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The Problem With Top Prospect Lists

The Problem With Top Prospect Lists

The Average Blogger Picking His Top Prospects

We all read ‘em.  Why?  Because with nothing else to do in the off-season we are jonesing  for baseball info and we get our fix by diving into that kind of stuff.  I do it.  You do it.  We all do it, and Jared and I will probably both have our Top Prospect Lists, but I am warning you right now: PAY  NO ATTENTION TO THEM!

Why?  They ain’t crap!  Dodger fans are bummed because the Dodgers don’t have any “A Prospects” in John Sickels latest ranking.  Please!  I read it, but I just don’t put much stock in it.  As a point of reference, let’s go back to Sickels 2005 Predictions:

Los Angeles Dodgers Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

1) Joel Guzman, SS
Hit .287/.351/.475 with 16 homers, 31 doubles for Double-A Jacksonville. Something of a disappointing season, hampered by shaky plate discipline, but he was only 20 years old and is still an elite prospect.

2) Chad Billingsley, RHP
13-6, 3.51 in 26 starts for Jacksonville, 162/50 K/BB in 146 innings, only 116 hits allowed. Top-notch pitching prospect still on track for success.

3) Jonathan Broxton, RHP
3.17 ERA at Jacksonville, used as a starter and reliever. Posted 107/31 K/BB in 97 innings. Control problems kept his ERA over 5.00 in brief major league action, but his ceiling remains very high.

4) Edwin Jackson, RHP
Pitched horribly for the Dodgers and in Triple-A, but recovered his footing in Double-A to some extent. Jackson has been terribly mishandled by the Dodgers. Can he recover completely? Poll question in the comments thread.

5) James Loney, 1B
Hit .284/.357/.419 with 11 homers for Jacksonville. Still very young, power production has improved somewhat, but the big breakthrough everyone seems to expect is still tempting us over the horizon. Is it an illusion?

6) Chuck Tiffany, LHP
11-7, 3.93 in 21 starts for Vero Beach, 134/43 K/BB in 110 innings, 91 hits allowed. Continues to post excellent component ratios. Main red flag is high home run rate.

7) Yhency Brazoban, RHP
Picked up 21 saves for the Dodgers, albeit with an ugly 5.33 ERA. He can do better but is probably best-suited for short/middle relief work.

8) Delwyn Young, 2B
Hit .296/.346/.499 in 95 games for Jacksonville, then .325/.361/.475 in 36 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. Plate discipline is shaky but he has a lot of bat speed.

9) Dioner Navarro, C
Hit .273/.354/.375 in 50 games for the Dodgers. Power development has stalled out, but he is still very young at age 21 and should have a long career.

10) Russ Martin, C
Hit .311/.430/.423 in 129 games for Jacksonville, 78 walks against just 69 strikeouts in 409 at-bats. Power has stagnated, but has excellent on-base skills.

11) Blake DeWitt, 3B
Hit .283/.333/.428 in 120 games for Class A Columbus, decent but not spectacular. Then he went 13-for-31 (.419) with three doubles and a homer in an 8-game trial at Class A Vero Beach. A very promising bat.

12) Cory Dunlap, 1B
Hit .291/.382/.398 in 121 games for Vero Beach. Good on-base skills and can hit for average, but power is questionable considering his position.

13) Willy Aybar, 2B
Hit .297/.356/.419 in 108 games for Las Vegas, then .326/.448/.453 in 26 games for the Dodgers. He overachieved in Los Angeles, but he did make real progress refining his skills this year.

14) Andy LaRoche, 3B
Big step forward this year, hit .333/.380/.651 with 21 homers in 63 games for Vero Beach, then .273/.367/.445 in 64 games for Jacksonville. Strong improvement in strike zone judgment. His stock has definitely risen.

15) Chin-Lung Hu, SS
Good year, hit .313/.347/.430 with 23 steals in 116 games for Vero Beach. Not a walk machine but his strikeout rate is quite low.

16) Scott Elbert, LHP
Major improvement compared to ’04, went 8-5, 2.66 in 24 starts for Columbus, 128/57 K/BB in 115 innings, only 83 hits allowed. A very solid young lefty.

17) Justin Orenduff, RHP
Went 5-3, 2.24 in 12 starts for Vero Beach, then 5-2, 4.07 in 13 starts for Jacksonville. Maintained strong strikeout rate after promotion, although other numbers slipped. Control an issue but I like him.

18) Julio Pimentel, RHP
5.08 ERA in 24 starts for Vero Beach, went 8-10, 105/43 K/BB in 124 innings but allowed 149 hits. Only 19 years old, has time to rebound from a season where he was far too hittable for a guy with a good arm.

19) Matt Kemp, OF
Hit .306/.349/.569 with 27 homers, 23 steals for Vero Beach. Very impressive tools, skills are coming along. Main issue is plate discipline, which will be a challenge in Double-A.

20) D.J. Houlton, RHP
Posted 5.16 ERA in 129 innings for the Dodgers, used as a swingman, with 90/52 K/BB. Allowed 145 hits and 21 homers. I think he can do better than this, but his window will close quickly if he doesn’t improve.

A monkey throwing darts can do as good… maybe better!

By the way, Here’s Sickels Latest on the Dodgers’ Prospects

Finally, here’s his 2007 List:

2007 Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects

  1. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Grade A- (I really like him as a hitter)
  2. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Grade A- (terrific all-around young pitcher)
  3. James Loney, 1B, Grade B+ (right on the border of A-)
  4. Scott Elbert, LHP, B+ (great arm but command an issue)
  5. Chin-Lung Hu, SS, B (awesome defensive player with a bat that could develop further)
  6. Jonathan Meloan, RHP, B (a personal favorite)
  7. Blake DeWitt, 2B, B- (needs to break through in ’07 to maintain status)
  8. Preston Mattingly, INF-OF, B- (position a question but has promising tools and bloodlines)
  9. Josh Bell, 3B, C+ (intriguing power bat, breakthrough candidate)
  10. Ivan DeJesus, SS, C+  (good glove, bat has some promise)
  11. Cory Dunlap, 1B, C+ (looks blocked positionally but a nice bat)
  12. Tony Abreu, 2B, C+ (Triple-A numbers should be interesting)
  13. Delwyn Young, OF, C+ (needs a change of scenery)
  14. Kyle Orr, 1B, C+ (lots of power potential)
  15. Greg Miller, LHP, C (can he stay healthy?)
  16. Bryan Morris, RHP, C (would be B/B+ if not for Tommy John)
  17. Eric Stults, LHP, C (he survived Las Vegas)
  18. Brian Akin, RHP, C (interesting relief candidate)
  19. B.J. LaMura, RHP, C (interesting relief candidate)
  • Mark Alexander, RHP, C (interesting relief candidate)
  • About Mark Timmons

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

    One Response to “The Problem With Top Prospect Lists”

    1. Brooklyn Dodger says:

      I pretty much stick to Baseball America. But they’re not perfect either. These lists just give you a glimpse of players with potential. Nothing more. And then there are the players who don’t appear on the lists, and suddenly emerge out of nowhere. Case in point, Ruby De La Rosa in 2010. And then there was the position switch by Kenley Jansen. Who knows, maybe Pedro Baez is moved to the mound, and suddenly emerges as a top pitching prospect. Maybe not.


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