The BP Prospect team wrapped up the Top 10s and released its Top 101 today. Ask lead co-authors Chris Mellen and Nick Faleris all your prospect and ranking questions. See all the top 10s here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/
Top 101 Chat: First of all, thanks very much for all of the great feedback -- not just on the 101 but throughout ranking season. I know I speak for the entire prospect team when I say we really appreciate your interest and support, as well as all the thoughtful comments. You guys are the best and it's fantastic to be able to write for such a knowledgeable and lively readership. So, let's talk prospects...
john (philly): In the comments for the top 101, you mentioned position plays a huge factor, with up the middle prospects receiving a boost. Yet somehow JP Crawford is ranked #36, by far his lowest ranking on any top 100 list this winter. What's the deal?
Top 101 Chat: As a preamble (I guess it should have technically been in that opening statement, huh?) This is Nick -- I'll be handling the first leg of this chat. Mellen will be signing on in around an hour. Once he's tuckered out, if I'm still around and there's interest, I'll pick it back up.
Now, Crawford. I take your question as "What's the deal with Crawford being ranked so low?" I think he groups well with Mondesi, who is ranked several spots ahead of him at this point. He is without question a full step (maybe more) behind the elite grouping of Russell/Correa/Lindor/Seager, who are all more advanced in their development and have all achieved more thus far in their pro career. To restate somewhat what I wrote in the comments section...
Specifically, Crawford's not yet refined enough on either side of the ball for us to push him into that elite class at this point. Great developmental foundation and better than expected performance in the lower levels, but he still needs to slow the game down, adjust to advanced spin, and we still are not sure if power will project.
He has a chance to blossom into a top 20 or so prospect, and maybe more than that, but I can't see a rationale at present for that sort of lofty ranking.
gatz75 (Tampa): Do you think Touki Toussaint has the type of ability to job to the top 25 in time? Is it at all possible?
Top 101 Chat: In time, absolutely. It is unlikely it happens quickly, but he is that type of talent for sure. We'll see how he responds to his first extended bit of pro instruction and the wear-and-tear of throwing on a pro schedule. Initial results during fall instructs were very encouraging.
Ryan (LA): Pretty common to see Correa, Russell, and Lindor ranked #1, #2, an #3 among SS prospects, but how far is the gap to Corey Seager and JP Crawford?
Top 101 Chat: Seager is right on the cusp with that trio, with his long-term defensive outlook holding him back a hair. There is a full step down to Crawford, though he's a very good prospect in his own right.
Jed (Louisville): How would you rank the power tools of Correa, Seager, and Russell?
Top 101 Chat: Correa 6+ potential power and Seager/Russell each 6 potential power.
Tyler (Boise): How would you rank the pure hit tools of Dahl, Winker, and Piscotty?
Top 101 Chat: Dahl/Piscotty 6+ potential hit, Winker 6 potential hit. All three have impressive feel.
Nick (Salem): From an outsider's perspective, Lindor and Crawford seem like similar players, but your Top 100 shows a sizable gap. Can you elaborate on the differences?
Top 101 Chat: Lindor is a superior defender and projects as a potential plus bat. He's a little over a year older and has already reached Triple-A after showing well as a 20-year old in Double-A over the bulk of the season. Crawford has a well-rounded profile and performed very well in his first full season, but the only area where I see a potential advantage is in the power department, and I'm not sure Lindor doesn't ultimately match him there.
Ian (Monterey): It is the "stuff" that makes Urias a top SP prospect, or the "stuff at his age" alone? Trying to get a feel for what his upside might be since what he's doing is so rare.
Top 101 Chat: Combination of stuff and refinement for age. Not sure there is much in the way of projection left, but he could get a boost as he continues to refine his craft. Biggest question for me right now is how quickly he's able to build up arm strength/durability to last over the course of a full major league season. Heck, he may already have that but the Dodgers have been understandably (and appropriately) conservative in how he's been implemented thus far. I see him as a potential front-end starter and a good bet to be a valuable asset in short order.
Steve (Lumberton): Who has the most power between Sano, Gallo, and Bryant?
Top 101 Chat: Raw pop goes Gallo, Sano, then Bryant. All three come with questions as to in-game utility at the highest level.
Goose (Chicago): Tyler Kolek...oversight or not a top 101 prospect?
