Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thinking about the Baseball America Top 20's

In just a few days, the calendar will roll over to August 1st, which means there is only one month left on the minor league baseball season. For the most part, that makes me a sad panda, but at least that means that the Baseball America ranking season will start up soon.

Baseball America loves lists and so do I. My lists have lists. BA will start with a Best Tools list for each league, move on to the Top 20's for each league, then the Top 10's for each team, and finally the granddaddy of them all...the Top 100 prospects.

Their success rates are not great and they have biases just like every other human, but it still provides the best starting point for viewing prospects.

With that in mind, I thought I would take a look at each Pirates' team from the ground up to see who may make the Top 20's for the leagues.

GCL Pirates -- BA loves Latin players and, in my opinion, will give them a few extra spots over an American player. The good news, for the Pirates, is that not only do we have a lot of talent at the GCL this year, but that most of it is Latin.

I think Exicardo Cayonez (18 years old) will be somewhere between 8-13 on the list. He has a great hit tool, but the K/BB ratio is just OK and he doesn't have any power yet.

Jorge Bishop (19) could be 14-20 on the list. He does have some power, but his present size of 5-10 may not portend more in the future.

Eric Avila (20) may make the back end of the list. His age will work against him here, but he does have power and is at a key position of 3B.

State College Spikes -- Always a tough league to forecast because you have a crunch of high school players that are good but not good enough to go to a full-season league coupled with recent college draftees.

Zach Von Rosenberg (19) may make the middle of the list based on name and bonus, but right now his present stuff of high 80's FB does not necessarily warrant it.

If Colton Cain (19) can get enough innings to qualify, he may be a better choice due to his numbers even fighting through his offseason back injury.

Matt Curry (21) is just embarrasing this league right now with his bat. I would hope he could be somewhere between 14-20 on the list.

I think we would all love to see Gift Ngeope (20) make the list. His K/BB rates are fantastic (around 25% BB rate), but he may be too raw for BA at this point.

West Virginia Power -- This one may hurt the most for Pirates fans because there are guys doing great here, but BA is very age-ist and may see the Fabulous Baker Boys (Aaron and Nate) as being 1 year too old for the level. They both deserve it based on their numbers, though.

I think Jarek Cunningham (20) makes the list at 15-20. He has a lot of power for a middle infielder and his ability to draw walks has drastically improved through the year.

If anyone can figure out Evan Chambers (21), let me know. BA may have a tough time with him, too, and decide to just stick him at the back end. He draws an incredible number of walks, steals bases, and hits "dingerz", but his batting average suffers due to his patience.

Bradenton Marauders -- This team has been decimated by injuries this year, but hopefully BA doesn't factor that too heavily.

Tony Sanchez (22) had some lingering shoulder problems, but then had his season ended when he was hit by a pitch in the face. The bat plays, though, so he should be somewhere between 6-10.

Brock Holt (22) tore his ACL and is out for the year, but he could still be 15-20.

Jeff Locke (22) pitched plenty of innings to qualify here and should be 10-15.

Altoona Curve -- Double A is where the boys get separated from the men, prospect-wise, so you really want to see your AA represented.

Bryan Morris (23) has not been as dominating here as he was at A+, but his stuff and potential should still get him a spot around 10-14.

Rudy Owens (22) will get the soft-tossing lefty label on him, but his results speak for themselves. He should merit a spot between 11-16.

Justin Wilson (22) also has had a great season, but he may get lost in the "names" of the league. I could see him around 15-20 for this list.

Alex Presley (24) laid waste to this league before his promotion to AAA (where he is doing the same), but he may get dinged for his age being 1 year too old.

Indianapolis Indians -- This one is easy for the Pirates. All of their prospects are up in the majors right now and will have exceeded their rookie eligibility to make these lists.

Overall, the Pirates should be well-represented by at least 1, if not 2, guys on each list.
And you can never have too many lists.

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