Rather than re-printing the BP Prospect Staff Midseason Top 50 debates—much of which involves discussion of multiple players at the same time—we thought it would be interesting to call out some of the more interesting pairings of players who have been in consideration for the #BPTop50 and allow an advocate for each to make his case as to why that player should be ranked ahead of the other.
A positional and visual breakdown of the players on our top 101 prospects list.
Today, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Staff released our Top 101 Prospects of 2014. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, by prospect age, and by tool grades. Enjoy!
Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras leads the way as the first 28 prospects come off the board.
Sometimes there’s just a more fun way to do things. I am currently in the final stages of drafting my Top 100 Fantasy Prospects list (which will hit BP in mid-February), but everyone does lists. What everyone doesn’t do is gather together a whole bunch of experts across the industry, from both a fantasy and scouting perspective, to gather in one e-mail chain and draft 140 of their favorites. Last month, I sent out the bat signal to people who really know and love prospects—and from that alarm, a group of 14 have assembled to carry out this exercise with much aplomb. We hope you have half as much fun reading about this draft as we had carrying it out.
But first, we must examine the parameters. There are always parameters. These were the instructions for the participants of this draft, straight from the email I sent out prior to kickoff:
A look back at the teenage years of Byron Buxton, Courtney Hawkins, Francisco, Lindor, and other prospects in the division.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
We continue by looking at select top prospects from American League Central teams. Be sure to read Baseball Prospectus' features on each of these five teams: White Sox | Twins | Royals | Indians | Tigers
The next wave of talented Twins players is on its way, and in many circles, these names are more well known than several players on Minnesota’s current roster. There’s good reason for that, as many players on the projected Twins 2013 roster— especially on the pitching side—are pretty uninspiring from a fantasy point of view.
Byron Buxton was among the prospects who showed off their skills over the weekend.
The Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game is the centerpiece of the fall season, coupling the major-league ready talent of the AFL with the ease of the desert’s second season to produce the best showcase for top minor-league talent.
And was that talent ever on display over the weekend. The AFL showcase served as a chance not only to see the best of the AFL’s talent-laden pool in action but also to see it against other top-flight talent.
The latest on the prospects playing in the desert, including Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Byron Buxton.
Games of October 25
Hitter of the Day: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 3B, 2 K. You’d think it would get tiring talking about the same prospects over and over again, but when it’s a prospect like Bryant, it doesn’t. Friday was a great sign for Bryant, who had a dynamic game despite not hitting a home run. Despite his .429 fall batting average, he still has 13 strikeouts in 10 games, so that’s something to keep an eye on, but if the production continues, no one will care about the strikeouts.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton and Brewers right-hander Taylor Jungmann were among the prospects who stood out in the desert.
Hitter of the Day: Byron Buxton, CF, Twins (Glendale Desert Dogs): 2-4, R, HR. It was only a matter of time before Buxton took over an AFL game at the plate. He connected on his first home run of the fall on Monday and now has a hit in all four AFL games.
Pitcher of the Day: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Brewers (Surprise Saguaros): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Jungmann doesn’t miss many bats, so getting four strikeouts is a notable feat for the righty. His control wavered this season as well, so just one walk is also a good sign.
A look at what has changed in the prospect world, viewed through a fantasy lens, since Opening Day.
What can three months teach us about the landscape of talent in the minor leagues? Most of the time, that short span teaches us not to overrate three months of performance. For example, if you had jumped off the Shelby Miller bandwagon at midseason last year, when he had an ERA of around 6.00 in the Pacific Coast League, you probably had a tough time squeezing back onto it when he turned things around. Then again, this isn’t specific to just three months worth of performance—the top of prospect lists are littered with players who had down years and were soured on. Eric Hosmer had a terrible 2009 campaign in Low-A before reestablishing himself as a stud the following season. Wil Myers had an extremely disappointing 2011 season, which caused his prospect star to dim.
And that’s without even getting into the players whose promise wanes without any good reason other than time. As we’ve become more aware of the minor leagues in general, the concept of “prospect fatigue” has taken center stage—and it’s only gotten worse with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper exploding into our consciousness at such a young age. It’s simple: The longer a player remains on the prospect scene, the easier it is to gloss over his talent. You don’t just see this with post-hype prospects like Domonic Brown, Julio Teheran, and Martin Perez (all top-10 talents at one point), but you see it with current members of this list. It’s starting to happen to Billy Hamilton and Jonathan Singleton. The climb for prospects is never one that is straight uphill—and just because a certain player’s stock is down from a fantasy standpoint, that doesn’t mean that the “next big thing” has more value.