The Top 100

Baseball America today released its list of baseball's top 100 prospects. The relevant names (in order of appearance, overall ranking in parentheses):

  1. (3) Jesus Montero, C, Yankees
  2. (30) Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
  3. (31) Casey Kelly, RHP, Padres
  4. (41) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees
  5. (52) Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox
  6. (43) Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees
  7. (67) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox
  8. (75) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Padres
  9. (78) Andrew Brackman, RHP, Yankees
  10. (97) Drake Britton, LHP, Red Sox
  11. (98) Austin Romine, C, Yankees

Montero is obviously the class of the bunch, though you can of course fill pages with the controversy over whether he's really a catcher and if not what the Yankees will do with him given their cloggy situation at first base/DH for the foreseeable future.

After that, it's fairly evenly split between Yankees and Red Sox or ex-Red Sox. I added the players included in the Adrian Gonzalez trade for some context; the Sox paid a heavy price for Gonzalez's services, though one I think most everyone would gladly pay considering the lack of MLB-ready talent in the package (no, Eric Patterson doesn't count). Of course, the trade did happen — and Ryan Westmoreland did have brain surgery — and as a result the Sox are thin at the top: Iglesias and Ranaudo have received plenty of hype, Britton less so.

Conversely, the Yankees are quite deep at the top, and there has been no shortage of ink spilled over the promise of Montero and the Killer Bs, though I have to say Sanchez is an unfamiliar name to this non-Yankee fan.

Below the jump, we'll compare and contrast with some other prospect lists, as well as some historical ones.


MLB.com posted a Top 50 list last month. I have no idea who worked on this list, so I'd take it with a grain of salt:

  1. (9) Jesus Montero
  2. (22) Casey Kelly
  3. (32) Gary Sanchez
  4. (35) Manny Banuelos
  5. (42) Jose Iglesias

Keith Law, a much more known commodity, has his own Top 100 list out, as well. It's Insider-only, but here are the relevant names:

  1. (4) Jesus Montero
  2. (12) Manny Banuelos
  3. (19) Casey Kelly
  4. (38) Anthony Rizzo
  5. (45) Jose Iglesias 
  6. (54) Anthony Ranaudo
  7. (68) Gary Sanchez
  8. (73) Dellin Betances
  9. (88) Andrew Brackman 
  10. (90) Drake Britton

Law really likes Banuelos and dislikes Sanchez relative to the other two. 

Here's BA's Top 100 from last February:

  1. (4) Jesus Montero
  2. (21) Ryan Westmoreland
  3. (24) Casey Kelly
  4. (75) Josh Reddick
  5. (86) Austin Romine
  6. (87) Lars Anderson

A light list for both teams. Oddly enough, the Sox have seen a wholesale changeover: Kelly is gone, Westmoreland is valiantly trying to return to the game, Reddick and Anderson have seen their stars dim. Meanwhile, the Yankees' representatives have remained in almost the exact same spots, with the Killer Bs and Sanchez joining them this season (though Brackman was on the '09 list).

Two years ago, this is what Law's Top 100 list looked like:

  1. (7) Lars Anderson (yes, that's right)
  2. (46) Austin Jackson
  3. (52) Michael Bowden
  4. (81) Nick Hagadone
  5. (83) Jesus Montero
  6. (90) Junichi Tazawa
  7. (94) Daniel Bard
  8. (95) Andrew Brackman
  9. (HM) Dellin Betances, Josh Reddick

Wow, so I count as "wins": Jackson (looks to be a solid regular), Montero (improved and shot up the charts), Brackman (still there) and Betances (ditto).

But the losses are huge: Anderson (looks to be a flame-out), Bowden (struggling to compete as a reliever), Bard (already one of baseball's top relievers) and failing to rank Ryan Kalish, who has already lost his prospect status and is expected to be the first call-up in the event of injury and the man who replaces J.D. Drew in right field next year.

The jury's stil out on Tazawa (TJ surgery) and Hagadone (as far as I know; he was traded to Cleveland for Victor Martinez).

Another historical tidbit: The last time either team had a player as high in the BA prospect rankings as Montero was in 2008. Joba Chamberlain was No. 3, Clay Buchholz was No. 4.

Here's that list:

  1. (3) Joba Chamberlain
  2. (4) Clay Buchholz
  3. (13) Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. (37) Jose Tabata
  5. (40) Lars Anderson
  6. (41) Austin Jackson
  7. (45) Ian Kennedy
  8. (64) Justin Masterson
  9. (73) Jed Lowrie
  10. (94) Michael Bowden
  11. (96) Ryan Kalish

In 2007, Daisuke Matsuzaka was ranked No. 1, while Phil Hughes was No. 4.

