With all the organizational top prospect lists being published lately, I thought it would be helpful to make a compiled Red Sox top prospect list using average rankings from the various prospect lists out there. After a bit of research, I found 7 lists to use, as follows:
-Minor League Ball (John Sickels, Top 22, updated 1/20/12)
-MLB.com (Jonathan Mayo, Top 20, published early February 2012)
-Baseball America (Jim Callis, Top 10, 1/6/12)
-Baseball Prospectus (Kevin Goldstein, Top 20, 2/14/12)
-ESPN (Keith Law, Top 10, 2/9/12)
-SoxProspects.com (updated 2/10/12)
-Fangraphs (Marc Hulet, Top 15, 12/23/11)
The oddball of the group is probably the Fangraphs list, but I wanted to use as many lists as possible, and I think their prospect coverage is pretty decent.
Without further adieu, here is the list (as well as my notes below it):
|Average Ranking||Appears on how many lists?|
|26||Juan Carlos Linares||2|
To make the compiled list, I just calculated the mean ranking position for each prospect among the 7 lists (or as many lists as each player appeared on). As you can see on the list, the Top 9 were included on all 7 lists. After the Top 9, things got a little trickier since it's difficult to figure out how to order two prospects if one appears on 5 lists and the other appears on 6 lists. After reviewing each specific example though, I thought it was fairly clean to leave the order based on the average ranking positions, even when the number of lists appeared on isn't identical. For example, one could argue that Wilson and Vitek should be switched, since their average ranking is so close, and Vitek appeared on 4 lists and Wilson on 3.
My other notes and thoughts:
-I added spaces between sets of rankings to delineate where "tiers" of prospects seemed to differentiate, based on the clustering of average ranking position for each "tier". I think the tiers do a really nice job of giving a quick and simple picture of the different levels of prospects in this deep system.
-I included every prospect that appeared on at least one of the 6 lists (not counting SoxProspects, since their list goes to 60). I didnt list the average ranking for the last 4 prospects since they each appeared on just 1 list besides SoxProspects.
-Bogaerts and Middlebrooks obviously stand out as the consensus top prospects in the system. Bogaerts was #1 on 4 of the 7 lists, and Middlebrooks was #1 on the other 3 lists.
-I was a little surprised how high Swihart ended up. Jim Callis and Keith Law were the highest on Swihart, ranking him #3 and #2 on their lists, respectively.
-I thought Barnes would end up ahead of Ranaudo, and indeed he was ranked higher on 4 of the 7 lists. Mayo had Ranaudo #5 and Barnes #12, which hurt Barnes's position (and which I strongly disagree with).
What are your thoughts? Any big surprises here? Feel free to question anything that isnt clear on the list or in my methodology.