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Top Prospect Lists Are Useless!

Top Prospect Lists Are Useless!

I have long been a fan of the minor league system and have subscribed to The Sporting News when it was the Baseball News and since then it has been Baseball America and anything else I can get my hands on.  While it is fun to read about the prospects, my advice is not to fall in love with them and don’t bet your lunch money that the prophets who write this stuff are any more accurate than a monkey  throwing darts at the statistics.  As an example, lets look at the RESPECTED Baseball America 2002 Prospect Handbook.  If you read that, he’s what you would have found:

  • Hank Blaylock and Sean Burroughs were ranked #2 and #3 for 3B and Mark Teixeira was #10.
  • Wilson Betemit was ranked #5 as a SS and Jose Reyes was # 40.
  • Drew Henson was ranked higher than Joe Mauer.
  • Jerome Williams was perceived to be better than Adam Wainright.
  • Angel Berroa was ranked higher than Miguel Cabrera
  • Ryan Anderson, Dennis Tankersley, Mark Prior Jon Rauch, Nick Neugebauer, Ty Howington, Corwin Malone, Boof Bonser and Nate Cornejo were all deemed to be better prospects than Jake Peavy.
  • Ricardo Rodriguez of the Dodgers was the #36 rated prospect.
  • Hee Seop Choi was ranked higher than Adrian Gonzalez
  • 8 out of the top 10 prospects are either journeymen or out of baseball!

What do the Top 50 Prospect Lists mean?  Zip!  Zero!  Zilch!  The guys who write them are weathermen who were fired for lying about the weather!

Now, I’m here to tell you that while we don’t have a buch of hitters in the minors, we have a boatload of arms!    Not all will pan out, but some will, and I think you will be surprised what happens VERY SOON.

The sky is not falling…

Logan White is alive and well!

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

28 Responses to “Top Prospect Lists Are Useless!”

  1. Roger Dodger says:

    Where is your #17 from that year?

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    #17 was Brandon Phillips.

  3. lawdog says:

    From Rosenthal…

    Are the Dodgers stuck? — 3:17 p.m.

    As the Dodgers seek to create payroll flexibility, donít look for them to trade any of their top arbitration-eligible players — right fielder Andre Ethier, center fielder Matt Kemp and first baseman James Loney, right-hander Chad Billingsley, closer Jonathan Broxton and catcher Russell Martin.

    The Dodgers, after repeatedly resisting the temptation to move their best youngsters as they ascended to the majors, are not about to shift course and break up their core, according to major-league sources.

    Thus, there might not be much the team can do.

    The Dodgers, sources say, essentially are limited to cash-neutral transactions due to the divorce proceedings between owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie.

    If the team wanted to add a free agent such as right-hander Joel Pineiro, it would need to subtract a player at a comparable price — an odd position for a franchise that led the majors in attendance last season and is coming off back-to-back appearances in the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1977-78.

    A player such as Ethier could bring a significant return, but to what end? Ethier emerged as a top power hitter last season, and his salary in arbitration figures to be in the $6 million range. The Dodgers no longer can trust left fielder Manny Ramirez to be the Manny of old. Moving Ethier could be counter-productive.

    Trading a pitcher would be equally problematic; the Dodgers need to add a free agent such as Pineiro, not diminish their staff. The way the team currently sets up, Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Hiroki Kuroda would head the rotation. A group of youngsters would compete for the fourth and fifth spots.

    Left-handed reliever George Sherrill, projected to earn about $4 million in arbitration, remains a candidate to be traded. But even then, the savings would not be terribly significant. Whatís more, club officials are reluctant to weaken the bullpen, which led the National League in ERA by a wide margin last season.

    It may turn out that the Dodgers do little of consequence — their biggest offseason moves thus far have been the trade of outfielder Juan Pierre and the signing of free agent Jamey Carroll as an infield reserve.

    If that is all this team can manage, fans undoubtedly will want answers from McCourt. — Ken Rosenthal

  4. lawdog says:

    Exhibit 3–from Rosenthal above. :shock:

  5. ray says:

    Mark-love the blog and am curious what you mean by ” you will all be surprised what happens VERY SOON.”
    As it relates to our prospects? or free agent market? or change in the front office?

