Baseball America today released its list of baseball's top 100 prospects. The relevant names (in order of appearance, overall ranking in parentheses):
- (3) Jesus Montero, C, Yankees
- (30) Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
- (31) Casey Kelly, RHP, Padres
- (41) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees
- (52) Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox
- (43) Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees
- (67) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox
- (75) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Padres
- (78) Andrew Brackman, RHP, Yankees
- (97) Drake Britton, LHP, Red Sox
- (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:
- (9) Jesus Montero
- (22) Casey Kelly
- (32) Gary Sanchez
- (35) Manny Banuelos
- (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:
- (4) Jesus Montero
- (12) Manny Banuelos
- (19) Casey Kelly
- (38) Anthony Rizzo
- (45) Jose Iglesias
- (54) Anthony Ranaudo
- (68) Gary Sanchez
- (73) Dellin Betances
- (88) Andrew Brackman
- (90) Drake Britton
Law really likes Banuelos and dislikes Sanchez relative to the other two.
Here's BA's Top 100 from last February:
- (4) Jesus Montero
- (21) Ryan Westmoreland
- (24) Casey Kelly
- (75) Josh Reddick
- (86) Austin Romine
- (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:
- (7) Lars Anderson (yes, that's right)
- (46) Austin Jackson
- (52) Michael Bowden
- (81) Nick Hagadone
- (83) Jesus Montero
- (90) Junichi Tazawa
- (94) Daniel Bard
- (95) Andrew Brackman
- (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:
- (3) Joba Chamberlain
- (4) Clay Buchholz
- (13) Jacoby Ellsbury
- (37) Jose Tabata
- (40) Lars Anderson
- (41) Austin Jackson
- (45) Ian Kennedy
- (64) Justin Masterson
- (73) Jed Lowrie
- (94) Michael Bowden
- (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.