Top 101 Chat: He was one of the last cuts and was on the list for multiple iterations. Stuff backed-up some as a pro, limited track record, and really hasn't shown enough consistency in his secondaries to be more than a one-pitch guy at present. That's not to say he can't, and won't, be more. But as of this snapshot he wasn't one of the top 101 guys for us.
James (CA): Was Duane Underwood in consideration?
Top 101 Chat: Nope. Good season for Underwood, but to my mind a lot of it was building back value he had lost since the draft. Back on track as a potential mid-rotation arm but there are still questions about consistency (particularly with the breaking ball) and how he'll show against more advanced competition.
Herb (Tonawanda): Some people are down on Meyer, Sanchez, and Stephenson due to control/command issues at higher levels. Your rankings seem to indicate you believe you're confident in all sticking as starters long term?
Top 101 Chat: A little more nuanced -- I think the rankings indicate that they have a chance to start OR have a floor that makes them a potentially impactful relief arm almost immediately.
#sadness (Mesa): Was Tyrone Taylor close?
Top 101 Chat: He's in the discussion in the next 20 or so names. His came up but there wasn't a strong push for his inclusion.
Brandon (AZ): Considering the fact that most would argue that a #3/4 type starter is more valuable than a shutdown closer, what is the argument for Nick Burdi being on the list ahead of young arms like Joe Ross,Michael Feliz and Edwin Diaz?
Is there a big difference between the arms I listed and pitchers like Kyle Freeland and Grant Holmes?
Top 101 Chat: Probability (though I'd maybe quibble with the statement that a #4 starter is more valuable with a true shutdown reliever). Burdi's likelihood of being a shutdown closer is much greater than the probability that Ross/Feliz/Diaz become mid-rotation arms. And he's closer, from a developmental standpoint, as well. Upside/probability combo favors both Freeland/Holmes over the trio you mentioned, and I'd be willing to bet Freeland/Holmes could both handle themselves in a big league pen right now, which I wouldn't necessarily say with the same conviction for Ross/Feliz/Diaz.
JK (Spring Valley, MN): How close was Mike Foltynewicz to making the list and do you see him as a SP or RP?
Top 101 Chat: He was very close. Relief arm for me, but a good one.
Michael (Indiana): On ranking Bryant lower than most other rankings, would you say that is based more upon the up the middle position value of the prospects ahead of him, a lower valuation of his contact tool, or another factor?
Top 101 Chat: It's a combination. It's overly simplistic to state "up the middle player = more value = higher ranking". Russell/Correa/Lindor have a higher foundational value than does Bryant built into the glove (and in some cases, the run). So they are starting out with a higher baseline for production. Bryant has the higher offensive upside (though Correa isn't far behind), but if he falls short in that department it eats heavily into his overall value.
Add to that that Bryant has physical limitations (coverage) that limit his contact ability and you are left with a profile that is dependent on the bat producing, and is also taxed with the challenge of improving (or at least maintaining) contact rates and plate coverage against better arms than he's ever faced (not to mention arms that are better equipped to game plan via advance scouting/analytics at the major league level).
It's not like there's a big fall off, but Bryant was a clear step behind those guys when we put this together. In fact, Mellen and I started the entire process by ranking on our own and comparing and I think the top 5 came out the exact same with Bryant behind Buxton and the trio of SS.
Rickey (Chicago): Who do you like more - Swihart or d'Arnaud?
Top 101 Chat: Swihart; he's a special talent and will contribute in all facets. Love it.
MetsFaithful5 (Syracuse): Do the Mets have a top 5 farm system? If not top 5; top 7?
Top 101 Chat: I think they fell outside the top 5 for me but were comfortably in the top 10.
Grizzly (Chicago): Did Devin Williams receive any top 101 consideration or will he need more looks in full season ball first?
Top 101 Chat: No, he is still a ways off. Some positive strides this year but I'd like to see him in full season ball before pushing the profile into potential 101 territory.
Mo (MN): Hey Nick who was your favorite guy from the 2014 MLB draft that did not make the list?
Top 101 Chat: Touki Toussaint, Michael Chavis, Sean Reid-Foley, Jack Flaherty, Derek Fisher, Max Pentecost, Michael Kopech, Luis Ortiz, Forrest Wall. There's been a solid influx of low-minors talent.
Rick (Evanston): Will you be including a top 40 list of players not in organized baseball (college, HS, international) again in the 2015 futures guide or on the website? That might have been one of the most interesting prospects lists I read last year.
