Top 30 Accountability: 1-5

This is a retrospective back on the Top 30 prospects list I wrote before the start of the season.  My opinion is that anyone who puts their opinion out there should be accountable for that opinion, in this case rather than just ask whether I was right or wrong, but more why was it right or wrong.  The goal is to explore things in the development of a prospect that can point to growth or regression.  Additionally just because a prospect fails to live up to or exceeds expectations does it mean the base analysis was wrong when it was written.

The first thing I see when looking at this list is that all 5 of these guys did not step forward.  Four out of the five dealt with some sort of physical set back (injury/illness).  In reality it comes down to you just can’t predict a lot of things and sometimes it all breaks the wrong way.  This certainly does not excuse us from our duty of making good analysis, but we do need to acknowledge things out of our control.  As always the original list is here

5. Ethan Martin

Martin has a ton of upside if he can prove his new control is real, though the lack of a good changeup is concerning.  This ranking reflects the raw stuff that Martin has; a plus plus fastball, a plus breaking ball, and another average breaking ball to pair with what profiles as an average changeup.  I believe the new command is legitimate and even if the changeup does not develop Martin as at least a dominant reliever.

There was absolutely no chance that this ranking would end up correct.  It was more a hedge of the two potential outcomes.  If Martin had stuck as a starter, he would have profiled as a good mid-rotation starter and deserved to be in the Top 3 discussion, if he is a reliever he is more in the back of the Top 10 (where he will end up this offseason).  I have nothing wrong with how the Phillies treated Martin this year and his extra innings in the rotation will help him out of the bullpen.  My only hope is that they don’t waste him in short little stints because he can dominate multiple innings.

4. Tommy Joseph

 A year ago there were questions about whether Joseph could stick at catcher, but the answer is now a definitive yes.  Joseph will likely never be an elite receiver but he has gotten much better, and he can lock down the running game with a great arm.  At the plate Joseph will likely always have a low average but he has increased his walk rate to a point where he can get on base enough to provide value.  Joseph has plenty of raw power but it only plays as plus due to the poor contact ability.  There is a chance that Joseph’s makeup will allow him to make another real leap.

If you want to make a stat argument about Joseph be my guest but a 72 PA AAA sample size is ridiculously small, especially coming off a Spring Training where he looked like he could break out (I will also counter that if his BABIP had normalized to career level of .300 he hits .265/.319/.416).  As for the concussion, it is a horrible injury and could end any hope he has a prospect, but there is no way to hold that against where he was coming into the year.  I don’t know where I will rank him this offseason, I more just hoping he makes a full recovery.

3. Roman Quinn

Quinn’s biggest ability is his 80 grade speed.  He is one of the fastest players in baseball right now.  Quinn was #2 on this list for a while and his fall to #3 is no fault of his own.  If Quinn can show some home run power in his compact swing or improved instincts at short he could become an elite prospect in baseball.  For now he remains the highest upside position player in the system.  Even if he cannot stick at short his speed will give him elite range in center field.  Quinn will face a tough challenge in his full season debut but he should only get better with more reps in the field and switch hitting.

It wasn’t a great year for Quinn before the injury both in the field and at the plate.  In the field he put more doubt into his ability to stick at shortstop, but there is still some hope left.  At the plate he put up almost the exact same season as 2012 only with a BABIP .060 lower (dropping the power numbers a little bit).  There is still a good amount of pop in the swing, elite speed, and a decent approach.  The injury is just one of those that happens to hitters and there really is nothing you can do about it.  Quinn will go to Clearwater next year where his hitting should be the thing to watch, the defensive position will work out in the long term and he doesn’t lose a ton of value in center field because the defense should be plus, and with Crawford in the system it is a little less imperative for the future of the club that he stick at the position.

2. Adam Morgan

1. Jesse Biddle

Biddle and Morgan have become linked in my mind and analysis so rather than write them up separately I decided to combine them.  When it comes to their pitches their fastballs are similar though Morgan’s is more consistent and Biddle’s will flash better.  Morgan has the better changeup though Biddle’s will flash plus.  Biddle has the dominating plus breaking ball, Morgan’s slider also very good.  Morgan has the better command right now, but Biddle has the nice easy delivery that will lend itself to good command in the future.  Biddle does have the better frame giving him the chance to be a real 200IP+ workhorse.  There is still some projectability with the younger Biddle and that gives him the edge here.

Morgan came out in Spring Training looking like he could be a mid-rotation starter for years to come.  Then the should injury happened and we are left wondering about his future.  But if he comes back healthy next year with a decent fastball he is still a #3/#4 starter who should be in line for the first call up.  He certainly has to slide a bit in the rankings because of the injury, but the ceiling should still be intact.

