At long last, after alluding to my prospect rankings for the last week, Prospect Pipeline’s inaugural Top 50 prospects has finally arrived.
Yes, it’s late in the game compared to when others released their respective lists. But considering that Prospect Pipeline debuted last Monday, I wanted to release my rankings as soon as possible.
Before plunging into the Top 50, here is the criterion for how these prospects were evaluated and subsequently ranked.
- Age vs. level: How well a player fared at a certain level relative to his age. For example, a 19-year-old outfielder who raked at either High-A or Double-A would garner a higher ranking than a 24-year-old who posted similar numbers at Triple-A.
- Injury history
- Tools: The number of impact tools a player possesses in relation to his position
- Hit tool: In the evolution of the prospect landscape, the hit tool has emerged as both the most valuable and hardest to project.
- On-base skills: How frequently the player gets on base and, in turn, how advanced his pitch recognition ability is
- Whether he has a clear path to the major leagues
- Whether he currently plays a premium position and remains there
- If not, what skills separate him from other prospects at the same position?
- Age vs. level
- Injury history (durability)
- K/9: Has the pitcher posted similar K/9 rates throughout the minor leagues? Essentially, does he have the stuff to generate swing-and-misses in the major leagues?
- Command: Whether he can command his pure stuff
- Pitchability: The number of above-average pitches in a pitcher's arsenal
- Does he project as a starter, or will he ultimately work out of the bullpen?
- Unlike other lists, Prospect Pipeline’s Top 50 will be unique in the sense that it will be updated at the beginning of each month, possibly even bi-monthly.
- Once a player has either met or exceeded the rookie qualifications—130 career at-bats or 50 career innings pitched—he will be removed from this list.
Now, I fully understand that some of my rankings will generate criticism—and I welcome it. Given my background as a player, coach and scout, I may view players in a much different light than others. While I love players with flashy tools, I am not blinded by them. I don’t just look at stats; I scrutinize a hitter’s swing as much as I do a pitcher’s mechanics. What I’m trying to say is: I’m highly critical.
My Top 50 has been an enormous undertaking to which I have dedicated an obscene amount of time. Therefore, I want to hear from you, the readers. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments and criticism. You may share your thoughts in the comments section of this article, email me at email@example.com, or reach out to me on Twitter (@GoldenSombrero).
If there is enough feedback regarding my Top 50, I would like to schedule a live chat for either Wednesday or Thursday—time to be determined.
I thank you all in advance for your support of Prospect Pipeline, and I look forward to all the prolonged discussions we will undoubtedly have over the course of the Major and Minor League Baseball season.