MLB.com Top 100 Prospect List discussion Doug Gray January 30, 2013 32 Comments Jonathan Mayo released the MLB.com Top 100 Prospect List. Before getting into the list, I want to talk about how the list is compiled. This is from another article that breaks down some of the previously linked Top 100 list. With those requirements in mind, each scout was asked to anonymously provide his own top 50. An AP poll-type format was used. If, say, a scout put Profar in the top spot, he would get 50 points; the second prospect gets 49 points, and so on, down to one point for the 50th prospect on each list. The more scouts involved, the more thorough the list, but there’s no avoiding having some opinion form the overall rankings. I am not the biggest fan of this kind of system. There are flaws in a system like that. One guy being overly high that no one else is could put him on the list, while in theory every single voter could have the same #51 prospect who wouldn’t show up at all. Onto the list. The Reds had three players on the list. First came Billy Hamilton at #11. The report filed on him is, as they have always been, built around his game changing speed. Robert Stephenson cracks the list at #51. The report filed on him talks about his overall stuff and potential near the top of the rotation. Tony Cingrani is the final Red on the list and he comes in at #66. His scouting report says that he will likely need to improve his slider to remain a starter, but his fastball and change up are enough to perform in the bullpen. Billy Hamilton is ranked in the right spot. As you know, I am a sabermetrics guy. I kind of hope that Hamilton is a player who can break the molds we have for just about every player who fits into the stats we use to determine value. What he can do on the bases could be a very interesting study. Yes, I am a nerd. I can’t help it. Math and baseball? Yeah, that is awesome. Billy Hamilton Video from 2012 (something the MLB Network broadcast didn’t even show, instead using video from 2011) I personally have Robert Stephenson quite a bit higher than where he shows up on this list, but I think he will wind up in the 40-60 area on other lists (BA/BP/ESPN) when they come out as well. I believe that his upside outweighs whatever inexperience over a full season that might be holding him back. I just can’t see more than a few guys in the minors who can match him on a pure stuff level and the numbers he has put up have been quite strong. Robert Stephenson Video from 2012 Tony Cingrani was about where I had expected, though I would have ranked him lower. He is a very safe bet to be a quality reliever. I am still just not entirely sold that he can be a starter without several improvements (must improve his slider, needs to be less reliant on his fastball). He has a very high floor, but I am just unsure that he won’t wind up being that floor either. Tony Cingrani Video from 2012 I figured going in that Daniel Corcino would be in the 75-100 range on the list, but once I saw how the list was compiled, I figured he wouldn’t be. I wouldn’t rank Corcino in the Top 50 and apparently neither would anyone that Mayo asked. With that said, I fully believe he is a Top 100 prospect and think he will show up in the other Top 100 lists that are compiled a differently. Daniel Corcino Video from 2012 What is your take? 32 Responses The Duke January 30, 2013 Hamilton is about right, maybe just a touch high Stephenson about 20 spots too low Cingrani about 10-15 spots too high Corcino should be in the 70-90 range IMO. foxbud January 30, 2013 One thing that i find interesting is that source after source rate Cingrani higher than Corcino while most on this site have Corcino higher. What is the explanation for that? Are lefties valued more, do we (Reds fans) view Corcino in better light because Ceuto has had success and they are very similiar? Or is it just that Cingrani has a higher floor since he could relieve? fromcubawithluv January 30, 2013 I think it has most to do with Doug not being sure Cingrani can stick as a starter and being good at articulating it. :) The Duke January 30, 2013 More refined secondary stuff, longer track record starting as a professional, at the same level at a younger age. Cingrani has better fastball command/deception, and a better pitchers frame. If Corcino can just cut down on his walk rate a little help is essentially MLB ready. RobL January 30, 2013 Duke, I think you hit on a key factor. Corcino is not as well regarded nationally due to size. Pitchers under 6′ are going to have a mark next to them. I due think that the Cueto comparisons help on this site and nationally. But people are going to find it hard to put a 5’10 right handed pitcher in their top 50 without lights out results. MK January 30, 2013 If you look at the Baseball America predictions for the 2016 line-up they have Corcino as the Reds closer and a couple of scouts I’ve read have said the same thing. So the relief argument for Cingrani versus Corcino probably isn’t as valid as it seems. Doug Gray January 30, 2013 BA has Corcino as the closer because they have Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Chapman and Stephenson in the rotation, not because they think he is a reliever. MK January 30, 2013 Then if he is better with relief experience why isn’t Cingrani the closer? Doug Gray January 30, 2013 Corcino profiles as a better reliever and starter. Out of the bullpen, Corcino probably throws mid 90′s and touches 97 with a strong slider and a good change up. Cingrani can’t do that. As a reliever, from a stuff perspective, maybe he is a set up guy. More likely profile is a 7th inning guy on a pure stuff basis, but mix in his control and you can see more than that. John January 30, 2013 Thanks for your work on the Reds. Great site. Have you seen the new book “The Success Equation” by Mauboussin or any of his work online? Not directly about baseball but he does touch on it and the statistical analysis I think would interest you. Thanks again. wanderinredsfan January 30, 2013 Seems about right for me. I could see an argument being made for Hamilton being a bit higher, especially since the top-10 is so pitching heavy. If I was a G.M., I would take Hamilton over Wheeler, Skaggs, or Fernandez going forward. Given the probability that each previously mentioned player (Hamilton, Stephenson, Cingrani, Corcino) remains eligible for next season’s