Ask BA

Now that spring-training games are being played, Baseball America’s Prospect Report has returned for 2010. If you sign up at http://www.baseballamerica.com/e-mail/, each weekday you’ll receive a BAPR update on how top prospects are performing in games, from spring training to the minor league regular season and playoffs to winter ball. Today’s edition let you know that Desmond Jennings went 2-for-2 with a double Sunday in his bid to crack the Rays outfield, while precocious Red Sox righthander Casey Kelly twirled two scoreless innings.

The BAPR also provides links to the top stories on our website. We also have email updates available for our college, draft and high school coverage, if you’re so inclined.

    I really stunk in my fantasy baseball league last year, and now I have lots of second-round minor league draft picks to use in this year's draft. Just call me the Pirates. I like to draft high-risk/high-reward types in the second round and hope they'll be stud prospects a year or two later. So what guys who didn't make the upper half of this year's Top 100 Prospects do you think will jump into the Top 20 next year?

    Michael Cross

    Forsyth, Ill.

    Which Top 100 Prospects have the greatest potential to move up the rankings when the 2011 list comes out?

    John Finley

    Chagrin Falls, Ohio

    In the last few years, you've pointed out guys in the back end of the Top 100 Prospects or who didn't make the list at all who have the best chances of making a huge jump over the next season. Who are the best candidates this year?

    Stephen Giles

    Charlotte, N.C.

This question has become an Ask BA tradition, and Stephen posed it last year. Among the players I cited as having their arrow pointing up a year ago were Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Rays righthander Jeremy Hellickson and Royals lefty Mike Montgomery.

The best bets among players who ranked between 26th and 50th on the Top 100 to rise to truly elite status this season are Tigers righthander Jacob Turner (No. 26), Rays lefthander Matt Moore (No. 35), Rangers righthander Tanner Scheppers (No. 42), Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon (No. 46) and Tigers lefty Casey Crosby (No. 47).

Among players ranked in the second half of the Top 100, the most upward momentum belongs to Brewers second baseman Brett Lawrie (No. 59), Twins righthander Kyle Gibson (No. 61), Indians righty Jason Knapp (No. 64), Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (No. 67), Rays righty Alex Colome (No. 68), Braves righty Arodys Vizcaino (No. 69), Cubs third baseman Josh Vitters (No. 70), Marlins lefthander Chad James (No. 78) and Cubs righty Andrew Cashner (No. 95).

In the last Ask BA, I mentioned my choices for the six best players who missed the Top 100: Diamondbacks third baseman Bobby Borchering, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, Marlins third baseman Matt Dominguez, Orioles first baseman Brandon Snyder, Twins outfielder Ben Revere and Cubs shortstop Hak-Ju Lee.

    In the past, Baseball America has listed players who garnered votes from its staff but didn't make the Top 100 Prospects. It would show how many votes and the highest rating each player received. I was disappointed not to see it in the magazine. Could you include it in Ask BA?

    Michael Forrest

    Northridge, Calif.

We didn’t include it in the magazine for space reasons, but that’s not an issue here. Four of us submitted preliminary Top 150 lists to kick off the Top 100 process, and there were 111 players who received votes but didn’t make the final cut. Six of them were named on all four ballots, and Dodgers righthander Ethan Martin got the highest ranking (No. 45 on Conor Glassey’s list) of anyone who missed out.

Below is the complete list of vote-getters, sorted by the numbers of ballots they appeared on and their highest ranking:

