It’s Top Prospects season and Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus has released his Top 101 list featuring three Blue Jays.
Parks is a little less conventional than the writers at MLB.com and it shows that he is higher on some prospects while being cooler on others. An example is Twins third base prospect Miguel Sano. Parks ranks Sano 14th while MLB.com has him 4th.
It’s not a surprise that Noah Syndergaard is the highest ranked player with Blue Jays connections, coming in at 11th: the same rank as he is on MLB.com. Parks ranks Travis d’Arnaud much further down the list at 48th (he was 22nd on MLB.com’s list). Obviously Parks isn’t as enamoured with d’Arnaud’s upside and he has San Diego’s Austin Hedges, who ranks behind d’Arnaud on MLB.com’s list, as the highest ranked catcher. Parks continues to maintain the much more positive look at the Blue Jays’ activities last winter by not ranking anyone that the Jays traded to Miami (Marisnick or Nicolino).
As far as the Blue Jays content goes, Parks comes out on Team Stroman when comparing Marcus Stroman with Aaron Sanchez. Stroman ranked #27 while Sanchez ranked four spots lower at #31. Stroman really only has one negative in his scouting report which is mainly due to his height and the need to work down in the strike zone to create a downward plane. For Sanchez, Parks is very concerned about his command and mechanics. While he loves Sanchez’s arm action, Parks has commented on the mechanical issue that Keith Law wrote about, one that emerged in Sanchez’s work in the Arizona Fall League; both think that Sanchez stays too stiff and upright in his delivery.
The final name on the list for Blue Jays’ fans is young RHP Alberto Tirado who ranked #76. The 19-year-old Dominican had a terrific year in Bluefield, posting 1.68 ERA (although his FIP was 3.39). Parks loves his 91-95 mph fastball that has good movement as well as his advanced changeup and potential plus slider. Obviously, Parks likes the potential and, while Tirado will likely get a chance to lengthen his resume in Class-A Lansing in 2014, he still hasn’t proven himself as much as some other minor leaguers have, hence the surprise inclusion. Tirado was definitely making a name for himself in Bluefield: when I was there in July, I was told by team sources that there were always more scouts in attendance when Tirado was pitching than when anyone else was.
What it all boils down to is that Parks is much more of a “tools” type of evaluator, preferring to rank riskier future stars higher than players with a major league floor but not as high ceilings. Parks probably loves what the Blue Jays have been doing draft-wise (indeed, he ranked Clinton Hollon, the Jays top pick to sign in 2013, as the first “Prospect on the Rise”).
Additionally, while MLB.com included Roberto Osuna, Parks didn’t even have him in his Top 10 for the Blue Jays, listing him as a “Notable Omission.” Parks did say that Osuna would have been a Top-5 candidate had he been healthy but the injury opens up too many questions.
It’s always interesting to look at different talent evaluators value different aspects of players abilities. While the BP list and the MLB.com have the same top 3 (in the same order), everything else is up for grabs depending on how much weight you want to give projectibility, work ethic and intangibles. The different lists also tell you that the writers have different sources. Not everyone can see all the players an equal amount and the writers rely on scouts and team officials to provide feedback. Different sources will evaluate the players based on their own experiences leading to different lists.
This doesn’t make any list “wrong” (as I’ve been told by commenters on Grading on the Curve) but it makes them highly subjective and it’s always good to get different perspectives on the talent that’s out there.