The Prospect Handbook is here. We excitedly thumbed through our copies Friday when they arrived in Durham. To get your own, visit the BA store or give us a call at 800-845-2726.
The sources of talent charts for each organization return in 2008 after a two-year absence. Because we feel bad about excluding them, we’re presenting here in one place breakdowns for all 30 organizations as they appear in the book. So you can easily find out which teams most stress college talent in the draft, or which clubs favor high schoolers, or which most aggressively (and successfully) target international players.
|SOURCE OF TOP 30 TALENT FOR ALL 30 ORGANIZATIONS
|Boston Red Sox||12||2||9||0||1||5||1||0||0||0|
|Chicago White Sox||12||1||6||3||1||5||1||0||0||1|
|Kansas City Royals||6||0||13||0||1||4||4||0||1||1|
|Los Angeles Angels||3||2||14||5||0||4||2||0||0||0|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||4||5||13||1||0||7||0||0||0||0|
|New York Mets||10||0||5||2||1||10||1||1||0||0|
|New York Yankees||12||1||5||1||0||6||3||0||2||0|
|St. Louis Cardinals||17||1||7||2||0||2||0||1||0||0|
|San Diego Padres||16||0||3||4||0||3||3||1||0||0|
|San Francisco Giants||12||2||6||0||1||5||3||1||0||0|
|Tampa Bay Rays||10||3||11||0||0||1||5||0||0||0|
|Toronto Blue Jays||16||1||6||0||0||5||1||1||0||0|
The average organization’s Top 30 consists of 11 players drafted from college, 7.7 from high school and 4.6 signed internationally, with only trades (2.4), draft-and-follows (1.6) and junior colleges (1.3) supplying more than one player, on average, per team.
A total of 101 players—or 11 percent of the pool—made the Handbook with teams other than the original signing team. These players do not count toward the "homegrown" totals cited above. Instead they’re filed under the last four "acquired" categories—trade, Rule 5, independent league and free agent/waivers.
A look at some of the leaders and laggards.
No surprises here. Though, with Oakland’s trades of Dan Haren, Nick Swisher and Mark Kotsay, one could argue that nine of the players acquired in those deals could reasonably be considered Top 30-worthy, to put it very conservatively. Adding Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Chris Carter, Greg Smith, Gio Gonzalez, Fautino de los Santos, Ryan Sweeney and Joey Devine to the A’s 30 would bump their Trade total from two to a most-in-baseball 10—but reduce their College ranks to just nine, a distinctly middle-of-the-pack total.
Note that we’re not giving Oakland credit for one of their incumbent trade acquisitions. Righthander Graham Godfrey, who came over from Toronto in the Marco Scutaro trade, inevitably would lose his spot in the 30.
Because the Tigers have scored big in the first round with high school talent such as Cameron Maybin and Rick Porcello in recent drafts, their inclusion near the top of the College heap is a bit surprising. But the Tigers have shown a clear preference for college players in their three most recent drafts. And Maybin’s trade to the Marlins is reflected in the Handbook, leaving Porcello uncontested as the No. 1 prospect. The next high schooler, Brandon Hamilton, checks in at No. 10, but not before two righthanders, Yorman Bazardo and Francisco Cruceta, who were discarded by other teams and acquired essentially for free.
On the other hand, the Cardinals, Padres and Blue Jays are three of the most college-centric drafters—though the Cardinals (Colby Rasmus) and Blue Jays (Travis Snider) each feature a high school outfielder as their No.1 prospect. And even the Padres have invested supplemental first-round picks on athletic high schoolers in each of the past two drafts in Kyler Burke (since traded) and Drew Cumberland.
. . . And now the teams that tend to avoid college players in the draft. We’ll touch on a few of them in more depth in the high school section that follows.
Braves, Angels (tie), 3
Royals, Rangers (tie), 6
With prospects like Brandon Wood, Nick Adenhart, Hank Conger and Sean Rodriguez—not to mention Casey Kotchman and Jeff Mathis from the recent past—it’s easy to see why the Angels topped all teams when it comes to high-school prospect saturation.
Quick: Name the top-ranked collegian in the Angels system. It’s No. 19 prospect, outfielder Chris Pettit (Loyola Marymount, 2006), who hit .346/.429/.579 in his half-season at low Class A in 2007 before being bumped to high Class A. He’s 23.
