Building the Farm: American 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. 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)

Houston Astros

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Carlos Correa SS 1.50 1 70.0 3.0 High
Jonathan Singleton 1B 1.63 2 67.5 2.0 Medium
George Springer OF 3.00 3 62.5 3.0 High
Delino DeShields 2B 4.50 4 57.5 2.5 Medium
Jarred Cosart RHP 5.50 5 57.5 2.5 Medium
Lance McCullers RHP 6.13 6 67.5 3.5 High
Mike Foltynewicz RHP 7.50 7 52.5 2.5 Medium
Rio Ruiz 3B 8.50 8 57.5 4.0 Extreme
Nick Tropeano RHP 9.20 9 50.0 2.0 Medium
Domingo Santana OF 9.71 10 55.0 3.0 High
Jonathan Villar SS 9.86 11 55.0 3.0 High
Robbie Grossman OF 12.17 12 45.0 2.0 Medium
Nolan Fontana SS 12.60 13 50.0 3.0 High
Colton Cain LHP 13.00 14
Asher Wojciechowski RHP 13.60 15 50.0 3.0 High
Joe Musgrove RHP 14.00 16
Preston Tucker OF 14.00 17
Kevin Comer RHP 14.50 18
Ariel Ovando OF 14.67 19
Marc Krauss OF 15.00 20
Vincent Velasquez RHP 15.00 21 50.0 3.0 High
Jose Cisnero RHP 15.00 22 45.0 2.0 Medium
Adrian Houser RHP 17.00 23 50.0 3.0 High
Carlos Perez C 17.00 24 45.0 2.0 Medium
Nate Freiman 1B 19.00 25
Ross Seaton RHP 20.00 26 45.0 2.0 Medium
Brady Rogers RHP 20.25 27 45.0 2.0 Medium
Josh Fields RHP 21.00 28 45.0 2.0 Medium
Chia-Jen Lo RHP 21.00 29 50.0 3.0 High
Brett Phillips OF 21.50 30 50.0 3.0 High
Paul Clemens RHP 22.33 31 45.0 3.0 High
Aaron West RHP 23.00 32 50.0 3.0 High
Jio Mier SS 23.00 33
Brett Oberholtzer LHP 24.00 34 45.0 2.0 Medium
Andrew Aplin OF 25.00 35 45.0 2.0 Medium
Bobby Borchering 1B/OF 26.00 36
Austin Wates OF 27.00 37 45.0 2.0 Medium
Tyler Heineman C 29.00 38 45.0 3.0 High
Chris Devenski RHP 30.00 39
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
51.638 2.621 18 55.694 2.889 4 66.875 2.875

