For whatever reason, the MLB.com prospect rankings, put together by Jonathan Mayo, don’t receive the same attention as other “independent” rankings. Perhaps it is the Corporate Overlord aspect or the relative level of industry juice possessed by head rankmaster, but the MLB.com rankings slip by with little fanfare.

Well, they are unveiled with MAXIMUM FANFARE via a full TV production for MLB Network. Last night was the great reveal and who was at the top but…Jurickson Profar. Duh.

The Top 10 according to Mayo…

  1. Jurickson Profar
  2. Dylan Bundy
  3. Oscar Taveras
  4. Wil Myers
  5. Taijuan Walker
  6. Travis d’Arnaud
  7. Jose Fernandez
  8. Zack Wheeler
  9. Gerrit Cole
  10. Tyler Skaggs

Hard to quibble with the top half of the list, as praise for Profar and Bundy is universal throughout the game while Myers was just named the Baseball American Minor League Player of the Year in 2012. Profar, Bundy, and Skaggs all made their big league debuts in 2012, with Myers, Travis D’Arnaud, and Zack Wheeler grabbing headlines as players traded within the last 18 months.

Farther down the list there are few surprises – 2012′s number 2 overall pick Byron Buxton ranks ahead of first overall pick Carlos Correa. Bubba Starling rate very high despite just 200 professional plate appearances at #26. Former Lansing Lugnut teammates Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez ranking six spots apart, with the newest Met prospect Syndergaard ranking highest at 29, thanks in no small part to Sanchez’s ongoing control problems. Mariners catcher Mike Zunino seems conservatively ranked at #23 despite other reports suggesting he is nearly big league ready today.

The bios for each player are very interesting, as they include scouting grades on the 2-8 scale for each of the vaunted five tools – both present and future. Only Gerrit Cole’s fastball grades at 8 among all the top 10 player tools, with Bundy’s fastball, Jose Fernandez’s fastball, and Profar’s defense projecting as 8 according to Mayo. Billy Hamilton‘s speed also grades at 8 because there is no such thing as a “9″ grade.

These lists are made for quibbling and arguing, for outrage over placement among partisan fans going on reputations alone. Which is fine. Call Mayo a fool if you want (he ain’t) but save your outrage for something more substantial than your favorite B prospect ranking 75th instead of 68th.

Mayo provides a point system for each team’s pipeline, ranking the Mariners first with the most high-end talent. Five different teams (St. Louis, Minnesota, Miami, Boston, and Texas) placed six players each in the top 100.

The Blue Jays phalanx of scouts and talent evaluators provide seven names to the list, though only two remain with the Blue Jays because Flags Fly Forever.

Click on through the list, read the scouting breakdowns then wait for the organizational rankings due next week. Keith Law’s top 100 is due next week among others so get out the kleenex and tube socks as it is officially prospect porn season.

Comments (10)

  1. While perusing this list this morning I became fairly confused and maybe you can shed some light, Drew.

    Mayo placed Taijuan Walker a couple ranks about Jose Fernandez, yet even in the listed scouting grades provided, Fernandez outranks Walker in nearly every category in both current and potential skill levels. Additionally, watching ‘prospect profile’ type videos of their delivery mechanics and (admittedly limited) reading of scouting reports on them, it definitely appears that Fernandez is more projectable, has more guile, more upside, better control, better pure stuff and better movement. They are literally the same age; born two weeks apart. Fernandez had a better 2012.

    Is it just chalked up to appearance in the headlines?

  2. It could well be. Walker has pitched a higher level, which must count for something?

    • You would think so…. which bodes well for Osuna to move up over time.
      Could also factor in PROBABILITY of reaching that “future” number? Maybe Walker is more of a guaranteed thing than Fernandez?

      • I’m not a professional scout but I watch a lot of 20 somethings throw baseballs in slow motion and I am really not convinced that anyone could think this; I’m sorry to say because I like Walker but I just don’t get this ranking.

        • It might be because his name is damn awesome. Sounds Star Wars-y, you could tell me that a “Taijuan- class starfighter” is a thing and I’d believe you.

    • That, too, was the only reasoning I could muster; but Walker pitched poorly at that higher level, and was not achieving even as good results as Fernandez did in the same (A-ball) level. The only perceptible difference I can see is the Mariners’ overconfidence in Taijuan. Where Miami only moved their star up to High-A, Walker was thrown to the wolves in AA; surely organizational philosophy for minor league advancement does not a prospect’s quality make?

  3. Funny how one of the worst farm systems (Boston) has 6 players on there. Four of the guys have zero shot of ever being anything of value

    • One of the worst farm systems? Are you for real? So much depth from Bogaerts to Bradley, to Barnes, to Webster, to De La Rosa (not technically a prospect), to Cecchini to Henry Owens to Blake Swihart…that’s strong, and that’s not even including Iglesias, Brentz, Workman and more. A lot of high ceiling guys (the top 4), and a few with high floors and average ceilings. That’s about all you can ask for in a system. Don’t let your bias get in the way.

  4. “2012′s number 2 overall pick ranks Byron Buxton ranks ”

    There is a ‘”ranks” too many in that sentence.

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