Biddle’s season as a been a roller coaster that started off dominant and then went horribly wrong, and then kind of limped along to the finish.  When he is at his best Biddle will show 3 plus pitches with room for growth in the changeup and curveball, and look like a good mid rotation starter with some projection left.  When he is off Biddle is unable to be consistent with the mechanics and the curveball goes from weapon to liability as it loses its bite and begins a loopy BP pitch.  He suffered both injury and illness which led to the inconsistency on the mound.  All of that being said he still has #3 upside (you are asking a lot of projection more to see a #2 starter) and is young so there is hope that he will figure it out.  He is a Top 100 prospect in baseball and Top 3 in the system, but he is going to need almost all of a year of AAA to put all the pieces back together.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

89 thoughts on “Top 30 Accountability: 1-5

  1. Biddle developed whooping cough sometime in May, and found it difficult to shake. But he still went out and competed every fifth day as a trooper.

  2. I just wrote a real downer comment, but on second thought, let’s just say: let’s all be thankful for the existence of Maikel Franco.

  3. Again, thanks for the reviews.
    One thing is curious to me: why would they move Quinn up to Clrwtr to begin ’14? He is young enough not to have to be moved up when he is not only uncertain about the SS position (errors beyond acceptability) but also inadequate at the plate as shown during his limited playing time pre-injury.
    Yes, Crawford seems headed for Lakewood in ’14 at SS but is that itself the reason to push Quinn out and up to High A ball? Spring training might show the coaches more about Quinn’s future at SS. IF Crawford were not going to open at Lkwd then Quinn would be re-assigned to Lkwd where he could try to learn the position.

    All this would be academic if they moved Quinn now to CF where he was playing prior to his drafting. Then, both he and Crawford could play on the same team.

    It’s a bit of a dilemma. Two pieces not likely to fit in the same aperture…….

    1. Because while not old for the level he is now ending his 3rd professional season. He didn’t really fail Lakewood, it wasn’t a good on the season but he was hitting better before the injury. In April he walked 4 times and struck out 26 times in 93 PAs, between May and June he walked 23 times and struck out 38 times in 194 trips to the plate (he did only hit .188/.269/.232 in June due to a .232 BABIP). If you want him at SS then you need him in Clearwater, if you want him in CF you need him in Clearwater (unless you are sending Tocci to Clearwater).

      Yes his numbers don’t look great and he missed time, but he should be ready for the lo-A to hi-A jump.

      1. But, but . . . the errors!

        Quinn to CLW is a no-brainer, guys. Not sure what the controversy is here. He’s more likely to start in Reading than Lakewood. Defense aside (and yeah, it’s a big aside), he still projects as a potential impact bat somewhere in the middle of the defensive spectrum, and this farm isn’t good enough to hold a guy like that back.

    2. You know why they should move Quinn to Clearwater? Cause somebody’s got to be there. Who, using “normal evaluating” among the position players would “deserve” to move up? I say just Carmona and Villalobos by my calculation. What are they gonna” do for the rest of the squad? Sign minor league free agents willing to go to High-A? Yeah, they’d be some quality guys.

  4. of the top 5 here, it looks like Morgan and Biddle may be the only to remain in top five and that maybe a push at that. It was a disappointing year for the top 5. Now some of the others did step up and have great years.

    1. I doubt there will be much support for ranking Biddle lower than #2. He really didn’t have a bad year. Maddening inconsistent at times but I also like that he has shown the ability to take over a game. Crawford will have his day, but not yet.

  5. Matt, a really informative look at your top thirty. Injuries and illness (Biddle) certainly hurt your top five but overall I think your preseason top thirty played out pretty well. Hopefully the system will continue to improve as the draft class of 2013 has had a fairly good start. A few stud pitchers would look good in the next draft. Thanks for all you and others do to keep this site up, running and interesting. I appreciate all the work and effort you put into it.

    1. Agreed. This series was outstanding, but also sobering. Hoping the weakness of the system pushes the team to continue aggressively placing prospects (starting Cord Sandberg in Lakewood is on my personal wish list, selfishly I suppose).

  6. There were not rumors about injury and illness for Biddle. Those were facts, widely reported, and it is not responsible to encourage people to think otherwise. This is not a Chase Utley situation. Please retract the statement.

  7. Tommy Joseph is gonna be a weak hitting first baseman and that is what the philles got for Jared Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana. Just horrible , horrible , despicable oh well we schooled the Indians for Cliff Lee because every one of those guys blowws

      1. He’s saying that Joseph (and I think Rosin) is what we got for Pence when we traded him away, that is, who would pay the difference between Cosart/Singleton/Santana/(Zeid or Villar?) and Joseph to rent Pence for the year we got from him.

