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.

Presenting the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays Top Prospects Meta-Analysis.

Baseball Prospectus has released their list of Top 100 prospects. We are still waiting for their list of Top 11 prospects for the Rays, but five of those players are in the top 100, so we can get a head start.

Notes on how the rankings were constructed are found at the bottom of this post. Notes on the final rankings can be found after the table…

A few notes on the final rankings

  • Last year, there was a near-unanimous agreement on who the top 5 prospects were although the exact order varied. This year, there are only two players (David Price, Wade Davis) in the top 5 of every list. Tim Beckham and Jeremy Hellickson both missed the top 5 on a single list.
  • In our minds, the top 5 are can’t miss prospects. We don’t know how good each will be, but all should be major leaguers at some point. The rest of the list includes players that should make the big leagues at some point as long as they maintain their current development pace.
  • Tim Beckham, Nick Barnese, Matt Moore, Mitch Talbot and Jake Jefferies are new to the list this season.
  • Evan Longoria (#1 in ‘08) is no longer eligible, Eddie Morlan (#9 in ‘08) is no longer in the organization and Ryan Royster (#10 in ‘08), Chris Mason (#11) and James Houser (#14) all fell off the list.
  • Jake McGee had the biggest drop from last season (#3) and Jeremy Hellickson had the highest jump from last year’s list (#8).
  • Of the players that appeared on every list, Desmond Jennings had the biggest disparity between high and low rank. In general, outside of top 5 draft picks, we rarely rank a player very high on the TVI until we have seen them perform at the double-A level where true prospects separate themselves from the never-will-be’s. But there are also reasons to be concerned with Jennings despite all his natural talent. Due to injuries he is 22 this year and yet he has only played 179 games above the Junior College level and only 24 of those games are above low-A.

A few notes on how the Meta-Analysis was constructed

  • We included rankings from Baseball America, Minor League Ball, Biscuits Crumbs (Stacy Long), ESPN (Keith Law), Baseball Intellect and our own Trade Value Index.
  • Baseball Prospectus should have their list of the top 11 prospects some time this week. We will update this list once it is published.
  • Stacy Long’s list was actually the top 30 prospects not including David Price. So we assumed that Price was #1 and slotted everybody else down one.
  • Baseball Intellect has only published their top 10. The remainder of their top 15 prospects list will be concluded in the next few days.
  • When calculating the averages, we gave Baseball America a weight of 2. 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.
  • Several lists were constructed prior to Eddie Morlan being selected in the Rule 5 draft. In these cases, we simply removed Morlan and moved everybody else up a spot.
  • Our Trade Value Index ranks players a bit differently. In addition to projecting how good a player will be, we also consider value to the organization. For more information see the most recent TVI post.
  • The final list includes all players that appeared in the top 10 of at least one list.
  • Some players did not appear on every list. For players not on 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.
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