The American League’s newest member has recently received valuable new additions through trades and the recent draft. Carlos Correa and Jonathan Singleton flip-flopped in most rankings, but a third-place finish in the Bullpen Banter rankings put Singleton second overall. The players with the largest range of outcomes were Adrian Houser and Carlos Perez, who found themselves in the top 10 of one list but the late 20s in another.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Kaleb Cowart 3B 1.00 1 62.5 3.0 High
Nick Maronde LHP 2.63 2 50.0 1.5 Low
CJ Cron 1B 2.88 3 50.0 3.0 High
Taylor Lindsey 2B 4.38 4 50.0 3.0 High
Randal Grichuk OF 6.88 5 50.0 3.0 High
RJ Alvarez RHP 8.00 6 55.0 2.5 Medium
Kole Calhoun OF 8.57 7 40.0 1.0 Low
Alex Yarbrough 2B 9.00 8 50.0 3.0 High
Nick Mutz RHP 10.00 9
Austin Wood RHP 10.43 10 50.0 3.0 High
Michael Clevinger RHP 11.29 11 50.0 3.0 High
Luis Jimenez 3B 11.67 12 45.0 2.0 Medium
Mark Sappington RHP 12.17 13 50.0 3.0 High
Jose Rondon SS 12.75 14 47.5 3.5 High
AJ Schugel RHP 12.83 15 45.0 2.0 Medium
Chevez Clarke OF 13.00 16
Daniel Tillman RHP 13.17 17 45.0 3.0 High
Eric Stamets SS/2B 13.80 18 50.0 3.0 High
Eswarlin Jimenez LHP 14.00 19
Andrew Romine SS/2B 14.00 20 40.0 1.0 Low
Ryan Chaffee RHP 14.00 21 45.0 2.0 Medium
Travis Witherspoon OF 14.80 22 45.0 3.0 High
Cam Bedrosian RHP 16.00 23 45.0 3.0 High
Yency Almonte RHP 16.00 24 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Jonathan Walsh OF 18.00 25
Victor Alcantara RHP 18.00 26 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Austin Adams RHP 18.00 27
Sherman Johnson 2B 19.00 28
Arjenis Fernandez RHP 20.50 29 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Wade Hinkle 1B 21.00 30
Zach Wright C 21.00 31
Reid Scoggins RHP 22.00 32 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Eduar Lopez RHP 23.00 33 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Steven Geltz RHP 23.00 34 40.0 2.0 Medium
Carlos Ramirez C 24.50 35
Ryan Brasier RHP 25.00 36 40.0 4.0 Extreme
Brandon Sisk LHP 25.00 37
Drew Taylor LHP 26.50 38 40.0 2.0 Medium
Kevin Johnson RHP 29.00 39 40.0 2.0 Medium
Michael Roth LHP 29.00 40 45.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
47.333 2.817 16 51.094 3.188 1 62.500 3.000

The loss of Mike Trout and the lack of replenishment in recent drafts has left the Angels’ cupboard fairly bare. Their system grade fell four points below the Astros, and the Angels have only two prospects above a 55 grade in the entire system. Cam Bedrosian seems to be the most controversial prospect in the system, netting a six and a nine ranking while also getting a 27 and 28.

Oakland Athletics

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Addison Russell SS 1.25 1 65.0 2.5 Medium
Michael Choice OF 2.75 2 57.5 3.0 High
Dan Straily RHP 3.00 3 50.0 1.5 Low
Sonny Gray RHP 4.25 4 57.5 2.5 Medium
Brad Peacock RHP 4.25 5 55.0 3.0 High
Grant Green OF 6.38 6 47.5 1.5 Low
Miles Head 3B 6.88 7 50.0 2.5 Medium
Daniel Robertson 3B 7.50 8 50.0 3.0 High
Renato Nunez 3B 8.13 9 57.5 4.0 Extreme
Nolan Sanburn RHP 9.38 10 55.0 3.0 High
Matt Olson 1B 11.00 11 52.5 3.0 High
Max Stassi C 12.00 12 50.0 3.0 High
Pedro Figueroa LHP 12.00 13 45.0 2.0 Medium
Vicmel de la Cruz OF 12.50 14
Ian Krol LHP 13.67 15
David Freitas C 14.00 16
Michael Ynoa RHP 14.67 17 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Michael Taylor OF 14.75 18 45.0 2.0 Medium
Shane Peterson OF 15.00 19
Max Muncy 1B 15.00 20 50.0 3.0 High
BA Vollmuth 3B 15.00 21 50.0 3.0 High
Chris Bostick 2B 15.25 22 50.0 3.0 High
Raul Alcantara RHP 15.33 23 50.0 4.0 Extreme
BJ Boyd OF 16.33 24 50.0 3.0 High
Jefry Marte 3B 18.00 25
Beau Taylor C 18.00 26 45.0 2.0 Medium
Aaron Shipman OF 18.50 27 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Blake Hassebrock RHP 19.00 28
Seth Streich RHP 20.00 29 50.0 3.0 High
Stephen Parker 3B 20.50 30 40.0 2.0 Medium
Bruce Maxwell C 23.00 31 45.0 3.0 High
Arnold Leon RHP 23.50 32 45.0 3.0 High
Bobby Crocker OF 24.00 33 45.0 3.0 High
Andrew Carignan RHP 27.00 34 45.0 3.0 High
Josh Bowman RHP 29.00 35 45.0 3.0 High
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
50.086 2.845 19 52.895 3.053 1 65.000 2.500

