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Building a Farm: American League Central

Posted By Mark Smith On March 14, 2013 @ 1:30 pm In Daily Graphings | 20 Comments

Prospect lists are one of the best parts of the off-season. Marc Hulet published his top 100 yesterday as the culmination of several months of work, and Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law, John Sickels and a plethora of websites have published others. Each group puts myriad hours into analyzing, calling, writing, editing, re-analyzing and finally publishing their work. But even after all that, they usually come to several different conclusions. I decided — instead of focusing on a specific list — to generate a list that combined each of these lists into one.

The idea of community or consensus lists isn’t new. Sites have done it before, but I’ve added some wrinkles:

  • I included team lists from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickels, Keith Law, Jonathan Mayo, Bullpen Banter and our own Marc Hulet. There are more lists out there, but I needed to cut it off at some point. These were the lists that an unscientific Twitter crowd-source noted, and they are also sites I visit often. If you use another site, please leave it in the comments, and I might use it in future research.
  • I also included team-centric blogs for each team to add a local flavor to the mix. They may be higher/lower on certain prospects, but they add a voice from those who follow the team closely. Suggestions for teams in the remaining divisions are welcome.
  • Overall grades and risks are added, as well. Prospect lists for each team only allow comparison within each system, but adding overall 20-80 grades and risks give us the ability to cross-examine lists more objectively. Unfortunately, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus are currently the only ones that include a specific final grade of these characteristics, with Sickels adding a letter grade that combines the two. The grades and risk, however, help us examine prospects across systems and over various years.

The last five columns for each team are averaged scores.

  • AVG – This is the average ranking for each prospect. I didn’t use a points system because the lists do not cover a standard number of players. Averaging the numbers by only including the lists each was ranked will help someone who has only been named in one or two lists, but it will also highlight where some controversial prospects might be.
  • RANK – This is the numbered order based on the average scores. I hope this score will highlight where gaps can be when looking at the differences between prospects.
  • GRADE – This is the average grades for players listed in Baseball America and in Baseball Prospectus.
  • RISK – This is the averaged “Risk Rating” for each prospect based on the determinations by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. The point system is unscientific and is subject to change in the future with more research. It is currently:
    • Safe – 0 points
    • Low – 1 point
    • Medium/Moderate – 2 points
    • High – 3 points
    • Extreme – 4 points
  • RISK – the qualitative risk based off the “Risk Rating”. Currently:
    • Safe – less than 1
    • Low – greater than or equal to 1 or less than 2
    • Medium – greater than or equal to 2 or less than 3
    • High – greater than or equal to 3 or less than 4
    • Extreme – equal to 4

Below the prospect lists, I calculated the average grade and risk for the entire system: the prospects with grades of 50-or-better and the prospects with grades of 60-or-better. When we get through all of the lists, I’ll put up the overall scores along with the major outlets’ farm rankings.

(The Google Doc with the individual lists and the team-specific blogs for this division can be found here)

Chicago White Sox

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Courtney Hawkins OF 1.13 1 60.0 3.0 High
Trayce Thompson OF 2.63 2 52.5 3.0 High
Carlos Sanchez SS 3.00 3 50.0 2.0 Medium
Erik Johnson RHP 4.75 4 50.0 2.5 Medium
Scott Snodgress LHP 5.88 5 50.0 2.5 Medium
Keenyn Walker OF 5.88 6 50.0 3.0 High
Andre Rienzo RHP 7.63 7 50.0 2.5 Medium
Keon Barnum 1B 9.00 8 52.5 3.5 High
Jared Mitchell OF 9.57 9 50.0 3.0 High
Charlie Leesman LHP 10.67 10 45.0 2.0 Medium
Chris Beck RHP 10.86 11 50.0 3.0 High
Kyle Hansen RHP 11.00 12 - - -
Myles Jaye RHP 12.00 13 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Joey Dimichele 2B 12.25 14 45.0 3.0 High
Jacob Petricka RHP 13.00 15 50.0 3.0 High
Andy Willkins 1B 13.00 16 45.0 2.0 Medium
Nestor Molina RHP 14.00 17 45.0 3.0 High
Jhan Marinez RHP 14.00 18 45.0 2.0 Medium
Simon Castro RHP 14.80 19 45.0 2.0 Medium
Marcus Siemen SS 15.00 20 45.0 2.0 Medium
Blake Tekotte OF 15.00 21 45.0 2.0 Medium
Josh Phegley C 16.00 22 45.0 2.0 Medium
Joseph Omogrosso RHP 17.00 23 45.0 2.0 Medium
Sammy Ayala C 17.50 24 45.0 3.0 High
Kevan Smith C 18.00 25 45.0 3.0 High
Brandon Brennan RHP 18.75 26 45.0 3.0 High
Tyler Saladino SS 19.00 27 45.0 3.0 High
Kevin Vance RHP 19.00 28 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jefferson Olacio LHP 20.00 29 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Santos Rodriguez LHP 21.00 30 45.0 2.0 Medium
Micah Johnson 2B 25.00 31 45.0 3.0 High
Jeff Soptic RHP 29.00 32 50.0 4.0 Extreme
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
47.742 2.710 14 51.071 3.071 1 60.000 3.000

