Everyone has an opinion, and everyone’s entitled to have a different one. However, when it comes to prospects in baseball, no list has been more highly touted than Baseball America (BA) and it’s rankings, whether it relates to a particular team or the overall group of prospects. Therefore, I think that it’s important to take a peek at this year’s list, available here, and to make some observations, some of which pertain to the Jays, and others that relate to other clubs or issues.
Here’s a short list of some of my observations for this year’s list:
- 12 of the top 100 were drafted in the 2010 draft.
- Of those 12, the latest pick included in the top 100 was RHP Stetson Allie (I’m a huge fan of his) who was ranked 79th on BA’s list and was drafted by the Pirates with their 2nd selection, the 52nd pick overall. He was taken after the Jays had made their first 4 selections in the draft. So, kudos to them for finally getting what could be a steal for their organization, despite having to wait so long through the sandwich round to get their 2nd pick.
- The next latest 2010 pick to make the top 100 was RHP Anthony Ranaudo of the Red Sox who ranked 67th overall. He was taken by the Sox with the pick immediately following the Jays selection of Noah Syndergaard, which could raise the question of who the Jays should have selected with that pick.
- Allie and Ranaudo were the only 2 prospects taken in the 2010 draft outside the first round that made the top 100 list.
- The 10 others who made the top 100 list, with their draft pick number-top 100 ranking included in brackets, are: Bryce Harper (1-1), Jameson Taillon (2-11), Manny Machado (3-14), Christian Colon (4-51), Drew Pomeranz (5-61), Chris Sale (13-20), Deck McGuire (11-95), Josh Sale (17-88), Zack Cox (25-62), Zach Lee (28-89).
- The fact that teams drafting within the top 10 (6. Diamondbacks, 7. Mets, 8. Astros, 9.Padres, and 10. Athletics) were unable to rank their selections within the top 100 indicates that the Jays did fairly well in getting McGuire who did slot in at the late end of the top 100 at #95.
- Simultaneously, the fact that they missed the opportunity to grab Chris Sale who is ranked 75 spots ahead of McGuire on this list, is a little disconcerting. He was grabbed 2 spots behind McGuire with the 13th selection in the 2010 draft.
- One oddity that may go unnoticed by many non-Jays fans is the fact that Travis d’Arnaud was ranked 4th within the Jays prospects in their latest prospect handbook, behind both Brett Lawrie and Deck McGuire. When we look at the top 100 list, we see d’Arnaud is ranked 36th, Lawrie is 40th, and McGuire is 95th. The 2 rankings lists don’t match at all and it seems that many of the gurus at BA really do like d’Arnaud a lot more than Nathan Rode (the author of the Jays rankings) does. Personally, I lean towards Rode’s ranking more than the others, for what little that’s worth. It seems that the top 100, at least in this case, went the conservative route by selecting players that were most likely to make it to The Show instead of ranking based solely on ceiling.
- One thing that I’ll keep voicing displeasure over is the fact that Jose Iglesias continues to be trumpeted as a top 100 prospect while Adeiny Hechavarria – his virtual clone with more bat – gets knocked down over and over again. Iglesias made the top 100 list, at #52 of all places, while Adeiny didn’t make the cut. If anyone can explain that one to me, feel free, because I’m dumbfounded.
- Another thing I don’t agree with in the rankings is what I see as a very low ranking for Nolan Arenado at #80, a player I see as belonging within the top 40 alongside Brett Lawrie. I also don’t agree with the ranking of Christian Colon (51) ahead of Grant Green (63). Green’s bat is well ahead of Colon’s.
- Finally, but probably the thing that annoyed me most, was the omissions of Zach Stewart, Aaron Sanchez, and the PCL MVP, J. P. Arencibia. I’m sorry, but if players like Hak-Ju Lee, Jonathan Villar and Brent Morel make the list, the 3 Jays prospects I listed deserve to be amongst the top 100, amongst other prospects I would rank ahead of those across MLB.
Overall, it’s a good list to go by if you’re looking for some players in fantasy circles. However, this is the first year I’ve ever had to side more with the MLB.com rankings as it can be applied to Jays prospects instead of the BA rankings which seem a little “odd” overall, particularly from the middle of the list onwards. Why do I like the MLB.com list better for Jays prospects? Well, here are a few reasons:
- J. P. Arencibia broke their top 50, and rightfully so;
- Adeiny Hechavarria was ranked 59th, only 17 spots behind Jose Iglesias, a ranking difference that seems a lot more tolerable to me because you can argue defensive abilities all day long;
- Brett Lawrie was ranked where he should be, within the top 30; and
- Kyle Drabek was ranked 12th instead of 29th. How BA’s staff can argue having Drabek ranked behind Matt Moore and Shelby Miller is beyond me. The MLB.com ranking rightfully flips those rankings, putting Drabek in 12th, Miller in 20th, and Moore in 27th positions.
But, like I said at the beginning of this post, an opinion is just that, an opinion, and we’re all entitled to one. Whenever you’re talking about the top 100 prospects in baseball, you realize that each and every one of them could turn out to be a special player and that they all deserve high praises for making the list. As a Baseball Americaholic, I was happy to see some of the rankings, and unhappy to see some omissions. Still, I’ll continue to enjoy their rankings and the top 100, as it stands as one of the very best lists out there and truly represents the compiled knowledge of people who know a lot more about prospects and scouting than any of us do. So, despite the “oddities” I listed above, I lift my cap to BA’s staff and thank them for the great rankings. It’s a tough job to accomplish, and you’re always sure to be criticized some, as we found out with our very own top 50 Jays prospects list.
Finally, the best part of BA’s top 100 list for 2011 was the article released after it penned by Jim Callis, which pointed out just how much money was spent on the players that make up the top 100 list. To sum it up, the article points out just how few at slot or below slot players that were included within the top 100 (about 1/3 of the list). This bodes well for the Jays and Jays fans, as they’ve shown that under Alex Anthopoulos, the Jays will go over-slot as many times as it takes in order to get the best players on board. If it leads to many more Jays prospects landing on BA’s top 100 list, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Jays will be very hard to beat for years to come and that they’ll churn out a ton of MLB caliber players.
The top 100 list points out some of the best prospects in the game and is a lot of fun to sift through. Enjoy it and know that at this time next year, we very well could see a KC Royals amount (8) of prospects belonging to the Jays on the list as the Jays investments begin to prove themselves.