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With the minor league season over and the major league playoffs almost ready to begin, plenty of pre-game work has already begun here for my annual Top 11 Prospects lists. Beginning once the final out of the World Series is recorded, these lists will (as always) be exclusive to Baseball Prospectus subscribers and feature in-depth scouting reports on 330 of the top prospects in the game.

With that in mind, there will be some differences this year, beginning with the publication order. In the past, I've done them in alphabetical order, while flipping American and National Leagues annually. It made sense, but at the same time, if you were a Washington Nationals fan, the best you could hope for was to go 16th, and that was never fair. Therefore, I'm doing them in worst-to-first order this year, just like the draft. So as of right now, the first three teams would be the Pirates, Mariners and either the Orioles or Diamondbacks, but there's still plenty of time for your favorite team to tank and move up in the pecking order.

So other than that, what would you like to see in this year's Top 11 Prospects?   

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amosap
9/23
I know you hate comps, but the same way BP Annual player entries list three top PECOTA comps, it would be cool to list a couple of players a guy has been compared to by scouts you talk to. Or to have a quote along those lines. You're talking to scouts and teams about these guys, anyway, and I know you must be hearing a lot of comps.
JoshC77
9/26
I agree with the three PECOTA comps...but this would assume that the PECOTA comps were ready to go at the time the top prospect lists were created....this could be problematic.
Scott44
9/23
KG - Your lists and content are the main reason I subscribe, I'm really looking forward to them. Maybe a category such as Tools, where you/scouts rate what they are now (ie. the grade you'd give), and what you/scouts expect them to grade out as in the future.
BERSMR
9/23
or if you can't do all tools, at least a 20-80 rating on the prospect's best tool.
bheikoop
9/24
I'm in the same boat. I wouldn't mind seeing something regarding the best or most projectable tool.
AadikShekar
9/23
This is part of your never-ending Giants conspiracy, isn't it? ;)
kringent
9/23
I've always loved everything about the top 11s, but if you're asking, I think a lot of readers would welcome at least a comment on the fantasy desirability of a given prospect. I know that's not your cup of tea, KG, but Marc Normandin needs something to do this winter, no?

kgoldstein
9/23
It shall be done.
pobothecat
9/24
nice
dantroy
9/24
This whole disjoint between fantasy good and actual good can be 95% bridged by playing sim games (e.g., scoresheet).
jdouglass
9/23
KG, that scouting report you published on Shelby Miller? I know it would probably be too much to ask for one from each of the Top 11, but how about one per team. Doesn't have to be the team's top prospect, or most major-league ready one, just one at random or one you feel best about your scouting on.
alangreene
9/23
I'd echo this. That was very cool.
alangreene
9/23
I'd also say that I'd prefer it not be the top prospect. I think most of us are in tune with what the scouting world thinks of Jesus Montero by now, thank you very much.

As a Padres fan, I'm less interested in Simon Castro than Adys Portillo or Jonathon Galvez for something like this. There's simply more extant information out there on Castro.
andyfoy
9/23
This is kind of lame, but maybe add some pictures next to the prospects to put a face with the name? Just tossing something out there.
cooper7d7
9/23
This might be a licensing issue and I'd rather not pay more for a picture, but maybe a link to their milb.com page?
billm21
9/23
I second that idea!
phnath
9/23
I echo the comments above that your articles are why I subscribe, headlined by the Top 11's. The enhancements you made last year moved the lists from good to great. The only further suggestion I'd have is that under "Timeline" that you take a best guess at MLB ETA.
karp62
9/23
I, too, would like to see a tools rating for the prospects, then be able to follow the improvement or decline of those ratings year to year as the prospect rises through the ranks. As others have said, this feature is the major reason why I subscribe.
leites
9/23
I love the top 11s!!!!

For each hitter, along with current fielding position, how about including your best guess as to the position they would play if he made the major leagues?

MFBabyFeets
9/23
"what would you like to see in this year's Top 11 Prospects?"