The White Sox farm system comes in just ahead of the Angels, giving it the second-worst system grade so far. Courtney Hawkins heads the list after an impressive debut, and Trayce Thompson edges out Carlos Sanchez for second place. Nestor Molina saw a wide range of rankings as he went from 4th on one list to 28th on another.

Cleveland Indians

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Francisco Lindor SS 1.38 1 67.5 3.0 High
Trevor Bauer RHP 1.57 2 65.0 2.0 Medium
Dorssys Paulino SS 2.88 3 60.0 4.0 Extreme
Tyler Naquin OF 5.25 4 52.5 3.0 High
Mitch Brown RHP 5.88 5 52.5 3.0 High
Ronny Rodriguez SS 7.25 6 50.0 3.0 High
Cody Allen RHP 7.40 7 55.0 1.0 Low
Luigi Rodriguez OF 7.57 8 50.0 3.0 High
Danny Salazar RHP 8.00 9 52.5 3.0 High
LeVon Washington OF 9.50 10 - - -
Tony Wolters SS 9.71 11 50.0 2.5 Medium
Alex Monsalve C 10.00 12 - - -
Scott Barnes LHP 10.75 13 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jesus Aguilar 1B 11.60 14 50.0 3.0 High
Jose Ramirez 2B 12.29 15 47.5 3.0 High
Chen Lee RHP 12.50 16 45.0 2.0 Medium
Luis Lugo LHP 13.00 17 50.0 3.0 High
Dylan Baker RHP 14.00 18 50.0 3.0 High
Jorge Martinez SS 14.50 19 - - -
Kieran Lovegrove RHP 14.57 20 50.0 3.0 High
Chun Chen 1B 15.00 21 - - -
Trey Haley RHP 15.00 22 45.0 2.0 Medium
Anthony Santander OF 15.25 23 50.0 3.0 High
Giovanni Soto LHP 16.00 24 - - -
D’vone McClure OF 16.00 25 50.0 3.0 High
Jake Sisco RHP 17.00 26 - - -
Elvis Araujo LHP 17.33 27 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Dillon Howard RHP 17.33 28 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Chris McGuiness 1B 18.33 29 45.0 2.0 Medium
Giovanny Urshela 3B 18.50 30 50.0 3.0 High
Tim Federoff OF 20.00 31 45.0 2.0 Medium
Shawn Armstrong RHP 21.00 32 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jordan Smith OF 23.00 33 45.0 3.0 High
Austin Adams RHP 25.00 34 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Yan Gomes C 28.00 35 45.0 2.0 Medium
Thomas Neal OF 29.00 36 45.0 2.0 Medium
Cody Anderson RHP 30.00 37 45.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
50.081 2.758 20 52.750 3.025 3 64.167 3.000

Trading for Trevor Bauer gave the Indians system a boost, but it still lacks depth after a top-heavy top 3. Francisco Lindor tops the list just barely over Bauer, but Dillon Howard is the prospect giving evaluators fits as the 2011 draftee comes in as high as 8th and as low as 26th.