It's interesting. Of those four pitchers — Matsuzaka, Hughes, Chamberlain and Buchholz — not one of them has had anything approaching an easy time in the majors, and all four are at vastly different places in how they are perceived and valued.

The last time the Sox had a position player in the top 10 of BA's list was 2005, when Hanley Ramirez was ranked 10th. Since 1996, the Yankees have had quite a few players reach the Top 10: Ruben Rivera, Derek Jeter, Nick Johnson, Drew Henson, Jose Contreras, Hideki Matsui, Hughes, Joba and Montero. The Sox have had only Nomar Garciaparra, Hanley, Daisuke and Buchholz.

But here's a list of players to have significant roles for the Sox and Yanks in recent years (and come through their minor-league systems, even if not necessarily drafted by the clubs) who were arguably underrated by BA:

  • Dustin Pedroia made one appearance, at No. 77 in 2006.
  • Jonathan Papelbon made two appearances, peaking at No. 37 in 2006.
  • Jon Lester made his only appearance at No. 22 in 2006.
  • Jason Varitek's only appearance came at No. 51 in 1996.
  • Derek Lowe peaked at No. 63 in 1994.
  • Kevin Youkilis never made the list.
  • Robinson Cano never made the list.
  • Mariano Rivera never made the list.
  • Jorge Posada never made the list.

BA's lists through the years can be found here.

36 comments… add one

  • Awesome post, Paul.
    Prospects are nothing more than that. Hype is fun, but that’s all there is to it.

    Brad February 23, 2011, 3:43 pm
  • I love prospect evaluation, and tracking their rankings over the years. So many “sure things” that have ended up doing nothing.

    Atheose - SF February 24, 2011, 7:39 am
  • “After that, it’s fairly evenly split between Yankees and Red Sox or ex-Red Sox.”
    6 in the top 100…3 in the top 50…I’d say the Yankees have the edge. Give us something… :)
    Paul, Sanchez was signed out of DR back in 2009 at age 16. He just had heart surgery a few weeks ago, he had an extra nerve in his heart. He’s fine going forward according to all reports. He’s a baby though, he’s years away from helping the Yankees big club. Montero, Sanchez, Romine, Cervelli, J.R. Murphy…They are loaded at catcher.
    In re: to Casey Kelly: I don’t believe the hype on him. I follow prospects pretty closely and have read enough on him and his stats…I just don’t see him being a star. I will gladly eat my words if I am wrong, but I just don’t see anything that says otherwise. By all accounts he grades out to be comparable to Mike Minor (Braves prospect)…good, but not great. The thing that draws people to him is the appeal of what could be. He’s just learning how to pitch after being primarily a SS, yada yada…His minor league #’s don’t pop. Compare his new teammate Mat Latos in the minor leagues:
    Latos 10.5 K/9, 1.06 WHIP, 2.49 ERA
    Kelly 7.3 K/9, 1.23 WHIP, 3.69 ERA
    Minor: 10.9 K/9, 1.10 WHIP, 3.15 ERA
    Latos was taken in the 11th round. Kelly taken in the 1st round. Minor was taken in the 13th round.
    Site I like to use has him as a B- ceiling, D+ floor and a moderate risk. I think Anthony Rizzo ends up being the gem of this trade.

    John - YF February 24, 2011, 10:02 am
  • thanks paul…nice work…interesting stuff
    what strikes me about an examination of prospects like this is what a tough job guys like theo and cashman have…the critics who say they are checkbook gm’s miss the point about knowing when to use a chip and when to hold onto it…hughes has been traded 100 times in fantasyland, and right now it looks smart that cashman didn’t use him to get santana…to me, the easier gm jobs are where expectations have been low, yes tampa i’m talking to you, and the gm knows he’s going to lose free agents, and they just need to plug in another kid and hope for the best…once in awhile you catch lightning in a bottle…

    dc February 24, 2011, 10:55 am
  • I watched “Yankees Magazine” last night on YES and they had a segment on Betances. Wow. That kid is huge. He is actually bigger (taller) than CC. They seem to be really excited about the kid.

    krueg February 24, 2011, 12:18 pm
  • hughes has been traded 100 times in fantasyland, and right now it looks smart that cashman didn’t use him to get santana..
    So true. Jon Lester was in the deal that would have brought Alex Rodriguez from Texas, and as I recall the Sox offered him for Santana (the Twins held out for more, then ultimately took less). Seems like nearly every Sox fan wanted to trade Clay Buchholz for Jarrod Saltalamacchia when Buchholz was struggling so badly; now the Sox have both, and it’s Salty who’s viewed as the team’s weakest link. Sometimes you just never know.