list, along with a bevy of potential breakout candidates (H.Rodriguez, Y.Rodriguez, Winker, Travieso, Langfield, etc..), I think we could/should see 6 prospects on this list next year. WallyP January 30, 2013 guys love to see our guys on this list but I personally think its garbage. In fact trying to list to number these players is just foodoo science. Some of these players are to low some are to high and some dont belong. Its really a list of guys that change every minute. What makes a prospect(mainly the bonus they were paid) and what does it take to get on the radar to be a prospect. I just find this entire process crappy Alan Horn January 30, 2013 In general, I agree Wally. It’s nice conversation in the off season and in general it is a parameter, but it is also quite subjective. Doug Gray January 30, 2013 I used to get worked up over the rankings of guys. But now, what is important about them isn’t where the guys are ranked, but the information that is along with that ranking. What is being said about a guy. That is what is important. Herbie January 30, 2013 How are Xander Boegarts and Billy Hamilton rated at the same current power? Boegarts has oodles more extra bases. Stock January 30, 2013 Three is their floor Boegarts is currently at the floor. Hamilton can’t be any lower. Herbie January 30, 2013 I thought scouting grades ran 2-8. Wouldn’t Hamilton be a two in that case? Along the same lines why is Liriano currently rated a four when he hasn’t shown as much power? Doug Gray January 30, 2013 They do run 2-8. I can’t see Hamilton being a 3/4 player in the power department. He has hit the ball over the fence 4 times since being drafted in 2009. That is 20 power. Just because there may be a few guys who have less than that doesn’t mean Hamilton is higher. Herbie January 30, 2013 So what’s the basis for these numbers? On the surface it looks like they’re being pulled out of the air because comparatively they don’t make much sense. Doug Gray January 30, 2013 I don’t know. I imagine that they simply didn’t want to put a “2″ on anyone that they put in the Top 100. I didn’t look at everyone on the list, so maybe someone does have a 2 listed. Herbie January 30, 2013 Only two I saw was Eaton’s power rating. Doug Gray January 30, 2013 Which is all the more confusing. The PCL is of course a launching pad, but Eaton is a 2 after his 2012 season with 49 doubles, 7 triples and 9 home runs. Hamilton has a higher power rating than that with a career of 4 home runs over the fence (and 3 inside the park ones). WallyP January 30, 2013 sorry to be a bit negative today. I love the game of baseball but this report that came out yesterday about the Lab in Miami is sticking in my gut. It just seems to me this issue will never end and all we do is wait for the next player to fall. the playing field is not level and will never be fair,the guys we look up to and what they stand for seems to be a mirgae, anyway , i must stop because its just completely a mess. MK January 30, 2013 To me this is something to talk about but a lot of it makes no sense to me. As an example I will point to Ohioan Adam Eaton. The guy is a two time minor league batting champion, defending PCL Rookie and MVP. A 4-tool player (only power missing) and will open the season leading-off and playing center field for the D-backs. He has probably already had a better MLB career than 20% of the people on this list who won’t get to the big leagues. And, he is a baseball player with tools not a athlete with tools trying to be a baseball player. He is rated 97? WallyP January 30, 2013 Mk great point a prospect is defined in ways that sometimes is total crap I wont mention any names but guys that were paid $1.5 mill signing bonus , have played 3 years in the minors and he absolutely wet the bed. Numbers are horrible at every level and yet he is in the top 100 in fact top 50. Its a joke, then you have a guy who put up numbers from rookie ball to AA made allstar at every level and projects very well, is not even mentioned and in face is never mention. This is the part of the game that I love and hate at the same time. He will make it the hard way and the clubs are sometimes not willing to admit that they drafted incorrectly. I understand it is not aqn exact science but the proof is in the pudding my friends Herbie January 30, 2013 I definitely agree with the sentiment on Eaton. High contact guys with good on base skills to match seem as bankable a product as there is. I’d be interested in seeing research on how the combination of those two skills correlates to being a MLB success, as opposed to other facets. Doug Gray January 30, 2013 High contact/OBP guys without power in the minors are as inexact as they come. You never know if the walks will dry up in the Majors when big leaguers have little to fear by throwing them a strike. Not entirely sure Eaton falls into that category. He has enough power, I think, to keep pitchers honest. Herbie January 30, 2013 If you had to pick two dominant facets in a position player’s game what would they be? Power and walk rate? Doug Gray January 30, 2013 It really does depend on the position. A guy up the middle, defense is first. Then I would prefer the walk rate, because getting on base is key to run production. On the corners, power and walk rate are probably key because defense isn’t needed as much on the corners. 44reds January 30, 2013 Doug, Do you think being a proficient bunter could negate some of Hamilton’s power deficiency? In other words, might pitchers try to work the corners to make it more difficult for him to bunt the ball? I would think he might see fewer fastballs for this reason. Doug Gray January 30, 2013 We will find out I would imagine. I don’t know if working the corners helps or not. Ideally, it would help you angle the ball more down the lines. The Duke January 30, 2013 He will get a few more hits with how close in the 1st and 3rd basemen have to play him. Not playing at the edge of the grass or closer is almost conceding 1st base to him. And outfielders can’t play him too far in because Hamilton does have gap power and anything that goes over an outfielders head at least 3 bases. In the futures fame he hit one to the baseboard the wall. Any pitchers that just throws him strikes and/or fastballs is going to regret it. I think his hit tool is good and power is enough to where I don’t think his walks dry up.