Building a Farm: National League West

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)

Arizona Diamondbacks

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Tyler Skaggs LHP 1.00 1 62.5 1.0 Low
Archie Bradley RHP 2.00 2 70.0 3.0 High
Matt Davidson 3B 4.13 3 52.5 2.0 Medium
Adam Eaton OF 4.75 4 52.5 1.0 Low
Didi Gregorius SS 5.13 5 52.5 1.5 Low
Chris Owings SS 6.50 6 52.5 3.0 High
Stryker Trahan C 6.75 7 55.0 3.0 High
David Holmberg LHP 6.86 8 50.0 2.0 Medium
Andrew Chafin LHP 10.13 9 55.0 3.0 High
AJ Pollock OF 10.57 10 47.5 1.0 Low
Anthony Meo RHP 11.83 11 50.0 3.0 High
Nick Ahmed SS 12.40 12 50.0 3.0 High
Michael Perez C 12.43 13 55.0 3.5 High
Zeke Spruill RHP 13.00 14 45.0 2.0 Medium
Ryan Wheeler 1B/3B 14.00 15 - - -
Chase Anderson LHP 14.50 16 45.0 2.0 Medium
Fidel Pena C 16.00 17 - - -
Alfredo Marte OF 16.33 18 50.0 3.0 High
Felipe Perez RHP 16.50 19 50.0 3.0 High
Evan Marshall RHP 16.75 20 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jake Barrett RHP 17.67 21 50.0 3.0 High
Joe Munoz SS 18.00 22 50.0 3.0 High
Keon Broxton OF 18.67 23 50.0 3.0 High
Jake Lamb 3B 18.75 24 50.0 3.0 High
Jonathan Griffin 1B 19.00 25 50.0 3.0 High
Eury De La Rosa LHP 22.00 26 - - -
Matt Gorgen RHP 23.00 27 - - -
Starling Peralta RHP 23.67 28 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Ben Eckels RHP 24.00 29 45.0 3.0 High
Kyle Winkler RHP 25.00 30 45.0 3.0 High
Evan Marzilli OF 26.33 31 45.0 3.0 High
Brandon Drury 1B/3B 27.00 32 45.0 3.0 High
Gerson Montilla 2B 27.00 33 - - -
Andrew Velazquez 2B/SS 28.00 34 45.0 3.0 High
Jose Martinez RHP 28.00 35 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Cody Wheeler LHP 28.00 36 - - -
Tyler Green RHP 30.00 37 45.0 3.0 High
Kevin Munson RHP 31.00 38 45.0 3.0 High
Socrates Brito OF 32.00 39 50.0 4.0 Extreme
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
50.152 2.727 22 52.614 2.818 2 66.250 2.000

The Diamondbacks don’t have a knockout farm system, but they have two top arms and a few up-the-middle players that should be big league regulars heading the list. Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley go 1-2 on every list, and the next six on the list go back-and-forth. Andrew Chafin and Zeke Spruill saw the widest range of rankings.

Colorado Rockies

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
David Dahl OF 1.63 1 65.0 3.0 High
Trevor Story SS 2.13 2 57.5 2.5 Medium
Nolan Arenado 3B 2.25 3 52.5 2.0 Medium
Kyle Parker OF 4.75 4 50.0 2.5 Medium
Chad Bettis RHP 6.38 5 55.0 3.0 High
Tyler Anderson LHP 6.88 6 50.0 2.0 Medium
Eddie Butler RHP 7.71 7 50.0 3.0 High
Tyler Matzek LHP 8.50 8 60.0 3.5 High
Edwar Cabrera LHP 9.17 9 45.0 2.0 Medium
Will Swanner C 11.14 10 50.0 3.0 High
Corey Dickerson OF 11.20 11 50.0 3.0 High
Tim Wheeler OF 11.29 12 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jayson Aquino LHP 11.29 13 52.5 3.0 High
Ryan Wheeler 3B 11.33 14 45.0 1.0 Low
Rafael Ortega OF 12.57 15 50.0 3.0 High
Tom Murphy C 13.20 16 50.0 3.0 High
Rosell Herrera SS 13.67 17 - - -
Kent Matthes OF 16.00 18 50.0 3.0 High
Rob Scahill RHP 16.67 19 45.0 2.0 Medium
Josh Sullivan RHP 18.00 20 45.0 2.0 Medium
Joe Gardner RHP 18.33 21 - - -
Christhian Adames SS 18.67 22 50.0 3.0 High
Charlie Culberson 2B 19.00 23 - - -
Daniel Rosenbaum LHP 20.50 24 45.0 2.0 Medium
Wilfredo Rodriguez C 21.33 25 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Harold Riggins 1B 21.50 26 50.0 3.0 High
Taylor Featherston 2B 22.00 27 - - -
Julian Yan OF 22.00 28 50.0 3.0 High
Peter Tago RHP 23.00 29 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Seth Willoughby RHP 24.00 30 50.0 3.0 High
Max White OF 25.00 31 50.0 3.0 High
Ryan Warner RHP 26.00 32 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Christian Bergman RHP 26.50 33 45.0 2.0 Medium
Sam Mende 3B 27.00 34 - - -
Zach Putnam RHP 28.00 35 - - -
Parker Frazier RHP 29.50 36 40.0 2.0 Medium
Ryan Garvey OF 30.00 37 - - -
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
49.917 2.717 22 51.932 3.023 2 62.500 3.250

