Francisco Alvarez through the Pledge of Allegiance CC by 2.0 License
Should you’ve been preserving updated with The Drummey Angle articles over the past couple of months, you most likely know that I’m the resident prospect man. The whole lot of my content material is devoted to evaluating prospects. As some would possibly know, I’ve been slowly rolling out group high 10 lists on my Instagram, and by the top of the offseason, can have a complete record of the highest 100 prospects in baseball. Nonetheless, earlier than I get to that time, I need to take a while to clarify the methodology and course of behind my private analysis, and general simply give some premise to how I consider prospects needs to be evaluated on the whole.
That is primarily the idea of rating prospects. Theoretically, the upper a prospect is ranked, the extra worth we challenge them to offer on the huge league stage. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longehagen did an excellent job summing up their philosophy in this Fangraphs article from a number of years in the past, in addition to of their must-read e-book, Future Worth. Whereas I used the Fangraphs system as a place to begin, I’ve some key concepts that want additional clarification, the primary of which is the tiers that I exploit for Future Worth. Previous to this offseason, I’ve been fairly stingy with my FV grades. I used to be hesitant to offer anybody a 60 grade, and a 65 was comparatively extraordinary. Nonetheless, individuals don’t like pessimists, so I’ve determined to be a bit of extra beneficiant in my FV tiers.
I’m not satisfied any participant will ever deserve an 80-grade FV, so let’s simply throw that out. 75 grades don’t exist on this planet of scouting, so we’ll toss that out as nicely. 70’s are generationally gifted prospects (assume Alex Rodriguez and Bryce Harper). In my new system, the highest 3-5 prospects in any given 12 months will fall into the 65 FV class. These are guys who I count on to be perennial all-stars after breaking into the league. 60-grades are in yet one more elite membership. These are gamers who’re going to be impression bats in a lineup and are valued extremely extremely by organizations. Due to the variety of prospects that fall into the 55, 50, 45, and 40-tiers, I exploit + as a approach to differentiate the higher tier at an FV stage from the underside tier.
Anybody with a 55+, 55, or 50+ FV, has doubtless pressured their means right into a group’s long-term plans. Under that, it begins to get dicey. 50 grades are handed out to gamers who’ve an excellent probability of creating the MLB, however challenge to be mediocre, low-ceiling gamers. These are your backside 4 within the lineup, and 4th or fifth starters within the rotation. 45+ is reserved for gamers who will get an enormous league crack sooner or later however should succeed to show their value. That is going to be the bottom finish of on a regular basis starters whereas 45 grades will likely be typical bench function gamers. Gamers that fall into each the 40+ and 40 vary are typically journeymen sort gamers (also known as AAAA), These gamers don’t have a long-term house, however could be helpful in a depth function and to fill in as accidents start to select up. Something under that’s just about organizational depth and gamers who’re going to want to interrupt out to see the bigs.
The Age/Stage Correlation
That is essentially the most understated and underrated facet of scouting in my view. Each participant that has risen by way of the ranks rapidly and have become an MLB sensation has one factor in widespread: They performed harder competitors at a youthful age. In 2022, the common age of AAA hitters, in accordance with Baseball America, was 26.6 years previous. Right here’s when a number of of the sport’s brightest stars hit Triple-A:
Bryce Harper: 19
Mike Trout: 20
Juan Soto: (By no means. He went from AA to MLB at 19)
Ronald Acuna: 19
Fernando Tatis: (By no means. He went from AA to MLB at 20)
Wander Franco: 20
There’s a fairly noticeable correlation between these prodigious skills and a speedy ascent by way of the minor league system. Whereas clearly only a few gamers transfer by way of a system at this tempo, you will need to think about the age and stage of each participant. For instance, a 28-year-old tearing up AAA is probably going disregarded, whereas a 21-year-old posting common outcomes will likely be checked out rather more favorably. Listed below are a number of names to keep watch over as they’re at present posting good stats whereas extremely younger for his or her stage:
Francisco Alvarez, 20 years previous with MLB and AAA expertise
Elly De La Cruz, 20 years previous in AA
Jackson Chourio, 18 years previous in AA
Chourio has made headlines this 12 months for his breakout efficiency and has been ranked as excessive because the second-best prospect within the sport by Baseball America. Alvarez is at present ranked as MLB Pipeline’s primary prospect and De La Cruz is a consensus high 20 prospect throughout the board. These guys all have a observe file of success whereas enjoying in opposition to competitors 4-5 years older. All through baseball historical past, the blokes who’ve been capable of set up success in opposition to older rivals within the minor leagues have seen extra success once they attain the majors.
As talked about earlier than, Future Worth is a technique of WAR projection. The informal baseball fan won’t know, however WAR has positional changes that reward gamers for enjoying a place that requires extra ability. The worth of positions in accordance with fWAR are ranked on this order:
4) Second Base/Third Base
5) Left Subject/Proper Subject
6) First Base
7) Designated Hitter
Due to the way in which this works, it forces scouts to take the place a participant performs under consideration whereas evaluating and constructing rankings. As seen with Francisco Alvarez, catchers have a tendency to profit from the positional adjustment. It’s laborious to return by actually good catchers, and when a expertise like Alvarez rolls round, they’re often valued greater than different gamers. The positional argument often comes up each draft cycle. Nearly yearly, there’s a university 1B or DH that rakes however has no positional or defensive worth. Ivan “The Hispanic Titanic” Melendez out of Texas and Sonny DiChiara out of Auburn had been two nice examples this 12 months. Whereas each hit about, in addition to any participant in faculty baseball, neither one in every of them, was a first-round choose as a result of lack of worth from both one defensively. Typically, positional changes are inclined to worth athletic gamers who’ve utility skills and/or play a premium place.
Whereas all of those phrases have been thrown out loads of instances earlier than, I needed to make clear my stance on them and clarify the way in which that I take issues into consideration whereas making my private rankings, in addition to clarify a thought course of that will work for the reader. Hopefully, this helps to place not solely my rankings in perspective, but additionally helps you perceive basic prospect analysis.
Writer’s Word: Be sure to keep tuned to Minor League Media on Instagram and Twitter to see the discharge of my prospect rankings.