Jan 4th, 2010

Comparing Prospect Rankings

By Dan Santaromita

Today, Baseball America released their top ten prospect rankings for the White Sox. This means all of the major prospect publications have released their White Sox rankings. Let’s take a look at the differences from each and try to figure out what it all means.

We’ve gathered six White Sox top 10s from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Fan Graphs, John Sickels’ Minor League Ball, Diamond Futures and our own postseason rankings. Fan Graphs does things a little differently, they don’t include 2009 rookies in their rankings due to a lack of sample size, so you have to take that into account.

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Fan Graphs
John Sickels
Diamond Futures
Jared Mitchell Dan Hudson Tyler Flowers Dan Hudson Dan Hudson Tyler Flowers
Tyler Flowers Jared Mitchell Dan Hudson Jared Mitchell Dayan Viciedo Dan Hudson
Dan Hudson Tyler Flowers Jordan Danks Tyler Flowers Jared Mitchell Dayan Viciedo
Brent Morel Jordan Danks Brent Morel Brent Morel Brent Morel Jordan Danks
Jordan Danks Dayan Viciedo Dayan Viciedo Jordan Danks Tyler Flowers C.J. Retherford
Trayce Thompson Brent Morel C.J. Retherford Dayan Viciedo Jordan Danks Jared Mitchell
Dayan Viciedo Clevelan Santeliz Clevelan Santeliz David Holmberg Clevelan Santeliz Brent Morel
David Holmberg Trayce Thompson John Ely C.J. Retherford Miguel Gonzalez Charlie Shirek
Clevelan Santeliz Santos Rodriguez Gregory Infante Christian Marrero Josh Phegley Trayce Thompson
Miguel Gonzalez David Holmberg Santos Rodriguez Santos Rodriguez John Shelby Josh Phegley

For starters, Baseball America gave us a minor surprise by making Jared Mitchell number 1. Phil Rogers, who has a big hand in the White Sox rankings, said he thinks Dan Hudson will be as good as Jered Weaver. Hudson was only third, the lowest of any of the lists, so that really shows how much they love Mitchell at BA. When Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus talked with us, he gushed about Mitchell so it’s no surprise they also had him up there at two. A few of our voters tend to be conservative with players in the lower levels of the system so Mitchell coming in lowest here isn’t a major shock. A solid start to his 2010 will certainly have him in the top three of our 2010 midseason rankings (not to mention the possible graduations of Hudson and Tyler Flowers).

As for Hudson and Flowers, there’s a near consensus to have them in the top three as there should be. We picked Flowers over Hudson (barely) and my personal rationale for that pick was because of the positional value of a catcher. Half of the rankings had Hudson higher, half had Flowers higher and I don’t think you can go wrong either way.

Brent Morel is interesting to me because he was seventh on our list and I felt that was too high. None of our voters had Morel in the top five, yet four of these publications had Morel fourth. Us and Diamond Futures are the only to have Dayan Viciedo above Morel and Diamond Futures makes the best pro-Viciedo argument you will find:

Viciedo played the entire season as a 20yo in AA, and posted, park-adjusted, League average numbers across the board. That was good enough to finish #13 in the League among hitters in our 2009 Performance rankings—despite it being his U.S. debut. But that only tells part of the story, as Viciedo posted a park-neutral OPS of .853 after mid-July. For a frame of reference, that was the same as Josh Bell’s SOL numbers in what was considered a breakout season, and Josh Bell is two and one-half years older…What we are saying is that we expect him to perform similar in 2010 to the second-half of 2009, and when you give him that half-year adjustment, his numbers put him in the Top 100 prospect range—which is a heckuva a lot better than his detractors would like you to believe.

Simply put, Viciedo has more upside than Morel and the lofty expectations compared to his results and reality may have too many people unfairly down on him.

Santos Rodriguez and David Holmberg appeared on multiple top tens and didn’t even crack our top 25. Granted, Holmberg was #26 and appeared on everyone’s ballot except one, but that is a drastic difference in opinion. Again, our voters tend to stay conservative on rookies, but another factor is that Holmberg throws below 90 giving him two factors going against him. He has a strong curve and changeup, but he is going to have to add some velocity on his fastball to be a top 10 prospect in my mind.

It’s good to have different perspectives, especially when a few of these publications have different ways of evaluating prospects. All together there were 17 different prospects in these top ten lists. If nothing else that should show that beyond the top tier or two it’s all about what type of player you prefer. Tell us which rankings you like best in the comments!

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3 Responses

  1. I like our list, but I’m partial.

  2. Interesting that most of our top 5 prospects haven’t been in our organization for over a year. Viciedo, Flowers, Hudson, MItchell, Thompson. I think that is a solid group of prospects.

  3. Yeah, the turnover has been impressive. Baseball America’s 2013 projected lineup (which assumes no trades) had Danks, Mitchell, Flowers, Morel and Hudson on there. With Beckham, Quentin and the mostly young starting rotation I really like the future. The Sox don’t need all of these prospects to be big hits, probably don’t even need half and that’s a great position to be in.

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