2011 Top 100 Prospects Chat
Hi, everyone. Jim Callis here to kick off
our Top 100 Prospects chat. I'll be with you for an hour, then we'll
have more editors to take your questions after that.
Jonny (Milwaukee): Not surprised to see the Brew Crew MIA on the list. Did Rogers come close? Scarpetta?
Lawrie and Odorizzi made it, of course,
after they were traded. Rogers got some support, but when six of us
editors started off the process by putting together individual lists, he
made only one of the Top 100s. Scarpetta didn't get a vote, though I do
JAYPERS (IL): Were he eligible, where would Anthony Rendon have ranked on your list, approximately?
You'll have to ask the rest of the editors
how they feel, but personally, he would easily have been in my top five.
Maybe as high as No. 2.
Ben (Leland Grove): Surprising to see Archer
ranked as high as he was, especially since the possibility of becoming a
reliever/closer has been brought up. How bullish is BA's staff on him?
Obviously bullish enough to rank him 27th. I
think with almost any pitcher, you'll hear talk that for some reason or
another, he might wind up in the bullpen. Sometimes major league
hitters determine that too. Archer does need to improve his command, but
he has two well above-average pitches in his fastball and slider, and
he easily handled Double-A as a 21-year-old.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Jim, great list as always. Did Christian Yelich get any consideration from the 6 BA staffers? If so, how close was he?
Thanks, Tyler. He did get some
consideration, but it's a little early for him. Of the six of us, one
put him on their Top 100 (at No. 87) and five of us had him on our Top
150 lists. I had him ranked at No. 138. Promising bat, just want to see
more of him against pro pitching.
ben (chicago): Is all hope lost for Vitters?
Could you see him having a Moustakas like bounce back this year, or even
a chance to become elite again?
I wouldn't say all hope is lost. He has
been hurt in two of his three full seasons, and he reached Double-A at
age 20. There's still a promising bat in there, and the Cubs think he's
poised for a breakout in 2011. If that doesn't happen, then it's time to
Danny (NYC): What led to Banuelos ranking where he did? Was it purely his health?
I thought No. 41 was a strong rating for a
guy who has just three starts above high Class A and hasn't pitched more
than 109 innings in any of his three pro seasons. I like him, and his
stuff improved last season, but he also pitched just 64 innings, and we
didn't see how he'll maintain it over a full year.
Dara (ATL): Did Lipka get any love?
His situation was similar to Yelich's. We
like him, but we want to see more. We rated him No. 76 on our May Draft
Top 200, and while he's a quality athlete who had a fine debut, it's
just a little early. One of us put him on their Top 100, and five of us
put him on their Top 150.
Tim (STL): Did any other Cardinals besides Miller and Cox come close to making the list?
Carlos Martinez got a little support, but
like Rogers, Yelich and Lipka would have been in the 120-140 range.
Interesting guy, but there were a lot of questions surrounding his age
and identity, and a lot of the ballyhooed Latin American signings don't
pan out. I want to see him against decent pro competition before I jump
him into the Top 100.
Josh (NY): What's the word on Alex Colome? You
guys seemed to be very high on him last year and he had a solid if not
overwhelming season. What's his upside and how close was he to the top
Still has good upside, with a lively
low-90s fastball a possible plus curveball. He just needs more work on
his secondary pitches and command, pretty typical for a young pitcher.
Colome made two Top 150 lists. Lefty Alex Torres ranked ahead of him in
our deliberations, and in fact made my Top 100 at No. 94.
Eric (NY): Where would Jaff Decker happen to
fall outside of your top 100? Also what kind of numbers do you see him
realistically putting up this season?
He's an interesting case. He's an all-bat
guy who struggled with injuries and a slow start last year before coming
on in the second half. And he was just 20 in high Class A, too. He was
No. 100 on my personal list, but he only made three other Top 150s. If
he hits like he did in 2009 when he gets to Double-A this year, he'll be
on the 2012 Top 100.
Chris (NM): I'm (a little) surprised to not see Arencibia anywhere. What made him miss?
There's still some question as to how
usable is power will be in the big leaguers, and how good his defense
will be. He made one Top 100 list and five Top 150s.
Nick (Kansas City): Your ETA for Hosmer is
2012. Is that because you think Kila can hold it down this year? Are
they afraid to rush him ala gordon or does he just need more seasoning?
Just don't see any reason to rush Hosmer.
If the Royals aren't going to contend, and they aren't, what's the
incentive for promoting Hosmer? He's 21, so why not give him a full
season of Triple-A and not start his service-time clock ticking?