Top 101 Chat: Yes; in fact I saw Bret Sayer submit it for inclusion in the Futures Guide today.
Grizzly (Chicago): How good can Chance Sisco be? Is 6 hit, 5+ power possible?
Top 101 Chat: That seams heavy to me -- 5+ hit/5 power. But ask this question again when Mellen takes over.
ssckelley (Iowa): I noticed CJ Edwards was left off, I assume his injuries and durability were the reasons. If he had played 150 inning last season where where would you have ranked him?
Top 101 Chat: I don't know with specificity, but if durability is removed from the equation the stuff is mid-rotation quality. So maybe as high as the 40s? Assuming, of course, those 150 innings didn't come with other concerns (diminishing stuff later in games, limited effectiveness of repertoire, left/right splits, etc.).
Jake (Los Angeles): True or false: Corey Seager has Evan Longoria-like upside?
Top 101 Chat: Why limit him? If he hits his ceiling Seager could surpass Longoria.
Jon (Illinois): What does the prospect team need to see out of Gleyber Torres for him to crack the Top 101 in 2016?
Top 101 Chat: He was pretty darn close this year -- about as close as you can get without making the cut. If he has even a solid developmental year he'll likely debut with prominent placement. I love the profile and had to restrain myself some not to push him even further up the Cubs Top 10.
Charles (NYC): Could a floor based case have been made for Lindor at #2? Just in the pure fact that defense typically translates,he will stick at the position long term, and he is closest to the majors.
Top 101 Chat: I think Russell is a clear step ahead with a higher offensive upside and solid-in-his-own-right leather. I'll listen to the argument for Correa only because we have yet to see Correa back on the field at full speed, so there is at least some chance he is now more likely to shift off of the position.
Francisco (Atlanta): Mondesi or Amed Rosario ?
Top 101 Chat: Mondesi for me.
oldbopper (New Britain, CT): I find it interesting that you rank the up the middle position players ahead of the power hitter. In today's game with the lack of right handed power, it would seem that a player like Kris Bryant would have extra value. I understand that Baez is no longer a rookie but who do you like between the two of them.
Top 101 Chat: Bryant over Baez for me. Production is production, regardless of what form is plentiful in the game. If Bryant's overall production is limited -- be it due to inability to fully tap into his power in-game, or average or below value defensively and/or on the bases -- why should he get bonus points for having a particular skill (raw power)?
gatz75 (Tampa): Does Rafael Devers have the type of talent to bat in the middle of a good lineup? Does he have the chance to jump into the top 20 of a list like this?
Top 101 Chat: Yes, without question. It takes a lot for a rookie-level corner bat (without defensive certainty) to break into the 101. He has "best in the minors" upside with the stick.
hungryg (Oakland): Where would Moncada & Olivera fit into this wonderful stew of top prospects?
Top 101 Chat: Lots of Moncada questions. He'd rank as high as right behind Seager for me. Olivera wouldn't qualify for our rankings because of his age/pro experience, but if forced to rank him maybe as high as 40s?
Rob (Takoma Park, MD): Any discussion of a new scouting podcast from the BP prospect team?
Top 101 Chat: I'm going to try to hand the mic over to Mellen. We've discussed the podcast and are figuring things out on that front -- hope to have more to report in the near future. It's definitely something we want to bring back.
Peter Gabriel (In Your Eyes): Assuming Sanchez, Norris, and Pompey all graduate in 2015, can you give us your rough guess as to their top 5 prospects by year's end? Matt Smoral made some progress towards the end of 2014, could he be a guy that could really put it together and explode on the prospect scene this season?
Top 101 Chat: Alright. Nick has passed off the baton to me (Mellen) so let's keep this going!
Smoral was tabbed as an On The Rise guy in this year's Top 10 so we definitely see it possible that he's a player who could bump up into the 10 best prospects within the system at this time next year. It's going to come down to the continued progress keeping the delivery in check and maintaining the arm slot. Some evaluators are more bullish on him as a reliever in the long-run, but an Andrew Miller type if fairly valuable at the end of the day.
As for potential Top 5 by year end? Hoffman is going to be a tough read because of the rehab, but if things are going well and the reports indicate the stuff is returning he's in there for me. Like Labourt, Pentecost, and Castro as well. Give me Alford as the 5th name.