        1. Villar was in Oswalt trade, Zeid was in Pence.

          I still don’t have any problem with the value received for trading Pence to San Fran based on what we knew at the time. Joseph doesn’t look great right now but welcome to prospects, the Schierholtz non-tender is the glaring thing right now because he had good value and they gave that away. I think it is a knock against the front office, just one unconnected to the Pence trade (it speaks to a different flaw)

          1. Matt, I wonder how you can sell Nate Schierholtz to us as having good value after having two teams pass on him? Nate had a great first half in 2013(BA at .292 at end of June) but has slid down to .252 with a .176 BA against LH pitching and .262 against RH pitching as of today. Nate is a nice complimentary piece but was in the wrong place as the Phillies are overloaded in LH batters, would have taken playing time away from Ben Revere and Dom Brown and had a manager who does not use regular platoons. Nate is 29 years old, good defensively and is the LH match to John Mayberry as okay players but are not good enough to be regulars. Lastly, not keeping Schierholtz was a positive step as Ben Revere’s, Darin Ruf’s and Dom Brown’s development were three of the bright spots this season.

            1. I am not advocating that they should ahve necesarily kept him on the roster, but to non-tender him was a short sighted move. Given the financial resources available it would have made much more sense to release Laynce Nix and keep Schierholtz. He definitely had value at the trade deadline this year (Cubs didn’t get deal they liked and he has another year of team control).

              In the end he is a piece that could have been moved for value and instead they non-tendered him and got nothing.

            2. Matt, have to agree with you about Laynce Nix being a wasted spot on the roster. Nate Scheirholz can be helpful to a team but in a limited role and would have brought a mid level prospect at best.

            3. Imagine that instead of Nix and Mayberry giving way to Delmon, you could have simply had Schierholtz and Mayberry platooning from day one in Right for cheaper than Young with better Defense and hitting. Giving him away necessitated in some ways the signing of the awful Delmon Young.

  8. I know this is a look back , but the new list has to be , Franco , Crawford and bleep the rest

  9. I know this is three in a row , but why are we still winning and why hasnt Ryne Sandberg been named the manager instead of interim

  10. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Biddle is going to take a huge step forward. As odd, and often very discouraging as this year was for Biddle (especially with command), there are some explanations for the less than stellar moments (young pitcher, sickness, very hitting favorable park and league), and he had moments of sheer brilliance where he flashed #1/#2 type stuff. I see that, I see that even excellent pitchers often need “growing” years, even in the minors, I see that this kid has a superb work ethic and approach and an ideal pitcher’s body, and I see a huge breakout year for him next year at Lehigh Valley where. Biddle has the potential to put up statistics similar to Hamel’s. His ceiling is NOT, I repete NOT, that of a #3, although there’s a fair chance that’s where he ends up. His ceiling is as a top of the rotation, borderline ace (that’s what Hamels is when he pitches well, a borderline ace). He has that much upside. Will he reach it? Probably not, but the potential is there and, trust me, when he’s on, it’s a beautiful thing to watch.

    1. Agree catch. I’m not set on keeping him at #1 but I’m seriously contemplating it. Biddle’s ability to dominate a game still has me optimistic as to his ceiling. He just completed a full season at AA at age 21 (doesn’t turn 22 until October) pitching half his games in a hitter’s park, he’s yet to repeat a level and his K/9 has increased each of the last two seasons. AA hitters hit .210 off him this year. His BB/9 were much lower in 2011 and 2012, giving me confidence that he can reduce his BB/9 significantly from his 2013 levels. Lots to like there

    2. Yeah I agree as well. I actually still have him #1 because his floor is so high. I agree he is going to have a really good year next year and should be penciled in for the Philly rotation to start 2015.

    3. It was a real tale of two seasons (ugh, sorry) for Biddle, and I guess the question going forward is whether you think he’s the first half guy who dominated or the second half guy who seemed lost. I am really hoping that he’s not the second half guy, but you have to admit that the trendline is discouraging–you’d rather have your top pitching prospect struggle initially with a new level and then dominate. But I’m willing to suspend disbelief for now. I agree that the most encouraging thing about his performance this season is that he showed he could truly dominate a game with that curveball when he’s on. The good thing about Biddle, though, is that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition with him. I think we can safely say (barring injury, of course) that based on his performance this year, he’s going to pitch in the majors, it’s just a question of whether he’s a back-end guy or something more. That, to me, is the argument for keeping him at the top of the prospect list this year. No one else in the system, not even Franco, seems as certain to have a productive major league career.

      I’m thinking I’ll go Franco-Biddle-Crawford, but I could definitely change my mind.