    Paul SF February 24, 2011, 1:52 pm
  • In re: to Casey Kelly: I don’t believe the hype on him
    This I cannot agree with. Perhaps the hype starts with the “yada yada” SS stuff, but this kid can throw the ball.
    You’re completely basing everything, ceiling and all, on his first real year as a pitcher. Seems a little short sighted to me. Everyone who has seen him pitch agrees that his stuff and velocity is great.
    I’ll hold off on this.
    With regards to how little I believe in prospects, you need not look any further than Cano, Pedroia, and Youkilis before realizing that the hype means absolutely nothing. Nothing.
    It’s exciting to think about (oh oh look at us and all our homegrown players, but ignore that 100M in FA stuff), but in reality, these kids are nothing more than pieces. Until they aren’t.

    Brad February 24, 2011, 1:54 pm
  • He’s pitched prior to last year. Last year was his first season since HS that he pitched exclusively. So it’s not as if he was a SS (Tony Pena Jr.) and he all of a sudden decided he’d pick up pitching. His best attributes by all accounts are his offspeed pitches (change and deuce) but his velocity still sits in the high 80’s to low 90’s consistently. I am by no means saying the kid is garbage, but it seems like his value lies in what could be rather than what is. I’ve yet to read anything in re: to his velocity being great. Everything I read is that it’s serviceable. I’d like to see him pitch in person maybe then I could be swayed.

    John - YF February 24, 2011, 2:52 pm
  • I’d like to see him pitch in person maybe then I could be swayed.
    This is how I feel about all of them. Especially catchers and pitchers.

    Brad February 24, 2011, 3:00 pm
  • at what point does an investigation as being suggested here cross the line of being prudent to being “creepy” and unfair?…
    http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=6148268
    can’t tell if this is out of the ordinary, or if they were going through his garbage or peeking in his windows, but apparently he has been made to feel uncomfortable:
    carl crawford:
    “I definitely look over my shoulder now a lot more than what I did before,” he said. “Just when he told me that, the idea of him following me everywhere I go, was kind of, I wasn’t comfortable with that at all.”
    “I don’t know how they do it, how much distance they keep from you when they watch you the whole time. I definitely check my back now, at least 100 yard radius. I’m always looking over my shoulder now. Now I look before I go in my house. I’d better not see anything suspicious now.”
    i realize that this would be a more fun topic, if it was hank going through jeter’s hamper, but it seemed worth noting…

    dc February 25, 2011, 8:56 am
  • “i realize that this would be a more fun topic, if it was hank going through jeter’s hamper, but it seemed worth noting…”
    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face dc. Nice way to start a Friday :)

    IronHorse (YF) February 25, 2011, 9:07 am
  • Don’t worry Carl, you’ll only have to be looking over your shoulder for another 7 years…time will fly don’t worry. Especially in a town like Boston…lot’s of personal space and the fans and media are not overbearing at all. This seems like a marriage made in heaven.
    Well while he still may be winning, it’s nice to know Cash isn’t the only GM doing stupid sh*t.

    John - YF February 25, 2011, 9:45 am
  • Stupid shit?
    Really? This is what you guys are gonna jump on today?
    News flash: they weren’t going through his garbage. The were investigating his day to day habits and going-ons to ensure that the guy they’re giving 20M a year to isn’t into some really bad shit.
    What happens if he has a bad drinking problem? Or drove home drunk a few nights a week? Or maybe he likes to get motel rooms with teenage boys on Tuesday afternoons?
    This is due diligence: they didn’t infringe on his life or even personal space. The simply did a little due diligence.
    The Jeter thing is bullshit. He’s 40 years old and has been with the organization for about 32 of them – his risk factor is very low.
    Marriage made in heaven. Give me a break with this crap. You guys are really grasping at this point. I saw Crawford with Gammons, and he said it creeped him out when he found out, but only because he was ignorant of the fact that someone was there, not so much that it was happening.
    I bet Detroit wishes they’d done a little homework on that invalid they have there. Don’t you?

    Brad February 25, 2011, 10:02 am
  • but it seemed worth noting…
    Why? The Red Sox were honest with him, told him up front that he had been the subject of the investigation, and told him the results…where is the problem? If it “creeped him out”, he certainly had the option to not come to Boston. I mean, they informed him of what they’d done well before the ink hit the paper.