Only this: a guarantee that the Orioles' young talent will produce an invincible juggernaut that will win the AL East every year from 2012-2020.
baserip4
9/23
Heck, I'd settle for an infielder capable of playing in the Majors that long.
teddyballgame
9/23
How about a few lines about a "Fallen Prospect?" Every team has a Tim Alderson or Fautino de los Santos, but there's few places where we can find out why they're struggling.
gogotabata
9/23
Yeah, even something like a "Don't Forget About Me" guy, and maybe a "Go Ahead and Forget About Me" guy too?
AInquisition
9/23
Better players on the White Sox list, but that's not really on you.
JoeSky60
9/23
Amen!
GrinnellSteve
9/23
I clicked on the comments just to add that, but you beat me to it.
lentzner
9/23
Accountability.

This is a problem across all scouting reports like these. The ratings are done, we all kvetch about why our fav player is rated so low, and then it's forgotten. Nobody ever checks to see if the rankings were any good or not.

I'd like to see a review of last year's rankings. What was right, what was wrong, etc. Who graduated and how they did, and who flamed out.

That's my main request.

I too would like to see tool rankings, although I understand that would add a huge workload to the process.

Also, I see no reason to give each team 11 prospects. I know that is "fair", but I would much rather see the top prospects (five, four, and three star) prospects from each team regardless of how many that makes. Of course some teams will get more than 11 prospects and some less, but then it becomes obvious who has the deeper farm systems.
BillJohnson
9/23
Interesting that three of us would all post variations on this theme within a couple of minutes of each other. Does this constitute "consensus," or "small sample size"?
Cardinals645
9/23
A bit of both, I think.
baserip4
9/23
I assume that KG goes through some process (perhaps informally) each year, but I'm not sure what value him taking the time to write it up on 30 teams really brings to subscribers. Much rather him put in the time and work on this year's lists.
Cardinals645
9/23
I'm looking at it more from a "what happened?" angle than a "what did Kevin get wrong?" sort of thing. Rankings change -- nobody knows how a prospect will fare in advance.

It's useful to know why different players fell or rose, or aren't on the list -- even in the case of promotions. Ex: The last two years Jaime Garcia ranked as a 3-Star guy. Would he rank higher after posting a sub-3.00 ERA in the majors?
BillJohnson
9/23
Agreed. Garcia isn't that hard to figure out; some guys come back from TJ surgery in fine shape, others don't, and a forecast clearly cannot be made on the basis of pure optimism that it'll succeed. (I'm also not convinced he's going to continue to be as stellar as this year, but he can lose a full run on his ERA and still be a very valuable pitcher. Serious find for the Cardinals here.) The ranking seems reasonable in hindsight, provided the questions associated with TJ are understood, and the "what happened?" question is easy enough to answer: the TJ worked. However, for non-Cardinals fans among us, that simple answer would provide insights into where this startling guy came from, and for many other players, the answers won't be so easy -- so let's try to get Kevin to provide them.
Cardinals645
9/24
Yea, but he was also a 3-Star guy the year before that; he was a solid prospect but I don't think he was ever seen as more than a mid-rotation guy.

The point is just that it's an interesting question: where would he rank now? Do we now view his upside as higher than before, or is this entirely a fluke?
Cardinals645
9/23
Regarding the number of prospects per team:

Perhaps there should be a minimum, and then more if there are other 3-star guys?
irablum
9/27
Definitely agreed.

Depth in prospects is so important, and 3 star guys are in many cases very important.


knowing that the Astros have 3 3-star guys in their system but the Rangers, A's, Ray's, and Braves have 10-20 is important.
Cardinals645
9/23
A comparison to last year's Top 11. Who fell off and why?

Similarly, I'd also like to see changes in ranking if a guy gets bumped from 4 to 5 stars or 5 to 3 stars. I'd like to know if they did, and why (without having to dig up last year's list). At least some links to previous years' rankings would be nice.

The changes in player rankings aren't always obvious to us (or maybe just to me).
baserip4
9/23
I would like to see a list of the prior year's, though, even if just as a link.
BillJohnson
9/23
The one thing I'd most like to see is a "report card" on the previous year's Top 11 list. Who graduated to the Show, and also, who was underrated, who tanked, was there someone who was omitted from the list entirely but made good? Some years back, BP did something like this for the top-100 (or maybe it was top-50 ... inflation ...) prospects lists, giving post-season "grades" for the prospects according to whether they had worked out better or worse than expected. It would be nice to see that again.