      1. Joe Jordan said the complete opposite of what you said on Tuesday concerning Jesse Biddle. He has no reservations that he will be a top of the rotation guy pitching at the Bank.
        Thank goodness.

        1. I think most guys see Biddle as more a middle of rotation that top of rotation guy. To me, the biggest question is whether he was nursing an injury second half of season and is still hurt. It still boggles the mind that he PHillies had him pitch through pertussis.

        2. Well, not to be a cynic, but I’m not sure Joe Jordan gives his absolute unvarnished assessment of every prospect to the press. The second half performance (whatever the extenuating circumstances) speaks for itself. And everything I’ve heard from the scouting community seems to point a consensus placing him in the neighborhood of #3 or #4 starter–which as I say, is a really good outcome. At this point, it takes a lot of wishful thinking to see him as a top-of-the-rotation guy. He doesn’t have the minor league numbers of a Cole Hamels–which is ok, few do.

    4. If you saw Biddle’s problem starts in person, as I saw two of them, yow would not excuse him because of a good hitting park and league. The second, hugely problematic Biddle start I watched, which was after he was supposedly recovered from the pertussis, he lucked out of the first inning and then had absolutely no control and couldn’t finish the second inning. He threw like a guy with a very sore arm.

  11. My apologies for the semi-incomprehensible post. I should have read it more carefully before I posted.

  12. Top 10 (assuming Asche, Ruf, Galvis, Martin and Pettibone have all “graduated” – I did not rank Miguel Gonzalez, if I had, he probably would have been around 4 or 5)

    1. Franco – (possible middle of the order hitter, young and ready to roll – a pure hitter like we haven’t seen from our minor league system since Utley)
    2. Biddle – (struggled a bit, but also dominating on occasion in stellar fashion – everything is there for him to succeed if he can just be more consistent with command and reduce “blow up” games)
    3. Crawford (a real “wow” player – already plays shortstop like a major leaguer, and has a quick bat, and if he fills out even a little – and I suspect he will – he could be the Phillies’ version of Derek Jeter – he has that type of ability; could easily be the top prospect by the middle of next year)
    4. Quinn (too much talent to ignore – had an off year with injuries but could bounch back; Crawford’s presence make it more likely he shifts back to centerfield where his career might take off)
    5. Watson (kind of a stretch here, but if reports of the dominant fastball are true, he could move very quickly beginning next year)
    6. Hernandez (just keeps getting better and better – showing broad array of skills in major league trial – has improved at everything – perfect middle infielder body – if he even develops middling power he could be a very nice piece – will have a long big league career)
    7. Morgan (this is an aggressive ranking based on the assumption that the shoulder problems are not likely to be a long-term issue as reported in most recent MRI – if velocity has dropped to around 90 – as opposed to 89-94 as it was early in the year – I’d drop him to the low teens)
    8. Knapp – (could really explode next year)
    9. Tocci – (the abilities are there; whether the necessary strength will come is anyone’s guess – he may be far too thin too put on legitimate muscle weight – think a skinnier Doug Glanville – yikes! But the talent and instincts are legimate)
    10. Sandberg – (reports of the tools are encouraging; was a multi-sport player so it may take a year or two before the baseball skills really begin to show themselves)
    10a. Cozens – (has all the tools and I disagree with those who say he will be slow and stiff – he’s big and strong, but the legs are like runner’s legs not lineman’s legs – he’s more built like Jayson Werth or even Giancarlo Stanton than Adam Dunn, so I think he’ll be fine out there in the outfield for a while)
    10b. Green – (yeah, the strikeouts and hit tool are legitimate concerns, but the consistent in-game power is breathtaking and the ability to draw works could offset the BA concerns to an extent).
    10c. Grullon – (the glove/defense was always the carrying tool but now it seems that he can hit quite a bit too, which makes him a very interesting prospect)

    One thing to note – with minor exceptions, where are the pitchers?

    1. Hernandez may have also graduated.
      If he gets another 25/35 PAs in the majors will he be over the threshold?

      1. He’s at 88 PA now. He’d need to start everyday and get 4-5 Pa to break the rookie eligibility threshold.

        Also, Ethan Martin is right around 35 IP, so I don’t think he’ll break the threshold either.

        Ruf exceeded rookie limits earlier this summer. Galvis exceeded rookie limits last year while filling in for Utley. Pettibone also exceed rookie innings eligibility

      1. Severino and Dugan, are in the next tier – each could easily have been in the 10a., 10b, or 10c slots – it’s very close.

    2. Yeah. You list 3 pitchers, two of whom end the year shut down with injury and the third who ends the year with iffy control and possibly also an injury.