Jason (Arizona): I saw Ackley play quite a bit
in the Fall League. Nice Player, but didn't jump out as star quality to
me. Who do you compare him to as a finished product?
I don't think there's an obvious
comparison, and we've asked scouts that question and they have trouble
coming up with one two. He's going to be a high average/OBP guy with a
lot of doubles, a few homers and good speed. I'm still not convinced
he's a second baseman, but we'll see.
Neufeldt (New Berlin, WI): No Jerry Sands?
What are the reservations that justify keeping him off the list, and was
there any disagreement regarding Sands?
Sands was on the short list of 10-15 guys
who just missed. Two of us had him on Top 100s, and we all had him on
our Top 150s. I had him ranked at No. 136. I respect Sands (No. 136
still puts him in the top 1 percent of minor leaguers), but it's hard to
make it as a righthanded-hitting first baseman. I think he's good, just
not good enough to crack the Top 100.
Andrew (Chandler): how much of your rankings factor in talent and how much factors in proximity to majors?
We put a greater emphasis on talent, but I
know if I consider two players similar in talent, I'll often lean to the
guy who's closer to the majors because he has proven himself at a
T (Boston): I know the team lists are done
individually whereas the Top 100 is a compilation of all your lists but
shouldn't there be some sort of "truing up" exercise? You have 3 teams
(NYM, BOS and HOU) whose #3 prospect made the list but not their #1.
Its a product of the methodology, sure, but it seems goofy.
Not true at all about those No. 1s. The
Mets (Mejia), Red Sox (Iglesias) and Astros (Lyles) all have their No.
1s on their list. We do the team lists well in advance of the Top 100,
so occasionally you'll see the prospect order on a team change on the
Top 100. The team lists aren't just the work of one person, but you are
correct that in some cases we'll defer to writer who has spent the most
time compiling that list.
Tom (Los Angeles): I do not see Ben Revere on the list - how close did he come and why was he left off?
He hits for a high average and has good
speed, but he has no power, doesn't walk much and isn't as good
defensively as you might think. He got one Top 100 vote and five Top 150
Jimmy (Columbia, SC): What about Christian Friedrich? I know he was a hot commodity last year? To much question with injuries for this year?
The injury questions, which have dogged him
the last two years, are what kept him off the list. If we had a Top
105, he probably would have made it. I put him at No. 86 on my personal
list, and cited him in Ask BA
on Monday as a guy who could rise up next year's list.
Greggy G (Ohio): Jameson Taillon at #11 without throwing a pitch in pro ball? Outrageous!
How is that outrageous? Bryce Harper only
had a handful of at-bats in the AFL, which isn't true competition. We're
picking the best players in the future, not the best guys who have made
their pro debuts. Taillon was a consensus top-three prospect in the
2010 draft, the Pirates would have taken him with the No. 1 overall
choice, and he has some of the best pure stuff in the minors. I'll
gladly take one of those.
Marc (Bethesda): I was surprised to see Wilson
Ramos make it into the Top 100 - what is his ceiling and does his
defense mean Derek Norris eventually moves to 1B? Any other National's
His ceiling is as a solid regular, which at
catcher, might make you an all-star. His defense is much better than
Norris', and Ramos is also a better pure hitter (albeit with less power
and fewer walks). If Ramos comes close to his ceiling, Norris will have
to move. After the four Nationals who made the list, A.J. Cole was the
next-closest, but he wasn't particularly close.
Sara (Chicago): Where would Aroldis Chapman rate if he was a starter in 2011?
I don't think he'd rank any higher. When
I'm ranking pitchers, especially those at the top of the list, I'm
looking at stuff, consistency, command and I think Chapman's combo still
would put him behind Teheran and Hellickson even if his projected 2011
role were different.
KyleS (Loudonville, NY): Did Wilin Rosario's
injury cause the low ranking? Also, could you explain the ranking of
Christian Colon at 51? I find that very aggressive.
It definitely did. Assuming the Jesus
Montero won't be a big league catcher, I think Rosario is the best
catching prospect in the minors. Others held back a little until they
see how he bounces back from his knee injury, which is fair. Nothing
wrong with ranking at No. 49 on the list . . . As for Colon, he was one
of the two best pure hitters in the draft last year and he's an
up-the-middle player. There aren't too many of those. I think his
instincts will allow him to be either an acceptable shortstop or an
above-average defender at second base, and he'll definitely hit.