Righthander Jonathan Meloan is the only collegian ranked in the Dodgers top 18 prospects. In the same draft (2005) they selected Meloan, the Dodgers used their top pick to take Tennessee’s Luke Hochevar. The two sides came to terms; then the deal fell apart . . . and L.A. has taken just one collegian—lefty James Adkins—in the first five rounds of either of the last two drafts. Naturally, Adkins is also from Tennessee.
The Braves do not appear on the high school list because of their six draft-and-follows and five trade acquisitions.
And the teams with minimal high school representation:
Astros, Mets, Yankees, Pirates (tie), 5
More than a third of Seattle’s Top 30 is of international origin, headlined by Carlos Triunfel, Wladimir Balentien and Juan Ramirez. The Mariners have been especially active in Latin America during the past three years, netting shortstop Jharmidy DeJesus in 2007, Triunfel and shortstop Mario Martinez in 2006 and outfielder Carlos Peguero and lefty Edward Paredes in 2005.
Similarly active in Latin America, the Mets’ top two prospects, Fernando Martinez and Deolis Guerra, signed in 2005. Add to them other big-money acquisitions, like catcher Francisco Pena (2006) and third basemen Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte (both 2007), and you begin to get a picture
The Rockies’ international pipeline already has produced big leaguers Manny Corpas, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales. Among the candidates to make the next splash in Denver: righthanders Pedro Strop and Juan Morillo and, a little further away, shortstop Hector Gomez and second baseman Daniel Mayora.
It’s hard to believe, but the organization that handed the largest bonus ever to a Venezuelan player (Miguel Cabrera), the Marlins, did not have a single international player in its Top 30. Dutch righty Rick Vanden Hurk might have been the one but he pitched 82 innings in the majors last season.
It’s somewhat understandable that an organization like Tampa Bay, which has had to fork over $13.3 million combined for its top picks in the past four drafts, might not be big players on the international market. Interestingly, their sole foreign top 30 prospect is Juan Salas, who fell just four innings short of not qualifying for the list.
Orioles, Tigers, Pirates, Cardinals, Nationals (tie), 2
• The Brewers lead the way with an astounding eight draft-and-follow prospects: Zach Braddock, Rob Bryson, Lorenzo Cain, Darren Ford, Taylor Green, Lee Haydel, Manny Parra and Nick Tyson.
• Prior to the A’s blowing up their big league roster, it was another AL West team that led the way with nine prospects acquired in trade. Texas made over its roster during the 2007 season, obtaining six of the aforementioned prospects (Elvis Andrus, Engel Beltre, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, David Murphy and Max Ramirez) in trades of Mark Teixeira, Eric Gagne and Kenny Lofton. Pick up the Handbook to learn the identity of the other three.
• The Reds lead the way with two Rule 5 prospects, though it should be noted that one of them, righthander Jared Burton, was selected from the A’s in 2006. Mainly because of injury, he pitched just 43 innings last season, so he makes the book. Righthander Sergio Valenzuela, taken from the Braves in 2007, also cracked the Top 30.
• Just four players signed from independent leagues made the Handbook. Two of them were premium picks who headed to indy ball for different reasons. The other two are Yankees. Righthanders Hochevar of the Royals and Tim Bascom of the Orioles pitched three college seasons, then went to indy ball for short stints to showcase themselves for the next draft, for vastly different reasons. Hochevar had a much-publicized holdout, while Bascom had a somewhat publicized, injury-induced journey through the ’06 draft (Padres), a contract that never came to pass due to injury, and his college (Central Florida) failing to fight for him to get his eligibility for his senior year.
The two Yankees were there for any team to sign but the Yankees got them, a credit to their pro scouting department. Both righthanders Scott Patterson and Edwar Ramirez are on the 40-man roster, and Ramirez already has reached the majors. He originally signed with the Angels out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, while Patterson is a 100 percent indy-ball success story, signing with the Frontier League out of Division II West Virginia State and spending four full seasons in indy leagues before getting a shot at affiliated ball.
Padres lefty Joe Thatcher, like Patterson, signed his first pro deal with an indy team. Since the Brewers traded him to the Padres in 2007, though, he falls under the purview of traded prospects. That’s just a technically—he’s an independent leaguer all the way.
• Three players in the Pirates’ Top 30 were gleaned from the minor league scrap heap. No other team had more than one such player. Righthanders Romulo Sanchez, Olivo Astacio and Jimmy Barthmaier are the trio. Sanchez (Dodgers, 2004) and Olivo (Cubs, 2006) both were released in spring training and subsequently signed by the Pirates. Barthmaier was claimed on waivers from the Astros when they removed him from their 40-man roster.
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