      1. Yes, have you seen me also say the pitching sucks? Sev Gonzalez arguably coud be on this list, but he’s really not as good of a prospect as the other three, at least not yet.

      2. I think he’s entitled to his own opinion, no? I understand your concerns Allentown but maybe he’s an optimist.

        1. I’m a bit of an optomist when it comes to Biddle, but he’s a top 100 prospect, perhaps a top 50 prospect. Still, all of the prospects are ranked based on ability and discounted by the injury concerns. If I was convinced that Morgan was healthy and throwing hard, he’s have been 4 or 5. Watson is ranked that high because the reports on his stuff are outstanding and apparently, he was just sore and they want to be careful with him.

        2. I was actually agreeing with him that the pitching prospect situation is grim, but also saying I give a larger injury deduct to they guys he lists than he does.

    1. A very interesting question and one I might explore in depth on Friday (I am debating between myself or the Reader list, and might do both).

      – Reports are fairly accurate
      – Aggressive rankings of low minors prospects (Cozens, Green, Pujols)
      – The role/risk assessments for each player still give a really good snapshot

      – Minor ranking mistakes where reports and rank don’t match
      – Larry Greene, I missed, and I missed badly
      – Ranking catchers, I don’t have a good grasp on how to evaluate catcher projection and value with regards to balancing hitting and defense. I undervalued Rupp and Grullon in my rankings and overvalued Lino
      – Not sticking to many gut reactions, I did not want to rank either Valle or Gillies because I didn’t think they had any value or rebound potential and I did it anyway. I would be much happier if those spots had gone to two of Grullon, Rupp, and Mecias who were next on my list.

      I think it was a successful piece and my best accomplishment since I started writing here. There are still a lot of things I need to learn and iron out in the evaluation process. I have grown immensely in my knowledge of the system and have developed good relations with people for information so I expect the 2014 product to be even better.

      1. There is something to be said about ‘gut reactions’ and why we tend to doubt their reliabilities.

      2. Very cool thought process. I certainly do not ‘agonize’ over my top30 prediction but then I am just doing so for the pure fun of it.
        Prospects are unpredictable themselves and then injuries are added on top of that. Trying to gauge how ‘injured’ or ‘predictable (for pitchers)’ those injuries may be in nearly impossible to learn. Lots of discussion may be generated with some saying they saw it coming and others saying if not for injury they’d’ve been great.

        I guess I have trouble ranking guys that have not reached AA. Supposedly that is the biggest test. Of course as prospects ascend there many of their issues have been exposed and their ranking drops. However, I am becoming more convinced that a ‘carrying tool’ is really necessary to be a star major leaguer. Getting marginal guys (like Kendrick, Jason Donald, Bastardo) “right” is less exciting for discussion than star type guys like Utley, Hamels, and Brown.

        More interesting in retrospect of scouting reports are Howard (is he a superstar or a flop), Ruiz (doubt anyone saw his 2012 hitting which may have been PED assisted), and Brett Myers (did he reach a ceiling of an ace?).

  13. 1. Franco 2. Crawford 3. Biddle 4. Morgan 5. Quinn. The rest we can throw in a bag and pick one out.
    Very disappointed in Biddle but hes still young without a history of injuries.
    In my opinion the Morgan shoulder injury is a huge blow.
    Why was he brought back to throw 80 pitches a game?? Hes a college pitcher with some mileage on his arm.

    1. For me it’s 1. Biddle 2. Franco 3. Crawford 4. Morgan 5. Quinn

      It sounds like there were legit reasons for Biddle’s inconsitency this year. His floor is so low he’s still #1 for me (though obviously I won’t quibble with Franco).

      I can only assume that Morgan was brought back this year because the org felt that 1) the should was healed, 2) the nature of the shoulder injury doesn’t lend itself to re-injury. For me, I’d rank him second where I had him last year if it weren’t for Franco’s breakout adding Crawford

    2. 1. Franco 2. Crawford 3. Quinn 4. Biddle 5. Cozens 6.Encarnacion Cozens 8. Dugan 9.Grullon 10. Tocci 11. Z Green 12, S, Gonzalez 13. Rupp 14. Tromp 15. Watson 16. Pujols 17. Pullin 18. Sandberg 19. J. Hernandez 20. Morgan 21. Giles

      The pitchers can move up the list next season, when they prove they are healthy. If they show they are healthy, Biddle, MAG, Morgan, Watson can be in top 5 with Franco.

  14. Sorry in advance for the length of this comment. I got a bit carried away, But I was thinking about my rankings, and as I said in a comment above I am leaning towards a Top 3 of Franco-Biddle-Crawford, which seems to reflect something like the consensus–at the very least, I think most of us agree that it’s those three at the top and then clusters of players far behind.

