Ask BA

We
unveiled our 21st annual Top 100 Prospects list last week,
prompting several questions about how close various players were to making it.
I’ll delve into a couple of those in a moment.

The first
step in our Top 100 process is for BA’s editors to compile their personal
rankings of the 150 best prospects, then combine them all on a spreadsheet and
let the discussion flow from there. In addition to the players who made the Top
100, another 93 prospects received votes on at least one of our six Top 150
lists. Below is an alphabetical list of all those players, along with how many
ballots they appeared on and their highest ranking.

Ten
players who didn’t crack the Top 100 did get mentioned on all six ballots:
Rangers outfielder Engel Beltre, Royals righthander Aaron Crow, Padres
outfielder Reymond Fuentes, Reds catcher Yasmani Grandal, Mets righthander Matt
Harvey, Giants outfielder Francisco Peguero, Reds outfielder Yorman Rodriguez,
Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, Blue Jays righthander Zach
Stewart and Angels righthander Jordan Walden. The five highest individual rankings
on any single ballot belong to Astros outfielder/second baseman Delino
DeShields Jr. (No. 54), Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings (No. 55), Rockies lefthander Christian Friedrich (No. 58),
Phillies righthander Trevor May (No. 58) and Marlins lefthander Chad James (No.
62).

 

Player, Pos, Team Top 150s Peak
Jason Adam, rhp, Royals 2 116
Oswaldo
Arcia, of, Twins
1 140
J.P.
Arencibia, c, Blue Jays
5 94
Xavier
Avery, of, Orioles
1 149
Brandon Beachy, rhp,
Braves
4 103
Engel
Beltre, of, Rangers
6 109
Jesse
Biddle, lhp, Phillies
2 119
Rex
Brothers, lhp, Rockies
4 103
Gary Brown,
of, Giants
4 96
Chris
Carpenter, rhp, Cubs
1 124
Michael
Choice, of, Athletics
5 76
A.J. Cole,
rhp, Nationals
4 100
Tim Collins,
lhp, Royals
1 144
Alex Colome,
rhp, Rays
2 116
Hank Conger,
c, Angels
5 85
Kaleb
Cowart, 3b, Angels
5 104
Zack Cozart,
ss, Reds
1 111
Aaron Crow,
rhp, Royals
6 80
Jaff Decker,
of, Padres
4 100
Delino
DeShields Jr., of/2b, Astros
5 54
Rafael
Dolis, rhp, Cubs
1 147
Felix
Doubront, lhp, Red Sox
2 123
Brett
Eibner, of, Royals
5 115
Robbie
Erlin, lhp, Rangers
5 83
Eduardo
Escobar, ss, White Sox
1 139
Daniel
Fields, of, Tigers
1 129
Mike
Foltynewicz, rhp, Astros
1 131
Todd
Frazier, of/3b/1b, Reds
3 97
Christian
Friedrich, lhp, Rockies
5 58
Reymond
Fuentes, of, Padres
6 104
Anthony
Gose, of, Blue Jays
5 84
Yasmani
Grandal, c, Reds
6 82
Matt Harvey,
rhp, Mets
6 66
Reese
Havens, 2b, Mets
1 104
Slade
Heathcott, of, Yankees
2 133
Liam
Hendriks, rhp, Twins
1 120
Luis
Heredia, rhp, Pirates
1 125
Chad James,
lhp, Marlins
5 62
Jiwan James,
of, Phillies
3 112
Kenley
Jansen, rhp, Dodgers
2 132
Jeremy
Jeffress, rhp, Royals
4 104
Tyrell
Jenkins, rhp, Cardinals
3 121
Michael
Kirkman, lhp, Rangers
2 137
Jason Knapp,
rhp, Indians
5 92
Marc Krauss,
of, Diamondbacks
1 98
Matt Lipka,
ss, Braves
5 70
Cory Luebke,
lhp, Padres
3 125
Jhan
Marinez, rhp, Marlins
1 150
Starling
Marte, of, Pirates
5 102
Ethan
Martin, rhp, Dodgers
1 130
Carlos Martinez, rhp, Cardinals 4 93
Fabio Martinez, rhp, Angels 1 149
Francisco Martinez, 3b, Tigers 1 126
Trevor May,
rhp, Phillies
5 58
Jared
Mitchell, of, White Sox
4 77
Bryan Morris, rhp,
Pirates
2 131
Kirk
Nieuwenhuis, of, Mets
2 116
Tsuyoshi
Nishioka, 2b/ss, Twins
4 90
Hector
Noesi, rhp, Yankees
4 92
Eduardo
Nunez, ss/3b, Yankees
4 109
Chris
Owings, ss, Diamondbacks
3 55
Kyle Parker,
of, Rockies
1 137
Francisco
Peguero, of, Giants
6 109
Carlos
Perez, c, Blue Jays
2 121
Guillermo
Pimentel, of, Mariners
3 124
Josh
Reddick, of, Red Sox
2 117
Ben Revere,
of, Twins
5 85
Garrett
Richards, rhp, Angels
1 148
Trayvon
Robinson, of, Dodgers
4 96
Mauricio
Robles, lhp, Mariners
2 119
Yorman
Rodriguez, of, Reds
6 92
Mark Rogers,
rhp, Brewers
5 83
Tyson Ross,
rhp, Athletics
1 131
Adrian
Salcedo, rhp, Twins
1 132
Jerry Sands,
of/1b, Dodgers
6 83
Domingo
Santana, of, Phillies
1 129
Max Stassi,
c, Athletics
1 138
Zach
Stewart, rhp, Blue Jays
6 74
Matt Szczur,
of, Cubs
2 117
Peter Tago,
rhp, Rockies
2 127
Alex Torres,
lhp, Rays
5 90
Sebastian
Valle, c, Phillies
4 65
Yordano Ventura, rhp, Royals 2 117
Dayan
Viciedo, 1b/3b, White Sox
4 91
Josh
Vitters, 3b, Cubs
5 95
Jordan
Walden, rhp, Angels
6 76
Taijuan
Walker, rhp, Mariners
3 80
Allen
Webster, rhp, Dodgers
4 86
Nick
Weglarz, of, Indians
5 84
Alex
Wimmers, rhp, Twins
5 107
Chris
Withrow, rhp, Dodgers
5 83
Asher
Wojciechowski, rhp, Blue Jays
3 135
Christian
Yelich, of, Marlins
5 87