  6. Roger Dodger says:

    I do not understand the talk about trading Sherrill. That $4 million is not much for what he can do for the club.

    This team has had a great record the past several seasons, because of relief pitching in the 8th and 9th innings.

    Many other teams, like the Cardinals, loose a bunch of games in the 8th and 9th innings because their stop and cap guys fall short.

    Heck, as it stands now, the only way the Dodgers can be ahead of the Padres and stay in 4th place (behind the Giants, D-Backs, and Rockies) is the freeze teams out in the 8th & 9th innings.

  7. ray says:

    man, lots of doom and gloomers here. I have to agree with Mark. This team will be fine. We were in a worse situation last offseason, as we needed two starting pitchers, a second baseman, a third baseman, a shortstop and a left fielder. So we signed Wolf, Hudson, Blake, Furcal and Manny.
    This year, we have to sign a starting pitcher, and we promote our new second baseman from within the organization. Can signing Padilla for $2-3 million contribute what Wolf would have contributed this season at $10 million? I think so. I don’t think anyone believes that Wolf would have repeated his 2009 season.
    Same for Hudson.
    I do wish we offered them arbitration, but maybe there was the handshake agreement not to??

  8. Ty says:

    I don’t think many intelligent baseball fans live and die on prospect lists. They don’t think that it’s a given that the 4th rated prospect will definitely be better than the 44th ranked prospect. Obviously it’s not a science but prospect lists can be useful. Are you going to sit there and tell me that you don’t care whether we give up a highly ranked guy like Withrow over a guy like Brett Wallach? It’s not a given that Withrow will be better than Wallach but the probability that Withrow will be better is pretty good. That’s the use of a prospect list. The difference between a 3rd ranked prospect over an 8th ranked prospects isn’t huge but the difference between a 3rd ranked prospect and a 1000th ranked prospect is.

    Let’s not act like these prospect lists are useless.

  9. Blue Haze is Jamie's Lovechild says:

    Give till it hurts. Go get after it today and let us all rejoice in your generosity. I’ll give my update tonight.

    Go Giants South!

  10. Badger says:

    I was reading along and thinking “yeah, prospect lists change every 10 minutes or so, and they aren’t always right” and then I read the part about Drew Henson and Joe Mauer. I know a little about Mauer because I was back there when he was playing at Cretin Hall – Joe Maauer was the #1 overall pick, hit .400 in his first year as a pro and was the overall Minor League Player of the Year in 2003. Whatever list you had that put Henson over Mauer was as illegitimate as Jamie’s Lovechild.

    You just lost credibility with me regarding this topic.

    Of course prospect lists are only that – prospect projections. But I contend we have nobody on that top 50 list for a reason. Those lists are usually about who is closest to breaking in. This year, there are no Dodger prospects that will contend for a job next year.

    ray, last off season we weren’t owned by a guy that was tied up in court and about to be nuetered. Things are very different this off season. Nobody knows how this will play out, and I am willing to admit it just may not be as bad as it looks, but I refuse to pull the covers over my head. What is happening to the Dodger owner is serious and because of how his finances are leveraged. (maybe ldog and ken should re-visit that?) The Dodgers checkbook has had sobering restrictions placed on it.

    Ty, prospect lists are very valuable when it comes to making trades, so for that reason alone they have a very measurable value. You are right that there are no guarantees they will make it at the ML level, but when it comes time to land that big bat, or big arm at the deadline – who wins those battles?

    While I will agree that prospects aren’t guaranteed to make it, I refuse to believe that having them does not add value, power and perogative when it comes to the ability to improve your roster.

  11. Badger says:

    Oh, and good finish on yesterday’s post. We have always been involved in charities, bought a couple of goats this year and have been helping elephants and supporting local food banks, but after reading what you guys posted, and realizing how bad the economy is for so many people, we will be donating to more food banks in the coming weeks. Thanks for the tip.