Shane (Tacoma): Who in the last 50 do you think has the best chance of moving into the top 20 next year?
Top 101 Chat: That's a huge leap in one year, but Clint Frazier, Alexander Reyes, and Manuel Margot are three who come to mind right off the bat with chances to do so for me.
Jordan (Chicago): How close were Frank Montas and Spencer Adams to making the 101?
Top 101 Chat: They weren't really kicked around all that much, but I like both arms. Montas could very well emerge down the line as a upper level closer type, while Adams has the makings of a talent who can start to make some good strides now that the focus is 100% on baseball.
weezypreacher (Denton, TX): How do you see Marcos Molina (SP-NYM) measuring up? He seems to have a similar profile to Reynaldo Lopez, despite being a year-and-a-half younger, and experienced similar success last year in short-season ball. Lopez's FB may deserve a slightly higher FV grade (65 vs 70?), but it seems that Molina's larger frame, secondary offerings, higher K-rates, and (so far) superior control would earn him some Lopez-like love. Looking forward to your thoughts. Thanks for the great work!
Top 101 Chat: The reports and feedback from scouts/front office types I have gotten on Molina has been pretty strong. Back when I did the Mets Top 10 list, I thought about pushing him up a little more, but eased back a tad based on where he presently is with the overall command of the arsenal. He's still working on finding the identity of his breaking ball as well. Some have suggested that the nature of his delivery may push him to the 'pen in the long run, but I'm on board with him as a starter and think he is someone to be pretty excited about.
For this one, Nick and I talked about him early on, but thought it was a bit premature. He'll probably bust out in a big way this season and make leaving him out look conservative, but the nature of how it goes.
kiper90 (Rochester, NY): Hey Chris & Nick, who do have as some of your favorite Low Minor, high ceiling prospects to keep an eye on for 2015, before their stock gains recognition this season, ex. Tapia last pre-season or Devers by its conclusion?
Top 101 Chat: I like what I've heard from some evaluators on Lewin Diaz. I unfortunately didn't get a chance this year to go down to Instructs (prior commitments) to see for myself, but there was some buzz on him. 2015 may be a bit early given where he is, but a name to definitely keep on the radar.
James (Tampa): Glad to see that Willy Adames is on the list. I'm very torn on his upside. Does he possess the elite upside of some of the other SS in the low minors (Rosario, etc)?
Top 101 Chat: I had him as a 6/5 in the Ray's Top 10 so I see him a bit below. It's good upside as a first-division regular though. There are some thoughts he's going to slide off the position down the line as he isn't the most natural at shortstop, but he has shown to be able to handle it for now.
Manuel (Boston): Tim Anderson is substantially higher on the BP list than in other lists. Law had him at 67. I believe MLB.com had him somewhere in the 70s or 80s. What's your reasoning behind his top 40 ranking?
Top 101 Chat: He's on the raw side for sure, but the tools are extremely loud and there's a certain look to the way he effortlessly creates plus bat speed. His hands are extremely loose as well, which enables him to control the head of the bat well and stay inside of offerings. The more crude present pitch selection offers concerns, along with whether the instincts are there to stick at shortstop, but the athleticism points to sticking up the middle (CF) or rounding into a solid second baseman. Its a more risky profile and requires some belief the gaps are going to close, but we as a team have that belief in happening.
matt (Virginia beach, va): Who is the highest at BP on stephen gonsalves? How far away is he from this list and what's your personal take on him?
Top 101 Chat: I suppose I am the high man on him as I made the call to include him at number 10 on the Twins list this year. If he can continue to show development traction this coming year in full-season, especially with sharpening the consistency of how he finishes his delivery to spot the fastball in the lower tier and get more crisp with his breaking ball, I can see him being in this conversation next off-season.
As for my personal take, his write-up in the Twins Top 10 is what I've got on him. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25324
Grizzly (Chicago): Nick told me to ask my question again when you're on haha.....
"How good can Chance Sisco be? Is 6 hit, 5+ power possible?"
Top 101 Chat: 6 hit may not be out of the question, but I did put a 5+ on him in his Top 10 write-up. 5+ is probably a bit of a stretch on the power. The stroke is a little more on the flat side and geared towards contact. That isn't a bad thing at all, but will probably limit the power to around average.
Harvey (Queens): What would you like to see Amed Rosario work on most this year? What is the most impressive part of his game? Biggest weakness?
