Differentiating between MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus top prospect rankings

By Sam Dykstra/MiLB.com

Prospectphiles continued their rejoicing, followed by debating, on Monday with Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks releasing his top 101 prospects list. That comes a little less than a week after MLB.com revealed its own top 100 rankings. More will shortly this way come as ESPN’s Keith Law puts out his top 100 Wednesday and Baseball America wraps up its team-by-team breakdowns the same day.

That many breakdowns means there are a lot of opinions, and as seen in any public forum, a lot of opinions usually means a lot of differing opinions. You could certainly say that’s the case with the MLB and BP lists. Let’s take a look at the biggest differences:


Players in BP list but not MLB.com

46. Miguel Almonte

56. Josmil Pinto

58. Hunter Harvey

59. Reese McGuire

60. Eddie Rosario

63. Phillip Ervin

68. James Paxton

70. Chi Chi Rodriguez

71. Wilmer Flores

76. Alberto Tirado

78. Sean Manaea

80. Nick Kingham

82. Jonathan Schoop

86. Brian Goodwin

88. Nick Williams

90. Enny Romero

96. Hunter Dozier

97. Raimel Tapia

98. Alexander Reyes

101. Lewis Thorpe

Analysis: Where to start, where to start. It might as well be with Almonte, who jumped into the top 50 of Parks’ rankings. The big difference in opinion appears to be in how you view Almonte’s changeup. Parks had that particular offering at a 7 potential, while MLB.com’s last report had it just as a 5 for both present and future. The 20-year-old right-hander has only reached Class A ball, so there’s still plenty of time for him to move up or down the rankings.

Pinto broke out big time with the bat (.309/.400/.482) at Double-A and Triple-A in 2013, and that was enough to earn praise from Parks. All that said, both his ceiling and floor are expected to be in the range of a Major League regular rather than a star, leading to the slight from MLB.com. He’ll likely start the year in Triple-A Rochester again, but odds are he’ll get the chance to beat those expectations once again with the lowly Twins in 2014.

Harvey, McGuire and Ervin are 2013 first-rounders who have yet to really make a home in the pros. All have the potential to rocket into the MLB.com 100 once they get innings/at-bats under their belts. My bet is that McGuire impresses the most out of that bunch.

Romero — my pick for MLB’s biggest snub — comes in at No. 90 on Parks’ list.


Guys in MLB.com but not BP

46. Allen Webster

52. Lance McCullers

62. Mookie Betts

65. Jake Marisnick

66. Delino DeShields

67. Alen Hanson

73. Trevor Bauer

75. Mason Williams

81. Justin Nicolino

83. Jimmy Nelson

84. Hak-Ju Lee

85. Rafael Montero

87. Casey Kelly

93. Roberto Osuna

94. Taylor Guerrieri

95. Edwin Escobar

96. Trey Ball

97. Robbie Ray

99. Rosell Herrera

Analysis: As I’ve written, I agree with BP’s non-ranking of Webster here. The same goes for Bauer and Nelson. The stuff is good enough to warrant a conversation on their inclusion but command concerns should keep them off.

As for position players, I talked at length in my last post as well about Williams and why he should drop off. I can see why Marisnick (limited bat) and DeShields (makeup concerns) also fell off.

The biggest surprise is Montero. I made the case that he should actually be higher than MLB.com’s No. 85 because of his command and results at the upper levels. Parks didn’t agree. Fair enough. McCullers and Betts were also worthy in my mind, although I understand everyone isn’t necessarily high on the latter’s profile as a future second baseman.

Austin Meadows

Five biggest drops in BP rankings from MLB.com

89. Austin Meadows (MLB.com 45, difference 44)

93. Jesse Biddle (MLB.com 53, difference 41)

69. Henry Owens (MLB.com 30, difference 39)

81. C.J. Edwards (MLB.com 42, difference 39)

85. Gary Sanchez (MLB.com 47, difference 38)

Analysis: Meadows, the ninth overall pick by the Pirates last June, got high grades from MLB.com on his hit (60), run (65) and field (60) tools. Parks hasn’t released his Pirates rankings yet and thus hasn’t offered his own reports on the center fielder, except to say that he liked the extremely speedy Phil Ervin more.  

Biddle, Owens and Edwards are all signs that MLB.com is high on guys who can rack up the K’s, as each put up double-digit K/9 numbers last season. Yet there are concerns for each — control, projectability and durability, respectively. Edwards, in particular, was ranked a little too high by MLB.com for my taste, despite his spectacular results in 2013. With questions regarding his workload, I’d want to wait until he tosses more than 116 1/3 innings in a season before giving him a spot in the top 50.


Five biggest risers in BP from MLB.com

28. Chris Owings (MLB.com 77, difference 49)

66. Stephen Piscotty (MLB.com 98, difference 32)

13. Lucas Giolito (MLB.com 44, difference 31)

47. Matt Wisler (MLB.com 78, difference 31)

35. Julio Urias (MLB.com 64, difference 29)

Analysis: It’s apparent that MLB.com is more down on both Owings’ play at the plate and the field. While his top ranking is just 55 (hit) for them, he received a 6+ potential hit and 6 arm from Parks. If he hits those marks in the Majors, that’s a big value at the shortstop position, making him fully worthy of the higher ranking.

Giolito (Tommy John) and Urias (extreme youth) are classic examples of unbelievably high ceilings with unknown floors. MLB.com chose to temper expectations because of the floor, while BP kept them high because of the ceiling. My view: incredible talents like Giolito and Urias deserve to be higher. If the ceiling is high, the ranking should follow suit.

Wisler is virtually the opposite of those two. His floor is in the back-end of a rotation with his ceiling not much higher at a No. 3 slot. If you find value in a guy who’s guaranteed to make a big-league rotation someday, you’ll put him higher. If you prefer guys who have higher ceilings (despite lower floors), then guys like Wisler fall.



Thanks for the shout out! I’m glad you were able to use it for the article.

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