Taylor (Houston): Is Jordan Lyles the real deal or just the best of a terrible system in the recent past?
The Astros system is still rebuilding after
some bad drafts in the middle of the 2000s, so that helps Lyles stick
out. At the same time, he's a legitimate prospect who will compete for a
big league job this year as a 20-year-old. I was the low man on Lyles,
ranking him No. 62 on my personal list, as I think his stuff makes him
profile more as a No. 3 starter than a frontline guy.
Johnny Vegas (Baudette, MN): Tsuyoshi Nishioka, where did he land on yout top 150?
No. 145. I think he'll be a decent to solid
regular, don't see a lot of star potential there. More of a second
baseman than shortstop.
John (Mather, CA): Who grades out as a better
hitter all-around, Wil Myers or Gary Sanchez ? I noticed you gave
Sanchez 70 power, wouldn't his bat rate 70 as well ? Seems like
Sanchez should be higher on this list, but I guess you want to see more
of him at higher levels before putting him in the top 10 ?
That's exactly right on Sanchez. Both had
fantastic 2010 seasons, but Myers got to high Class A and Sanchez was in
a complex league, which explains why Myers was No. 10 and Sanchez was
No. 30. Sanchez is a very good prospect, the top non-Montero catcher on
our list, but GCL stats mean very, very little.
John (OH): A little surprised to see that
Grandal didn't make the cut. His game seems to be pretty well rounded
for a catching prospect. Any insight into why he didn't make the cut?
He would have made a Top 105. Three of us
had him on our Top 100, I had him at No. 82, and he made all six Top
150s. The guys who weren't as high on him want to see more offensive and
defensive consistency out of him.
Bob (In LA): How close did Trevor May come to sneaking into the top 100?
He was in the next group of 15 prospects.
You can blame me, because I was the only one who didn't have him on a
Top 150. I like the raw arm, but the command worries me and I want to
see some success in high Class A first.
Ryan (Indy): Is Arodys Vizcaino ranked 93 because of his injury last year? What kind of upside does he have if healthy?
Yes. He had a partially torn elbow ligament
last year, so we hedged our bets a bit. If he's healthy, he's very
similar to Randall Delgado, who ranked No. 35.
Mike (Chicago): Very impressive collection of
talent coming to KC. Now for the million dollar question, when do they
reach .500? when do they reach the playoffs? when do they win the world
I'll say .500 in 2012, playoffs in 2013, World Series win in 2015. Might be a year ahead of myself in each case.
Steve (Las Vegas): If Ryan Westmoreland were to return to full health where do you think he would be ranked?
We had him at No. 21 last year before he
underwent brain surgery last spring. His comeback is progressing faster
than expect, but he's still a long way from getting back to where he
was. Best wishes to Ryan.
Ray (Manhasset, NY): Jim,
Who is the best infield prospect in baseball?
Middle infielder? I'll take Manny Machado
(who's No. 14 on our list) over Dustin Ackley (No. 12), because Machado
is a shortstop and I think Ackley is a second baseman better suited for
Jimmy (SC): How does Shelby Miller profile as a starter? Does his date of arrival move up if Wainwirght goes down for the year?
He's a potential No. 1 starter. That said,
he's just 20 and hasn't pitched above low Class A, so I don't think
there's any way he's ready before the end of 2012. You won't see him in
St. Louis this year.
Greg (Boston): Had Austin Wilson been signed, would he crack the Top 100?
Not for me. Great athlete, but I've heard too many questions on the bat to put him on the Top 100 this fast.
Kevin (Brooklyn): Hey Jim, great to have the
chats back! If Yu Darvish was a minro leaguer do you think you guys
would have him in the top 10? top 25?
Thanks, Kevin. He'd be in the Top 25 for sure, probably the Top 10.
I need to run and do a radio show, so up next is J.J. Cooper. Thanks for all the good questions!
Tyler (Harrodsburg, KY): I'm a little surprised
by Devin Mesoraco's ranking as I would have thought he might be 20 or
so spots higher. Offensively, he had a breakout season last year and
really solidified himself as a legitimate contender to become the Reds
catcher of the future. Is his relatively low ranking mainly due to the
poor resume he has put up prior to the 2010 season, because going on
2010 alone, he was easily one of the top 10 offensive prospects in
Completely agree that Mesoraco's 2010
season was one of the best in the minors. That being said, most scouts
see him as a solid regular at best, and maybe a second-division regular.
A part of that is concerns about his pre-2010 resume, as you surmised.
