This is the exciting time of year when many respected prospect raters (and plenty of intelligent amateurs) release their preseason top 100 lists. The Yankee farm system had a strong year that was reflected in the high rankings of many Yankee prospects on these various lists, and an organizational ranking around #5, depending who you ask (Jim Callis had them at #5 Keith Law was a little lower on them, and Frankie Piliere had them at #4). I just wanted to take a moment to compare the placement of the Yankee farmhands on the top 100 lists from various sources, to see which prospects have more of a consensus, and which ones remain controversial. The lists I am going to use are from Keith Law (from ESPN), John Manuel (Baseball America, only a top 50 list), Frankie Piliere (a former scout, writes for AOL fanhouse), John Sickels (doesn’t have a full ranking, but uses letter grades and Project Prospect. Let’s take a look at what these various sources have to say about the top Yankee prospects (apologies that my table looks like crap).
|Keith Law||John Manuel*||Frankie Piliere||Project Prospect||John Sickels||Average||Standard Deviation|
*Only a top 50 list
What can we learn from looking at these rankings? A few things are pretty evident right away. The consensus on Montero is pretty solid, with everyone having him in the 4-5 range (and he would likely rank similarly from Sickels, though there are 7 A-rated hitting prospects).
For Banuelos, too, the consensus is pretty strong. Sickels and Project Prospect are the outliers here. John has explained his concern about Banuelos having to do with durability questions, presumably due to his size. To me, that’s a pretty ridiculous argument, as Manny has never had any arm problems, and has smooth mechanics. As for Project Prospect, they still like the guy a lot, and I would almost have expected him to be a little higher, as they tend to have a very floor-heavy list (and I think Manny, size withstanding, is considered pretty safe as pitching prospects go).
Sanchez has wide variation, and this is understandable for a 17 year-old catcher in Rookie ball. Some sources, such as Manuel and Piliere in particular, appear enamored with his ceiling and less concerned about his distance from the majors. It’s a matter of philosophy with a guy like Sanchez, though it is worthy of note that Manuel and Piliere in are often higher on Yankee prospects than most. These guys will look smart if Sanchez pulls a Montero and continues to tear up full season ball, but they are also taking a risk on a guy who played most of the season in rookie ball at 17. Project Prospect has him the lowest at 74, which I still think is a respectable rating for a guy with as little experience as Sanchez.
Betances too is exceptionally polarizing, ranked as high as 17 on Manuel’s list, and did not make Project Prospect’s top 100 list at all. This too is a reflection of the sizable distance between Betances’ ceiling and floor, through his risk comes more from his injury history than a lack of experience.
Andrew Brackman made Klaw’s and Frankie’s list (and I would guess he would have been on a John Manuel top 100 list too), and the rating of 60 from Frankie is explained by the glowing scouting report that he wrote this summer.
Romine and Adams are both mentioned on Project Prospect’s list, and they share the common theme of being pretty close to major league ready with the bat, and good bets to stay at an up-the-middle defensive position. It is understandable that Adams missed the other lists due to injury and Romine missed due to a mediocre 2nd half.
With rankings like these, it’s important not to sweat the small stuff, but overall, despite their variations, these lists paint a rosy picture of the Yankee farm, which bodes well for the organization’s future without the “Core Four.”
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