Monday was a busy day in the world of prospect rankings, with two major publications releasing their league-wide top prospect lists in addition to one of the most prominent projection systems doing the same. It started wit Baseball Prospectus releasing their annual top 101 prospect list, which you can see here. Shortly after, Dan Szymborski, the creator of the ZiPS projection system, revealed the top 100 prospects according to the system, a list you can see here. Finally, Fangraphs released their top 100 prospects list here. Let’s take a second to dive into each of these lists.
Baseball Prospectus relies on a team of prospect evaluators spread out across the country and they collaborate to form the ultimate top 101 list. This year’s list is, unsurprisingly, headed by Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña. We care about the Red Sox here, though, and BP is even lower on the top end of this farm system than most. While most lists include two players from the organization, BP only has Jason Groome listed. The southpaw takes the number 78 spot on the list, sandwiched between Rockies pitcher Riley Pint and A’s infielder (and former Yankee prospect) Jorge Mateo. Not seeing Michael Chavis on this list was a bit jarring considering his placement on every other major list.
Meanwhile, Fangraphs has a list that is put together by their lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen as well as their former lead prospect analyst as well as a former Braves front office employee Kiley McDaniel. This list is always interesting as it’s separated by tiers and future value, a distinction that is often more helpful than a normal list. This time, the Red Sox did get two names on the list, and for the second time we’ve seen Chavis ranked against of Groome. Each player just barely snuck onto the list, with Chavis ranking 95th between Marlins pitcher Braxton Garrett and Rangers pitcher Cole Ragans. Groome, meanwhile, ranked 98th between Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh and Twins pitcher Alex Kirilloff. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this list is that Chavis is listed as a first baseman, and they predict he’ll pass Sam Travis on the depth chart early in the year. For Groome, they note that he still has front-end starter upside, though his health and inconsistency has pushed his timetable back.
Finally, we have the ZiPS list, which is not really a prospect list like the others we’ve discussed today and over the entire winter. Instead of relying on scouting reports and multiple viewings of individual players, this is entirely the opinion of a projection system. Szymborski’s system sees Chavis as the 46th best prospect in baseball between Phillies pitcher JoJo Romero and White Sox outfielder Luis Robert while it has Groome as the 87th best prospect between Pirates infielder Kevin Newman and White Sox catcher Zack Collins. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to do with this kind of ranking from a projection system and I certainly prefer a list from in-person evaluators, but it’s an interesting datapoint nonetheless.