That being said, being ranked No. 64 is a sign of how far Mesoraco has
come. If we were doing at top 500 last year, I don't think he would have
come close to making it.
JAYPERS (IL): If Puello's best tool is his speed (65), what would his power rank? Hearing that he's showing some pop in ST.
You could throw a 60 power on Puello as
well, although that's all projection obviously. His in game power right
now is pretty non-existent, but he does show it in BP.
Caleb (Rochester, MN): If Carlos Martinez pitches in Rookie Ball the way Shelby Miller did last year, could he move onto the list in 2012?
He could, but pitching in rookie ball
isn't the same as doing it in low A like Miller did. Not a whole lot of
pitchers who've yet to pitch in full-season ball make the list, but
Martinez's stuff is good enough that he could be one of those
Jon Bass (Ann Arbor, michigan): I constantly
hear about Aaron Hicks' tools but that he is a work in progress. Who
would he compare to, best and worst case scenarios?
John Manuel toyed around with that very
question a lot in the lead-up to the Top 100. Check out the Top 100
Podcast we posted today for a longer answer, but what he found is there
aren't a whole lot of Top 100 Prospects ever who have repeated low Class
A. But Reggie Sanders was one of the ones who did, so it's not a kiss
of death. If everything breaks right, he's a five-tool middle of the
order hitter. The power has to develop for that to come true though.
Bob (DC): Michael Choice was one of the best
college hitters in a draft that lacked a lot of college hitting. Did he
receive much attention in the ranking?
He wasn't that far away. He was on five of
the six ballots and made the top 100 of two of the six voters. He ended
up in the 110-120 range. A good full season this year will put him on
the 2012 list.
Taylor (Houston): I see you guys must feel
Villar is a better prospect than Mier. Where does Mier fall, and can
you explain Villar over Mier? I understand Mier struggled last year.
Most of the scouts we talk to would put
Villar above Mier. Both have some questions offensively (admittedly
Villar has more), but Villar projects as significantly better
defensively, and he's played a level higher than Mier while being a year
younger. There are significant concerns about Villar's bat, but among a
thin crop of shortstop prospects, his is one of the first names scouts
mention. Villar's defense is good enough for the Astros to be patient
and hope his bat develops.
Clint (Omaha, NE): 9 is not enough !!! jk, any other Royals close to the Top 100 (Eibner, Jeffress)?
Actually Aaron Crow just missed making the
list as well—he was in the next 10 group who just missed the list. I
was the highest on Crow, but to me if you compare him to the relievers
who just made the list at the back end, he's not all that different.
Crow's 2010 season was awful, but his stuff compares pretty favorably to
Tanner Scheppers (both have plus-plus fastballs and Crow's slider is
better than Scheppers slider or curve) and he's got a better track
record as far as health. Eibner and Jeffress both got a little support
as well, as both were in the top 150.
Chris (NM): How well will Zack Cox hit? I've heard him called "over hyped" and a "fringe MLBer"
I don't think there's much question that
Cox will hit for average. The question that will determine Cox's future
ceiling is how his power comes along.
Greg Lewis (Congers N.Y.): How close was Alex Liddi to the top 100, and do you see him gaining ground this year?
He wasn't close. No one made the case for
him to be in their personal top 150. Liddi needs to recognize breaking
balls better to have any chance of making the 2012 Top 100.
colin (toronto): Sale at #2 and Mcguire at #95? Did jays scouts really miss that one?
You mean 20 for Sale I assume. McGuire has
a better chance to be a starter than Sale, so it's a question of what
you are looking for, but all through the 2010 leadup to the draft, Sale
was considered one of the top two college pitching prospects in the
draft (along with Drew Pomeranz). McGuire was considered part of the
You mean 20 for Sale I assume. McGuire has
a better chance to be a starter than Sale, so it's a question of what
you are looking for, but all through the 2010 leadup to the draft, Sale
was considered one of the top two college pitching prospects in the
draft (along with Drew Pomeranz). McGuire was considered part of the
Michael (Raleigh NC): Tim Beckham. Only 21 years old. Still time to develop. Has he really fallen this far that he can't make a top 100 list?
If he wasn't taken No. 1 over all there
would be no case at all for him to be on the Top 100. He still has time
to develop, but there doesn't appear to be any argument to put him among
the top 300 prospects in the game right now. He doesn't look like he'll
be able to stick at shortstop defensively, and if he moves to third
base, his bat has yet to show any signs that it can handle the increased
demands that come with the move. The Rays can hope for a Devin
Mesoraco-like turnaround for Beckham, but we'll have to see some of that
before he can make a case to start sniffing the Top 100.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): JJ, who would be your front runner to win the 2011 Minor League Player of the Year award?
