Francisco Alvarez in the course of the Pledge of Allegiance CC by 2.0 License
For those who’ve been protecting updated with The Drummey Angle articles during the last couple of months, you in all probability 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 crew prime 10 lists on my Instagram, and by the tip of the offseason, could have a complete checklist 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 imagine prospects ought to be evaluated basically.
That is basically the idea of rating prospects. Theoretically, the upper a prospect is ranked, the extra worth we challenge them to offer on the large league degree. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longehagen did an ideal job summing up their philosophy in this Fangraphs article from a couple of years in the past, in addition to of their must-read guide, 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 present anybody a 60 grade, and a 65 was comparatively exceptional. Nonetheless, individuals don’t like pessimists, so I’ve determined to be slightly 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 properly. 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 one more elite membership. These are gamers who’re going to be influence 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 method to differentiate the higher tier at an FV degree from the underside tier.
Anybody with a 55+, 55, or 50+ FV, has seemingly pressured their manner right into a crew’s long-term plans. Beneath that, it begins to get dicey. 50 grades are handed out to gamers who’ve an ideal 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 a giant 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 probably be typical bench position gamers. Gamers that fall into each the 40+ and 40 vary are typically journeymen sort gamers (sometimes called AAAA), These gamers don’t have a long-term dwelling, however may be helpful in a depth position and to fill in as accidents start to select up. Something beneath that’s just about organizational depth and gamers who’re going to want to interrupt out to see the bigs.
The Age/Degree Correlation
That is probably the most understated and underrated facet of scouting for my part. Each participant that has risen by the ranks rapidly and have become an MLB sensation has one factor in widespread: They performed more durable competitors at a youthful age. In 2022, the common age of AAA hitters, based on Baseball America, was 26.6 years previous. Right here’s when a couple 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 the minor league system. Whereas clearly only a few gamers transfer by a system at this tempo, it is very important take into account the age and degree 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 probably be checked out way more favorably. Listed below are a couple of names to control as they’re at the moment posting good stats whereas extremely younger for his or her degree:
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 the moment ranked as MLB Pipeline’s primary prospect and De La Cruz is a consensus prime 20 prospect throughout the board. These guys all have a monitor file of success whereas enjoying in opposition to competitors 4-5 years older. All through baseball historical past, the fellows 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 taking part in a place that requires extra ability. The worth of positions based on fWAR are ranked on this order:
4) Second Base/Third Base
5) Left Area/Proper Area
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 arduous to come back by actually good catchers, and when a expertise like Alvarez rolls round, they’re normally valued larger than different gamers. The positional argument normally comes up each draft cycle. Virtually 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 school baseball, neither certainly one of them, was a first-round choose because of the lack of worth from both one defensively. Generally, positional changes are likely to worth athletic gamers who’ve utility talents and/or play a premium place.
Whereas all of those phrases have been thrown out loads of occasions 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 which will work for the reader. Hopefully, this helps to place not solely my rankings in perspective, but in addition helps you perceive basic prospect analysis.
Creator’s Notice: Be sure to keep tuned to Minor League Media on Instagram and Twitter to see the discharge of my prospect rankings.