Addison Russell almost took unanimous honors as the system’s top prospect after only a few months in professional ball. He is the only 60-plus prospect in a system that seems to lack high-ceiling talent while also having the division’s highest Risk Rating. Recent acquisition Raul Alcantara sees the largest range in rankings as the 19-year old made a couple top 10/11 appearances while also coming in 25th on another.

Seattle Mariners

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Taijuan Walker RHP 1.38 1 70.0 3.0 High
Mike Zunino C 2.00 2 57.5 1.5 Low
Danny Hultzen LHP 2.75 3 60.0 2.0 Medium
Nick Franklin SS 4.13 4 52.5 1.5 Low
James Paxton LHP 5.00 5 52.5 2.0 Medium
Brandon Maurer RHP 7.00 6 52.5 2.5 Medium
Brad Miller SS 7.86 7 50.0 2.0 Medium
Carter Capps RHP 8.00 8 55.0 2.0 Medium
Victor Sanchez RHP 8.43 9 57.5 3.5 High
Stefen Romero 3B/OF 9.71 10 50.0 2.0 Medium
Luis Gohara LHP 10.75 11 65.0 4.0 Extreme
Stephen Pryor RHP 11.67 12 45.0 1.0 Low
Tyler Pike LHP 12.38 13 50.0 3.0 High
Jordan Shipers LHP 13.00 14
Joseph DeCarlo 3B 13.33 15 50.0 3.0 High
Gabriel Guerrero OF 13.75 16 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Patrick Kivlehan 3B 14.33 17 50.0 3.0 High
Jack Marder C 15.67 18 45.0 2.0 Medium
Leon Landry OF 16.25 19 50.0 3.0 High
Vincent Catricala 3B/OF 17.00 20 45.0 2.0 Medium
Francisco Martinez 3B 17.00 21 50.0 3.0 High
Martin Peguero SS 17.00 22
Carson Smith RHP 17.67 23 45.0 2.0 Medium
Edwin Diaz RHP 18.00 24 50.0 3.0 High
Timothy Lopes 2B 18.25 25 50.0 3.0 High
John Hicks C 18.33 26 45.0 2.0 Medium
Guillermo Pimentel OF 19.00 27
Julio Morban OF 19.67 28 50.0 3.0 High
Jabari Blash OF 24.00 29 50.0 3.0 High
Anthony Fernandez LHP 24.50 30 45.0 2.0 Medium
Chance Ruffin RHP 27.00 31 45.0 2.0 Medium
Chris Taylor SS 28.00 32 45.0 2.0 Medium
Ramon Morla 3B 29.00 33 50.0 3.0 High
Logan Bawcom RHP 34
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
51.250 2.500 22 53.523 2.727 3 65.000 3.000

Seattle has one of the better farm systems in baseball, but while the overall ranking is just third in the division, it has the lowest Risk Rating. That shouldn’t be surprising considering many of Seattle’s top prospects are in Double-A or above. Taijuan Walker heads the list , but Mike Zunino and Danny Hultzen aren’t too far behind due to their higher floors/relative risk. Vinnie Catricala has the widest range of rankings as he comes in eighth in one, 26th in another and is left off the other lists.