Bryce Harper seems like a good choice.
John (Columbus, Ohio): What happened between this year and last year that made Yonder Alonso drop so much?
He's a year older and really not any
closer to a big league regular job. When the Reds selected him in 2008,
one of his biggest assets was that he was a relatively polished player
who would move quickly. Now he's looking at a third full season in the
minors barring injuries. That's not really his fault—he's blocked at
his one defensive position by the NL MVP. But for an offensive-first
player, Alonso's ceiling has taken a hit.
Thomas (Gwinnett): Over or under 25 for a career high in homers for Freeman?
I'll take the over. For all the apparent
worries about Freeman's power, he did hit 18 home runs and slugged .521
in the International League as a 20-year-old last year.
Sean (Kansas City): Do you think hard slotting would hurt the Royals farm systems of the future? How much?
Absolutely. MLB can say that hard slotting
would take away the advantage large market teams have in the draft, but
no one has taken more advantage of players falling due to bonus demands
than the Royals—Wil Myers and Chris Dwyer on this year's Top 100 are
just two of the examples of above-slot picks the Royals pounced on. The
Pirates were another team who has used other team's decisions to stick
to slot to their advantage. Unlike free agency, this isn't as cut and
dried as it appears. Some big market teams and some small market teams
would be hurt by hard slotting while some of both would also be helped.
Ryan (Indy): Who has the higher ceiling, Teheran or Hanson?
Hanson to me, but Teheran's ceiling is quite high as well.
Avery (Walnut Creek): Certainly, the Royals
will have some prospects in the current top 100 that don't make the list
next year, and a couple lose their eligibility this year. Is it
possible with the #5 selection and a handful of prospects (Adams,
Eibner, Ventura, etc.) on the border, they could be even more successful
on next year's top 100?
A lot will depend on how many of the
current Top 10 are no longer eligible. If Kansas City is slow to promote
players this year, there's a chance that Moustakas will be the only
Royal in the Top 100 who is no longer prospect eligible when we get
around to ranking the 2012 Top 100. If that's the case, considering the
depth of this year's draft, any midseason trades and the normal
attrition of other Top 100 Prospects getting called up, you could see
the Royals top this year's nine Top 100 Prospects. That being said, as
we've mentioned before, the Royals had just about everything go right in
2010. A couple of injuries and a couple of disappointing performances
would be relatively normal for even a stacked farm system—Kansas City
had very little of that in 2010.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): With Wil Myers
"officially" changing positions and becoming an outfielder, how does it
affect his prospect status in the top 100?
That was factored into these rankings. He's ranked where he is with the idea that he's an outfielder.
Tom (Miami): I'm a bit surprised not to see
Hak-Je Lee anywhere on this list, given that I have heard many people
call him the second best short stop prospect outside of Machado. What
was the rationale behind leaving him off?
I'm not a big Lee fan, although there are
others around the office who are much higher on him than I. That being
said, I haven't really heard many scouts make the argument that he's the
second best shortstop prospect in the minors. I'd say he's more in the
middle of the top 10 among minor league shortstops right now.
Ken Morrison (slave lake AB CA): JJ: thx for the Chat , As always a great day in the BA world .
the Yankees put 6 guys on the list and the Jays 4 yet in the handbook the Jays farm rated higher, obviously due to depth
Was Gose , Stewart ,and Carlos Perez all top 150,s
Gose, Stewart, Arencibia, Perez and Wojciechowski all got Top 150 votes. You hit on the reason the Blue Jays rated higher.
Norman (San Jose): how is belt's power projected?
That's really the biggest question with
Belt. I know there were concerns about his swing going into the draft,
but he has pretty much answered them with the tweaks he made. But his
power is more of a gap power, take the ball the other way for a lot of
doubles approach. One of the descriptions I got last year was a better
J.T. Snow. In a best case scenario think of him as a high average, high
on base guy who hits 15-20 home runs, enough doubles to keep his
slugging percentage up and Gold Glove defense at first.
Brian (San Diego): Why doesn't Simon Castro get any love? He was #57 last year and only #58 this year after another impressive season?
It was a solid season, but some scouts
still worry about his delivery and whether he'll be a middle of the
rotation starter or reliever long term. Others like him more, but that's
why he pretty much held serve on the list.
