I still like reading these because I think that it's neat that Conor got a job working for them, and now gets to write these lists every year. Here's what he came up with:
1. Jesus Montero, c
2. Taijuan Walker, rhp
3. Danny Hultzen, lhp
4. James Paxton, lhp
5. Nick Franklin, 2b/ss
6. Francisco Martinez, 3b
7. Chance Ruffin, rhp
8. Tom Wilhelmsen, rhp
9. Vinnie Catricala, 3b/1b/of
10. Phillips Castillo, of
My Prospcect Handbook came in yesterday and it was written before the Pineda trade was public, so the major changes are that Campos was fifth back then and Montero is obviously first now. Catricala was also considered our best hitter for average pre-Montero, and Liddi, our best power hitter. Otherwise, relative to last year's top thirty, there were quite a few names dropping in and out and there's now a "Deceased" next to Halman's name, which doesn't get any easier to see.
If you've followed my work for a little while, you can probably get at certain misgivings that I'd have about this thing. I'm not a huge fan of putting relievers all that high, and much as I like Wilhelmsen, the age alone would make me shy away from putting him at #8 as I feel that's misleading. Similarly, while I found it comforting to hear that Ruffin's heater is a bit better than I had previously heard (I had him 91-3, they have him 92-5) as well as praise for his slider, there's a bit of cognitive dissonance that goes firing in my brain when I see him advertised as a middle reliever in the near term. That's a little hard for me to reconcile with the placement. And I'd probably go with Pryor as our closer of the future, but that's me.
The other issue is something that you've probably seem me remark on before is the placement of Francisco Martinez at #6. I'm well aware of the fact that everyone in the tools-oriented prospecting community loves him and is willing to cut him quite a lot of slack for being promoted as aggressively as he has been (he just turned 21 in September). Still, we're talking about a guy who hit twenty-one doubles and ten home runs last year (add in seven triples, and however you weight those), walked just twenty-three times (five fewer than he did in 135 fewer plate appearances the previous season), and struck out over a hundred times. His speed is taken as a plus in his ledger, a rarity for a third baseman, but he was caught as many times as he stole a base last year. To be fair, he did play a bit better after the trade, unlike certain outfielders, but I feel like the youth/level logic can often lead us astray. This is going to be an obvious experiment, but go with me on this for a second.
Player A (21): 132 G (AA/AAA), 550 PA, 506 AB, 142 H, 28 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 88/27 K/BB, .281/.332/.383
Player B (21): 124 G (AA), 509 PA, 477 AB, 138 H, 21 2B, 7 3B, 10 HR, 104/23 K/BB, .289/.321/.426
Everyone gets what I'm doing, right? Player A is a shortstop, ranked 25th for us? Player B is the third baseman we've been talking about? It's Triunfel and Martinez. Did I mention that Erie has a 132 RH park factor for HR where Jackson has 103? I probably should mention that.
Anyway, Conor did some good things in his top thirty as well. I was pleased to see Castillo ranked higher than Pimentel, Erasmo get a bit of love outside the top ten (along with Maurer outside the 20), and Chiang, Chavez, and Littlewood treated with a certain amount of skepticism, but on the larger scale, it does seem a little like a standard prospect list. It's not surprising in any positive or interesting way.
Chat will be at noon our time. I don't know that I have any major questions to ask, but hey, I might.