Top 101 Chat: Toning things down at the plate. Or, at least showing that he's starting to make strides in that department during his full-season assignment. Rosario's feel for the game at a young age is probably the most impressive part. That's what leads me to believe he's going to learn how to slow things down on both sides of the ball. Biggest weakness would be the aforementioned aggressiveness and immature pitch recognition.
For what it is worth, one front office type (outside the org) I spoke to when putting the Mets Top 10 together expressed his thoughts that Rosario is the talent with the most upside in the system.
Scott (Snowed in): Austin meadows was an interesting exclusion. Was he close? Or just missed too much development time so far?
Top 101 Chat: Missed too much development time so far. Its interesting with Meadows because when he has been on the field he's performed well, but he hasn't been on the field long enough to get a base of looks from the industry to really get a handle on whether he's taking strides forward or just better than the competition.
Nick (LA): How good can Nomar Mazara be? Top 15 prospect by season's end?
Top 101 Chat: That's certainly possible. I love Mazara's offensive potential. I love how natural and fluid he is with his stroke. The big tell is going to be how he adjusts once the book gets out a bit in Double-A and he sees more secondary stuff. That adjustment is probably going to be the difference between being in the Top 20 conversation versus regressing a little bit.
Tony (Edmond, OK): Look into your crystal ball - what does Byron Buxton's best season look like (triple-slash)?
Top 101 Chat: .315/.387/.508
nzach54 (Los Feliz, CA): While I do not deny the awesome power of all things #DIESEL, I do wish we could have a little more #rig and #sparkle sprinkled in... After all, is baseball not for #lovers? That being said, who would be your top 3 or top 5 players based purely on #DIESEL.
Top 101 Chat: In no particular order: Byron Buxton, Hunter Harvey, Nomar Mazara, Francisco Mejia, and Blake Swihart.
Cale (Uptown): Thanks for the chat tonight! Which of these college OF'ers from the last draft got the closest to making the list.. Derek Fisher, Bradley Zimmer, Michael Conforte?
Top 101 Chat: Bradley Zimmer was the closest for me.
teddywklein (Queens): why Mondesi over Rosario?
Top 101 Chat: Mondesi is a bit more natural at the position, and profiles as the better defender. He's also 4 months older than Rosario and played the year two full levels above him. That's pretty advanced. At the end of the day, they could both end up the same player (first-division regulars), but Mondesi is more advanced developmentally at the moment.
Mayo (Rochester, MN): Does Nick Burdi have top tier closer upside?
Top 101 Chat: I believe so. I know Nick is on that wavelength as well.
Daniel Norris (Toronto): What type of performance do you see from me in 2015 (assuming I land the 5th starter spot)? Will I hit the ground running or struggle to adjust a bit?
Top 101 Chat: We'll have to see how things are progressing in terms of returning to form after your surgery to remove bone spurs, Daniel, but assuming you land the 5th starter spot, I think things will be a bit uneven as you continue to find the consistency of your release and keeping the heater in the lower tier more often. Cutter will miss bats and continue to trust the changeup.
Jim (Tuscon): Was Steven Moya considered ? Can he survive with that terrible K/BB ?
Top 101 Chat: He wasn't. And, no, I don't think so.
Hula (Ny): I see Stephen matz very high.i think the mets overrate many of their prospects.with injury concerns I think he's too high.he might only be a 4th starter anyway.thoughts?
Top 101 Chat: Lot of Mets questions tonight!
Matz has now had two full years of good health after an injury plagued start to his career. Are there injury concerns? Yeah. That's the nature of the position, but I don't see Matz as being too high even if he "only" ends up a 4th starter.
Dave (Milwaukee): Thoughts on Micker Adolfo/Zapata? Chance we see him creep onto this list next year? Thanks!
Top 101 Chat: That's probably more of a deep long shot for next season, but there's some potential for him to start gaining some traction during the year within the system. We had him as an On the Rise guy in this year's White Sox Top 10. The results weren't pretty for him this past season, but then again he was a 17-year-old playing rookie ball. Consider me intrigued, with a good showing proving the hit tool is moving forward triggering a firm Top 10 placement next off-season.
Allen (Minny): How do you guys see Miguel Sano recovering from TJS? Is a move to 1B in his future? Do you guys see all the power coming back and basically starting right back where he was at pre injury? 40 HR upside still in the making?