  12. mark says:

    Ty,

    Do you know why most blogs post their prospect lists? Because their readers eat that stuff up. I don’t know the percentages, but a VERY HIGH percentage live and die on what they read about these prospects. Hopefully you don’t. Unlike scores, standings, batting averages and the like, prospect lists are almost entirely subjective.

    For example, Dodgers Scout.com has Cole St. Clair as the Dodgers 25th rated prospect. I have seen him pitch and I can’t imagine him as a prospect, but again, it is subjective. I could be wrong, or they could be wrong. I mean, there are players like Joe Mauer who are obviously TOP Prospects, but sometimes in a players 2nd or 3rd season they develope into something no one ever imagined, or they simply fall off the face of the earth.

    I do know that Logan White thinks these lists are a joke.

    That’s why I list the Dodegrs Top Prospects, but I don’t rank them. It’s like predicting where Free Agents will go. MLB Trade Rumors predicts where the TOP 50 Free Agents will go and when it is all said and done, they will get 2 or 3 right. Why predict when you have no chance? Ditto on the Top Prospects.

    Looking back at prospects, I predicted Kemp, Loney, Martin, Billingsley, LaRoche and Kershaw would become good players, but I was never in love with Eric Gagne, until he became Eric Gagne. Who saw that coming?

    I thought Antonio Perez would be a good 2B – WOW! What a bust! Anyone can have an eye for talent, but what about heart? Now, that is hard to see for a casual fan, but people like Logan White and De Jon Watson are the ones in the know about that.

    I have no clue, but maybe Carlos Santana is gone because they saw something they didn’t think would play-out at the next level. Maybe? Maybe not!

    • Ty says:

      I very much respect your opinion and agree that a lot of prospect lists out there are not worth reading. With that said, ranking prospects is not “useless” as you’ve said before. While I don’t pay attention to the many blogs out there that rank prospects, I do pay attention to respectable sites like Baseball America and Prospectus.

      Ranking prospects help you gauge the quality of prospects you have. You’ve said that we don’t have great positional prospects but have a good amount of young arms. How do you know that? Probably by looking at a prospect list and seeing that most of our Top 20 are pitchers.

      Will the scouts and prospects services out there always be right? No way! It’s a crapshoot just like the NBA and NFL drafts. Unfortunately for MLB fans and scouts, it’s even tougher to gauge how a high school (so young) and college kid (different bats) develop for the pro game.

      Bottom line: prospect lists should not be gospel but are definitely not uselss.

  13. Roger Dodger says:

    Hey Ray, your comment above about: “doom and gloomers here”

    Last year we and the Dodger brass — knew they had a shot for players and offer the money, etc. And they made moves.

    This year, even the media baseball writers know and write about the difficult times in Dodgerland. Budget concerns, no serious new contracts, a lot of if’s. Ownership lack of available funds, divorce happenings. Fans expect to see some movement to protect 2nd base and see a productive player there. Hudson did not work out for Joe, and Joe sat him at the end.

    Personally, I for one, closed one eye when Wolf pitched a game. It seemed that some games he gave up runs early, then settled down. And that lollypop curve was scary just watching hitters trying to time it.

    Some here might have liked a trade for Dan Uggula or another established player for that position. I know that Mark is OK with DeWitt there, but he still might not make the big time. Heck, Mark has him down for 19 HRs this year.

    This Dodger team has had face to face match-ups with the Phillies for two years in a row — and they blow us away. AND the Phillies have made their team better !!!! While the Dodgers did not even show up at the winter meetings.

    We still have no true #1 and #2 starters. Oh, I am sure Ned will sign someone who can go 5 or 6 innings and pitch decent, but that is not the traditional Dodger way. Mark will talk about the low leading Dodger ERA last year. Fine, but the fans better wear a second pair undies when going against the Giants and those pitchers.

    For those of you who know VENICE GLENN — he will be smiling down towards L.A. this year.

    I know nothing of the McCourts as individuals. Easterners looking to buy a baseball team. Talk the owners and commissioner into letting them buy the Dodgers. Zipo, lots of talk from them. Parade into southern California, buy up properties for themselves. Re-do Dodger Stadium a bit. Make some big signings. Now they are in the middle of a divorce. See, they tried buying a baseball team to keep their marriage together — and it did not work.

