Let’s be honest; I know I’m not the only fool on the planet that ranks prospects and publishes those rankings for public consumption. However, that does not mean that the writing and rankings on this blog are going to mimic those of other sites you may visit. For that reason, I want to spend a brief minute providing a baseline for my personal ranking concept.
My general concept is not unlike that of what many others espouse. Ranking prospects is a delicate balance between utilizing the scouting information available through my contacts, my own scouting evaluations, and the performance or ability of a player to apply their attributes to the game.
The application of that delicate balance is where one ranker may deviate from another. I tend to lean toward the raw tools and the dream of them being actualized on the field. I tend to lean toward potential high ceiling players.
I love raw athletes that can amaze you and frustrate you in a span of thirty seconds. I love pitchers with present velocity or projection for future velocity. I love power over speed. I love power pitchers over command pitchers.
From an offensive perspective, it is much more difficult to find power than speed in young players, at least in my experience. For that reason, I cherish power when it exists and when it is projected, and I rank those players accordingly. That is not to say I will rank players with power above others at all cost, but I will give them the proverbial benefit of the doubt when considering their future value and where they may fit in my rankings.
The same can be said of my taste for raw athletes. I will give an edge to a raw athlete with an abundance of tools and will often times favor them at times in my rankings.
On the mound, I firmly believe you can’t teach velocity or arm strength. I’ll take a young pitcher with plus velocity and a lack of command over a young pitcher with feel, below average velocity and a lack of projection. It is often difficult to coax more velocity from a pitcher while command and control, while not easy, can more often be taught.
These statements may seem like absolutes but that is not the intent. There are no absolutes in prospect evaluation and scouting. These are just the basic guidelines that frame my thought process. Where that thought process leads once started on a path within those guidelines is anybody’s guess, including my own.
So in the end, when you review my rankings and try to understand my rationale, you will often be able to fall back on a few basic tenants; athleticism, power and velocity. All other elements of scouting and player evaluation certainly maintain their value in the process, but these three represent what I believe to be the difference makers.
My rankings will reflect this credo while they will also reflect an understanding that these tools are not the end of the story, but rather just the foundation for a potential premium talent.
With that little bit quickly explained, let’s get on to the rankings, starting tomorrow with the Atlanta Braves Top 15!