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Introducing The Crawfish Boxes' Top 30 Prospect Week

A week's worth of content on prospects as the season nears.

Better late than never. This year's TCB Top 30 prospects list comes a little later than usual. In the past, we've done our podcast and list before the end of the previous year, usually around November.

This year, we waited until January and it's a good thing. Thanks to some movement on the big league level, the Top 30 list looks different than it would have two months ago.

But, our intrepid team of rankers were still able to add the new additions and get our TCB Top 30 rankings done in record time this year. We have a lot of content in store this week as the list rolls out.

Some of you have followed our rankings in the past. Others may be new to the whole process. Either way, here's a quick refresher on what our rankings are about, how we arrive at them and what's in store this week.

What do the rankings mean?

We use a system similar to what John Sickels uses in his Prospect Handbook. He grades prospects on a letter basis. A prospects are the best of the best, potential top 25 guys in all of the minor leagues. B-level prospects are the next tier. Some of these guys are Top 100 overall level, but some need work before they get there. Then, we have the C-level guys, who have potential, but are also raw.

Most of the system contains C-level guys or worse. It's hard culling out the best and sometimes we make mistakes.

Well, sort of. It may look like a mistake in retrospect that Brett Phillips was so low on our 2014 list. But, there were solid justifications for that. He shouldn't have risen on the list until he proved what he could do this year.

Our prospect rankings, then, aren't just on potential alone. There are guys on here who could be much higher if we valued their ceiling more than their overall production. But, we factor in track record in the minors to our scores.

It's not a perfect system. To average out our grades, we turn Sickels' system into a number system, with 10 equaling an A+ prospect, which, like the unicorn, is rarely ever seen. We drop the ratings a third of a grade for every full number drop. So, an A is a 9, an A- is an 8, etc.

Who ranks the players?

For the first time since the list began, I didn't rank players this year. That's because I didn't feel I had followed the minor leagues closely enough during the season to give a solid opinion on this crop of players.

But, it's also because we've assembled a team of experts who tracked the minors like hawks. All our prospect team helped on these rankings and they bring their mix of scouting contacts, in-person scouting and number crunching to come up with scores.

What's going on this week?

For those of you who listened to the live recording of the Top 30 podcast on Saturday, you already know how the list will shake out. For those of you who didn't join us, there's plenty of surprises in store this week.

Starting Tuesday, we'll release the podcast in three parts. With that, we'll also have plenty of content fleshing out the list each day, highlighting certain prospects and talking about the system in general. We'll have a robust week's worth of coverage for you, and none of it will cover Hank Conger.

We're looking forward to stepping into the future and dreaming on some prospects this week with you. Be sure to check back here every day to see what we have in store.