 

    Who
    has the better catching prospects, the Blue Jays or the Yankees?

    Michael Nath

    Toronto

Michael originally
proposed this question via my
Twitter account (@jimcallisBA)
, and his query drew follow-ups such as
how New York would stack up if Jesus Montero weren’t considered a catcher and
how the Reds compare to the Blue Jays and Yankees. Let’s tackle all three.

New York has the best group of catching prospects in
baseball. Montero (No. 3) and Gary Sanchez (No. 30) are the two highest-ranked
catchers on our Top 100 Prospects list, and Austin Romine also checks in at No.
98. J.R. Murphy has an interesting bat though he probably will have to move
from behind the plate, and Kyle Higashioka offers promising power and arm
strength.

I like
that collection of catchers a little more than Toronto’s. The Blue Jays contingent is led by
Travis d’Arnaud (No. 36 on the Top 100), J.P. Arencibia (the Triple-A Pacific
Coast League MVP last year) and Carlos Perez (the top prospect in the
short-season New York-Penn League in 2010). A.J. Jimenez and Brian Jeroloman
are decent sleepers, too.

Even
without Montero, who probably won’t be a long-term big league catcher, I’d
still give a slight edge to the Yankees. Sanchez and d’Arnaud are comparable
prospects, and while I’m not a big fan of Romine, I prefer him to Arencibia. If
Perez continues to develop, he could tilt the scale in favor of the Blue Jays.

The Reds
have an impressive catching tandem in Devin Mesoraco (No. 64) and Yasmani
Grandal (the 12th overall pick in the 2010 draft and a near-miss for the Top
100), but their depth behind those two doesn’t compare to that of the Yankees
or Blue Jays. Three other teams that are well-stocked with catchers are the Rockies (Wilin Rosario, Will Swanner, Jordan
Pacheco, Michael McKenry), Rays (Justin O’Conner, Robinson Chirinos, Luke
Bailey, Steven Vogt, Jake DePew, Nevin Ashley) and Athletics (Max Stassi, Josh
Donaldson, Ryan Ortiz).

If the
Nationals had kept Bryce Harper behind the plate, they’d have the best catching
prospects in the game. As it is, they still have a pair of Top 100 Prospect backstops
in Derek Norris (No. 72) and Wilson Ramos (No. 96).

 

    In last week's Ask BA,
    you named six players that you believe will boost their stock the most in 2012
    after missing the Top 100 Prospects list. I was surprised you didn't mention
    Indians righthander Jason Knapp. I understand that shoulder injuries have held
    him back, but if he stays healthy for a full year and pitches like he did at
    the end of last summer, I would think he would rank in the Top 20. Does he
    truly have ace potential, or am I just praying that Cleveland
    has something to show from the Cliff Lee trade? What do you see for Knapp if he
    stays healthy in 2011?

    Brian Meyer

    Toledo

I
considered Knapp for that list, but I wanted to limit myself to a half-dozen
prospects and do have some reservations about his health. He has pitched just
40 innings since the Indians acquired him in the Lee deal in July 2009. He had
arthroscopic shoulder surgery after the 2009 season and didn’t return to the
mound until last July.

No
question, if healthy, Knapp could rocket up next year’s Top 100. He has a
mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball. At the same time, he is still raw, needs
more consistency and command, and has to prove he can hold up over a full
season. He’s just 21 and his career could go in several directions. If
everything comes together, he could be a frontline starter. It’s also possible
that he could be best suited for the bullpen in the long run.

 

    Did
    Diamondbacks third
    baseman Bobby Borchering or Nationals outfielder Eury Perez receive any
    consideration for the Top 100 Prospects list? Will they move up to high Class A
    in 2011, and do they have a good shot at the Top 100 next year?

    Donald R. Dyer

    Huber Heights, Ohio

Neither
Borchering nor Perez received a single vote on any of our six personal Top 150
lists, but both are young prospects who could easily make next year’s Top 100
Prospects if they show more polish. I do expect that both will spend most, if
not all, of this season in high Class A.

The 16th
overall pick in the 2009 draft, Borchering has impressive raw power but needs
to smooth out the rest of his game. He did a better job of recognizing pitches
and using the entire field toward the end of his first full pro season, though
he may not be able to stick at third base.

Perez also
got off to a slow start and finished strong in 2010. He won’t hit for much
power, but he should produce for average and steal plenty of bases with his
well above-average speed. He also should develop into a good center fielder.

 

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