RMR (Chicago): I'm surprised to see Devin
Mesoraco come in as low as he did and D'Arnaud so high. Just how much
spread do you think there is between him and the other catchers who
project to actually stick behind the plate? (Sanchez, Rosario,
If you're a subscriber, I'll suggest you
check out the Split Decisions package for the answer to that, as we
analyzed it in detail:
ttnorm (CT): So you are saying that hard
slotting doesn't help big budget teams? Isn't that more than a little
counterintuitive? Maybe you could clarify.
I'm not saying that hard slotting helps
big budget or small budget teams. It helps teams who currently stick to
slotting suggestions. The Mets are a large market team, but they spend
very little in the draft because they tend to stick to MLB's slotting
recommendations. The Royals are among the smallest of low revenue teams,
but they spend significantly more than the Mets because they don't
stick to slot recommendations. The spread between the teams who stick to
slot and don't stick to slot is roughly $3 to $5 million a year at
most, so we're not talking about money that is beyond even the smallest
market team. It's generally a question of whether your ownership is
willing to tell the commissioner's office no when they tell you "don't
sign that guy for over slot." This isn't like free agency where the $20
million a year player is beyond the reach of many teams for budgetary
RMR (Chicago): So Alonso's stock takes a hit
because he's blocked at the major league level, without consideration to
his performance (particularly in the 2nd half once he was fully
recovered from the hamate injury)? Put another way, would he be ranked
higher if he were a National, Cub or Oriole?
Who said we didn't consider his
performance? Alonso's performance was most definitely factored into his
ranking. He's been a solid but unspectacular performer as a pro up to
now. That being said, if he was projected to be the everday first
baseman for a team this year, than yes, he would likely be ranked a
little higher. But there are other concerns, namely his lack of speed
and his lack of position flexibility mean his value is tied up
completely in his bat.
Nate (Maryland): So you're saying the Royals had an unsustainable batting average on prospects in play this year and are due for regression?
Clever. I'm saying the Royals had just
about a perfect prospect season in 2010. But the crazy thing is they
have the depth in the lower minors (and high draft picks) to equal it
again in 2011.
Brian (Seattle): Nick Franklin as the 5th SS? I
have him being the most complete SS behind Machado. He'll stick, and
his bat will play nicely at SS.
If he can stick at shortstop, then yes,
you can make the argument that he's the second best SS on the list. But
there are scouts who aren't as certain as you are that he'll stick at
Brian (San Diego): It seems like BA has an
enormous bias for high ceiling players. Why not meet in the middle with
high ceiling and high floor players. I think it's a little ridiculous
that Decker is not on this list and the "bad body" comments seem
overblown. Does he not have one of the best bats in the minor leagues?
Partly because, to be honest, teams want
high ceiling players. And championships are won more by developing
all-stars than by developing second-division regulars. One of the ways I
try to put together my personal 150 is by asking how would teams rank
these prospects. There are teams who emphasize high ceilings much more
than this Top 100 list does. Decker has a very solid bat, even if his
numbers last year were OK at best when you consider he was playing in
the California League. You can definitely make an argument for him at
the back end of the top 100, but there are still legitimate concerns
about everything else.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): What happens with Noel
Arguelles? He was a possibility in this list before his surgery. If he
comes back as good as before, where is he ranked?
He's got to throw a pro pitch before he makes this list again. Shoulder surgery is always a scary thing.
MJ (Chicago): Does Machado look like he can stick at short?
Yes. If he couldn't he wouldn't have ranked as highly as he did, although the bat's pretty special as well.
RMR (Chicago): Is Reds OF Dave Sappelt on any of your radars? His similarity to Shane Victorino across the board are scary.
He's on the radar, but there's one big
difference between him and Victorino. Victorino switch hits while
Sappelt bats righthanded. If Sappelt could switch hit or hit lefty it
would significantly improve his profile.
JR (NYC): What was Ichiro's scouting report when he first came to america. Did he crack the Top 25?
If you check our all-time Top 100 list
you'll see he was No. 9 in 2001.
Tom (Miami): Given the aggressive ranking of
Taillon, I was a bit surprised to see my boy Zach Lee as far down as he
is. I'm fine with ranking him toward the end of the 100 in general, but
if you clearly have no qualms ranking a guy way up strictly on ability,
should Lee not be at least among the top 70? Is there that big a
difference between his potential and Taillon's?
