Monday, April 19, 2010

Impact Prospects - Who's got 'em?

One of the complaints that you hear from folks frustrated with the Pirates (and by tangent, frustrated with all things front office-related) is that the Pirates do not have any impact prospects, aside from Alvarez, in the system or on the horizon.

The feeling is that an opportunity was missed to add one to the organization by Neil Huntington when he traded Jason Bay. Yes, that trade is not looking great right now, but what people seem to fail to realize is that teams are very reticent to part with true impact prospects. The occasions that it has happened have had a mix of 2 parts desperation (Carlos Santana for Casey Blake) mixed with 1 part incompetence (Bill Bavasi's farm emptying for Erik Bedard).

I consider an impact prospect to be one of the four types of player:
1. A future #1 or #2 pitcher
2. A 30+ HR corner player (OF, 1B, 3B)
3. An offensive catcher with at least a modicum of defensive ability
4. An up-the-middle guy with 4 or 5 tools.

It takes a lot to be considered a true impact guy, so using Baseball America's recent offseason Top 10's for each team, I went through to pick out who meets the DBS criteria for an impact guy. Let's see how many are out there and who has them.

ATL (1) - Heyward. I'm not a Freeman fan and Teheran needs to go a full season
FLA (1) - Stanton. Same with Morrison about not being a fan.
NYM (0) - I like Mejia a lot, but I'm not 100% he's a starter long term
PHI (1) - Brown. They traded away some potential impacts and didn't get any back w/ SEA
WAS (2) - Strasburg and Norris. I'm a big Derek Norris fan

CHI (0) - Don't get me started on how overrated Castro is. Starlin, not Fidel.
CIN (1) - Chapman. He's not on the BA Top 10 because he signed late
HOU (0) - Blah.
MIL (1) - Escobar. A shade less defense than Andrus in TEX, more speed
PIT (1) - Alvarez. Lincoln is not a #2 w/o a changeup and Tabata doesn't have power.
STL (0) - Blah part deux.

ARI (1) - Parker. And he'll be out all 2010 from TJ surgery.
COL (1) - Friederich. Matzek needs to pitch this year to determine his status.
LAD (1) - Gordon. Still raw, but I like him.
SDP (0) - I think Tate will bust and Decker looks like a fire hydrant.
SFG (1) - Posey. Bumgarner has fallen way off the prospect earth

BAL (0) - I don't think Matusz is a true 1 or 2. I like this system's Top 10 a lot, though.
BOS (0) - It was a young, unproven system coming into 2010 and Westmoreland's brain surgery complicates his status.
NYY (1) - Montero. I don't think he plays more than 3 seasons with the Yanks before he's traded.
TBR (3) - Jennings, Hellickson, Davis. All three are future studs.
TOR (1) - Drabek. I really hedged on this one, but I'm feeling generous I guess.

CWS (0) - I wanted to say Flowers, but I'm hesitant about him staying at C.
CLE (1) - Santana. Stolen from LAD because they couldn't take any of Blake's salary back.
DET (1) - Crosby. Like Matzek, Turner needs to pitch.
KCR (1) - Montgomery. Another young system that may generate 1 or 2 more next year.
MIN (0) - What, did you expect me to say Sano?

LAA (0) - Very young system, Trout is interesting to follow.
OAK (2) - Carter, Taylor. They may be "just" sluggers, but they do it well.
SEA (0) - Ackley needs to play first.
TEX (2) - Feliz, Perez. I'm not bullish on Smoak.

So there you have it. 11 teams with zero impact prospects right now and only 4 teams with multiple impacts.

The Pirates are in the same boat as 14 other teams and better than 11. Yes, the Bucs need some power coming up in the org but let's not act like other teams are brimming with it themselves.

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