WHYGAVS Top Hitting Prospects, November 2009

After talking about it a whole lot, I’ve finally got the first part of my prospect rankings together. I’ve created a page for each player with a small writeup giving my impression of the player, plus links to key pages; their stats at Baseball-Reference, Wilbur Miller’s writeup, and their Minor League Splits page, which gives splits and MLEs.

I’ve really struggled with the best way to rank these guys for quite some time. I’m not a prospect guru, I don’t see a ton of them in action (though I’m going to try and do better next year), and I’m not a scout. I certainly read a lot about them and try to assimilate all of that, but I still don’t feel comfortable doing a straight top 30 with grades (I’m not criticizing those that do that by any means, I’m just laying out my methodology here).

The first thing I decided to do was split up the hitters and pitchers. Pitching prospects are, at least to me, an entirely different animal than hitting prospects and it just makes sense to classify them differently. In terms of ranking the hitting prospects, three guys have clearly separated themselves from the pack and they’re at the top. Beyond them, there were a few guys that I thought stood out a little bit more than the larger pack, then a group of guys that are mostly young and worth watching as they develop. After that are a few of the older guys that have potential usefulness as utility players, but who we can probably already guess won’t be much better than that. Finally, I picked five Latin American guys with little to no American experience to keep an eye on (please, please, please check WTM’s Latin Prospect guide for much more on these guys)

If I were doing a straight “Top 16 Prospects” list of those guys, the ordering would be a little different. The guys at the bottom would probably be sprinkled in through the higher levels, while a guy like Gorkys Hernandez, who’s got all the tools in the world, might be above Robbie Grossman. Other guys, like Latimore, were harder for me to classify because of the up and down nature of their seasons. It’s not a perfect system, yet, but I’m going to keep working on making it better. Keep in mind, too, that most of these guys are Neal Huntington draft picks just starting their careers. I suspect that once Huntington’s put together a complete farm system from top to bottom, this will be an easier task because more guys will have had a chance to separate themselves.

The hitter rankings appear after the jump; the most current version of the list will always be available at the top of the page under the “Prospects” tab.

The Top Prospects:

  1. Pedro Alvarez
  2. Jose Tabata
  3. Tony Sanchez

Not quite top prospects, but starting to get established:

  1. Starling Marte
  2. Chase D’Arnaud
  3. Robbie Grossman

Players to watch develop:

  1. Gorkys Hernandez
  2. Quincy Latimore
  3. Josh Harrison
  4. Jarek Cunningham
  5. Evan Chambers
  6. Brock Holt
  7. Jordy Mercer

Fading Prospects:

  1. Neil Walker
  2. Argenis Diaz
  3. Brian Friday

International players worth watching:

  1. Exicardo Cayonez
  2. Jonathan Barrios
  3. Jorge Bishop
  4. Rogelios Noris
Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.