Yes there actually is. The money Lee got
because of his two-sport status may cloud the issue, but Taillon was
seen as one of the top three prospects in the draft by a consensus of
scouts. Lee was considered part of the next tier of high school pitching
prospects going into the draft—he wasn't considered comparable to
Mike (NJ): Matt Moore at Top 5 prospect next year assuming his control is like it was in the 2nd half of last year?
Nate (Maryland): Who has better power, Harper or Stanton?
Hard to pick, but it's like choosing
between Nolan Ryan and Aroldis Chapman's fastball's. An 80 is an
80—always something to appreciate.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): I'm loving the
Singleton ranking, but have to ask. If Singleton finished as strong (or
close to as strong) as he started last season, how high would he have
been on this list? Another way to ask it, is the true Jon Singleton the
guy who had a near 1.131 OPS pre All Star break, the guy who fell to a
0.728 OPS post All Star break, or somewhere in between?
Glad to hop in for a while, going to try
(against my instincts, I know) to go lightning-round style ... I think
Singleton's in between. I trust his hitting instincts, batting eye and
raw power potential.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, KY): Was there a
distinguishing factor that seperated Bryce Harper from Mike Trout, such
as Harper's fantastic start in the AFL amongst some of the best
competition in the minors?
Impact power is the separator for me, and I believe that was the case for the four others who voted Harper 1.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, KY): If Anthony Rendon had qualified for this list, where would he have ranked? If you care to share, how about Gerrit Cole as well?
Believe Callis answered this and said No.
2; I'm bullish on Rendon but more inclined to say 11 or so, around
Taillon. Cole also would be ahead of Taillon, for me. Very, very bullish
Chris (NM): What gets Colon all the way up to 51? What are you expecting for offensive production from him?
Believe Jim addressed this as well, we
also discuss Colon in Split Decisions and in the podcast. Safe bet to
hit, best 4-year college bat in last year's draft, could have
JAYPERS (IL): Under Zach Britton's "Best Tool", you list his FB (70). Shouldn't this be Sinker?
Jaypers, you know better, his fastball is a sinker. Not separate pitchers, or tools.
Fonda (Santa Clara): How close was Max Kepler
to making the list? Is he just too raw at this point? And does coming
from Europe make analysts and scouts hesitant to rate him higher?
He was in the Twins top 10 after the '09
season, when he first signed; just missed top 10 this year. Not close to
top 100. Many reasons to be hesitant, including being European, raw,
lacking physical strength, track record, etc. Very interesting, good
tools, not top 100 material right now for anyone this side of
Troy (Des Moines, IA): Can you compare Dom
Brown and Brett Jackson, to me there isn't as much difference between
the two for a 34 spot difference (I think Jackson should be a little
higher, but just my uneducated guess) and could you compare who you
think Jackson would be a good comp with past or present pro. Thanks and
great work as always.
Brown has more power potential. Jackson's
tools are more 50s and 60s, Brown has more 60s & 70s, bigger, louder
tools. Jackson has more polish in some areas but also strikes out a
fair amount. Brown is more explosive, hence the separation.
ttnorm (Connecticut): Who is a good Hellickson comp? Shields? Santana? Weaver?
One I liked from a scout this past year
was Kevin Tapani — good, not great starter, No. 2 or No. 3 starter on
championship clubs with Cubs (at least division champ) and Twins.
Jullien (Jersey): If Dellin Betances can stay
healthy, I know big if, and have another dominant season what type of
jump do you think he could take up the rankings?
Dellin Betances took a pretty huge jump
this year; was barely in NYY top 30 last year, now 43. He's a high-risk,
high-reward guy, so could be a top 10 guy if he goes 130-150 IP this
year and throws consistent quality strikes. Of course if he does that
he'll probably get called up and exhaust his prospect eligibility.
Brian (NY): Is Gary Sanchez a good bet to stay at catcher. What type of all around ceiling do you see him having?
If he weren't a catcher, he may not even have made the list.
JT (Michigan): Is Cesar Puello's aggressive
ranking the case that one of you (I think Manuel) had him in his top 50
per the book, or is it the case that you all generally like him well
enough? I thought he was conspicuously absent from Monday's Ask BA
answer, but here's some major love.
I was the high man on Puello, but four of the six staffers had him in their top 100s, everyone had him in their top 120.
Chris (Pittsburgh): Stetson Allie wasn't
included on the split decisions discussion about future closers, so I
assume he is currently being thought of as a starter until proven
otherwise. If he is projected as a closer, what happens to his ranking?
Does he go up or down?
