There has been some discussion regarding the definitions of these two prospect classifications. So, I reached back into the archives for the definitions that James used in 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, “… talk about your favorite sleeper prospects heading into 2011. Note, Brody Colvin, Jon Singleton and the like are not sleepers. A sleeper prospect is a guy that people don’t talk about a lot, or do not consider in the upper tier of our prospects. Think more obscure, under the radar guys who you think might break out.”
In 2012, “… solicit your picks for 2012 sleepers. To make it clear, Trevor May and Jesse Biddle aren’t sleepers, they are well established upper echelon prospects. When I say “sleeper”, I define it as a guy who is not a consensus top 10-15 prospect, preferably someone who is even further off the radar, who you feel will break out in 2012 and establish/re-establish his prospect status. For instance, Mike Stutes was a breakout guy this year, because he wasn’t on any industry Top 30 lists this past winter, and was on very few Reader Top 30 ballots. Those are the guys I’m thinking of.” (editor’s note: the use of the words break out above is unfortunate and probably helps fuel confusion.)
In 2014 (from Matt), “… Everyone has that one player they believe is just going to explode on to the scene this year. Whether it is the growth of a single tool, the ability to stay healthy, or just to survive another level, a prospect’s stock can change wildly. In general most people think of a sleeper as a player who is completely off the radar, and a breakout prospect as a player who is going to have his stock take a large leap forward …” (editor’s note: now we have a distinction between the two terms.)
Well, we talk about almost everybody here with little distinction between top tier prospects and off-the-radar non-prospects . So, I would extrapolate from the above to state that for our discussion –
- A sleeper prospect is a player from outside the top 15-20 (we are deeper this year, after all) who you expect to have a bigger year than we should expect for a player at his level, both in the organization and as a prospect.
- A break out prospect is a player who is expected to perform well but who does so with a much better year than anticipated and comes from the upper tier of prospects, say from within the top 15-20.
These are still arbitrary definitions. I’m certainly not going to nitpick over your selections. But a move from 47 to 22 (if 47 were one of the older guys still on the poll), wouldn’t really qualify as a break out year because 22 is still pretty far down the prospect ladder. This would be a sleeper to me. Now if 47 were one of the teenagers, that might be easier to classify as a break out year.
So, let’s start listing your picks here. I’ll consolidate, track, and report back periodically. If you listed them in other threads, repost them here. I’m not going through older posts to gather them.