Texas Rangers

Player Pos AVG RANK GRADE RISK RISK
Jurickson Profar SS 1.00 1 72.5 1.0 Low
Mike Olt 3B 2.00 2 62.5 1.5 Low
Martin Perez LHP 3.63 3 55.0 1.5 Low
Leonys Martin OF 3.75 4 50.0 2.0 Medium
Cody Buckel RHP 5.17 5 50.0 2.0 Medium
Jorge Alfaro C 7.13 6 65.0 4.0 Extreme
Justin Grimm RHP 8.00 7 52.5 1.5 Low
Luke Jackson RHP 8.43 8 55.0 3.0 High
Luis Sardinas SS 8.63 9 60.0 3.5 High
Joey Gallo 3B 8.88 10 62.5 4.0 Extreme
Lewis Brinson OF 9.50 11 62.5 4.0 Extreme
Nomar Mazara OF 11.00 12 57.5 3.5 High
Rougned Odor 2B 11.33 13 50.0 2.0 Medium
Jairo Beras OF 12.60 14 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Ronald Guzman OF 13.00 15 57.5 3.5 High
Will Lamb LHP 13.00 16
Wilmer Font RHP 14.25 17 50.0 3.0 High
CJ Edwards RHP 15.25 18 50.0 3.0 High
Engel Beltre OF 16.00 19
Roman Mendez RHP 16.67 20 50.0 3.0 High
Nick Williams OF 17.67 21 55.0 4.0 Extreme
Leury Garcia 2B 18.00 22 50.0 3.0 High
Hanser Alberto SS 18.67 23 50.0 3.0 High
Neil Ramirez RHP 19.50 24 45.0 2.0 Medium
Kevin Matthews LHP 20.00 25
Nicholas Tepesch RHP 21.00 26 50.0 3.0 High
Drew Robinson 3B 22.50 27 50.0 3.0 High
Nick Martinez RHP 23.50 28 50.0 3.0 High
Zach Cone OF 24.00 29 50.0 3.0 High
Jordan Akins OF 25.00 30
Chad Bell LHP 27.00 31
Keone Kela RHP 27.50 32 50.0 3.0 High
Matt West RHP 28.00 33 50.0 4.0 Extreme
Kellin Deglan C 28.00 34
Randy Henry RHP 29.00 35 45.0 3.0 High
Joe Ortiz LHP 30.00 36 40.0 1.0 Low
Lisalverto Bonilla RHP 30.00 37
System Grade System Risk 50+ 50+ Grade 50+ Risk 60+ 60+ Grade 60+ Risk
53.417 2.833 27 54.537 2.926 6 64.167 3.000

The Rangers have an interesting organization. Its three best prospects have relatively low risks, but the system is full of high risk/high reward types. That translates into Texas having the highest system grade and the division’s second-highest Risk Rating. Six prospects have “extreme” risks, and five of those have grades of 55 and above.



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TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
3 years 2 months ago

What exactly is the Risk rating? Is it the likelihood of the players’ talents impacting the ML team?

Marcus Tullius Cicero
Guest
Marcus Tullius Cicero
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, it would be great to have more discussion of what exactly you are measuring with ‘risk.’ Allocating a roster spot on a minor-league team is not a huge investment from an MLB club’s perspective, so what do you mean when you say that, for example, Joey Gallo is an ‘extreme’ risk? If it’s just a measure of the likelihood that he will develop into the Xth percentile of his ceiling, then perhaps you should rename it to reflect that?

Colin
Guest
Colin
3 years 2 months ago

I really like this concept, thanks for the work!

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 2 months ago

So Mark, I’ll second that. ‘Preciate the massive effort of aggregating the different eval systems into a single chart. Really improves comparisons, and it’s a pretty fair snapshot of how the prospect evaluation sphere _as a whole_ views a particular player.

On the whole I’m not boggled by any particular rating, and the rankings and risk aspects make sense. That said, Martin Perez, Low Risk? I wonder what all those evaluators are thinking there. Which speaks to one aspect of these evaluations: they tend to be a bit backward looking more than projective to me. If someone was thought highly of once, that ‘read’ on the guy seems to stick to him even if the results seem to have gone stale a bit. That’s not a knock on your effort, Mark. You’re calling like _they_ see it, so at least we have the consensus view, as sought.

