Prospecting

Just in case baseball junkies weren’t getting their fill of news and analysis with the Vernon Wells trade, or the Manny Ramirez signing, or even a candid Brian Cashman hosting breakfasts and spilling beans, online baseball prospecting has become almost as rampant on the internet as another topic that gentlemen also often “research” at home alone.

Earlier today, ESPN’s Keith Law unveiled his annual organizational rankings for 2011.  Yesterday, MLB.com revealed its top fifty prospects.  Meanwhile, Baseball America has completed its list of top ten prospects for each organization, and Baseball Prospectus only has ten more teams to go until its lists of top eleven (and then some) prospects for each system is complete.

Items Of Note:

  • The Kansas City Royals rank first in Law’s rankings, are the only team with six players in MLB’s top fifty prospects, and are the only organization to receive five five star rankings from Baseball Prospectus.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays rank fourth in Law’s rankings, and have three players ranked in MLB top fifty prospects including Kyle Drabek (12), Brett Lawrie (28) and J.P. Arencibia (48).
  • MLB.com ranks Mike Trout as the number one prospect in baseball.  According to Baseball Prospectus, Trout’s “combination of tools and baseball aptitude is nearly unheard of for a teenager. He has a big league-ready approach to go with outstanding hands and bat speed. He makes consistent, hard contact to all fields, and talent evaluators are universal in seeing average-to-plus power come out of his broad, athletic frame. He’s an pure 80 runner who eats up ground in center field, and he adds fantastic makeup to the overall package.”
  • Law ranks the Tampa Bay Rays as having the second best farm system in baseball, and that was “even before they dealt Matt Garza, they’re now No. 2 with a bullet and not far behind Kansas City for No. 1.”
  • Other notable names in MLB’s top fifty prospect list include 2. Jeremy Hellickson (Rays), 3. Bryce Haprer (Nationals), 4. Domonic Brown (Phillies), 6. Aroldis Chapman (Reds), 9. Jesus Montero (Yankees).

Check back at ESPN tomorrow for Keith Law’s individual prospect rankings.

Comments (14)

  1. In my mind it goes:
    1. Domonic Brown
    2. Hellickson
    3. Des Jennings
    4. Montero
    5. Aroldis

    My mind isnt paid to rank these dudes though

  2. Tomorrow is Law’s Top 100 prospect rankings I believe.

  3. The progress the Jays’ system has made in just two years under AA is absolutely astounding. Here’s hoping it’s a sign of things to come.

  4. Weird. I was flipping through Keith Laws Top 100 prospect rankings earlier today but now they are gone.

    All i remember was:
    1) Trout
    2) Harper
    3) Dominic Brown
    12) Drabek
    13) Hellickson

    The other jays that made the list were (don’t remember the rank numbers but this was the relative order… i think):
    - Lawrie (20s)
    - Stewart (30s or 40s)
    - Darnaud (40s)
    -JPA (90s)

    I guess well all find out (again) tomorrow.

  5. Ok well the first 25 are back up.. If you have insider you can find them here:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&page=LawTop100Prospects1-25

    Interesting that both chapman and hellickson are ranked behind drabek. KLaw thinks that Drabek has significantly improved his change up to the “solid-average” territoty.

  6. KLaw fell in love with Drabek after his (AA) playoff start last year, and it makes sense that he’s more valuable than Chapman since he’s a definite starter, whereas it seems Chapman’s staying in the ‘pen. Having him over Hellickson is intersting, though; the Rays’ pitching staff is always over-rated compared to the very, very similar Jays staff, and if Drabek is as good as (or better) than Hellickson, that bodes very well for the Jays in the future.

    It’s interesting, though, that MLB had Hellickson as #2, and KLaw has him down at #13. I wonder if he isn’t over-rated because of his massive (unsustainable) success in a very small number of starts in the bigs at the end of last year.

  7. True, Chapman may not be able to maintain his fireballin ways as a starter without breaking down, which is also apparently one of Law’s concerns. In regards to Hellickson, “his ceiling is probably still more No. 2 than No. 1″.

    Anyways, here is Klaws 2011 top jays prospects:

    13) Kyle Drabek
    37) Brett Lawrie
    44) Zach Stewart
    57) Travis d’Arnaud
    82) J.P. Arencibia
    96) Adeiny Hechavarria
    99) Aaron Sanchez

    I’m surprised Gose and Mcguire got beat out by Sanchez.
    Mcguire makes sense since Klaw values upside more than anything and he doesn’t really project top be anything greater than a solid number 3.
    I am actually kind scared that Gose isn’t on this list. Lets hope his game comes together in 2011.

  8. Gose is still a long ways from the bigs; if he’s not on next year’s list, I’ll be worried, but not this year. Hechavarria should make some strides up the list this year as well, since his transition was a bit rough last year. I’m somewhat surprised Stewart is so high, but he did have a great year last year, and is close to the bigs, so that probably affected it.

  9. If you asked the Blue Jays themselves, who was the top prospect…they would tell you GOSE!

  10. I find it funny how the MLB.com story on the Jays was apparently either written or edited in the brief period that Napoli was a Jay.

  11. That’s pretty high up for Stewart. It’ll be fun to see who ends up winning the 5th spot in the rotation, that’s for sure.

  12. Also, I’m surprised to see Arencibia up there, only because he seemed to really have fallen out of favour with prospecting types who labeled him as a bust after 2009, and I remember KLaw downplaying his 2010 success a lot because he played in the PCL. I’m really glad he’ll be getting a shot to catch every day.

  13. After the 7 Jays that made the top 100, the next 3 prospects in the Jays system according to Klaw were:

    8. Anthony Gose
    9. Carlos Perez
    10. Henderson Alvarez

    Which finishes of the Jays top 10.

    So I guess Gose definitely has a chance to make next years cut.

  14. I quoted some parts of Law’s take on the top 100 Jays here: http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=123&t=1087454

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