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Editor's Note: Saying Goodbye To Minor League Top 10 Prospects Lists



Change is never easy, but in the case of the Minor League Top 10 Prospects rankings, the time has come to retire a long-time Baseball America fixture.

The extension of the minor league schedule from Labor Day into late September has made it untenable for us to produce Minor League Top 10 Prospects content for the October issue of BA. And by November, we kick off organizational Top 10 Prospects coverage.

This year, the Triple-A season did not end until Sept. 28, and the Double-A schedule ran until Sept. 18. At the upper levels of the minors, the season is now two to three weeks longer.

In the past, we were able to wait until all minor league seasons ended—around Sept. 5—to determine which prospects met the playing time qualification for our rankings. This year, we sent this issue to press on the day the major league season wrapped.

The new minor league schedule was but the final factor in a decision that has been years in the making. Readers look to BA to place prospects in an overall context. Web traffic numbers tell us that BA readers value our perspective on the overall Top 100 Prospects or the top prospects by organization or by draft class.

They don’t find prospect rankings by individual minor leagues to be as valuable. 

When founding editor Allan Simpson launched Baseball America in 1981, his first attempt to line up and evaluate minor league prospects came in the form of Minor League Top 10 Prospects lists that fall. 

Simpson had a network of minor league correspondents in place he could trust to talk to managers and evaluate the top prospects in the Eastern, Midwest or California leagues. Forty years ago, local newspapers had reporters who covered their individual minor leagues intensely.

This was also a time when even basic minor league statistics were difficult to come by. In the early 1980s, MLB teams didn’t even have pro scouting departments. So for BA to build organizational prospect lists, we had to first talk to minor league managers, coaches and scouts to find out which prospects stood out in each league. 

Only then could BA line up a Top 10 Prospects ranking, which Simpson introduced for the 1983 season.

This year, BA kept the Minor League Top 10 Prospects tradition alive for the Rookie complex leagues. We ran top 10s for the Arizona and Florida Complex leagues in our September issue. These prospects are lesser known than those in full-season leagues. As such, we believe we can add valuable context to BA readers.

But as far as Minor League Top 10 Prospects lists for full-season leagues, we bid farewell to an old friend.

-- J.J. Cooper

If you have feedback about our decision, please feel free to let me know at jj.cooper@baseballamerica.com.

Cardinals

2023 St. Louis Cardinals Top 10 Prospects Chat

Geoff Pontes answered questions regarding the Cardinals system. You can read the transcript here.

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