David Dahl won out in the midst of a strong troika at the top of the list with Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. After those three, the talent in the system drops off fairly quickly. Evaluators were the most fickle with Will Swanner as they attempted to weigh his chances of sticking behind the plate with the potential ceiling of his bat.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Yasiel Puig OF 1.75 1 62.5 3.5 High
Corey Seager 3B 2.50 2 57.5 3.0 High
Zach Lee RHP 2.63 3 55.0 2.5 Medium
Hyu-Jin Ryu LHP 4.25 4 52.5 1.0 Low
Joc Pederson OF 4.63 5 52.5 2.5 Medium
Chris Reed LHP 5.50 6 55.0 3.0 High
Matt Magill RHP 6.71 7 50.0 2.0 Medium
Onelki Garcia LHP 7.25 8 57.5 3.5 High
Chris Withrow RHP 9.75 9 52.5 3.0 High
Paco Rodriguez LHP 10.83 10 45.0 0.0 Safe
Jesmuel Valentin SS 11.67 11 50.0 3.0 High
Garrett Gould RHP 11.83 12 50.0 3.0 High
Tim Federowicz C 12.00 13 45.0 1.0 Low
Zach Bird RHP 13.25 14 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Ross Stripling RHP 13.43 15 50.0 3.0 High
Alex Castellanos OF 13.50 16 55.0 1.0 Low
Yimi Garcia RHP 14.00 17 - - -
Rob Rasmussen LHP 14.67 18 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jonathan Rodriguez RHP 15.00 19 - - -
Bobby Coyle OF 16.00 20 45.0 2.0 Medium
Stephen Ames RHP 16.67 21 45.0 2.0 Medium
Julio Urias LHP 17.00 22 - - -
Angel Sanchez RHP 17.00 23 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Alex Santana 3B 17.75 24 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Scott Van Slyke OF/1B 18.00 25 45.0 2.0 Medium
Darnell Sweeney SS 18.00 26 - - -
James Baldwin OF 18.67 27 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Scott Griggs RHP 19.00 28 50.0 2.0 Medium
Aaron Miller RHP 19.50 29 45.0 2.0 Medium
Josh Wall RHP 21.00 30 45.0 2.0 Medium
Blake Smith OF 24.50 31 45.0 2.0 Medium
Jeremy Rathjen OF 24.50 32 45.0 3.0 High
Scott Barlow RHP 25.00 33 50.0 2.0 Medium
Brian Cavazos-Galvez OF 27.00 34 45.0 2.0 Medium
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
50.000 2.467 19 52.895 2.842 1 62.500 3.500

Newcomers Yasiel Puig and Corey Seager battled Zach Lee for the top spot on the Dodgers’ list. Hyu-Jin Ryu was only on a few lists due to how various lists handled his pro status, but his ranking here seems appropriate in a system without much depth. This system, however, does have the lowest risk of any system so far.

San Diego Padres

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Austin Hedges C 2.63 1 65.0 3.0 High
Max Fried LHP 2.88 2 62.5 3.0 High
Jedd Gyorko 3B 3.25 3 52.5 1.5 Low
Rymer Liriano OF 3.63 4 57.5 3.0 High
Casey Kelly RHP 4.00 5 52.5 1.5 Low
Robbie Erlin LHP 7.25 6 50.0 2.0 Medium
Matt Wisler RHP 8.00 7 52.5 2.5 Medium
Joe Ross RHP 8.25 8 57.5 3.5 High
Joe Wieland RHP 8.67 9 50.0 3.0 High
Adys Portillo RHP 10.00 10 55.0 3.0 High
Cory Spangenberg 2B 10.29 11 50.0 3.0 High
Jonathan Galvez 2B 11.00 12 - - -
Keyvius Sampson RHP 11.17 13 50.0 3.0 High
Zach Eflin RHP 11.71 14 50.0 3.0 High
Walker Weickel RHP 11.86 15 50.0 3.0 High
Edinson Rincon 3B 12.00 16 - - -
Jace Peterson SS 13.20 17 50.0 3.0 High
Donn Roach RHP 15.25 18 45.0 2.0 Medium
Brad Boxberger RHP 15.67 19 45.0 1.0 Low
James Darnell 3B/OF 16.00 20 45.0 2.0 Medium
Travis Jankowski OF 16.50 21 50.0 3.0 High
Fernando Perez 3B 17.00 22 50.0 3.0 High
Cody Hebner RHP 18.00 23 - - -
Blake Tekotte OF 19.00 24 - - -
Matt Andriese RHP 19.50 25 50.0 3.0 High
Burch Smith RHP 19.67 26 50.0 3.0 High
Rodeny Daal C 21.00 27 - - -
John Barbato RHP 21.67 28 45.0 3.0 High
Jaff Decker OF 22.50 29 45.0 2.0 Medium
Rico Noel OF 23.00 30 - - -
Matt Stites RHP 23.50 31 45.0 2.0 Medium
Yeison Asencio OF 24.00 32 50.0 3.0 High
Henry Charles OF 24.00 33 - - -
Kevin Quackenbush RHP 24.00 34 45.0 3.0 High
Miles Mikolas RHP 25.00 35 45.0 2.0 Medium
Juan Oramas LHP 26.00 36 50.0 3.0 High
Mallex Smith OF 28.00 37 50.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
50.500 2.633 22 52.500 2.818 2 63.750 3.000

