Ask BA

organization Top 10 Prospects reports kicked off today on our website, starting
with the Braves. From now
through the end of January
, we’ll unveil a new Top 10 every couple of
days (taking a break around Thanksgiving and Christmas).

If you have any questions about our Top 10 process
or the rankings themselves, send them to Ask BA and we’ll hash them out. And if
you can’t get enough prospect rankings and reports, don’t forget that we go 30
deep for each organization in the
2012 Prospect Handbook


    When will the
    official free-agent rankings be released? I'm wondering if the Mets will get
    anything for Chris Capuano.

    Peter Duffy

    New York City

The list
has been released, and I’ll detail all the potential compensation free agents
(Capuano is not among them) below. But first, a quick primer on free-agent

are sorted into position groups (catchers; first basemen and outfielders;
second basemen, third basemen and shortstops; designated hitters; starting
pitchers; relievers) and rated by a statistical formula detailed in the
Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players ranked in the top 20 percent of their
group are designated as Type A free agents, and those in the 21-40 percent
bracket are classified as Type B.

In order
to receive compensation, the player’s former club must offer him arbitration by
the Nov. 23 deadline. Type A free agents yield the signing team’s first-round
pick and a supplemental first-rounder as compensation, while Type B free agents
bring back only the sandwich pick. Clubs that finished in the bottom half of
the major league standings have their first-rounders protected from
compensation, and teams also can’t lose consolation picks for failure to sign
draftees from the previous year. If a club signs multiple Type A free agents,
the team that lost the higher-ranking player gets the better choice.

Bear in
mind that a new CBA will be announced soon and could include
changes to free-agent compensation. For now, these are the potential
compensation free agents, including players who will gain free agency if their options
are declined or their opt-out clauses exercised
by the end of today. The Brewers, Phillies and Reds all have three
possible Type A free agents.


Clint Barmes (B).

Josh Willingham (A), David DeJesus (B).

Jays: Kelly Johnson (A), Shawn Camp (B), Frank Francisco (B), Jose Molina (B),
*Jon Rauch (B).

Braves: Alex Gonzalez (B).

Prince Fielder (A), Francisco Rodriguez (A), Takashi Saito (A), Yuniesky
Betancourt (B).

*Octavio Dotel (A), Albert Pujols (A), *Rafael Furcal (B), Edwin Jackson (B),
Arthur Rhodes (B).

Cubs: Carlos Pena (B), Aramis Ramirez (B), Kerry Wood (B).

*Aaron Hill (B).

Rod Barajas (B), Hiroki Kuroda (B).

Carlos Beltran (A), Pat Burrell (B), Cody Ross (B).

Jose Reyes (A).

Orioles: Vladimir Guerrero (B).

Heath Bell (A), *Aaron Harang (B).

Ryan Madson (A), Roy Oswalt (A), Jimmy Rollins (A), Raul Ibanez (B), Brad Lidge

Pirates: Ryan
Doumit (B), Derrek Lee (B), Ryan Ludwick (B), Chris Snyder (B).

Rangers: *Colby
Lewis (A) Darren Oliver (A), C.J. Wilson (A).

*Kyle Farnsworth (A).

Red Sox:
David Ortiz (A), Jonathan Papelbon (A), Jason Varitek (B), *Dan Wheeler (B).

Reds: *Francisco
Cordero (A), Ramon Hernandez (A), *Brandon Phillips (A).

Rockies: Mark Ellis (B).

Royals: Bruce Chen (B).

Wilson Betemit (B), Magglio Ordonez (B).

Matt Capps (A), Michael Cuddyer (A), Jason Kubel (B).

Sox: Mark Buehrle (B), *Jason Frasor (B), Juan Pierre (B).

Yankees: *C.C. Sabathia (A), *Rafael
Soriano (A), Freddy Garcia (B).

must be declined or opt-out clause exercised to gain free agency.

Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes, who noticed that I left Rod Barajas and Aramis Ramirez off my original list. I also incorrectly listed a couple of players
who will be eligible for arbitration and not free agency (Colby Lewis, Joakim
Soria) on the original list.

    Assuming Japanese righthander Yu Darvish
    signs with a major league team this winter, where would you rank him on the
    upcoming Top 100 Prospects list? How much higher are you on him than you were
    on Daisuke Matsuzaka? You'll recall that Dice-K was No. 1 on BA's
    2007 Top 100
    , above Alex
    Gordon and Delmon Young.

    J.P. Schwartz


going all-in on Matsuzaka—starting with this
column from 2006

a bit leery of high-priced Japanese imports. Outside of Ichiro, there hasn’t
been a Japanese player who has starred in the major leagues like he did in his
native country.

scouts did prefer Darvish to Matsuzaka even before Matsuzaka went south.
Darvish has a seemingly endless supply of above-average pitches, but then so
did Matsuzaka, who never seemed to be able to figure out which one to use with
the Red Sox. Both guys were worked hard at a young age in Japan, too, with Darvish already having worked
1,268 pro innings through age 24.

All that
said, Darvish is exceptionally talented. I wouldn’t put him ahead of the three
super-elite prospects who will lead off the Top 100 in whatever order (Angels
outfielder Mike Trout, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, Rays lefthander Matt
Moore), but Darvish will be in the second tier and I’d probably put him at No.


    What do you see in the future for Lars Anderson?
    With Adrian Gonzalez locking up first base for the Red Sox, what happens to Anderson? I know he
    won't hit for major power, but I love his on-base percentage and can see him
    being a useful first baseman for someone.

    Bryan P. Verdegaal

    New York

I used to
drive the Lars Anderson bandwagon. I ranked him atop our Red
Sox Top 10 Prospects list
following the 2008 season, during which he
hit a combined .317/.417/.517 as a 20-year-old in high Class A and Double-A.
One scout who watched him that year said Anderson
was ready to hit major league pitching at that point.

star has dimmed in the three years since. He still offers impressive size
(6-foot-4, 215 pounds), bat speed, strength and hand-eye coordination, and he
always has had a solid eye at the plate. But Anderson
has two problems preventing him from doing enough damage to become a big league
regular. He lacks loft in his swing and thus doesn’t drive enough balls out of
the park, slugging just .422 in Triple-A this year. He also hasn’t proven he
can hit advanced lefthanders, with his .242/.331/.409 performance against
southpaws in 2011 representing his high-water mark from the last three seasons.

will be 24 next season, and at this point he profiles as a platoon first
baseman without the power desired at the position. The Red Sox don’t need a
first baseman with Gonzalez on hand, so Anderson probably faces a third
straight year in Triple-A unless he gets traded. I could see another team
looking at him as a low-cost option at first base, hoping it could somehow
unlock some more of his power. Boston had a deal to send him to the Athletics
for Rich Harden at the trade deadline in July, but it fell through when the Red
Sox didn’t like Harden’s medical reports.


Oct. 25 Ask BA