Anything Nick can do I can do better. As long as your definition of "better" is "basically the same."
Last week, Nick delivered the consensus Top 10 Yankee prospects based on the expert opinions of various experts from across the expert-led Internets. Here, I will attempt to do the same. First, the ground rules Nick set up:
I … 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.
As Nick said, this isn’t in any way scientific, and there are issues with methodology, etc. But, really, who cares?
I took the Sox lists from six sites — because there’s no way I was going to use fewer lists than were used for the Yankees (yes, I am that petty): Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, John Sickles, SoxProspects.com, Over the Monster’s poll-based list, and the House That Dewey Built.
I did add one twist — I tried to differentiate between the "experts" and the non-experts by developing a highly complicated formula to weight the BP, BA, Sickles and SoxProspects lists for their high experticity (by multiplying the points received from those lists by 1.5). After weighting the points, a grand total of zero prospects shifted ranks in the cumulative Top 10.
Despite that, the weighted system guarantees that every prospect on the Sox list will have more points than the counterpart prospects on the Yankee list, so obviously we’ll be using that. The maximum possible score under this system is 80 (15+15+15+15+10+10). The minimum is still 1.
- Clay Buchholz (79 points): A sampling of accolades: The system’s "best curveball" and "best changeup" (BA), "the total package with outstanding stuff, outstanding command and control, and outstanding mound presence" (BP), and of course: "the top pitching prospect in the game" (BP). So who didn’t rank him first? The Over the Monster readers, enamored with Jacoby Ellsbury. It’s the whole reason I decided to weight things. Just in case that silliness pervaded the rest of the list.
- Jacoby Ellsbury (73): Not that there isn’t a lot to love about a guy who can score from second on a wild pitch and hit .438/.500/.688 during the World Series before his official rookie season. The question is will he be in Boston or Minnesota?
- Jed Lowrie (57): Same question, with some others thrown in: Can he play shortstop, or will he have to move to second or third? Considering he’s blocked at all three positions and could be ready to play in the bigs before September, it seems he’s destined for a trade either now or sometime soon.
- Justin Masterson (54): Jim Callis says he could be the next Derek Lowe. Others say he’s more suited for the bullpen and close on a team that doesn’t have Jonathan Papelbon. Now you know why Masterson and Lowrie are big pieces of the Santana talks — they’re potential solid big-leaguers with nowhere to play in Boston.
- Lars Anderson (46.5): The most promising — and most advanced — of the power prospects.
- Michael Bowden (46): Is looked at as an Ian Kennedy type, with perhaps a higher ceiling.
- Ryan Kalish (29.5): Hamate surgery ended a terrific season at Class A. Could be a five-tool superstar. When his name surfaced during the Winter Meetings, it turned "those who know" off of acquiring Santana — moreso than either Lester or Ellsbury. He has that much promise.
- Nick Hagadone (27): The only 2007 draftee, a lefty starter or reliever, depending on who’s saying.
- Oscar Tejeda (11): 18 years old, very fast, with on-base skills. He’s raw, but tons of promise. He also managed to score fewer points than No. 9 on the Yankee list. Dang.
- Brandon Moss (7.5): Is he ever going to get a chance in the bigs? It seems unlikely to be with the Red Sox.
Also receiving votes: Josh Reddick, (AA OF, 5.5 points); Will Middlebrooks (GCL SS, 4 points).
Farewell (for now), Craig Hansen, Daniel Bard, George Kottaras and Jason Place, all at or near the Top 10 last year. None even mentioned this time around. As we all know by now, Baseball America ranked the Sox as the second-best farm system in baseball, behind Tampa, praising both its top-level star power (Buchholz, Ellsbury) and its depth. Not bad for the defending world champs.