    Brad February 25, 2011, 10:07 am
  • at what point does an investigation as being suggested here cross the line of being prudent to being “creepy” and unfair?…
    Never. If you’re willing to take 20M dollars a year to play a game, you better be okay with the fact that they want to protect their investment.
    I mean, I work at a job that actually takes blood. Blood. If you don’t sign off on that, you don’t take the job. I had to pass homeland sec checks, give blood, have my credit and drivers license looked over, and even had to explain any large bank deposits for the year. Is that over the top, or just a company making sure they aren’t hiring a person that doesn’t live up to what they’re looking for?

    Brad February 25, 2011, 10:10 am
  • “…his risk factor is very low…”
    i sure as heck don’t know what’s in his hamper…but, maybe crawford should get a restraining order…
    come on brad, let’s be fair here…you called me “pissy” the other day, because it’s fair game to poop on arod, jeter, and hank on a regular basis, all in the name of “humor”…a whole post devoted to popcorn…but, one of your guys does/says something stupid, and suddenly we’re out of bounds if we bring it up…

    dc February 25, 2011, 10:11 am
  • Not at all dc. In fact, read the thread: I stood up for ARod in the thread.
    Plus, as stated, this isn’t a stupid thing to do. In fact, it’s very, very smart. Maybe with a few more of these things, teams wouldn’t be stuck with the Milton Bradleys and Giambis of the world.

    Brad February 25, 2011, 10:16 am
  • if in fact Theo and Co. had done something stupid, or even irrational, I’d be the first to point that out. And have.

    Brad February 25, 2011, 10:17 am
  • sure as heck don’t know what’s in his hamper..
    Minka goodies. Probably worth going through.

    Brad February 25, 2011, 10:17 am
  • “Really? This is what you guys are gonna jump on today?”
    No, you are right we should just talk more about how bad Jeter is defensively.
    “I definitely look over my shoulder now a lot more than what I did before,” he said. “Just when he told me that, the idea of him following me everywhere I go, was kind of, I wasn’t comfortable with that at all.”
    “I definitely check my back now, at least 100 yard radius. I’m always looking over my shoulder now. Now I look before I go in my house. I’d better not see anything suspicious now.”
    Those are HIS words, not mine. So you can spin it all you’d like it doesn’t sound to me that Crawford is too pleased with the “investigation” or words of Theo. It’s not like I put those words in his mouth, HE said them. You can call it nitpicking or reaching, but he doesn’t sound all that psyched about what went on, justified or not.

    John - YF February 25, 2011, 10:25 am
  • well sorry i brought it up…i guess it just wasn’t as funny as i thought it was, which was my point to begin with…it just seems sometimes that it matters who’s poking the fun and who the target is, that’s all…a whole post devoted to popcorn, but not a peep about this…and if you noticed i had some fun with the popcorn thread too, silly, but it was some fun…and yes, this was “worth noting” because of crawford’s reaction, not mine…check his quote again, if you don’t believe me…does that sound like a guy who doesn’t think it’s a big deal, regardless of whether theo was being reasonable and prudent?…
    “minka goodies”…how would we know without a thorough investigation ;)

    dc February 25, 2011, 10:30 am
  • Theo’s clarification:
    “We simply had our scouts do a thorough job on his background and makeup, the way we do for all players of interest. I used a poor choice of words during a radio interview, which I regret, and unfortunately that made a story out of a non-story,”
    Theo’s initial statement:
    “We covered him as if we were privately investigating him. We had a scout on him literally the last three or four months of the season at the ballpark, away from the ballpark.”
    If he didn’t think what he said was wrong or off base, would he have clarified his statement? It’s OK he made a statement it came out wrong and people ran with it. Sound familiar? So again while Cashman is still leading the league in dumb/off base comments, there are others that make the same stupid mistakes.

    John - YF February 25, 2011, 10:34 am
  • looks like we cross-posted john…we’re saying essentially the same thing…

    dc February 25, 2011, 10:38 am
  • I will say I think this is a topic worth discussing. I’m sorry I didn’t do a post about it, so thanks to DC for bringing it up.
    Theo’s comments made me raise my eyebrows when I saw them, but the next day he clarified them so I didn’t think anything else about it. I hadn’t seen Crawford’s comments until just now in DC’s post. I think Crawford overreacted a bit, and assuming they were given to WEEI, I also don’t know the context, if these were more joking around or dead serious.
    I think John’s “marriage made in heaven” comment that got Brad so exercised is also an overreaction. I think Brad is more right than not on this, and I suspect Crawford was so taken aback about the Sox’ diligence in part because he comes from a market where most people couldn’t give two craps about the team. Could that lead to problems later on, as John implies? Sure, it could. So far, other than these comments, Crawford doesn’t seem to have any illusions it will be anything like Tampa, and he seems to welcome the more intense atmosphere, so I think it’s too early to be prejudging the fit of the relationship.