Incidentally, I note that these grades were missing for the 2001 rookie class. Apparently, with a grading system running from 1 (complete dud) to 7 (reached the majors and exceeded all expectations), the system couldn't figure out how to give Pujols a 12. :-)
mwright
9/28
Minus the grade suggestion, I think the analysis of last year's Top 11s started with the AL Central very recently and more are on the way.
choms57
9/23
Damn the new order!! Phillies phans had to wait forever last year and now we're last again (hopefully).
modofacid
9/23
Would it be possible to give them like a 1-5 or 1-10 on their ceiling?

I think that would be intriguing and also might give a better idea of possible fantasy impact.
gogotabata
9/23
I love the under 25 list at the bottom of each Top 11; please don't let that little pot of sugar go. Maybe it could be expanded?
bozarowski
9/23
Could not agree more - it always helps me to get a bit more perspective on the relative value of the prospects with organizations I don't know very well.
biteme
9/23
Even better would be a top 150 25-and-under list. I know, I'm straying from the subject. So sue me.
jedjethro
9/24
+1
jedjethro
9/24
oops, that was for gogotabata's post, not that there's anything wrong with the one right above +1
blamberty
9/23
I honestly can't imagine these lists being much better, they are fantastic and a highlight when my team's list comes out (Royals). You might consider two small additions: 1) I'd love to read a system overview for each organization pertaining to draft and development philosophies and success, international scouting, etc.; and 2) I'd love to know about sleeper types in the lower reaches of a system, especially international kids in the DSL, AZL, etc. Not that there's a lot to say, but I think you have insight that might be really interesting.

Again, I can't tell you how much I enjoy these reports!
kingfelix
9/23
How about overall organizational grades? Something based on quality, depth, advancement, as well as a chance of immediate Major League Impact and what the impact might be.

It is great to go to the various sites and see players with nice stat lines, but it would be great if they had a little extra meaning or context. The lists are already great and anything you could add would be appreciated. I need something to look forward to as an M's Fan :(.
BurrRutledge
9/24
KG, I really liked the organizational glass-ball preview you did of the Royals earlier this season. If after reviewing the Top11 prospects, if you could include a hypothetical lineup for 2012 or 2013, to see how/if these guys might fit into the future club, and what holes are left to fill, that would be a very cool way to broaden the scope of the series.
rawagman
9/24
Instead of a lineup for 2012, you could (maybe?) make a lineup of under 25 guys - not in the sense of who will play in 201X, but what the team has in the pipe around the horn. Excited to see what the future brings...
markpadden
9/23
More detail on pitchers' average fastball velocities. Less fluff (replace "Ephemera" section with useful content).
brownsugar
9/24
Personally, I rather enjoy reading that my favorite team's 4-star prospect once birthed a gorilla in the Congo with The Most Interesting Man in the World.

I'll grant that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I say keep 'em coming.
BillJohnson
9/24
I'm with Randy on this one.
kgoldstein
9/24
I'm glad to hear that, because I actually really enjoy doing those. For the record, obviously I can't respond to all of these ideas, but I am reading them and taking notes. You will see SOME of this implemented.
thatfnmb
9/23
Like everybody else, this is why I'm a subscriber. Star rankings for #12-15 on each team would be great. On a handful of teams last year, you couldn't tell where the 3 stars ended.
bozarowski
9/23
Definitely agree here - I also wouldn't mind seeing the list expand to 20 or 25 per organization (but keeping the deeper analysis to the Top 11 as usual).
elliotjorgensen
9/23
I'd like to see a Giants' Top 11 with four 5 star players, 3 four stars players and some great sleeper picks. Can you make that happen?
sfbennett1
9/23
current/peak 20-80 scouting scores for the 5 tools would be amazing ... peak triple-slash estimates (and UZR estimates) would also be amazing ... expected year of MLB debut would be cool ... a decent MLB-comp (in your opinion) would be awesome

wait...you don't have anything ELSE to do, do you?



mrdannyg
9/23
As you imply, some of those are a little optimistic in terms of how predictable they are. But a current/peak 20/80 score and ETAs would really be fantastic.
deeswan
9/23
I would also like to see some comments related to the previous year's list. For guys who made the list last year, but didn't this year, what happened? Did they graduate, get injured, stop producing, etc.? For players who were highly rated last year but this year aren't it would be particularly interesting.
Mooser
9/24
Change it to a Under 27 List, to pull in players hitting their peak years.
brownsugar
9/24
Would also pull in players hitting arbitration and approaching free agency, which defeats the purpose of showcasing the quality of the young (read: cost-controlled) talent in an organization.
Tom9418
9/24
Kevin,

Your "under 25" lists really have a unique niche in the industry. There are lots of top 100 lists or top 10 in org lists - but they all exclude players with
MLB experience. I'd like to see these guys get a * rating.

