The first installment of a new series, in which a member of our prospect team will step into the Red Sox' shoes and conduct a shadow draft.
Creating a Mechanism for Evaluation of Draft Strategy
Part of what drew me to Baseball Prospectus, other than my respect for Jason Parks and his vision of a scouting-department-style “Prospect Team,” was the allure of stepping into a ready-made readership eager and able to help me explore baseball on both a macro and micro level. As far as the draft is concerned, that means not only breaking down draft prospects from a scouting perspective on a player-by-player basis, but also working to understand what goes into formulating an overarching approach to player acquisition through the draft. This includes general strategies relating to draft acquisitions, as well as draft-class-specific game planning.
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BP teams up with Fantasy Rundown to provide your 2013 top prospect compilations
Over the past several years, I've put together top prospect compilations from sources across the Internet. I have linked to the files below. The Excel workbooks contain tabs at the bottom representing each of the league’s divisions as well as a tab for top 100 lists and positional analysis.
Some scouting mistakes as as memorable and valuable as scouting successes.
Everyone loves a good prospect list. Before each season and at various points throughout the year, prospect lists give us a preview of the talent on the way for each team and allow us to see how each system stacks up against the others. From the reader’s perspective, these lists might seem to spring fully formed from their authors’ minds. But a good prospect list is the product of weeks of behind-the-scenes work.
With the first round of the draft in the books, do any of the northpaws crack the top tier of right-handed pitching prospects?
Ranking prospects by position has been done—at least, it has been attempted in the traditional sense [read: standard formula, i.e., #1. Best. #2. Second-best. #3. Third-best. You get it.]. Instead of following the standard formula, I thought I would offer something a little different, though the fundamental objective will remain the same: identifying baseball’s best prospects at each position.
Over the next 11 installments, I’ll focus on one position on the field, identify the preeminent talent in the minors at said position, and place them into cute little tiers to contextualize their place in my world. It’s an earnest and sincere exercise, delivered with some (attempted) humor, so hopefully it will be taken as such. I want to embrace the subjective nature of the task rather than pretend to be objective about it, which is great in theory, but not practical in its application. Everybody looks at players through a unique lens, and as a result, personal feelings enter into the equation. I’m cool with this. As I said, I’m going to attempt to deliver a sincere and earnest series, free from the artificiality associated with presenting a universal truth. Opinions change based on the climate of the moment. This is a snapshot of that moment.
A look back and a look ahead to who could the top prosects in the senior circuit next year.
One of the most frequent questions I get, be it via e-mail, chats, or the comment sections in the articles, is which player on (insert team here) has the best shot at moving into the Top 101. That's a much different question from who is the best prospect not in the Top 101, as the focus need to move solely to growth potential. Building on last year's "Future Top Dogs" series, let's keep that category in this year's version, while also taking an honest look at last year's prognostications.
A point-by-point response that provides some explanation into how Kevin crafts his prospect rankings.
Prospect rankings generate tons of emails, be it from fans, agents, front office folks, even players themselves. More often than not, they are simple enough questions. 'Why isn't player X ranked higher, or ranked at all?' is the usual tone these emails take, but one of our subscribers delivered quite the missive concerning this week's rankings of the Colorado Rockies, and it's one that took some time to reply to, while also covering some broader ground on the ranking process in general, so I thought I'd share with the class.
After a busy winter's swapping in the junior circuit, a scoresheet of the changes down on the farm.
One of the great troubles with ranking prospects is that time doesn't stand still and rankings don't exist in a vacuum. Teams make moves, my inbox gets flooded, and rankings need to change. So instead of just leaving well enough alone, before I begin the National League let's go back to the American League and see what needs updating.
Nate introduces this year's PECOTA-based look at ranking prospects. Today, he lays out the methodology, which includes a few key changes to how he approached this project last year.
Last year, we ran our first-ever series of PECOTA-based prospect rankings. This wasn’t necessarily intended to be an annual feature, but it proved to generate a lot of good discussion, so here we are again.
Kevin tempers the enthusiasm we all have about our team's minor league system.
Prior to the 2001 season, Baseball America published their first Prospect Handbook, and it was a groundbreaking work. With rankings of the top 30 prospects for each team, and a write-up for each one, fans were suddenly able to get an in-depth look at their favorite team's system far more extensively than ever before. But somewhere between there and now, something happened. That something involved how fans interpreted these lists, as opposed to how they were compiled. With the growth in prospect interest over the past few years (due to a variety of reasons), rankings are now everywhere. Baseball America still does them, but plenty of other publications, Web sites, blogs, etc. have entered the fray. One of the key things I believe nearly all prospect rankers have failed to do, however, is to manage expectations. Many fans tend to believe that when they look at a top 10 list, they are looking at 10 future big league players, or even future stars. Although it's no fault of the rankers, the reality couldn't be further from the truth.
We take a look inside the selection criteria for assembling our Top 50 Prospects list.
For example, BP's Top 50 from 2005, while not without flaws, was better than most. Sure there were pitchers ranked highly (Richie Gardner and Adam Miller) who succumbed to arm injuries. We had thought that Willy Aybar (#34) would develop some power by now and that Edwin Jackson (#45) would improve from his sub-par 2004. Despite those missteps, Baseball Prospectus is proud of the work that went into that list as well as the 2006 version.
With a verifiable cornucopia of prospect lists out in cyberspace, there of course exists a vast array of philosophies governing the compilation of these lists. The king of prospect sites, Baseball America, ranks prospects based on scouting reports, tools, upside, age vs. level of competition and performance. Other sites lean heavily on a player's walk rate. Take, for example, the case of second baseman Travis Denker, in the Dodgers' system. After Denker hit .310/.417/.556 in Low A as a 20-year-old, many sites had him among their top 50 and, in one case, much higher. With a BB/PA rate of .147, Denker has exhibited unusual plate discipline for a young prospect. However, what these lofty rankings ignored were his stone hands, iron glove, .155 EqA upon his promotion to High-A that year, and his PECOTA projections. When different ranking systems rate some pieces of the puzzle higher than other systems, wildly differing outcomes will result.