Minors to the Majors: Early Offseason Prospect Rankings

It’s not prospect season yet. It is not even close to prospect season, but I will go ahead and provide some prospect rankings for people use as they make keeper decisions and with early season drafts. As much as I a respect and use many of these sources, I do like the option of having several sources to compare to get a player’s overall skill set. I am always looking for people to talk about the flaws as most people only mention the good stuff. With just a couple of lists currently out, I had to create a few of mine own. I will start with the more traditional rankings and then move on to some I created.

Minor League Ball

John Sickels at Minor League Ball released an end of season top 100 list. Here are his top 10.

Minor League Ball Top 10 EOS Prospects
Rank First Name Last Position Organization
1 Yoan Moncada 2B Red Sox
2 Dansby Swanson SS Braves
3 Tyler Glasnow RHP Pirates
4 Lucas Giolito RHP Nationals
5 Jose De Leon RHP Dodgers
6 Andrew Benintendi OF Red Sox
7 Amed Rosario SS Mets
8 Alex Reyes RHP Cardinals
9 Franklin Barreto SS Athletics
10 Rafael Devers 3B Red Sox

MLB.com

The folks at MLB.com provide a great service and that is a constantly adjusting top 100 as players get drafted or signed and then graduate to the majors. Besides, just ranking the players, they provide the 20 to 80 scouting grades for each player. For reference, here are their top 10 players.

MLB.com’s Top 10 Prospects
Rank Name Position
1 YOAN MONCADA 2B/3B
2 J.P. CRAWFORD SS
3 LUCAS GIOLITO RHP
4 DANSBY SWANSON SS
5 ANDREW BENINTENDI OF
6 BRENDAN RODGERS SS/2B
7 ALEX REYES RHP
8 TYLER GLASNOW RHP
9 AUSTIN MEADOWS OF
10 VICTOR ROBLES OF

Baseball America

Baseball America just got done giving their player rankings for each league. I decided to take these league rankings and create a composite ranking. To do this, I gave each league a value. Triple-A got a 0, double-A a 2, and so on for each league. Then I added the player’s rank from that league with the league rank and got a combined value. If a player made the rankings in two leagues, I just kept the best overall grade.

This method assumed the top player in each of the two Triple-A leagues would be the best prospect but this isn’t always the case. While not a perfect solution, the rankings help to give the players some comparable values. The top 13 (all players with a 5 value or less) are as follows with the rest available in this spreadsheet.

Baseball America’s League Adjusted EOS Ranks
Combined rank Name Position Team League
1 Alex Reyes rhp Cardinals Pacific Coast League
1 Trea Turner ss Nationals International League
2 Willson Contreras c Cubs Pacific Coast League
2 Byron Buxton of Twins International League
3 Jose De Leon rhp Dodgers Pacific Coast League
3 Gary Sanchez c Yankees International League
4 Orlando Arcia ss Brewers Pacific Coast League
4 J.P. Crawford ss Phillies International League
5 Alex Bregman ss/3b Astros Texas League
5 Yoan Moncada 2b/3b Red Sox Eastern League
5 Dansby Swanson ss Braves Southern League
5 Tyler Glasnow rhp Pirates International League
5 Jeff Hoffman rhp Rockies Pacific Coast League

Bernie Pleskoff

Pleskoff writes for TodaysKnuckleball and two to three times a week he profiles a player he gives then an overall scouting grade. While he is missing some players, here are the eight players he has given a 65 or higher grade to and the rest are on this spreadsheet. While it is not a full prospect list, it includes quite a few players and the reports can be looked up. Additionally, prospects can be compared to non-prospects.

Bernie Pleskoff’s Grades (65 or higher)
Name Grade
Anderson Espinoza 70
Lucas Giolito 70
Alex Reyes 65
Andrew Benintendi 65
Julio Urias 65
Corey Seager 65
Carlos Rodon 65
Aaron Nola 65

Industry Dynasty League Rosters

I really wanted to do more with this information, but I couldn’t without a ton of work with very little to show for it. I wanted to compare some of the players from the two league and point out some possible sleepers. Maybe for a later date.

The two leagues I will examine are The Dynasty Guru Extreme (TDGX) which I am in and the Devil’s Rejects in which Eno Sarris, Chad Young, Brad Johnson, and Ben Duronio. The two leagues are basically the same except the Devil’s Rejects have 45 man rosters and can roster any player (college, high school, Japan, etc). TDGX can roster any players who were once drafted or signed by a team by the time the league’s yearly draft starts.

The usefulness of this data is mixed. The player pool is too deep for most leagues, but for others, the information can be useful for creating a player pool for people to look at past the top 100 or so prospects.

So for the two leagues, I am going to provide the information in two formats. First, the team rosters are available on the tabs TDGX and Devil’s Rejects. Additionally, I created an alphabetical list of the players and the league they are in.

Note: If a name is all lowercase, the player is not yet available in the CBS Sportsline (who hosts each league) database.

Personal Prospect Finder

I have published the results my automated prospect finder. It is basically simplified stripped down version of KATOH. It looks at three years’ worth of data for the three hitter inputs: age for level, position, and production for the level (wRC+). For pitchers, I used two years’ worth of date and three inputs: age for level, position (SP vs RP), and production for the level (K%-BB%). For both lists, any player who has played any minor league ball is included in the lists. I like the option of looking at AAAA players.

I have made two changes recently to the formula. I have dropped the weight given for pitcher age a small amount. I feel some young, but unproductive players in the high minors, like Tyler Danish and Ronald Herrera, were getting overrated. The second change I did was put 20-80 grades on the players. I lined up players with Future Value grades with my scores and then created an estimated Future Value. The values are included in the linked spreadsheet.



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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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