Thanks.

Tom A.
rbross
9/24
I realize this isn't your department, so I'll address this to the larger BP staff: I'd like to see statistical analyses of prospects and then explicit discussions of some of the discrepancies between the qualitative (this is your department, KG) and quantitative predictions. Nate Silver used to do this every year but stats-based prospect projects, while an integral part of PECOTA, seem to have been forgotten here.
Cardinals645
9/24
Yea, I really miss Nate's PECOTA's Prospect rankings and his discussion about why PECOTA may over or under rate different prospects.
marjinwalker
9/24
I can't rec this enough. I love the Future Shock Columns (it keeps me coming back and is alone worth the price of a subscription.) But I do miss Nate's regular contributions in stuff like "Pecota Takes on" or "Tufte Takes On...."
dantroy
9/24
This maybe more appropriate for the Top 100 list, but I used to enjoy the back and forth of the old prospect roundtable discussions. Maybe you could have some of the BP crew discuss your list, bring in the stats angle, make fun of each other, etc.
Infrancoeurgible
9/24
A link to each prospect's MILB.com page would be awesome if you can pull it off.
Gugilymugily
9/24
Honestly, I'd rather see the players rated on an absolute scale, instead of a relative one. Last year, you mentioned that you had to bump some 4 star players up to 5 stars to get to 50. I'd rather that there were as many players listed at 5 stars as you thought warranted the 5 star rating, whether that's 30, 50, or 70.
kgoldstein
9/24
That bothered me as well, and the scale will be . . . un-belled as it were.
greenday8885
9/24
I love the top 11s, and there's really nothing I would change about them. One request though, I have to imagine you start with a giant spreadsheet with well over 100 names and start whittling down to get to your top 101, could you please post the names of guys who were on the spreadsheet, but missed the top 101?
mrdannyg
9/24
I really enjoyed earlier in the year when you posted a "top prospect" list but also several who "missed the cut." I know its a cheap way of asking for the top 110-120 instead of 101, but...well that's all it is. Asking for more prospects!

Might be a good way for you to sneak 'favourite' guys on there, even if you're not really comfortable giving them a rank.
kgoldstein
9/24
If I remember right, last year I was adding names as opposed to subtracting, so no extras!
pmeneely
9/24
I love the Top 11, as well as the Four More that were added last year. How about, "Will never be as good as they hoped" for a player that is favored by the organization or its fans but not really that good?
comish4lif
9/24
I love the Top 11 and the Four More that's been added to the list. But what I'd like is a more copy-friendly format.

I take all of the top-11s and paste them into Excel where I can then manage all of the lists, sort by organization, position, # of stars, etc. However, the way that it's formatted makes for a good bit of formatting on this end. Any chance that the information could be presented in a nice looking, copy-friendly table?
fbraconi
9/24
I'm another subscriber who considers Kevin's coverage the most useful feature of BP and I don't have many complaints about the way he covers the prospect beat. My league holds its minor league draft in June and often the propsect lists are stale by then. Kevin's daily minor league blog really fills that gap.
hotstatrat
9/24
I just wouldn't want Kevin stretched to the point where his current level of thoroughness is comprimised in these areas:

a) what a player will possibly do in the long run
b) his odds of achieving that
c) his most likely long term abilities
d) - as important as any of these - what he would likely do in the Majors if given a shot in the up coming season.

