Tampa Bay Rays (35 days until pitchers and catchers report)
[Update 1/15/08: We have added the Top 13 prospect list from Rays of Light.]
[Update 1/14/08: We have added Stacy Long's list of Top 30 prospects to the Meta-Analysis. Long's list is clearly needed in this meta-analysis as he has seen most of these players play on a first-hand basis while covering the Montgomery Biscuits.]
[Ed. Note: We have updated the list to include the rankings posted by the highly respected John Sickels at Minor League Ball. His list was just posted this morning. There was little change in the overall rankings]
Yesterday Baseball America unveiled their list of Top 10 Prospects for the Tampa Bay Rays. No big surprises. You can find the full write-up HERE along with their list of the Top Tools in the organization.
BA is the 5th website (that we are aware of) that has released a rankings list for Rays prospects. We decided to do a meta-analysis and compare the results from several websites. In the science community, a meta-analysis is what we do when we don’t want to do any work ourselves and instead want to take the work of a bunch of other people, tease the data a little, draw some conclusions that nobody had noticed before, and then pawn it off as our own.
A few notes on the Meta-Analysis..
- We included rankings from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Minor League Ball, DRays Bay, Rays Digest, Riverwalk Talk, and Rays Anatomy.
- When calculating the averages, we gave Baseball America a weight of 2. This is simply because, analyzing minor leaguers is what they do for a living. They are the experts and in many cases they have actually seen these prospects play and have been following them for several years. Not to mention their offices are in Durham.
- If a player was excluded from a list, we gave that player a ranking of 2 spots lower than the lowest ranked player in the list for the purpose of calculating the final average.
- The final list includes the 14 players that appeared in the Top 10 of at least one list.
- We included our own Trade Value Index, which can be found in the side-panel. Our list differs from the others in that we incorporate more to our rankings than just how good of a major leaguer the player will be. Our rankings are based on “value” to the organization. For example, it is our thought that Wade Davis has the better chance of being a top major league starting pitcher, but we give Jake McGee a higher “value” because he is left-handed and a power lefty with a plus-breaking ball is a very rare commodity.
- Notes on the individual rankings follow the Meta-Analysis.
- The top 5 are clear-cut with only subtle disagreements on the exact order. The only outliers are Desmond Jennings whom BP slots at #4 and our own TVI list which includes Jeff Niemann at #5 a spot ahead of Reid Brignac. The thinking is that Niemann is a pitcher, he is closer to the big leagues and while Brignac is still an elite prospect, he did raise at least a few doubts in 2007. If Niemann fails to make the opening day roster, he will begin to fall down the TVI…very fast.
- When it comes to strict major league projections, #8-15 are interchangeable in our eyes and while the names are fairly consistent across the lists, the actual order varies greatly.
- In our eyes, the top 7 are can’t-miss prospects. Not necessarily all-stars, but all seven should be contributing major leaguers. We would also add Eduardo Morlan to that list.
- We are not sold on Desmond Jennings. But, with the trade of Delmon Young and the injury struggles of Rocco Baldelli, Jennings and Fernando Perez will ultimately compete to be the third outfielder in 2009 or 2010.
- We are also not yet ready to anoint Jeremy Hellickson as a legit major league prospect. For a right-hander he is not very big and he is not over-powering, which translates very well at Low-A Columbus. He will get his first big test in 2008 at the hitter-friendly Vero Beach. Until he shows us he can compete at the AA-level, we will remain skeptical. We rank Chris Mason higher. Mason was a college pitcher, so he is more polished and while he is also a not very big, not very overpowering right hander, he has proven it at the AA-level. Still we are skeptical that he will be a very good major leaguer.
- BP and our own TVI give Eduardo Morlan his highest ranking of #7. Just look at the free agent market for relief pitchers this off-season and you will see that teams are starting to dish out big bucks for all relief pitchers, not just closers. For all the pitching depth spoken of in the Rays system, very little of it is relief pitchers. While starting pitchers that miss the cut will get a shot at the ‘pen, it is never guaranteed to be a successful transition. That gives Morlan a decided edge over others for an organization that is desperate for young talented relief pitchers.
RAYS PROSPECTS WEBTOPIA…
- Rays Digest breaks down the Tampa Bay Rays farm system. [Rays Digest]
- Future Considerations breaks down BA’s prospect list. FC is in the midst of revealing their Top 30 prospects but have yet to unveil their Top 10 so we could not include their rankings in our meta-analysis. We should note that earlier this week FC took their own stab at predicting the “Best Tools” categories and we questioned whether Evan Longoria would be named both “Best Power Hitter” and “Best Hitter for Average”. We thought it might be John Jaso. FC nailed it, as Longoria was named in both categories. *Tip o’ the cap* [Future Considerations]
Top 10 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays [Baseball America]
Baseball America Names Rays Top 10, I Was Nearly Right… [Rays Anatomy]
Rays Prospect Preview [Rays Digest]
Rays Top 11 Prospects [Baseball Prospectus]
Baseball America’s Top Ten Rays Prospects [DRays Bay]
Top Rays Prospects [Stacy Long's Riverwalk Talk]