    But part of me really wants to rank Crawford #1, on the reasoning that, if I think he’s going to be the team’s best prospect come June, shouldn’t I say he’s the best prospect now? How much evidence is necessary before making that leap? MattWinks kind of alluded to this problem in his discussion of his ranking of Ethan Martin: it was a was doomed to be wrong, because Martin was guaranteed to prove himself either less or more worthy of the ranking. I guess another way of putting this is that I’m not sure whether the rankings should be reflective of recent performance or predictive of future performance.

    So what I did to aid my own thinking about this was to come up with a rubric to weigh projection and proximity, assign a numerical value to the level each player ended the season (GCL = 1, WPT = 2, LKW = 3, CLW = 4, AA = 5, AAA = 6, MLB Roster = 7). And then rank each player’s best-case projection on a similar 1-7 scale: (Minor league inventory = 0, Replacement level player = 1, fringe position player/late inning reliever = 2, back-end starter/closer/low-value position starter = 3, mid-rotation guy/high-value position starter = 4, above-average starter = 5, standout starter = 6, Star player = 7. The calibrations among a 5 and a 6, for instance, would be tough, but I’d say a 5 is a guy who is a guy you can pencil in every day, while a 6 is someone who might make an All Star team. So right now I’d say someone like Martin Prado is a 5, Chase Headley is a 6 and David Wright is a 7. And prior to this season, I would have rated Cody Asche’s best-case projection as 4, meaning that his overall rating would have been an 10, considering he ended last season in AAA. (I’m saying best-case projection here, as opposed to “ceiling,” because I feel like “ceiling” too often translates to, “what I imagine in my wildest dreams.” If a prospect has failed to develop, that will be reflected in a lowered projection.)

    Ties go to the player with the higher projection score. So, off the top of my head, and not taking into account some of the newer draftees, I’d rank the familiar names like:

    Franco: 5 + 6 = 11
    Crawford: 3 + 7 = 10
    Biddle: 5 + 5 = 10
    Quinn: 3 + 6 = 9
    Morgan: 6 + 3 = 9
    Martin: 7 + 2 = 9
    Rupp: 7 + 2 = 9
    Tocci: 3 + 5 = 8
    Joseph: 5 + 3 = 8
    Dugan: 5 + 3 = 8
    Gonzales: 5 + 3 = 8
    Aumont: 6 + 2 = 8
    Cozens: 2 + 5 = 7
    Watson: 3 + 4 = 7
    Altherr: 4 + 3 = 7
    Pujols: 1 + 5 = 6
    Gueller: 3 + 3 = 6
    LGJr: 3 + 3 = 6
    Collier: 5 + 1 = 6
    Gillies: 6 + 0 = 6

    This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but I think this system gives me a good system for ranking prospects. I admit that the second factor is kind of subjective, but I tried to place the number values honestly, and I got some surprising results. Like, I was skeptical about Morgan’s performance last year and I wouldn’t have put him at #5 based on my gut feeling, but it’s true that even with the injury (so long as surgery isn’t necessary) he’s a lot more likely to be a major league contributor than most of the others on this list. The formula also resulted in a pretty aggressive placement of Rupp, but I had trouble knocking him down to replacement level, just based on the fact that catchers are such valuable commodities.

    Anyway, I think this system works for me. Anyone got thoughts?

    1. It certainly is one way to look at it and it is similar to how BA does their grades in the book. The tweaks I personally make is that instead of level I have a risk factor based on level and profile (Crawford is much less of a risk that Tocci with both playing on the same level), and I use the 20-80 scale on profile which is inherently non-linear in its deviations. This causes me to favor players with 60 and 70 upside because they are more than the difference between a 50 and a 55. This ends up being much messier than your system but they both give a could tiered start to examining the ranking structure.

      1. I don’t think either of you does enough of a deduct for injured pitchers — especially pitchers with shoulder problems. I give large deducts to Morgan and Watson and smaller deducts to MAG and Biddle and Giles.

        1. The things is any pitcher can get hurt for no reason, so yes they are more volatile, but because they are more volatile pitching prospects have more more value because you need more of them. In simple 1v1 situations you can prefer the hitter but you can’t downgrade all the pitchers. I will deduct for know issues and issues going forward so Morgan, Watson, and Gonzalez will have red flags. But Biddle didn’t have an arm related injury and neither did Giles because they shut him down to prevent him from hurting it while he dealt with the oblique.