Important to all of these are the natural abilities and mental make up components. The latter, though at least as important, I can imagine is less concrete and more contentious. So, it would be nice to those components as much as Kevin is permitted to give.
nickgieschen
9/24
This is regarding the 101, not the top 11, but some kind of indication of where the drop offs are. E.g. the number 5 ranked player may be just a bit more valuable than the number 4 ranked player, but there might be a big drop off between the ranks 11 and 12 or something like that. It would be good to get a sense of the bunches, I guess you'd call them - an indication that its not a perfectly even distribution.
dhlowenstein
9/24
My suggestion is that there be a follow-up on each list mid-season and at the end of the season. How have those 11 plus 4 done, are they looking like better or worse prospects?
FalcoT
9/24
Kevin,

Your writing has singlehandedly switched me from being on the fence about renewing my subscription to a definite renew. Anything you are willing to about is fine, as long as there's as much of it as possible.
ferret
9/24
I hope "upper management" is reading these comments. This is how to run a business - solicit customer input, respond promptly, implement where feasible.

I still remember the fiasco this Spring with Pecota.
kgoldstein
9/24
Here's my for sure list right now:

1. Tools -- No way can I give you you 20-80 scores for every tool for 330 players. That said, a best tool/worst tool might be good.
2. Fantasy -- Can I get more input here on what you want? Like for a hitter (let's say Desmond Jennings), you'd get: Avg: High Power: Low Stolen Bases: Excellent. Something like that?
3. ETA -- I've always done the path, but I'll try to get more specific as for as years go. Obviously, if I'm doing someone line Heredia, that's a bit of a dart throw.
crperry13
9/24
Fantasy info I'd like to see:

1. Likelihood of significant playing time in the upcoming season. (400 PA, 120 IP?)

2. Keeper value over the next 2-3 years - is this an Upton, worth holding through the growing pains? Or is this an F- Gutierrez, whose skill sets don't translate to great Fantasy players, regardless of RL value? If this could be applied to the 25-and-under list, even better, as it would help identify breakouts who started their young career slow, like Wieters.

3. Prospects to avoid wasting picks/trades on - players who put up gaudy numbers in the minors, but whose stats translate to an average fantasy player, or worse (hello, Brandon Wood!).
kgoldstein
9/24
Unfortunately, I'm the guy who believed in Wood . . .
crperry13
9/24
And your advice drove me to a couple REALLY bad trades. No hard feelings. Questions like "Can we expect the same from other PCL studs like Arencibia" now color my judgement.
jamin67038
9/24
Another vote here for comps- not for every player obviously, but for a select few.
Denkrydav
9/24
Nothing I'd like to see changed really but the main reason I subscribe to BP is the rankings, news and articles regarding the prospects. Fantasy wise, you want to be the first owner to grab the next Pujols or King Felix.

I love the "Under 25" list and the star rankings. Allows me to figure out which prospects are the cream of the crop and when they may be playing in the majors.

And I love the "Future Shock" column every Monday and the daily Minor league updates.

All great sources of information.

Keep up the good work!
uncasf1
9/24
Regarding the star rankings, refine them by ranking as 5.0, 4.5, 4.0, 3.5 etc. Seems to me that would give you a bit more flexibility in distinguishing between talent levels.
jonwakelin
9/25
Kevin - Can you link to the previous year's Top 11 for the team that you are covering? This would be nice for comparing your perspectives of players year over year. Thank you.
ferret
9/27
excellent idea - maybe even add two previous years links?
grandslam28
9/27
What about a past projection statement. It always bothers me that a perfect world projection drastically changes for a guy who had a bad year. I f you look at Eric Hosmer's perfect world projection the past two years are drastically different. considering his talent is still the same his perfect world projection should be too. But it is also very interesting to know whether a guy used to be a top prospect or never was a top prospect.

I'd like to know what people think of this?
drewsylvania
9/28
I didn't see this above, so here's my $.02: How about giving people the option to view the players from lowest to highest ranking, instead of just highest to lowest? Frequently when I read the prospect lists, I find myself wishing that I could have been held in suspense as to who the #1 prospect in an org was.
Mowstangs
9/30
what about just something like a line of Scouts Say: "While Starlin is obviously performing well, there are holes in his swing that can be exploited by a major league breaking pitch." a direct quote from some unnamed scout or front office type for like top three dudes for each team?
Mowstangs
9/30
I would also like to reiterate something another subscriber said previously, which is that i subscribe to the site based on this nearly alone. i love the rest of the stuff, but i buy the book for that. this is my meat and potatoes.