Tomorrow, we’ll be officially revealing our own version of the Top 100 prospects list that has become a staple of the baseball community. However, with more than 100 prospects receiving Future Value grades of 50 or higher, we decided to not arbitrarily cut off the list at 100 names, and ordered every prospect who achieved that FV score: 142 players in all. Because the Top 142 prospects sounds a little strange, however, I also included a secondary tier of unranked-but-still-listed prospects whose FVs fall on the higher side of 45; these are guys who weren’t too far off the list themselves, and in many cases, will be strong candidates for next year’s list.
So, tomorrow, we’ll unveil the FanGraphs Top 200 Prospect list. Today, though, I wanted to give you a little bit of background on how I arrived at these grades and rankings, as well as preemptively answering some questions that may arise about certain types of players.
Team Prospect Lists:
Rangers, Rockies, D’Backs, Twins, Astros
Cubs, Reds, Phillies, Rays, Mets
Padres, Marlins, Nationals, Red Sox, White Sox
Orioles, Yankees, Braves
Scouting Explained: Introduction, Hitting Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3 Pt 4 Pt 5 Pt 6
Cuban Coverage: Latest on Yoan Moncada and Latest on Four Notable Cubans
What The Tool Grades Mean
If you’re dropping into my minor league prospects rankings for the first time, thanks for coming, but there’s also a few things I should probably explain so that the list doesn’t look like gibberish to you. I use the 20-80 scouting scale, the same grading scale that pro scouts use to grade players at every level of baseball. It grades a player’s traditional tools — hit, hit for power, speed, fielding, throwing, each of a pitcher’s pitches, and his command — against major league average for each tool. Average is 50, above average is 55, below average is 45, plus is 60, plus-plus is 70 and 80 is just called 80 because it’s so rare and special that it doesn’t need another name; think Giancarlo Stanton‘s power, Billy Hamilton‘s speed, or Randy Johnson‘s fastball. A 60 or better off-speed pitch is the standard for being called a “swing and miss” pitch; you need two 60 pitches and at least an average third pitch and command to be a #3 starter, for example.
If you want to go into further depth, then I’d suggest checking out the Scouting Explained links above, where I go into more detail about how scouts do what they do. These tool grades aren’t directly applicable to stats in every case — speed is just speed, not the ability to steal bases — but I go into much more detail on each player and project his potential big league numbers, his ETA to reach that level, a risk grade and more on the team prospect lists, linked to above and in each player’s capsule on the list. Since there are so many players that have tools that are 45 or 50, I use a + to denote 47.5 (fringe-average or fringy) and 52.5 (solid-average), or the half-grades between these most common grades, 45, 50 and 55.
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