December 10, 2022

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An Introduction to Evaluating Prospects

6 min read

Francisco Alvarez through the Pledge of Allegiance CC by 2.0 License


When you’ve been protecting updated with The Drummey Angle articles during the last couple of months, you in all probability know that I’m the resident prospect man. The whole thing of my content material is devoted to evaluating prospects. As some may know, I’ve been slowly rolling out workforce prime 10 lists on my Instagram, and by the tip of the offseason, could have a complete record of the highest 100 prospects in baseball. Nonetheless, earlier than I get to that time, I wish to take a while to elucidate the methodology and course of behind my private analysis, and general simply give some premise to how I imagine prospects ought to be evaluated normally.

Future Worth

That is basically the idea of rating prospects. Theoretically, the upper a prospect is ranked, the extra worth we venture them to supply on the large league degree. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longehagen did an ideal job summing up their philosophy in this Fangraphs article from a number of years in the past, in addition to of their must-read ebook, Future Worth. Whereas I used the Fangraphs system as a place to begin, I’ve some key concepts that want additional clarification, the primary of which is the tiers that I exploit for Future Worth. Previous to this offseason, I’ve been fairly stingy with my FV grades. I used to be hesitant to present anybody a 60 grade, and a 65 was comparatively extraordinary. Nonetheless, folks don’t like pessimists, so I’ve determined to be just a little extra beneficiant in my FV tiers.

I’m not satisfied any participant will ever deserve an 80-grade FV, so let’s simply throw that out. 75 grades don’t exist on the planet of scouting, so we’ll toss that out as effectively. 70’s are generationally proficient prospects (assume Alex Rodriguez and Bryce Harper). In my new system, the highest 3-5 prospects in any given yr will fall into the 65 FV class. These are guys who I anticipate to be perennial all-stars after breaking into the league. 60-grades are in one more elite membership. These are gamers who’re going to be affect bats in a lineup and are valued extremely extremely by organizations. Due to the variety of prospects that fall into the 55, 50, 45, and 40-tiers, I exploit + as a approach to differentiate the higher tier at an FV degree from the underside tier.

Anybody with a 55+, 55, or 50+ FV, has possible compelled their approach right into a workforce’s long-term plans. Under that, it begins to get dicey. 50 grades are handed out to gamers who’ve an ideal likelihood of constructing the MLB, however venture to be mediocre, low-ceiling gamers. These are your backside 4 within the lineup, and 4th or fifth starters within the rotation. 45+ is reserved for gamers who will get an enormous league crack in some unspecified time in the future however should succeed to show their value. That is going to be the bottom finish of on a regular basis starters whereas 45 grades can be typical bench function gamers. Gamers that fall into each the 40+ and 40 vary are typically journeymen sort gamers (sometimes called AAAA), These gamers don’t have a long-term dwelling, however could be helpful in a depth function and to fill in as accidents start to choose up. Something under that’s just about organizational depth and gamers who’re going to wish to interrupt out to see the bigs.

Bodily Projection

Peak and weight are sometimes used as buzzwords with regards to prospect analysis. Individuals will throw out pointless numbers to justify an insane take. When diving right into a bodily projection, it’s fairly a bit less complicated than folks assume. I take a look at a participant like Druw Jones as a major instance of bodily projection. The consensus greatest participant within the 2022 draft class entered the draft cycle as a uncooked athlete who had plus instruments throughout the board. His ability set was fairly much like that of Elijah Inexperienced, one other consensus prime 5 participant, however each single scout within the business ranked Jones forward of Inexperienced. That is primarily as a result of Inexperienced was listed at 6’3”/225 whereas Jones was at 6’4”/180. Inexperienced is actually, “bodily maxed out”, which means that his energy potential isn’t a lot greater than what it at present is. Jones, however, will be capable to add a straightforward 20-30 kilos on an MLB-caliber power routine. Whereas Jones already produces top-tier exit velocities, there may be nonetheless room for them to extend even additional as he will get stronger. You will need to perceive that when a scout throws out bodily projections, they don’t have a crystal ball. Possibly in 5 years, Druw Jones could have struggled to placed on weight, and I’ll appear to be an entire and whole fool for being so excessive on him, nevertheless, it is a vital factor to take into accounts the participant you’re getting in 5 years fairly than the one in entrance of you now.

The Age/Stage Correlation

That is probably the most understated and underrated side of scouting in my view. Each participant that has risen by the ranks rapidly and have become an MLB sensation has one factor in frequent: They performed harder competitors at a youthful age. In 2022, the common age of AAA hitters, in accordance with Baseball America, was 26.6 years previous. Right here’s when a number of of the sport’s brightest stars hit Triple-A:

Bryce Harper: 19

Mike Trout: 20

Juan Soto: (By no means. He went from AA to MLB at 19)

Ronald Acuna: 19

Fernando Tatis: (By no means. He went from AA to MLB at 20)

Wander Franco: 20

There’s a fairly noticeable correlation between these prodigious skills and a speedy ascent by the minor league system. Whereas clearly only a few gamers transfer by a system at this tempo, it is very important think about the age and degree of each participant. For instance, a 28-year-old tearing up AAA is probably going disregarded, whereas a 21-year-old posting common outcomes can be checked out way more favorably. Listed here are a number of names to control as they’re at present posting good stats whereas extremely younger for his or her degree:

Francisco Alvarez, 20 years previous with MLB and AAA expertise

Elly De La Cruz, 20 years previous in AA

Jackson Chourio, 18 years previous in AA

Chourio has made headlines this yr for his breakout efficiency and has been ranked as excessive because the second-best prospect within the sport by Baseball America. Alvarez is at present ranked as MLB Pipeline’s primary prospect and De La Cruz is a consensus prime 20 prospect throughout the board. These guys all have a monitor file of success whereas enjoying in opposition to competitors 4-5 years older. All through baseball historical past, the fellows who’ve been in a position to set up success in opposition to older opponents within the minor leagues have seen extra success once they attain the majors.

Place

As talked about earlier than, Future Worth is a technique of WAR projection. The informal baseball fan may not know, however WAR has positional changes that reward gamers for enjoying a place that requires extra ability. The worth of positions in accordance with fWAR are ranked on this order:

1) Catcher

2) Shortstop

3) Centerfield

4) Second Base/Third Base

5) Left Discipline/Proper Discipline

6) First Base

7) Designated Hitter

Due to the way in which this works, it forces scouts to take the place a participant performs into consideration whereas evaluating and constructing rankings. As seen with Francisco Alvarez, catchers have a tendency to learn from the positional adjustment. It’s exhausting to return by actually good catchers, and when a expertise like Alvarez rolls round, they’re normally valued greater than different gamers. The positional argument normally comes up each draft cycle. Nearly yearly, there’s a university 1B or DH that rakes however has no positional or defensive worth. Ivan “The Hispanic Titanic” Melendez out of Texas and Sonny DiChiara out of Auburn have been two nice examples this yr. Whereas each hit about, in addition to any participant in school baseball, neither certainly one of them, was a first-round decide as a result of lack of worth from both one defensively. Normally, positional changes are likely to worth athletic gamers who’ve utility skills and/or play a premium place.

Conclusion

Whereas all of those phrases have been thrown out loads of occasions earlier than, I wished to make clear my stance on them and clarify the way in which that I take issues into consideration whereas making my private rankings, in addition to clarify a thought course of that will work for the reader. Hopefully, this helps to place not solely my rankings in perspective, but additionally helps you perceive common prospect analysis.

Creator’s Observe: Be sure you keep tuned to Minor League Media on Instagram and Twitter to see the discharge of my prospect rankings.

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