    Paul SF February 25, 2011, 10:53 am
  • And I’m not sure we can compare Epstein’s comments here, which he says were poorly worded, with Cashman openly rejecting the signing of his team’s big free agent acquisition of the offseason. That’s orders of magnitude more noteworthy, to me.

    Paul SF February 25, 2011, 11:02 am
  • well, to be fair paul, i know you can’t be on top of every detail coming out in the media, and sometimes it’s your approach to allow one of the other mods to chime in with a post…
    “…I also don’t know the context, if these were more joking around or dead serious….”
    that’s a good point paul, but the journalist providing the story and quotes has an obligation to make sure we understand the context…the article makes no attempt to clarify, so a reasonable assumption is that crawford was indeed “creeped out”, not “funny creeped out”, but “creepy creeped out”…over-reaction?…perhaps, but all the more reason theo should get with him as soon as possible to explain the protocol, and that it was nothing personal…you don’t want your star player distracted by paranoia…and i think that’s all john meant…

    dc February 25, 2011, 11:03 am
  • I don’t know Carl Crawford personally. I don’t know what he’s thinking. I can only go off of what he said. I am not a Sox fan. I don’t read his statement and look for the bright side. To me I read those statements then add in the pressure cooker that is Boston (not that NY isn’t the same way), the length of his deal and you get the statement I made. I stand by what I said. Again, it’s OK to criticize the other team and have an opinion. We just lived through 2 weeks of discussions of pop corn for Pete’s sake!

    John - YF February 25, 2011, 11:04 am
  • I am not comparing Theo’s comments to anything specific Cashman has said or done but rather I am trying to say: While Cashman as of late has the market cornered on regrettable statements, it’s not beyond possibility that others can make mistakes and make foolish comments that they then regret…Is that really that controversial?

    John - YF February 25, 2011, 11:07 am
  • but all the more reason theo should get with him as soon as possible to explain the protocol, and that it was nothing personal…you don’t want your star player distracted by paranoia…and i think that’s all john meant…
    It’s only paranoia if they’re not really out to get you. ;-)

    Paul SF February 25, 2011, 11:07 am
  • .Is that really that controversial?
    Ahh. No. I drew a connection that looking back over your comments did not actually exist. Sorry about that.

    Paul SF February 25, 2011, 11:10 am
  • No worries Paul. I am being a little persnickity today (as my father in law would say). Less than a week until practice starts and more than half my team is missing physicals…that’s after reminding them of this for the past 6 weeks to get it done. To put it in their terms: SMH.

    John - YF February 25, 2011, 11:20 am
  • “…It’s only paranoia if they’re not really out to get you. ;-)..”
    they could remake the mel gibson classic “conspiracy theory”, starring carl and theo…

    dc February 25, 2011, 12:04 pm
  • I would think that the Sox would be FOOLS for NOT finding out about Carl off the field, it’s a big investment.
    That being said, I would imagine Theo should have just said NOTHING, or at the most something like “we do background checks and make sure that nothing funny seems to be going on with a player, we find out whatever we can”, and left it at that.
    I am in the camp that feels like what Theo “let slip” is closer to the truth than his post-haste clarifications, and while I don’t begrudge the Sox their right to look into the activities of a guy in whom they may invest millions and millions of dollars, the depth of what they did (by implication, at least) strikes me as, yes, creepy.

    SF February 25, 2011, 12:41 pm
  • but the journalist providing the story and quotes has an obligation to make sure we understand the context
    I hate to bash the media, but the standard expected above rarely happens anymore. Especially in the “celebrity-gossip” world of popular sports teams.

    Atheose - SF February 25, 2011, 1:47 pm
  • Yeah, sports journalism is barely even journalism, if it really ever was. The winter meetings and trade deadline scoopfests are simply heretical to anyone interested in true journalism.

    Paul SF February 25, 2011, 2:23 pm
  • Athletes aren’t just about their performance: their character, personality and marketability are also important. If the Tigers knew that Miggy had alcohol problems, would they have traded for him? What about Brett Meyers, who beat up his wife in public? Both scenarios reflect poorly on the team, and create distractions that nobody wants.
    Following a player to get an idea of his character is a very smart business move, especially with a player whom the Sox invested a lot of money into. Before the signing the Sox told Crawford up-front what they had been doing, and Carl signed with the team anyways. I’m sure he’s telling the truth that he was a bit creeped out (who wouldn’t be?), but it obviously didn’t deter him from signing with Boston so it clearly didn’t affect him very much.

    Atheose - SF February 25, 2011, 2:45 pm

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