Detroit Tigers

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Nick Castellanos 3B/RF 1.00 1 62.5 2.0 Medium
Avisail Garcia OF 2.50 2 57.5 3.0 High
Bruce Rondon RHP 2.88 3 55.0 2.0 Medium
Danry Vasquez OF 5.38 4 50.0 3.0 High
Casey Crosby LHP 6.38 5 50.0 2.5 Medium
Jake Thompson RHP 6.75 6 50.0 3.0 High
Tyler Collins OF 8.29 7 50.0 3.0 High
Eugenio Suarez SS 9.00 8 50.0 3.0 High
Austin Schotts OF 9.00 9 50.0 3.0 High
Kevin Eichhorn RHP 9.00 10 - - -
Adam Wilk LHP 10.00 11 45.0 1.0 Low
Matt Hoffman LHP 10.00 12 - - -
Steven Moya OF 10.40 13 50.0 3.5 High
Kenny Faulk LHP 11.00 14 - - -
James McCann C 11.50 15 45.0 2.0 Medium
Tyler Clark RHP 12.00 16 45.0 2.0 Medium
Melvin Mercedes RHP 12.50 17 50.0 3.0 High
Devon Travis 2B 13.00 18 - - -
Drew Verhagen RHP 13.50 19 45.0 3.0 High
Harold Castro 2B 13.83 20 47.5 3.0 High
Jeff Kobernus 2B 14.33 21 45.0 3.0 High
Montreal Robertson RHP 14.33 22 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Brenny Paulino RHP 15.00 23 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Will Clinard RHP 15.00 24 - - -
Joe Rogers LHP 16.00 25 - - -
Aaron Westlake 1B 16.00 26 - - -
Alex Burgos LHP 17.00 27 - - -
Jose Ortega RHP 17.33 28 45.0 3.0 High
Daniel Fields OF 17.75 29 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Dean Green 1B 18.00 30 - - -
Michael Morrison RHP 18.00 31 - - -
Logan Ehlers LHP 19.00 32 - - -
Kyle Lobstein LHP 19.00 33 45.0 3.0 High
Endrys Briceno RHP 19.50 34 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Ramon Cabrera C 20.00 35 45.0 3.0 High
Tommy Collier RHP 20.00 36 - - -
Edgar De La Rosa RHP 21.50 37 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Hernan Perez 2B 22.67 38 45.0 3.0 High
Curt Casalli C 23.00 39 45.0 3.0 High
Luke Putkonen RHP 23.67 40 40.0 2.0 Medium
Bryan Holaday C 24.00 41 40.0 2.0 Medium
Luis Marte RHP 25.00 42 - - -
Dixon Machado SS 25.50 43 45.0 3.0 High
Tyler Gibson OF 29.00 44 - - -
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
48.250 2.900 16 51.563 3.188 1 62.500 2.000

American League Champions don’t necessarily need a strong farm system, and the Tigers do not. A solid top 3 then drops into confusion as the Tigers 44 prospects is the most on any list so far. The most perplexing are Daniel Fields and Jose Ortega who each get in a list’s top 6 while ranking 30th elsewhere.

Kansas City Royals

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Kyle Zimmer RHP 1.25 1 67.5 2.0 Medium
Bubba Starling OF 1.88 2 70.0 4.0 Extreme
Yordano Ventura RHP 3.13 3 62.5 3.0 High
JC Sulbaran RHP 5.00 4 - - -
Adalberto Mondesi SS 6.13 5 62.5 4.0 Extreme
Jorge Bonifacio OF 6.75 6 57.5 3.0 High
Kyle Smith RHP 7.80 7 50.0 3.0 High
John Lamb LHP 7.86 8 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Jason Adam RHP 8.50 9 50.0 2.5 Medium
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B 8.63 10 55.0 3.0 High
Orlando Calixte SS 8.71 11 50.0 3.0 High
Sam Selman LHP 8.83 12 50.0 3.0 High
Miguel Almonte RHP 11.80 13 55.0 3.5 High
Christian Colon SS/2B 12.50 14 45.0 2.0 Medium
Donnie Joseph LHP 12.75 15 45.0 2.0 Medium
Bryan Brickhouse RHP 14.00 16 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Elier Hernandez OF 14.60 17 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Cam Gallagher C 15.00 18 50.0 3.0 High
Chris Dwyer LHP 15.00 19 50.0 3.0 High
Humberto Arteaga SS 18.00 20 50.0 3.0 High
Alexis Rivera OF 18.00 21 - - -
Angel Baez RHP 18.00 22 50.0 3.0 High
Jack Lopez SS 19.00 23 50.0 3.0 High
Brett Eibner OF 20.50 24 50.0 4.0 Extreme
David Lough OF 20.50 25 50.0 3.0 High
Robinson Yambati RHP 21.50 26 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Brian Fletcher 1B/OF 22.00 27 45.0 2.0 Medium
Colin Rodgers LHP 22.00 28 50.0 3.0 High
Ramon Torres SS 22.00 29 50.0 3.0 High
Fred Ford OF 23.00 30 50.0 3.0 High
Christian Binford RHP 26.00 31 50.0 3.0 High
Jake Junis RHP 27.00 32 50.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
52.667 3.100 27 53.519 3.222 4 65.625 3.250

