29 January 2010
| The gold standard for prospect rankings is still Baseball America and their rankings for the Rangers top 10 prospects and organizational rankings have been announced this week. Before discussing that, I want to mention that for the first time ever, a baseball prospect list was televised. MLB.com's top 50 prospect list
was televised on the MLB Network with host Greg Amsinger and analysts Jonathan Mayo and John Hart. It's hard to complain about content that you want to see more being broadcast on TV, but reviewing 50 prospects in less than 50 minutes left them scrambling to hurry through as much information as possible. They did spend more time at the top of the list than at the bottom, but I think they could have gone even heavier on the top 10 and skipped over more of the players mentioned at the bottom of the list. Still, it was great to see another MLB Network original and will be fun to watch it improve over time. The main topic today, though, is how the Rangers fared in various prospect rankings.
First, on Monday this week, Baseball America released their Rangers 10 ten prospect list; the last of the 30 teams to be published. Click here
to see the free article on the top 10 list (as well as best tools and projected 2013 lineup) and below are the top 10 Ranger prospects for 2010 according to Baseball America:
1. Neftali Feliz, rhp
2. Justin Smoak, 1b
3. Martin Perez, lhp
4. Tanner Scheppers, rhp
5. Jurickson Profar, ss
6. Kasey Kiker, lhp
7. Robbie Ross, lhp
8. Mitch Moreland, of/1b
9. Danny Gutierrez, rhp
10. Wilmer Font, rhp
For many, Feliz topping the list is almost a given, but Keith Law's top 100 lis
t had both Martin Perez and Justin Smoak ranked ahead of Neftali Feliz. The main question with Feliz is, and it was also brought up by John Hart on the MLB Network show, will he be a starter? If so, the might be ranked too low by these guys, if not he might be ranked too high. Baseball Prospectus prospect guru Kevin Goldstein was on Feliz before most and he still ranks him as the Rangers best in his top 11 (plus 4)
published earlier this month. The consensus is that the remaining hurdle for Feliz is developing an effective breaking ball (whether it is a curve or a slider) and trusting it in any count. If he can do that he is a top of the rotation starter. If not, he may merely be a dominant closer.
In addition to the Baseball America top 10, this week we got ESPN's Keith Law publishing his top 100 (which I mentioned just a moment ago), MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo published his top 50 (also already mentioned), and Fanhouse.com's Frankie Piliere published his top 100
. All three featured two Rangers in the top 10 and three in the top 22 (at worst). The three were the same in each list; Feliz, Smoak and Perez. The only question was which order. For Law, it went Perez #7, Smoak #9 and Feliz #13. For Piliere, it went Feliz #6, Perez #9, and Smoak #22. For Mayo it went Feliz #7, Smoak #9 and Perez #18. Wow! I think we can safely say the Rangers have never had this much highly rated talent in the minor leagues at the same time.
Finally, it was revealed today
that Texas was ranked number two as an organization by Baseball America, falling from the top spot they held last year. Still, consider that last year Texas graduated Holland, Andrus, Teagarden, Borbon and Hunter (#'s 2, 4, 6, 9 and 17 respectively) and still managed to remain the #2 organization in the game. Amazing job by Jon Daniels and company to stock this team's farm system and keep the pipeline full. In fact, Keith Law still ranks Texas #1
. Worried that with Feliz and possibly Scheppers and Smoak graduating in 2010 that the Rangers will slip in the rankings next year? Keep in mind the Rangers have two first round picks (an extra since Matt Purke did not sign) and a supplemental first rounder (for Marlon Byrd) so they should be able to stock up the farm system once again, plus a bounce back season by someone like Michael Main or a breakout debut by Jurickson Profar might just give them another top flight talent not currently on the top 100 radar. Besides all that, 2010 might also be the year that we begin to see the dividends from past investments manifested in the form of a playoff appearance. That's what acquiring and developing prospects is all about anyway.