Top 101 Chat: Even pre-TJS there were some thoughts that he'd ultimately move over to first, but we'll have to see how the arm strength returns. Pre-surgery, Sano's arm was a legit 7, and he had made some good progress getting more loose at the position. Its a fighting chance he sticks on the left side. As far as the power, yes, I see that returning pretty quickly, though its going to be interesting how quickly he can shake off the rust from being out of game action for a season. The selectiveness and ability to stay back against good breaking stuff was an area that needed work during his first tour through Double-A, and those aspects are usually something that comes (if they do) with constant repetition.
NatsGM (Bethesda MD): I miss Professor Parks...
Top 101 Chat: Indeed. You really get an appreciation for all of the work that goes into putting this stuff together when you actually have to do it, and I only wrote 15 lists this year as opposed to the 30 he used to turn out on his own.
Steve (NY): Where do you see the Yankees assigning Jorge Mateo and how soon until you think BP gets an eyewitness account? He got hurt before I believe anyone on the team got to see him last season.
Top 101 Chat: I see a good chance he gets a look in full-season to start the year. I'd expect we'd get an eyewitness account pretty quickly if that assignment took place. If not, we'll get one pretty quickly once short-season started up. Reports were pretty strong from Fall Instructs.
Nate (New Hampshire): Is Kris Bryant's #sparkle too bright for you?
Top 101 Chat: No. A top 5 prospect in all of baseball is nothing to sneeze at.
matt y (Norfolk): Who of the 2014 101 gets the best "above the shoulders" grade? With baseball IQ, attitude, competitiveness, mentality, work ethic being taken into consideration?
Top 101 Chat: Blake Swihart would be at the front of that list for me. Its been enjoyable being able to watch his developmental progress and really study him as a player from his first Fall Instructs to now in Triple-A. That's one of my favorite aspects of this and what I really enjoy about the whole scouting process.
Barry Obama (DC): Should my boy Lucas G-elite-O have an innings cap on him. What else does he have to work on besides the change and building up the innings?
Top 101 Chat: The training wheels should start to come off more this season given he's further away from surgery, but there's no reason to push things beyond normal progression this season. I see a good chance that he makes it up to Double-A as the stuff is likely to overpower the competition in the Carolina League. I think you hit it on the head in terms of what he has to work on, with the building of arm strength the key ingredient.
Nick (LA): Is the upside assigned to Frazier warranted? I mean, he seemed to struggle in his first year. Is that insane upside still there?
Top 101 Chat: I think so. It was really a tale of two seasons for Frazier. The second half of the year showed a much different player at the plate, especially in regards to controlling plate appearances better and working into more favorable hitting conditions. If he can carry that momentum into the nest level, and shows that the buy in is real that he understands the value of working counts versus thinking he can hit everything, I see the upward trajectory continuing.
James (MD): What can we hope to see from Dylan Bundy this year. I cant wait to see him explode on the scene and I'm not confident in the current rotation being able to hold him back
Top 101 Chat: It was apparent in both our looks and ones passed on from contacts that Bundy's stuff was still showing the affects of surgery. However, the theme from when he returned to the mound to the end of he season was that the stuff was showing signs of returning. Given what we know about the player in terms of makeup and work ethic, the assumption is that the off-season is going to be big for him in terms of continuing to push things post surgery. My feel is that while we should prepare for the fact that things may not 100% return, there's a good chance it does as the confidence in the arm returns.
Tapia (DR): Am I really as good as Ryan Parker says I am?
Top 101 Chat: If Ryan Parker says it, I believe it. The man knows how to break a hitter down with the best of them.
cracker73 (Florida): What are the scouts thoughts on Reynaldo Lopez? What kind of upside does he have?
Top 101 Chat: They like the fast arm and early overall feel for the craft. Our own Tucker Blair is a huge backer of Lopez and was all over him this season. Thoughts are universal in regards to seeing how things hold up over the grind of the long season. This coming year in an extended full-season assignment will be a good tell. As far as upside, I had him as a High 6 (2/3 starter) for OFP in his Top 10 writeup. That could end up a tad light if he shows he can hold things consistently and the changeup takes a bigger step than initially assessed.
Jonathan (Delaware ): Conforto or Barreto?
Top 101 Chat: Give me Barreto.
JoJo (SD): You can watch one 50-101 arm and bat on loop during #bathnight. Go.
