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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Numerous prospect rankings have been published recently and the Sox have a number of hits on those lists. As I’ve said before, when prospects make both the Baseball America (leans toward tools) and Baseball Prospectus (leans toward performance), then you know of he has a good shot at being a star. Four players made both lists top ten. Delmon Young was the #1 prospect on both lists. Simply, this guy projects to be a monster. The other three are Hermida in Miami, Liriano for the Twins, and Wood for LAA.

Seven current or recently former Sox prospects were noted on at least one of the lists. (Baseball Prospectus lists a top 50 with honorable mentions and Baseball America goes 1-100). They are (BA rank/BP rank): Marte - 14/7, Lester – 22/HM, Hanley – 30/HM, Papelbon – 37/36, Anibal – 40/HM, Hansen – 54/45, Pedroia – 77/11. The publications view three - Hanley, Lester, and Pedroia - of the seven very differently among the baseball’s best. Since Hanley is no longer in the organization, let’s focus on the other two.

Rany Jazayerli in a chat addressed Lester being excluded from the internet list (Lester did make it as an HM in the book; BP’s mistake on the internet list):

Lester is a very good prospect. He just missed being placed on our Honorable Mention list, and if you wanted to argue that he deserved a spot, I wouldn't really disagree with you. I'm a little worried about his control, but that's a small issue.

Jazayerli basically states that Lester should be in a top 100 list and…
Unlike Jon Papelbon and Craig Hansen, Lester will likely head back to Triple-A this year, waiting to see whether he gets a shot with the Sox or gets moved at the deadline for some needed parts. That uncertainty hurts Lester a little in our eyes.

Since Lester is unlikely to help the Sox on the field, it hurt his ranking. Lester not included has nothing to do with his talent level. Jazayerli sees the same thing as Jim Callis of Baseball America.

Let's see . . . 21-year-old lefty, 6-4, 210, athletic, fastball keeps climbing and now sits at 92-93, very good slider, showing some mastery of the changeup, manhandled Double-A hitters last year. I'll take that, and so would 30 big league clubs. Not too many guys in the minors with that package.

BP gives more weight to prospects that can contribute right now. BA looks more favorable on youngsters with multiple All-Star potential. Since BP likes prospects that are closer to the Show than BA, BP’s top prospects have inherently less risk, but with less upside than BA’s. It is best illustrated in the ranking Dustin Pedroia.

On to Pedroia, Nate Silver explained his projection, which is a large factor in D.P’s high BP ranking.

Dustin Pedroia doesn’t need to develop further--he is already very good…. In fact, the basis for Pedroia’s strong ranking is not really PECOTA, but his minor league translations (DTs)…But translating performance from Double-A and Triple-A to the major leagues is relatively foolproof science. There are lots of players who post very promising numbers in the lower minors and then hit a road bump at some stage or another. There are far fewer players who crush Double-A pitching in their first exposure to the circuit at the age of 21, yet fail to become good-to-very-good major leaguers.

Silver goes on to state that PECOTA doesn’t see much growth in Pedroia. I think both publications would state that Pedroia does not have much upside. In scout talk, he is playing to his tools or getting as much out of his talent right now. Pedroia, basically, has less risk and upside than other prospects and is the reason for his high ranking on BP and his lower ranking on BA.

We, RSN, should not get bent out of shape about prospect rankings. We should only be concerned about the number of Sox prospects making the many lists and which should be kept and which ones should be dealt. Should Lester be on the block? Hansen? Pedroia?


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