There are now a number of Top 10 Yanks Prospect lists out there. Because I just finished my master’s program and am looking for a job and have a lot of time on my hands, I checked out 6 of these lists–Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickels, Baseball HQ, Chad Jenning’s SWB Yanks Blog, and NoMaas–to see if a consensus list could be made from them. To do this, I used the following method: I avoided writing a cover letter I didn’t want to write, then assigned point values to the players on each expert’s list (by the way, I define "expert" as anyone who bothers to come up with a Top 10 prospect list). If a player was ranked #1, he was given 10 points; ranked #2, he got 9 points; ranked #3, he got 8 points, and so on. If he was not on a list, he was given 0 points. I then totalled up all the lists. The maximum a player could get was 60 points. The minimum was 1 point. Based on their point totals, I created a Top 10 list.
There are many problems with this "methodology". One of the problems is that I am no closer to getting a job than I was before I started the task. Another problem is that it doesn’t account for players who were, say, #11 on certain experts’ lists. Essentially, they are the equivalent with the #20 ranked player on the same list. So that #20 player could be viewed as a #20 player on five of the six lists and yet be ranked as a #5 on one of the lists. And that #11 player could be ranked as a #11 or #10 on all of the lists, and the #20 player would rank higher than the #11 player on this consensus list. Do you follow? I’m saying that I was too lazy to fix this problem. But you know what? We now have a list. Instead of calling it the Consensus List, I’ll call it Nick-YF’s Top Ten Yankees Prospects. Another expert joins the party (although the other experts know what they’re talking about). Here it is:
- Joba Chamberlain, 60 points: Biggest prospect in the history of Nick’s Picks.
- Jose Tabata: 50 points: Passes the Bob Sheppard test. You can do this at home (thereby wasting even more time avoiding responsibility). Say the player’s name in Bob Sheppard’s voice. If it sounds right, the player is a True Yankee of the future.
- Ian Kennedy, 47 points: His name passes the Sheppard test, if just barely. But I like him as a top prospect because of his demeanor on the mound.
- Austin Jackson, 41 points: Doesn’t pass the Sheppard test mainly because of the first name. Austin’s red state connotations would sound jarring in the Bronx air.
- Alan Horne, 38 points: Definitely doesn’t pass the Bob Sheppard test. Too few syllables.
- Jesus Montero, 24 points: Bob Sheppard, meet the name you were born to say. The #1 name on the list.
- Andrew Brackman, 15 points: Honestly, I don’t hear it. Something about the "Brack" is jarring and suggestive of disappointment.
- Dellin Betances, 14 points: It might not be as monumental as Jesus Montero, but it’s personally my favorite name in the entire Yanks farm system. He sould anchor the rotation for years to come.
- Humberto Sanchez, 12 points: Joe Benigno ruined this name for me if only because of his spots for Umberto’s Clam House.
- Jeff Marquez, 6 points: That’s a journeyman’s name. There is a no-frills quality that might appeal to the unpretentious fanbase.
This is the point where I should write something about the state of the farm system and near misses. Well, Bret Gardner was close to cracking the top ten, although his name evoked troubling images of Brett Ratner, and sounds more football than baseball. In general, scouring the farm system, it is newly healthy with good names. Damon Oppenheim (his name brings to mind a troubled genius of the 20th century) has done a good job revitalizing it.