The Baseball America Top 100 And Players I’ve Seen
Yesterday, @jjdouglas1 tweeted this to me: “Any thoughts on Taijuan Walker‘s ranking in the BA top 100? Should they read your prospect hangover piece?” In all honesty, I don’t get worked up about the actual rankings, but look at the rankings of players I’ve seen instead. In all, I’ve seen more than 40 of Baseball America’s top-100 in person.
As you’ll notice, nine prospects are shaded an ugly salmon color. These are prospects I consider to be ranked too high for my liking. Here’s why…
Byron Buxton – Love the tools but he’s just so far away. Right now, I’d prefer Zunino, Walker and D’Arnaud to Buxton if a franchise draft were held today. The combination of ceiling and lesser risk trumps a player with the highest ceiling of the bunch and high risk. If he turned out to be B.J. Upton-ish, I would not be surprised at all. This would leave Buxton a tantalizing talent, but not a franchise cornerstone.
Tyler Skaggs – With Skaggs, I liked the comps more than the actual stuff. He was a two-pitch guy for me with a 91-93 MPH fastball and plus curve. The dream comp in terms of stuff is Gio Gonzalez who has thrived off of a plus velocity fastball/plus curveball arsenal for years. I try to envision it, but I just can’t.
Trevor Bauer – Big, flat fastballs at the letters get pummeled at the MLB level. For everything good I can say about Bauer, I keep coming back to his fastball and the adjustments needed to be more effective. Also, he has such a smooth, repeatable delivery that I’m not sure how much better the command will improve given it’s not very good now. I’d rather have Taijuan Walker than Bauer or Skaggs and it’s not particularly close.
Jameson Taillon – Taillon has big stuff, but I don’t trust the Pirates when it comes to teaching the nuances of pitching and helping young arms develop feel. Their making young pitchers throw all fastballs at the lower levels sounds good in paper, but screams wacky voodoo at the park. Maybe I just had a bad look at Taillon the first time around, but he presented with so little feel, I doubt he’d be able to play tune in Tokyo with Dolly Parton.
Billy Hamilton – Will he hit? The speed will prop up all aspects of his game except his power and hit tools. With his lack of strength, a big part of me suspects MLB pitchers with fastball command will go on the attack. Michael Bourn took a no hit, big speed profile and turned it into mega millions, so Hamilton may develop into a fine player. But if he throws up a .229/.288/.300 season or three like Bourn did, I would not be surprised.
Mike Olt – Safety over ceiling is what Olt provides, but he strikes out a ton and is already at an age when most regulars have achieved regular playing time. An interesting argument from Olt supporters is, he’s better than Mitch Moreland, so you have to play him there. In over 1,000 plate appearances, Moreland has been a 100 wRC+ guy (exactly league average). If you gave Olt 600 plate appearances this season, I’m honestly not sure he’d be any better.
Lance McCullers – I like the stuff, but he’s not top-50 worthy yet. This isn’t to say he won’t get there, but I’d prefer Guerrieri/Crick over him without much thought.
Slade Heathcott – Finish this sentence: A _______ has nine lives. If you answered cat, then shame on you. Slade Heathcott should be the obvious answer. Look up Robbie Grossman‘s numbers and then explain why Slade Heathcott is in the top-100? In any other organization, he’d be a blip on the radar after the laundry lists of off-field issues and injuries which have impeded his development.
If you enjoyed this piece, let me know in the ROTOscouting forum and expand on the conversation. I’d be happy to look at players who I feel should be ranked higher and pleasant surprises if readers want me to keep going.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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