Man will Texas feel the sting of the new international bonus caps. Their system is studded (so to speak) by all that offshore talent, risky or not. That part of their farm got them where they are today, and it’s not going to be as big for them going forward.

It’s somewhat of a surprise to see how comparatively weak Oakland’s farm system is, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Beane spends most of his time dealing for major league ready guys from other orgs rather than on sign-and-develop; his own system seems mostly used for trade bait. It’s an extreme approach, so it’s interesting so see how much/little success he has with it over an extended period of time.

Seattle’s system looks so _massively_ different than before Jack Zd and Tom MacN came into town. They haven’t had the success with the major leage roster one wants (and has been expected) but the depth and diversity of talent in the system is a sea change; as it were. And so many high value relief arms too, “Trading time!”

Houston . . . nowhere to go but up, baby.

SKob
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

Cool post! I like the grade rating! I am deciding between Addison Russell and Carlos Correa in my keeper league. This at least helps put Correa’s talent on a different level. Russell with play sooner though…

Interesting that there is no ‘safe’ player on these teams. I guess that’s a prospect for you! No such thing as a ‘safe’ one!

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

There aren’t even safe players in the MLB. Anyone could miss a huge amount of time and it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
3 years 2 months ago

No offense, but this extremely long post is wrecking the front page. Everything except the first paragraph desperately needs to go behind a cut.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
3 years 2 months ago

Actually, it looks more shorter here than on the front page. Also, the charts are just gigantic blank spaces out there. Seems like maybe a tag got left open somewhere; either way, most of it should still be behind a cut.

Paul S
Guest
Paul S
3 years 2 months ago

Great work! It might be interesting to include an indicator for how advanced each prospect is – perhaps by including the level they ended last season at (AAA, AA, …), or maybe a projection for what year they might make the majors.

semperty
Member
semperty
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t get the disliking of Mike Zunino

steve
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

#2 prospect in an excellent system is hardly disliking. . .

excellent piece, I really like this. And I like Tropeano A LOT more than most. . . really like his change

supershredder
Guest
supershredder
3 years 2 months ago

Trope is (was) a well-kept secret amongst Astros prospect hounds. Can’t wait to see how he moves up in the minors.

supershredder
Guest
supershredder
3 years 2 months ago

OAK prospects C Max Stassi and P Brad Peacock can be added to the Astros prospect list.

rusty
Guest
rusty
3 years 2 months ago

All of the blank values for the “score” variables hurt the utility of the system-strength calculations. Have you considered assigning a default score (maybe based on scores of next-highest and -lowest prospects) or alternatively footnoting the average with the number of missing observations?

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
3 years 2 months ago

I sort of get the scouting love for guys who can run fast because you can’t teach speed ,but there seems to me to be a systemic inconsistency in rating guys like DeShields on this list,who pretty much have little baseball skill, higher than someone like Brad Miller who has performed very well at a higher level .If one wants to dream that DeShields can actually learn to play baseball while running like the wind and stealing 100 bases per year then I can understand rating DeShields higher than Miller ,but then DeShields risk factor should probably be something like a 5.0 vs Miller’s 2.0 instead of 2.5 vs 2.0.

steve
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

I think you are selling De Shields a bit short. Yes he is very fast, but he also has some baseball skill and bloodlines. There are many very fast guys that don’t show up on the top 100’s because speed is their main tool and they don’t project to do much else.

There are probably more 80 grade runners than any other 80 tools combined, but there are only 2 guys that are 80 runs that really show up as top 100 prospects.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
3 years 2 months ago

typo alert ,DD’s 2012 OPS at low A was .840 ,sorry

sgtjunior
Member
Member
sgtjunior
3 years 2 months ago

Great read and well laid out and great depth to the chart. One thing to suggest is maybe list an age or level last played to get an approximation of how far out some of the prospects really are. I think it weighs in on some of the risk.

Josh
Guest
Josh
3 years 2 months ago

Very cool post. Lets do an NL East version of this next, please!

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