Top 101 Chat: Bat: Francisco Mejia. Arm: Jeff Hoffman
Mark (Texas): All "risk" associated with Javier Baez's profile seems to be fully evident now after a taste of the big leagues. Should we temper our expectations in a similar way for Joey Gallo, or are there tools in his profile that make him less risky than Baez?
Top 101 Chat: Probably temper expectations, but I think at the very least its understood there's going to be a lot of swing-and-miss in his game that can lead to extended valleys to go with peaks when he's locked in.
Billy (Boston): Please make me feel warm and forget the snow by telling me how great Rafael Devers will be!! Winter can't end soon enough!!
Top 101 Chat: I hear you on the winter, Billy. I have about 5 feet of snow sitting outside my window here just outside of Boston.
I don't want to get too far ahead of things with Devers, but he already shows a maturity level indicative of a player with more experience and I really like the way he can go the other way with authority. The jury is out on whether he sticks at third, but the upside with the bat can more than mitigate for a shift across the diamond down the line. We ranked him number 5 in a stronger Red Sox system and as a firm Top 101 prospect. There was never any doubt he was going to make the list heading into the process.
Jack (NYC): Thank you for doing this chat. Which prospects toward the end of the Top 101 or not listed at all in the Top 101 have the highest ceilings or have the opportunity to rocket up the prospect charts?
Top 101 Chat: Lewis Thorpe can take a pretty good jump if he continues to show that the uptick in his stuff is real, and can be held over a full workload during the season. The upside can push into the number 2 starter territory. Its early in the development, and we're in the dead of early February, but he's a candidate to have a breakout season for sure.
Mike (DC): Does this list provide more #Flow or #Diesel in your opinion?
Top 101 Chat: More #Diesel, but I am biased. It was a total team effort of #want, #flow, and #diesel.
Peter (NY): I'm writing this in advance assuming Dilson Herrera misses your Top 100 list. Care to profile him here and give your expectations?
Top 101 Chat: He actually comfortably made it at number 82.
Pete (St Pete): How much consideration goes into creating a buzz with these lists? If it's fair to assume you wouldn't trade a prospect for the one listed directly below him, does it make sense that a guy like David Dahl is listed lower than Austin Hedges? Swihart/Stephenson, Rodon/Mazara?
Top 101 Chat: Not much to be honest. It all comes down to how we value the particular players and how things as a whole are going to play. I wouldn't look at things in terms of trading players as well. That's a pref list. This is a top prospect list, with multiple factors like upside, risk, proximity, floor, developmental stages, belief in whether tool gaps will be closed, etc. factored into the equation
Shawn (Cubicle): Where would you say the tiers separate within the Top 101? Generally speaking around every 8-10 spots or so? To me, it's not really worth debating #3 vs. #4 (they are both all-stars if they hit their ceiling, and it's merely a preference), I'd rather know where the talent drops from say all-star level tier to above average tier, etc.
Top 101 Chat: It really depends on the depth of the overall talent, but typically I look at the first 20 or so as having All-Star type upside or who's profile can end up playing as a legit first-division type for a healthy portion of the career. Then, again depending on the talent distribution, after that tiers of around 10 or so, until you get into the latter stages of the list when it becomes a combination of players on the way up, and players that have seen their stock fall a bit due to concerns, but still have potential for it to click. Nick and I did methodically go through each clump of 10 or so players after initially putting this down on paper, and then did a distribution by position to see how it lined to before making tweaks and adjustments. Certainly not an exact science, but an exercise that we spent a lot of time on working to get "right" or what we perceived as the best representation of the Top 101 prospects in the game of baseball at the present time.
I agree with you when talking 3 vs. 4 it typically comes down to preference, with a larger gap (like 10 spots depending on the ranking range) being significant.
Top 101 Chat: Well, that seems like a good question to end on as we're getting into the latter stages of the evening and it is time to recharge for the next day. On behalf of Nick, the rest of the team, and me, I'd like to thank everyone for the outstanding response and thoughtful questions/comments to both the Top 10s and this Top 101 list.
We left a lot of questions on the board and wish we could answer them all so we'll do this again soon. Get ready for the Organizational Rankings, the Futures Guide to release, and yes, spring training coverage in the not-so-distant future. If you can't tell, we can't wait for the season, and you guys are a huge part of that, so keep bringing it!