The 2016 July 2 Sortable Board

We’re cutting the ribbon on the 2016 July 2 Sortable Board. For background on the J2 process or the scouting grades and future value grades on the board, please refer to our July 2 Primer and this piece on the 20-80 scale. I’ll have full scouting reports up on the prospects ranked 11-25 tomorrow and the top ten on Friday and links to the reports will be added.

Some Notes on the Board

Included in the group are all the players currently eligible to sign during this J2 period, as well as those who I anticipate will be eligible at some point in the next eleven and a half months. This includes Cuban players like Randy Arozarena and Vlad Gutierrez, who are both a half-decade older than the others in the class. While I agree that the age gap creates a bit of conundrum, those players are subject to bonus pools and teams are forced to reconcile it in their own evaluations/valuations, so I think it’s important that we do the same here.

The board has 25 ranked players and then a group of others whom I consider to be 35 FVs listed below that in no particular order. The class has more players, and many of them will also be covered in the reports we roll out the rest of this week, but they profile either as org players or are too raw to consider as 35 FV players (or better) based on the sources to whom I’ve spoken.

Some Notes on the Class

Scouts generally consider this class a little weaker than average. That’s not reflected up top, where there are the same number of 45-or-better FV players as last year. Rather, it appears in the group’s depth.

Stereotypically, the J2 rankings are shortstop-heavy and that’s especially true this year, where half of the 40+ FV prospects are shortstops. That said, only half of them have a good shot to stay there. Early reports on next year’s group indicate that it could be dominated by outfielders. Two interesting names to keep an eye on for next year are Jose Bonilla (video) and Miguel Hichez (video).

This signing period is expected to have a more robust “secondary market” full of players who either didn’t get signed at the end of the last period (which ended on June 15th) or players who haven’t been offered the kind of money they thought they would be. These players and their camps are reconvening and will sign later in the process than the kids who already have deals.

The Astros, Braves, Nationals, and Padres are all going to exceed their pool limits. San Diego’s class includes four of the top five players on my board and they’re rumored to be in hot pursuit of Lazarito (Lazaro Armenteros), though it doesn’t sound like he’s off the market yet.

Why Bonus Amounts are a Red Herring

Readers might be tempted to view bonus amounts as an indicator of a player’s talent level, but far too many factors outside of a player’s skill level impact bonuses for me to recommend doing that. Many of these players are agreeing to deals early, at age 14 or 15, and bodies and skillsets change a great deal between then and when they put pen to paper on July 2. Early agreements also mean the player is less apt to pop up at showcases and workouts for any reason other than to save face and hide the fact that he has a deal from anyone in authority whom it might displease. That makes players harder to scout and also impacts evaluation. Teams who are “pot committed” to a class are also likely to offer huge deals to players who pop up late or don’t currently have deals to ensure they get them.



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Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.


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