    So we complain. It has been toooo long in the Dodger tradition not to play in a World Series. Heck, 1988 was three decades ago.

    I undersand that in today’s baseball days, big contract can kill a team. But I do not feel that Ned is saying: “I need to obtain the contracts of solid players for 2nd base, bench role players, and two starters followed by several serious relievers.” And then go out and make the moves.

    But this is the time of the Hot Stove League, but the Dodgers right now do not have a light.

  14. Rory says:

    Who is this guy?

    “As a senior high school shortstop he batted .558 with 15 home runs, 11 doubles and 48 RBIs and was named to Baseball America’s High School All-America first team, the Associated Press Class 3 all-state first team, and the ****** High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 3 all-state first team. He is one of the few players in ******** baseball history to be named first team all-state four times. In addition to his hitting prowess, he was an effective pitcher, winning a ****** state high school record 27 consecutive games and losing only 1. He broke eight state high school records in batting and pitching according to the state’s governing athletic association, the ****** State High School Athletic Association.

    He was scheduled to attend Georgia Tech, but he was drafted by the ******* in the 1st round of the June 2004 MLB draft and chose to play professional ball. He was rated as the best high school pure hitter entering the draft.

    He began his professional career in 2004 and was tabbed by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the Pioneer League as well as the eighth-best prospect in the ******* organization.

    In 2005 he hit for the cycle on June 5, and went on to lead his team in hits, doubles, and total bases. He was rated as the “Best Hitter for Average” in the ******* farm system while hitting .333.

    In 2006 he was again ranked as the ******* 8th best prospect by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He was named to the Florida State League All-Star team while hitting .339 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs for *******. He played for the North Shore Honu of the Hawaii Winter Baseball League following the season.

    He began 2007 with the ******* and hit .298 with 8 homers and 46 RBIs in 83 games, leading to a promotion to AA He hit .281 in 45 games at AA the rest of the season.”

    Out of high school he was rated the best hitter in the draft. 4 years ago he was rated the best hitter for average in the Dodger system.

    After reading all of this, shouldn’t this prospect be tearing it up at the Major League level?

  15. Rory says:

    I took so much care to hide all the clues, then gave it away in the next to last paragraph.

    Ima Putz.

  16. lawdog says:

    I can tell you exactly why Carlos Santana was thrown into a rent a player for September deal. Because Perfectly and Meanie wanted a little extra jack to take another trip or two to Paris for lunch and maybe remodel a bathroom or three with solid silver cabinets and gold plated toilet seats! Bank on it! These vermin will continue to tear us down into a sub-mediocre team until the cassh is gone and they are financially bankrupt. (They are already morally bankrupt.)

    If you want a charity that really feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless on an international basis that will not steal your donation–look into giving to OXFAM.

  17. mark says:

    Badger,

    Those stats and his up and down years led me to believe he would not be a major leaguer, but when I saw him play on the MLB level in 2008, I changed my mind and have him hitting 19 HR next year!

  18. Badger says:

    19 huh. I don’t see him as an everday player so I think 19 is a bit optimystical. With the way the team is set up now, Carroll is our best option at 2b. It pains me to say it, but I think it’s true.

    And come to think of it, how does our infield shake down? We have Hu, Carroll, Mintcaveitch, DeJesus, Berroa, DeWitt – who makes the team?

  19. Roger Dodger says:

    Berroa, because even when he makes a mistake or does not even hit a foul ball for two weeks —- he does it looking good !!!! A flash.

    I want Thome on the bench. Just to pinch-hit, and be the DH in the Inter-league games and then in post season games against the A.L.

    Let me count the beans: 2 catchers, 4 infielders, 3 outfielders, 11/12 pitchers, 1 reserve outfielder == that is 21/22. That leaves 3/4 others.

    Carroll (or DeWitt; one here one above), Mintcaveitch, Hu, and Thome. When the team needs 12 pitchers on the roster, then Thome or Mintdaveitch goes on the DL.