          1. The problem is that injuries like the one Morgan and Watson have is how pitching careers end. A shoulder problem is a very big deal, and the initial reports are often understated. Savery had ‘minor fraying” and a positive enough prognosis that the Phillies took him with their #1. Jason Knapp was a good enough prospect for Cleveland to make him the focus of a trade involving a major league ace. Then his arm injury recurred and he was gone. With shoulders, you become Savery or less overnight. Morgan has now been shut down twice this season and didn’t pitch well when he was pitching. Watson also didn’t pitch well, when he was pitching. We’ve watched Halladay’s painful attempt to regain his prior form, despite a minor surgery, which it was claimed could shave 3 years off his baseball age. I think 50-50 that Morgan or Watson are effectively done as prospects.

            I’m not at all sure that Biddle doesn’t have an arm injury. He certainly has thrown like a guy with serious problems. Control is sometimes the biggest thing affected by an injury.

      2. I guess I just subjectively worked risk into my 1-7 projection scale. So, for instance, the “ceiling” for Larry Greene Jr. was a 7, based on his pre-draft reports, which gave him a chance of developing into a 40 HR masher with decent enough athleticism to stick in the outfield. Of course, it hasn’t turned out that way, so I see his best-case projection as something more like that of Darin Ruf–a late bloomer with decent power and no true position. So that’s a 3. I’m being generous, of course, but there’s still a chance.

        In most cases, I leaned toward generosity on the projection with the younger guys and stinginess with the older ones. That resulted in a lot of bunching in the overall scores. But I think in a way that is indicative of the weakness of the farm system rather than the weakness of scoring system. The way I see it, there are only two prospects that rate as a 6 or 7 in the entire system, whereas a few years ago, I think guys like Singleton, Cosart, D’Arnaud, Gose, Drabek, Colvin, Brown and Taylor would have scored on that level. (Of course, some guys ranked at the 6-7 level are going to fail to reach their potential, I’m just retrospectively thinking back to what the consensus opinion was at the time.

        1. I think Larry Greene has shown that his pre-draft report was simply wrong. He has batting practice HR power. Thus far, he has not shown that he has anything other than that. A guy with one ‘tool’, where that tool is as hypothetical as Greene’s power is, deserves to be evaluated upon his stats, which stink.

          1. That’s certainly a defensible position, and it’s the course I took with Gillies, another guy with gaudy tools who I’m now sure will never make it. I think Greene is a little young to hang a 0 on, however. You’re right, though–if the tools don’t show up next year, then it’ll be time for another major downgrade.

          2. Greene has one tool – the ability to take a walk. As far as I can tell, that’s it. I’ve seen him twice in person and think he’s just a rotten baseball player right now – something that is unlikely to change anytime soon. He wouldn’t be in my top 30 right now, that’s for sure.

        2. Sorry, miswrote above, I have 3 prospects with a 6 or 7 projection, Quinn, Franco and Crawford.

      1. Right, it’s basically a catch all. I realize that makes it somewhat subjective, but there’s something to be said for simplicity. Also, if a guy is 19 years old an in Clearwater, like Franco, I think that is a very telling piece of data about his projection. If a guy is 24 and in Clearwater, that’s a really good indicator that he’s not going to be a major leaguer. So in a way, I think it’s naturally incorporated.

        In the most extreme case, Tocci, I struggled to assign a numerical value, because so much of the discussion is predicated on the fact that he really should be in high school, not the Sally League. But 5 seemed about right, considering that even his most optimistic fans have trouble seeing how the frame is going to develop significant power. If he comes to Spring Training next year built like a young Barry Bonds, I’ll happily slap a 7 on him.

        1. Age to level is something I’ve ben struggling with in developing a scoring system (which like many of my ideas is likely waaaay more complex than needed). I’m essentially trying to blend subjective and objetive measures.

          My idea is this: scouting scores grade the tool (a guy has 80 speed), but the guy might have a 50% success rate at stealing bases. That doesn’t mean the scout’s wrong or the score is wrong, it means the kid hasn’t developed the skill necessary to exploit his 80 speed yet (and may never).

          So my scoring system’s goal is to take the player’s scouting score and compare it to his results, objectively, to produce a skill score. The tough parts are accouting for level and age related to level (a 24 year old in AAA is much less likely than an 18 year old in the GCL to further develop his baserunning skill significantly).

          Ultimately I’d like if it all boiled down to a single prospect score. It’s more likely to eventually boil down to me in a straightjacket, but that’s the fun, isn’t it?

  15. Assuming Biddle gets the Spring Training invite (Which I hope he does), he should be attached to Cliff Lee’s hip at all times. Hopefully Cliff can give him some pointers on cutting down those walks and maybe even pick up the cutter.

    1. Don’t worry about the cutter, Biddle’s slider will be that pitch. It is either going to develop into a more horizontal weapon or tighten up to a cutter. The changeup development might be more important.