Player, Pos, Team    Votes    Highest Rank
Ethan Martin, rhp, Dodgers 4 45
Bobby Borchering, 3b, Diamondbacks 4 76
Max Stassi, c, Athletics 4 79
Michael Brantley, of, Indians 4 87
Jose Tabata, of, Pirates 4 95
Chad Jenkins, rhp, Blue Jays 4 97
Alex Liddi, 3b, Mariners 3 62
Matt Hobgood, rhp, Orioles 3 63
Wil Myers, c, Royals 3 65
Jurickson Profar, ss, Rangers 3 74
Eric Hosmer, 1b, Royals 3 79
Matt Dominguez, 3b, Marlins 3 81
Mike Minor, lhp, Braves 3 82
Brad Lincoln, rhp, Pirates 3 84
Jaime Garcia, lhp, Cardinals 3 85
Ben Revere, of, Twins 3 86
A.J. Pollock, of, Diamondbacks 3 90
Andy Oliver, lhp, Tigers 3 96
Robbie Ross, lhp, Rangers 3 96
Zach Stewart, rhp, Blue Jays 3 98
Alex Torres, rhp, Rays 3 103
Chris Heisey, of, Reds 3 107
Jonathan Lucroy, c, Brewers 3 109
Ryan Kalish, of, Red Sox 3 110
Hector Rondon, rhp, Indians 3 111
Josh Lindblom, rhp, Dodgers 3 120
Brandon Allen, 1b, Diamondbacks 3 123
Nick Weglarz, of, Indians 3 138
Pedro Figueroa, lhp, Athletics 2 70
Logan Forsythe, 3b, Padres 2 74
Hak-Ju Lee, ss, Cubs 2 75
Brandon Snyder, 1b, Orioles 2 82
Jose Iglesias, ss, Red Sox 2 84
Trevor May, rhp, Phillies 2 87
Jake McGee, lhp, Rays 2 91
Tyson Ross, rhp, Athletics 2 92
Fabio Martinez, rhp, Angels 2 95
Trevor Reckling, lhp, Angels 2 99
Jemile Weeks, 2b, Athletics 2 101
Ian Desmond, ss, Nationals 2 105
Reymond Fuentes, of, Red Sox 2 106
Slade Heathcott, of, Yankees 2 108
Junichi Tazawa, rhp, Red Sox 2 109
Brad Holt, rhp, Mets 2 112
Aaron Miller, lhp, Dodgers 2 114
Wilin Rosario, c, Rockies 2 115
Danny Duffy, lhp, Royals 2 116
Brent Morel, 3b, White Sox 2 116
Carlos Triunfel, inf, Mariners 2 117
Chris Carpenter, rhp, Cubs 2 120
Kyle Lobstein, lhp, Rays 2 121
Carlos Gutierrez, rhp, Twins 2 122
Esmil Rogers, rhp, Rockies 2 124
Manny Banuelos, lhp, Yankees 2 128
Cody Scarpetta, rhp, Brewers 2 129
Cory Luebke, lhp, Padres 2 129
Jordan Danks, of, White Sox 2 129
Danny Espinosa, ss, Nationals 2 135
Daniel Schlereth, lhp, Tigers 2 137
Alex Avila, c, Tigers 2 137
Craig Kimbrel, rhp, Braves 2 139
Garrett Richards, rhp, Angels 2 140
Anthony Rizzo, 1b, Red Sox 2 144
J.P. Arencibia, c, Blue Jays 2 145
Christian Bethancourt, c, Braves 2 146
Wilmer Font, rhp, Rangers 1 57
Tim Wheeler, of, Rockies 1 72
Nick Franklin, ss, Mariners 1 85
Edinson Rincon, 3b, Padres 1 87
Everett Williams, of, Padres 1 89
Rex Brothers, lhp, Rockies 1 96
Tommy Joseph, c, Giants 1 99
Sebastian Valle, c, Phillies 1 105
Danny Valencia, 3b, Twins 1 106
Lance Lynn, rhp, Cardinals 1 107
Eric Arnett, rhp, Brewers 1 108
Randall Delgado, rhp, Braves 1 108
Scott Elbert, lhp, Dodgers 1 109
Luke Bailey, c, Rays 1 111
Kasey Kiker, lhp, Rangers 1 112
Garrett Gould, rhp, Dodgers 1 114
Hector Gomez, ss, Rockies 1 118
Tim Melville, rhp, Royals 1 118
Zach McAllister, rhp, Yankees 1 120
David Freese, 3b/1b, Cardinals 1 122
Juan Francisco, 3b, Reds 1 123
Reese Havens, ss Mets 1 124
Wilking Rodriguez, rhp, Rays 1 124
Adrian Cardenas, inf, Athletics 1 125
Trayvon Robinson, of, Dodgers 1 125
Jason Kipnis, 2b/of, Indians 1 127
Wynn Pelzer, rhp, Padres 1 128
Brandon Erbe, rhp, Orioles 1 130
Mitch Moreland, of/1b, Rangers 1 130
Trayce Thompson, of, White Sox 1 130
Jon Niese, lhp, Mets 1 131
Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Indians 1 132
Madison Younginer, rhp, Red Sox 1 135
Nick Barnese, rhp, Rays 1 136
David Cooper, 1b, Blue Jays 1 137
Derrik Gibson, ss/2b, Red Sox 1 138
Eduardo Sanchez, rhp, Cardinals 1 138
Dan Runzler, lhp, Giants 1 142
Sean Doolittle, of, Athletics 1 143
Andrew Lambo, of, Dodgers 1 147
Adrian Salcedo, rhp, Twins 1 148
Jarred Cosart, rhp, Phillies 1 148
Kyle Heckathorn, rhp, Brewers 1 148
Logan Watkins, 2b, Cubs 1 149
Tyson Gillies, of, Phillies 1 149
Jeremy Jeffress, rhp, Brewers 1 150
    Because baseball never will have a salary cap and revenue sharing never will bring competitive balance to baseball, would MLB ever consider not allowing teams that spend over a certain amount on payroll to receive draft-pick compensation for the loss of free agents? The idea would be to handicap teams from building through the draft and free agency. Small-revenue teams are at a disadvantage in free agency, so why not give them an advantage in the draft? It seems ridiculous that the Red Sox need to be compensated for deciding they no longer wanted Jason Bay or Billy Wagner.

