I love February. Not only does it mark the start of spring training, February brings my favourite baseball annual of the year - Baseball America's Prospect Handbook. 900 scouting reports on notable minor leaguers? Yes please. I've been collecting them for several years, and I use even the oldest of them all the time. It's a lot of fun reading about prospects and tracking their progress through the minor leagues, and it's a great resource when you just don't know that much about fringe guys from other organisations (or even ours). My first response to any transaction involving minor leaguers is to dig up the most recent copy of the Handbook.
Anyway, I recently received this year's copy, so I thought I'd share some tidbits without getting in trouble for giving too much away. I hear BA send stealth helicopters after you if you're not careful...
Note: The transaction deadline for the book was before the Cliff Lee trade went down. Therefore for our purposes, Gillies, Ramirez, and Aumont are all Mariners, and Johermyn Chavez is not.
- Dustin Ackley rates as a top 10 prospect for two out of the three editors. That's in baseball, not just our organisation.
- Steve Baron and Rich Poythress aren't very impressive.
- The Mariner system rated fairly highly (again, before the trade). Certainly higher than I was expecting, and ahead of more than one of our AL West competitors.
- Said trade involved the #4, #8, and #18 prospects in our system at the time.
- Our midseason trades netted us our #11 and #13 prospects while giving Pittsburgh their #25 and #31 guys.
- Our system is full of high risk/high reward players. There are a number of guys in the 20s who could be top-10 players this time next year.
- BA underrate Matt Tuisasosopo.
- We should be terrified of the Feliz/Smoak/Perez trio down in Texas.
Again, I can't share all that much and I'm going to respect their intellectual property, but there's a tonne of good information in the handbook, and if you're interested in prospects and the minor leagues at all, you should try to pick it up. I've only scratched the surface so far, and I've been reading it since Friday.