      1. Ah okay. Yea I saw somewhere where Biddle’s slider was decent, average rally. In regards to the changeup I read Hudson B.’s scouting report on him a while back and he said the changeup was actually very good, showing plus.

  16. “Overvalued Lino”? After rating him 30th, with “ludicrous” risk?

    Is that based on an unsustainably high BABIP? Less walks with more strikeouts? Because a shallow optimist might be satisfied with a young catcher sustaining his OPS, slightly
    increasing his AVG and throwing out baserunners at a respectable rate. Lino doesn’t strike me as any less of a prospect now than he was a year ago. In my self-professed ignorant opinion, Lino still has time to correct the admittedly significant flaws in his game and displayed enough of the arm, hit and power tools that originally made him a prospect to sustain his status. Now if you’re just relatively speaking; ie you were wrong to pick Lino over the others, I’ll accept that, but not at his detriment- thats just a little unfair to a still young, still talented catcher who hasn’t played poorly. He hasn’t exceeded expectations, nor did you expect him to, so why the downgrade?

    1. I downgrade him actually quite a bit. I thought his 2012 was very respectable, but I should have ranked other guys over him knowing there were some huge warning signs that I had people telling me about. I view his 2013 as a complete offensive disappointment (the defense did step forward). He was demoted a level to a better hitter’s park (Bowman plays pretty neutral, Lakewood is a pitcher’s haven) and proceeded to hit for less power, raise his strikeout rate from 22.3% to 28.1% and lower his walk rate from 9.5% to 6.0%. He raised his BABIP on the back of some better contact, but he is actually regressing offensively, and while young he has major swing holes, sells out for power, and struggles with breaking balls.

      So in answer, on the initial list I should have rated Grullon and Rupp above him as catchers. But overall I think he is more overrated now and I am less optimistic now than I was a year ago.

      1. Contra anonymous, in general, when an organization demotes a player that is a telltale sign that he is not having a very good season.

  17. I know nothing about other minor league systems but few of the Phillies prospects appear to significantly improve the major league squad. I can projecct some average/cheap players in Asche, Hernandez, Ruf, Hernandez, Martin, Pettibone, MAG.

    Noboby seems to have an #2 starter profile which is almost a necessity to win in the playoffs.
    Franco appears to be the only intimidating hitter and much has been mentioned about his swing/approach.
    I suppose some of the bullpen pieces could magically become consistent and be useful.

    I do like Quinn and Tocci on projection, Crawford will not have to hit much to profile as a SS starter. Morgan seems risky since I think he has only had one good year. Franco crushing the ball despite some issues is just great to see.

    There still plenty of interesting guys throughout so I expect next season to be exciting as well. Thanks so much to all the moderators and contributors. These posts are quite enjoyable and informative!

    1. Thanks for the link … I found this interesting tidbit in the comments section of the article

      Severino Gonzalez dominated Florida State League hitters with his curve ball and fastball command when I watched him start in August. He seemed to be always around the complex this summer watching the noon GCL games. Later a couple of GCL players, fellow countryman catcher Jose Mayorga and Columbian shortstop Jair Morelos would join him in the stands as he charted the Thresher’s game up behind home plate at Brighthouse when he was not starting. The irony is at age 20 Gonzalez is similar in height 6’1″ and weight 153 lbs. to Mariano Rivera when Mo was signed back in 1990 as a 20 year old Panamanian starter throwing only 85-87 mph by the Yankees according to Wikipedia. When I saw Gonzalez pitch in August his fastball was sitting at 91. Bet Severino will be pitching in the major leagues before he is 25 years old. He turns 21 next week. Rivera first joined the Yankees as a starter in 1995 as a 25 year old rookie.

      Interesting Mo stuff … something to dream on in a nightmare season 🙂

  18. Looking at the top 5 is disappointing. Nobody on that list elevated their prospect status or had a great year. The only positive was that Biddle looked good at times. I think the top 5 you had were correct and reflects the dearth of quality prospects in our system. (makes sense after trading away prospects in out heyday).. if we only had a cosart, singleton, or d’aurnaud to add to that list. All of our trades made sense ( or most did) but sadly did not yield another title. One could argue it was the wrong move in retrospect.

    To be good, a team has to continue looking forward, like St. Louis. Sadly our example and the Yankees will show the slump that happens with age and a thin system. With so many rich teams, it is hard to buy a title like years past.

    1. While it’s true that none of them “broke out”, with the possible exception of Joseph, that was due more to injuries than actual performance as each was playing at a higher level in the organization. And I think Biddle will certainly be ranked higher on the national lists than he was last year.

  19. MattWinks, I remember you had Larry Greene as your #1 prospect at the beginning of the minor league season. Too late to try to save face now, you should do the right thing and edit your list.

Comments are closed.