After three rough AL Central farm systems, the Royals maintain a strong farm system despite losing Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi. Their 3.1 risk rating, however, is easily the highest of any team so far, and seven “Extreme” players line the list. Bubba Starling is one of them, and he ranks as the second-best Royals prospect. Adalberto Mondesi, another “Extreme” prospect, ranks 5th one list and 18th on another. (Additional Note: One of the commenters pointed this out, and I meant to as well. JC Sulbaran was 5th on one list but not on any of the other lists, which is why he’s so high here. Perhaps, I should give “31″ to anyone not on one of the top 30 lists.)

Minnesota Twins

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Miguel Sano 3B 1.38 1 67.5 3.0 High
Byron Buxton OF 1.75 2 70.0 3.5 High
Oswaldo Arcia OF 4.00 3 60.0 2.0 Medium
Aaron Hicks OF 4.25 4 57.5 2.0 Medium
Alex Meyer RHP 4.57 5 60.0 3.0 High
Kyle Gibson RHP 5.50 6 57.5 2.0 Medium
Eddie Rosario 2B 7.00 7 52.5 2.5 Medium
Jose Berrios RHP 7.88 8 57.5 3.0 High
Trevor May RHP 9.00 9 50.0 3.0 High
Max Kepler OF 10.75 10 50.0 3.0 High
Travis Harrison 3B 11.83 11 50.0 3.0 High
Jorge Polanco SS/2B 12.00 12 50.0 3.0 High
Angel Morales OF 12.00 13 - - -
Mason Melotakis LHP 12.33 14 50.0 3.0 High
Daniel Santana 2B/SS 12.50 15 50.0 3.0 High
Luke Bard RHP 12.75 16 50.0 3.0 High
Hudson Boyd RHP 13.00 17 - - -
JT Chargois RHP 14.33 18 50.0 3.0 High
Joe Benson OF 14.67 19 50.0 3.0 High
Matt Hauser RHP 15.00 20 - - -
Levi Michael 2B/SS 16.00 21 50.0 3.0 High
Chris Herrman C 16.50 22 45.0 2.0 Medium
Ryan Pressly RHP 17.00 23 - - -
Zack Jones RHP 18.00 24 - - -
BJ Hermsen RHP 18.00 25 45.0 2.0 Medium
Corey Williams LHP 18.50 26 - - -
Matthew Summers RHP 19.00 27 - - -
Adam Walker OF 20.00 28 - - -
Madison Boer RHP 20.00 29 45.0 2.0 Medium
Michael Tonkin RHP 20.67 30 45.0 3.0 High
Niko Goodrum SS 21.00 31 50.0 4.0 Extreme
DJ Baxendale RHP 21.00 32 - - -
Angel Mata RHP 21.00 33 50.0 3.0 High
Nate Roberts OF 22.00 34 - - -
Tyler Jones RHP 23.00 35 50.0 3.0 High
Felix Jorge RHP 24.00 36 50.0 3.0 High
Jason Wheeler LHP 25.00 37 45.0 3.0 High
Adrian Salcedo RHP 27.00 38 45.0 3.0 High
Kennys Vargas 1B 29.00 39 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Matt Summers RHP 30.00 40 45.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
51.583 2.867 23 53.587 2.957 4 64.375 2.875

2013 is definitely a rebuilding year for the Twins, but its farm system has four 60+ grade prospects with three more just outside of that range. The argument for the top spot so far has been between Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, but Sano wins by just a hair. Evaluators seemed to see this system similarly as only three prospects had a wider range of rankings than 10, and they were just barely over 10.


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