too much static (for various reasons) for them to be a primary determinant in projecting talent. Further, while video is great for IDing some general characteristics of a player's game, for many of the younger players there is enough volatility in day-to-day performance that you run the risk of catching video that isn't necessarily representative of that player's typical game.
Thanks for the back-and-forth.
Sorry, that was a response to BaseballNumbers(10279).
Doesn't transparency and accountability help readers to better understand the evaluator's process? I think it does.
Often times with national coverage (some writers more than others) the genesis of an evaluation just isn't clear. That is problematic when readers are trying to assign weight to an evaluation, and particularly so when two national writers are expressing conflicting opinions.
Helping readers to more regularly understand how an opinion is formed on a player can only improve prospect discourse, both online and at the field.
I'm a Hoes believer as a three-star, but other than that almost exactly how I tiered out as well. Nice job with the list, Kevin. Think you were spot on with projecting these kids.
Gotta get on the ClaySchray train though!
Think the reference to Colvin is "Brody", yes? Glad to see him put together a strong outing. Big fan.
Good stuff, Jason. Accessible and enjoyable read.