I expected the Padres’ system to grade out better than this due to depth, but while it has a lower overall risk, it doesn’t have many high ceiling players either. The two prospects that fit that description – Austin Hedges and Max Fried – head the list, and they are followed by a few guys who may play in the majors in the near future.

San Francisco Giants

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Kyle Crick RHP 1.00 1 62.5 3.0 High
Chris Stratton RHP 2.75 2 55.0 2.5 Medium
Gary Brown OF 3.38 3 55.0 2.5 Medium
Clayton Blackburn RHP 4.50 4 52.5 2.5 Medium
Joe Panik SS 5.25 5 50.0 2.0 Medium
Heath Hembree RHP 6.00 6 52.5 2.0 Medium
Mike Kickham LHP 7.29 7 50.0 2.0 Medium
Francisco Peguero OF 8.80 8 50.0 2.0 Medium
Martin Agosta RHP 9.29 9 50.0 2.5 Medium
Mac Williamson OF 9.83 10 55.0 3.0 High
Bryce Bandilla LHP 10.00 11 - - -
Andrew Susac C 10.25 12 52.5 2.5 Medium
Roger Kieschnick OF 11.50 13 45.0 2.0 Medium
Chris Heston RHP 12.33 14 45.0 2.0 Medium
Gustavo Cabrera OF 13.00 15 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Adalberto Mejia RHP 13.20 16 50.0 3.0 High
Edwin Escobar LHP 13.60 17 50.0 3.0 High
Josh Osich LHP 13.75 18 50.0 3.0 High
Adam Duvall 3B 14.25 19 45.0 2.0 Medium
EJ Encinosa RHP 15.00 20 - - -
Joan Gregorio RHP 15.00 21 - - -
Steven Okert LHP 15.50 22 50.0 3.0 High
Stephen Johnson RHP 15.50 23 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Eric Surkamp LHP 15.67 24 45.0 3.0 High
Ehire Adrianza SS 17.00 25 45.0 2.0 Medium
Christopher Marlowe RHP 19.00 26 50.0 3.0 High
Ty Blach LHP 19.00 27 - - -
Juan Perez PF 21.00 28 45.0 2.0 Medium
Ricky Oropesa 1B 21.33 29 45.0 3.0 High
Brett Bochy RHP 22.50 30 40.0 2.0 Medium
Nick Noonan SS 23.00 31 45.0 2.0 Medium
Cody Hall RHP 26.00 32 45.0 3.0 High
Jacob Dunnington RHP 28.00 33 45.0 3.0 High
Shawn Payne OF 29.00 34 45.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
49.167 2.617 18 52.222 2.750 1 62.500 3.000

Following suit with the rest of the division, the Giants have a middle-of-the-road farm system that doesn’t carry much risk relative to other systems. Kyle Crick heads the lit by breaking that mold, but the rest of the better prospects have a lower ceiling with a lower risk. Bruce Bochy‘s son Brett was the Giant giving evaluators the most fits in this system.




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9 Responses to “Building a Farm: National League West”

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  1. Chris R says:

    Nice work! Next year, maybe I’ll be lazy and wait for your distillation of lists rather than synthesizing as they come out.

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  2. Jim U says:

    Great aggregations!

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  3. jfree says:

    Very confusing. Maybe I need coffee.

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  4. rusty says:

    Speaking as a Rockies fan, I’m a little surprised Matzek isn’t considered an “extreme” risk… Maybe I need a BP subscription to read about their rationale.

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  5. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    The Washington Nationals Fan Forum crowdsourced top prospects listing has been updated to include A.J. Cole.

    The most recent voting and listing are in this thread: http://www.wnff.net/index.php?topic=28650.0
    The Nationals Fan Forum prospects and minor league section at large: http://www.wnff.net/index.php?board=7.0

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  6. Josh says:

    Casey Kelly could opt for TJ surgery any moment, but he’s low risk? Interesting.

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  7. Andrew says:

    It’s actually Hyun-Jin Ryu, not Hyu-Jin Ryu. Just FYI

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