    Shawn Boland

    Dallas

Any changes to free-agent compensation would have to be negotiated with the MLB Players Association, though this wouldn’t figure to be a hot-button issue because it shouldn’t affect the market for free agents. That said, I’ve never heard this proposed.

I don’t have a problem with large-revenue teams getting compensated for losing free agents. But I do think it’s silly that sandwich picks aren’t based on the net total of Type A or B free agents gained/lost by a club.

The Red Sox lost their first- and second-round choices for signing Type A free agents John Lackey and Marcos Scutaro, and they picked up a first-rounder (from the Braves) and a second-rounder (from the Mets) for losing Type A free agents Wagner and Bay. That’s equitable. However, Boston also gets a supplemental first-round choice for each Type A, so it gains the 36th and 39th overall picks.

A better way to allocate sandwich picks would be to tie them to the net total. A team should gain a choice for each Type A or B it loses—over the number it signs. My plan would eliminate eight of the 18 supplemental first-round picks in the 2010 draft. Below is the order for that round:

Supplemental First-Round Picks

33. Astros (Jose Valverde, A, to Tigers)

34. Blue Jays (Marco Scutaro, A, to Red Sox)

35. Braves (Mike Gonzalez, A, to Orioles)

36. Red Sox (Billy Wagner, A, to Braves)

37. Angels (Chone Figgins, A, to Mariners)

38. Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2009 sandwich-rounder James Paxton)

39. Red Sox (Jason Bay, A, to Mets)

40. Angels (John Lackey, A, to Red Sox)

41. Blue Jays (Rod Barajas, B, to Mets)

42. Rays (Gregg Zaun, B, to Brewers)

43. Mariners (Adrian Beltre, B, to Red Sox)

44. Tigers (Brandon Lyon, B, to Astros)

45. Rangers (Ivan Rodriguez, B, to Nationals)

46. Cardinals (Mark DeRosa, B, to Giants)

47. Rockies (Jason Marquis, B, to Nationals)

48. Tigers (Fernando Rodney, B, to Angels)

49. Rangers (Marlon Byrd, B, to Cubs)

50. Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, B, to Angels)

The Astros signed Lyon to replace Valverde, so they don’t get a supplemental pick. (And before you complain that they lost a Type A and signed a Type B, Houston still gets to keep Detroit’s first-rounder, so they’re well-compensated.) The Braves, Red Sox (two picks), Angels (two picks), Mariners and Tigers also would lose sandwich picks because they offset their losses by signing Type A or B free agents. The revised sandwich round would look like this (with the Blue Jays’ choice for not signing Paxton locked in at No. 38, one pick after the selection Toronto used on him):

Supplemental First-Round Picks

33. Blue Jays (Marco Scutaro, A, to Red Sox)

34. Blue Jays (Rod Barajas, B, to Mets)

35. Rays (Gregg Zaun, B, to Brewers)

36. Tigers (Brandon Lyon, B, to Astros)

37. Rangers (Ivan Rodriguez, B, to Nationals)

38. Blue Jays (for failure to sign 2009 sandwich-rounder James Paxton)

39. Cardinals (Mark DeRosa, B, to Giants)

40. Rockies (Jason Marquis, B, to Nationals)

41. Rangers (Marlon Byrd, B, to Cubs)

42. Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, B, to Angels)

That’s a lot fairer than the current system. But I’ve also never heard this proposed, so it probably won’t happen either.

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