    Now, if Hu gets traded, then someone comes in somewhere; if it is for a prospect/s then Berrroa.

    But, betcha the roster has a different ring or name on it that belongs to someone we do not even have now.

  20. Roger Dodger says:

    Article by Pat Lackey:

    It’s not at all uncommon for athletes in the United States to make a second career in politics when their playing days are over. This phenomenon isn’t limited to the U.S., though. It’s also a trend in the Dominican Republic. The latest Dominican athlete to make the jump is 1992 National League Rookie of the Year and former NL All-Star Raul Mondesi.

    The LA Times reported Wednesday that Mondesi, who’s twice been elected to his home country’s Chamber of Deputies (the equivalent of our House of Representatives), is now running for mayor of his hometown of San Cristobal. Juan Encarnacion, whose playing career recently ended after a horrific eye injury, and Jose Rijo, who was fired from the Nationals’ front office during their bonus-skimming scandal, are also among the large number of baseball players entering Dominican politics.

    The Times’ story also points out that players like Mondesi are being used for their star power, not political acumen. Once elected, most players are expected to vote straight with their party line, even if they can’t explain the positions. Mondesi has been affiliated with both major Dominican parties during his time in office and his mayoral campaign doesn’t actually involve a primary; his party will just select either him or Rijo based on who they think will be more popular in an election.

    Mondesi’s been out of baseball since 2005, though his career was mostly over after a controversial 2004 in which both the Pirates and Angels terminated contracts with Mondesi. While with the Pirates he returned to the Dominican Republic to deal with a lawsuit and when he wasn’t communicative with the team, they released him. He quickly signed with the Angels, injured himself, and he was released by them for not sticking to a rehab schedule. Of course, now that we know he had a lucrative career as a nightclub owner and figurehead politician waiting for him back home, it all makes more sense.

  21. ray says:

    interesting post by Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs on how the drop in salary inflation for free agents the last two year may lead teams to REDUCE spending on prospects in the near future. Is it possible Ned and Co. are ahead of the curve??

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/inflation-and-prospects

    Mark-I hope you don’t mind me posting the link. I don’t write for the site.

  22. Mark Timmons says:

    Post away Ray, it’s OK!

  23. lawdog says:

    Ahead of the curve? Naaaah! Perfectly is just a cheap bastard who’s in the process of going broke while holding the Dodgers hostage! :shock:

  24. train says:

    Impossible to predict what Dewitt will do this year , but i do know one thing, i’d give him every shot to hold down 2B. If he’s nothing else, he’s game.

  25. Badger says:

    In 350 at bats at AAA DeWitt hit a very pedestrian .256 with a .775 OPS, which didn’t even land him anywhere near the top 100 in that league. I don’t know what has happened to him but his promise has left the building.

    He will of course have an opportunity to win the job in Spring Training. I wish him well as the Dodgers are going to need somebody to replace Hudson. And frankly, I don’t see that happening with the candidates that are currently present.

    Collecti ahead of the curve? I really doubt it. There is no downward trend on spending in the Major Leagues. There is a temporary injunction, but the economy will have slight recovery tendencies next year and most teams will have decent attendance numbers. So what they are down a couple of % points? No big deal. The owners (with one glaring exception) and the players are above the fray and can wait a short period knowing full well that baseball junkies will need their fix, and they will spend what they can when they can. What a shame that some of these guys will only make 2 or 3 million during the recession. But there are always the Jason Bays, Peavys, Halladays, Hollidays, Sabathia, etc. etc. etc..

    As for signing bonuses, their should be a cap on all of those anyway. NFL should do it too. First round picks should never make more than million – come on, show us something before you get filthy rich. If you are good at what you do the money will come. If you are not, then get a real job like the rest of us.

  26. Mark Timmons says:

    I say you throw out what happend to DeWitt last year – he bounced back and forth between the Dodgers and AAA like a yo-yo. I look for him to be very productive. He hit 9 HR is his rookie season. He’s stronger and has some pop. If he gets 500 AB, he’ll be close to 20 HR. Wait and see. I don’t look for him to hit more than .260 next year, but he’ll get better over time.

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