As we wait patiently for SB Nation's own John Sickels to release his list of baseball's best minor league prospects for 2013, feel free to peruse and discuss the list that Baseball Prospectus released yesterday. For the previous six seasons, Baseball Prospectus' Top 101 prospects list has been compiled and published by former writer BP Kevin Goldstein, who in 2012 was hired as the Astros' Director of Professional Scouting. Prospecting duties at BP were assumed by a group of writers rather than just one, led by Jason Parks, another respected name in the scouting/blogging community. Parks is joined by Nick Faleris, Mark Anderson, Chris Mellen, Hudson Belinsky, Joe Hamrahi, and Jason Cole. The group-centric effort makes the list less likely to be influenced by any one person's opinion, and so the Astros' players rankings reflect a consensus by a group of knowledgeable people.
Four Astros appear on the BP Top 101 this season: Jonathan Singleton (1B, Ranked 25), Carlos Correa (SS, 26), George Springer (CF, 55), and Delino DeShields, Jr. (2B, 101). Compare these rankings to the 2012 BP Top 101 list, compiled by Goldstein:
|Name||2013 Rank||2012 Rank||Diff|
|Jonathan Singleton||25||73||plus 48|
|George Springer||55||49||minus 6|
|Jarred Cosart||N/R||48||Dropped Off|
|Delino DeShields, Jr.||101||N/R||Added|
|Name||BP Rank||BA Rank||MLB Rank|
|Delino DeShields, Jr.||101||99||N/R|
Here are some notes about the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 list:
- The largest gain from 2012 to 2013 by an Astros prospect was by Singleton, who destroyed AA at the age of only 20 last season. Singleton is the only true first baseman listed on BP's Top 101. Because 1B is a hitting-focused position, prospectors must think very highly of a first baseman to rank them above 'premium' positions like starting pitcher, shortstop, and center field. Singleton's ranking must be reflective of how highly the prospectors at BP consider his future contributions to be. For example, in 2012 the highest rated 1B prospect was the Cardinal's Matt Adams (69), followed by Singleton, Anthony Rizzo (75), and Yonder Alonzo (86). These are all familiar names to baseball fans. In 2011, Eric Hosmer came in at #12, followed by Freddie Freeman at 20, and the Astros' Chris Carter at 30. In 2010, 1B's in the top 50 include Carter (11), Justin Smoak (17), and the Astros' Brett Wallace (44). Needless to say, it seems as if inclusion in BP's Top 101 list at the position of 1B speaks well for a player's ability to become a major league contributor, and in many cases, a very good one.
- Noted by TCB's Timothy De Block, Jason Parks is more of a "ceiling" guy when evaluating prospects. Tim thinks that says something about the current state of premium prospects in the Astros minor league system when you compare Baseball Prospectus' list to the other prospect ranking lists. The farm system has depth and it is getting better but it lacks those premium prospects that get people all gooey.
- Tim also points out that Jackie Bradley, Jr. was selected 40th overall in the 2011 draft, and is ranked higher than George Springer, who was selected 11th.
- Two 2012 draftees are ranked ahead of Correa: Byron Buxton (8) and Kevin Gausman (13). Do these rankings make you question the Astros' decision to draft Correa? Do you think Correa's slow start in 2012 impacted this?
- Jarred Cosart has dropped off both BA's and BP's lists. Is this a result of his underwhelming numbers in 2012, or the fact that many prognosticators see him as a future reliever and therefore a lesser prospect? Do you agree that Cosart no longer merits ranking on Top 100 lists?
- Springer dropped on the BP list. After such a great performance at AA last season, I suspect this is more due to the influx of new talent on the list and lack of graduating prospects above him than any commentary on his performance or upside. Twenty-Eight of the players ranked above him were ranked above him last season. Most of the additions are from the 2012 draft or international signings. Only a handful of players leapfrogged him, such as Singleton and pitcher Jose Fernandez, who climbed from 80 to 6 in just one season.
- How much, if at all, do you think these ranks were affected by the fact that these players are in the Astros' system, which has been abysmal for almost a decade? Do you think the reputation of the major league club and farm system may have impacted the prospects' evaluations?
We look forward to reading your thoughts below.