I believe we all considered him as a
starter; a HS closer would not make the top 100 before ever throwing a
pitch. Obviously a possibility down the road, but his stuff was too big
Casey (Hawaii): Jim as a fellow man crusher, or
whatever, on Kyle Gibson I'm sadden to see him so "low". Actually I'm
fine with 34 but Hicks in the 40s did surprise me. People turning sour
on the 5-tooled kid or is there just that much talent?
Not sure anyone's sour on Hicks. He
repeated low Class A. Not a lot of big leaguers who have done that.
Stats matter less at lower levels, but it would have been nice if he had
dominated that level upon returning, like Austin Jackson did a few
years back. As for Gibson, just for comparision, he's actually older
than Kyle Drabek, who was drafted 3 years earlier, has been in majors,
ranks slightly ahead of Gibson on our Top 100, FWIW.
Joseph M. (Bozeman, MT): Jim,
Will you be doing the prospect dream draft again? It was my favorite part of the site last year.
Not this year, but may return to it next
year. We like several of the features we've done with the Top 100 in
recent years — Dream Draft, Risk Factors, Split Decisions. Brought back
Split Decisions this year, email me and let me know if you have a
favorite ... johnmanuel AT baseballamerica dot com
Pablo (Miami): We always hear about Dominguez
being such a great glove who needs to work on his hitting. If he is
given the starting 3b job out of the gate will that hurt his development
or help? What is his ceiling as a hitter?
Scouts I've talked to have described
Dominguez as a tinkerer offensively who changes his approach frequently.
He's streaky, inconsistent ... has hitting tools but isn't expected to
ever be a batting title threat. I think he would be better served in the
minors but the Marlins know him better than I do. Hitting ceiling is
along the .270 line, 15-20 homers, which would be quite acceptable with
Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): I like where Zack Cox
was ranked on this list. How does his bat project next year in High A?
Is he going to be a guy with a plus bat and average power, or do you
think he has more muscle than his final season at Arkansas indicated?
He has strength and raw power, showed it
in HS & in Cape, focused on contact as a soph. last year. I believe
in his bat. Just not 100 percent on his impact. Hard to find other
college hitters who have had such a low isolated power who were drafted
for the bat. I think his ISO was .180 last year, comparable college 1st
rounders are all middle IFs such as Russ Adams, Cliff Pennington, etc.
Drew (Midtown): Anthony Rizzo and Brandon Belt
both seem about 2 months away from the NL West. You have Belt ranked
significantly higher, but I'd be interested in how you view their upside
and likely production.
Hard not to like Belt better. Belt's more
athletic, controls the strike zone better and the most monstrous pro
debut probably since Evan Longoria in '06. Belt has a chance to be a
3-hole hitter. Rizzo's ceiling is probably 4-hole or 5-hole guy. Not a
huge difference, and out of hundreds of prospects — I mean, we rank 900
in the Handbook — 50 spots is not too significant.
Steve (Plainfield IL): Where do you have Joe Benson and what kept him out of the top 100?
He's No. 100.
Todd (GA): Why Hamilton over Segura?
Good question. Similar players; in my head
I think of Hamilton as a SS even though the Reds played him more at 2b
last year, whereas I think of Segura as a 2B. Both are slated to play SS
this year. Both are speed-based players, and Hamilton has more speed
(80 vs. 60 roughly). More projection on Hamilton's body as well, while
there are some concerns Segura could thicken in the lower half.
Dino (Pennsylvania): Having seen Lonnie
Chisenhall play at AA Akron, I'm not surprised at his 25th ranking. Are
there any lingering doubts about his makeup stemming from his problems
at the University of South Carolina?
Not really, seems to have learned his lesson, no issues since he turned pro that would keep him off the field.
Jerry (NYC): Hi Jim, are the Yankees prospects all over hyped and over rated? All of them come with huge question marks I think.
I'm high man on the Yankees this year,
almost across the board. The only guy who might be "hype" is Betances,
there's a split camp on him. Since our ranking in the fall, it became
clear that the industry consensus would rank Banuelos over Betances, and
that's reflected in the Top 100. Betances has a lot of risk, more even
than Brackman IMO. The rest of those guys, to me, are properly slotted.
Aggressive ranking of Sanchez, but his ceiling is significant.
Sorry everybody. With almost 200 questions
still in the queue, we've got a magazine & website we still have to
plan. Off to rank our Top 20 Rookies for the Major League Preview!
Thanks for all the interest, the conversation can continue on Twitter
(@BaseballAmerica or @johnmanuelba) or on BA's Facebook page. Thanks.1