Jan
28

KLaw’s Top 100 Prospects List

By

Keith Law posted his list of the game’s top 100 prospects today (it’s all behind the Insider wall, unfortunately). with two Yankee farmhands making the cut: Jesus Montero at #10, and Manny Banuelos at #96. “Montero’s ticket to the big leagues is his bat,” says KLaw, “and his hitting style is similar to that of another big guy who spent a lot of his career at DH: Frank Thomas.” Frank Thomas was good at hitting baseballs, in case you didn’t already know. As for Banuelos, he says his ceiling is “probably just a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, but given his youth and feel he’s got a good chance to get there.”

Arodys Vizcaino cracked the list at #43 (“… potential as a front-line starter”) while Austin Jackson came in at #70 (“… upside keeps dropping as he moves up the ladder”). Old buddy Jose Tabata also cracked the list as #57 (“… dwindling chance to be an impact player”). It’s a good sign that the Yanks’ system has produced five top 100 talents, even though only two of them remain with the organization.

KLaw also posted his top ten prospects by organization, and the Yanks’ list is made up of the usual suspects: Montero, Banuelos, Zach McAllister, Austin Romine, etc. Might as well mention that MLB.com’s top 50 list came out last night, and Montero ranked 19th overall. That’ll be the lowest you see him ranked all offseason.

Categories : Asides

139 Comments»

  1. Bo says:

    No Andrew Brackman???? I’m shocked.

  2. Rose says:

    I like how they’re comparing Montero to Hall of Fame caliber players like Frank Thomas and Miguel Cabrera all over the place…but then people rank him #10 or #19…

    Yeah he’s very young still…but still…

    /nitpicking

    • radnom says:

      I love when I see him ranked behind other 1B prospects, and the explanation is “Well he has the best bat, but we can’t rank him higher because he probably won’t stick at catcher”….ummmm….

  3. pat says:

    F*cking Casey Kelly in the Top 20.

    Kelly’s defining attribute as a pitcher is his command, which was unusually good for a high school pitcher (in Sarasota, Fla.) and hasn’t regressed at all since he got into pro ball.

    Hahah so now Sox prospects get credit for not getting worse. Must be nice.

  4. Michael Taylor looks like Vince Young. Not just face, but body as well.

    6’6″, 250? Yeesh.

  5. #35 and #36 seems REALLY, REALLY low for Pedro Alvarez and Christian Freidrich.

  6. Chris says:

    Montero is 20 years old now, had a .906 OPS in AA last season, and is ranked as the 19th best prospect.

    Westmoreland will be 20 in April, had a .885 OPS in short season A ball, and is ranked as the 27th best prospect.

    It’s seems to me that there should be a larger gap between those two.

    • Yes, but Westmoreland is the greatest defensive outfielder in the history of baseball. He’s Griffey, Clemente, and Gary Templeton all rolled into one, only with better speed and instincts.

      Jesus Montero, meanwhile, is so atrocious defensively that he’d be a liability at DH.

      It’s a fact.

      • Chris says:

        In all seriousness, I could understand if Westmoreland were a good defensive OF, but having played less than 10 games in the OF in low-A ball doesn’t bode well for his future in the field.

        • AndrewYF says:

          Well, he was injured, so he gets a buddy pass.

          I love how the Sox prospects are all projection, though. The fall from grace will be even more predictable and even more fun than Lars Anderson’s.

    • Thomas says:

      I am more confused by the fact Pedro Alvarez is at 8 and Montero is at 19, when from what I’ve heard Montero is younger, a better hitter, and neither will stick at their current position. Both are likely to move to first, where Montero will probably be a below average fielder and Alvarez will probably be average (ie neither will be a good fielder at the easiest fielding position).

      • pat says:

        This is different than the one that came out yesterday. Your point is still valid though.

      • pete says:

        law has montero at 10, alvarez at 30 something. Both are, IMO, a little low, but I’d take law’s opinion over MLB.com’s compilation of scouts and friggin execs’ opinions.

  7. Steve H says:

    Law also said he could have easily put Z-Mac in Man-Ban’s spot.

  8. D-Coops says:

    Really Jose Iglesias at 45? Didn’t know he was that good?

  9. Ivan says:

    Im sorry but Montero should be in the top 5. Which prospects in K Law list were better?

    • pat says:

      Heyward,Strasburg, Santana, Posey, Stanton, Jennings, Martin Perez, Ackely, and a Smoak-type bat.

    • pete says:

      Heyward (yes), Strasburg (yes), Santana (less offensive projection, but better numbers and better D), Posey (quality defensive catcher w/ Avg/OBP ability, reasonable) Stanton (more power, worse hitter), Desmond Jennings (yes), Martin Perez (really??), Dustin Ackley (best pure college hitter in years, according to some scouts, so ok), and Justin Smoak (good defender, switch hitter with excellent power and avg/obp ability). Really, it’s not an unreasonable list. Montero could be top 3 next year if he does it again in AAA, but two years of production in A, A+, and AA doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a great bat. And with his defensive projections, he needs to be a guarantee with the bat. That’s all.

      Still, I would have ranked them like this:

      1. Strasburg
      2. Heyward
      3. Jennings
      4. Montero
      5. Smoak
      6. Santana
      7. Stanton
      8. Ackley
      9. Posey
      10. Perez

      I just think that the good catchers with solid bats will be less valuable in coming years, considering how much catching talent there is on the rise, so I don’t think allll that much of posey. All you here w/ montero is comps like Miguel Cabrera and Frank Thomas. By the way, I’m terrified of how good the Rays OF defense could be next year if they go with Crawford, Jennings, and Upton, left to right.

    • Ivan says:

      OOPS…my bad, list was posted.

    • Top 10:

      1-Jason Heyward
      2-Steven Strasburg
      3-Carlos Santana
      4-Buster Posey
      5-Mike Stanton
      6-Desmond Jennings
      7-Martin Perez
      8-Dustin Ackley
      9-Justin Smoak
      10-Jesus Montero

      I can’t say I’m really upset at that. That top ten is pretty pimp, and you could really stack them up in any order, to be frank.

      I might move Smoak down to #11 and add in either Brian Matusz or Neftali Feliz, but it’s not a biggie.

  10. mryankee says:

    The only pitchers who can be front line starters are gus who throw hard? Why in baseball when a pitcher domainates(mcallister) do people try to excuse the performance and trash the guy. I mean if his numbers are better than Kellys is Kelly the better prospect because he throws harder? The guy on Mlb Tv whatever his name is had Delmon Young the top prospect for like three years in a row.

      • mryankee says:

        I do not think so, the first thing I hear when any analyst is describing a pitcher is the “fastball touches 97″. or in Kyle Drabek’s case he is a”competitor” I am sorry if Mcallister and Kelly have the same stats and performance does that mean that kell’s numbers are better?

        • Seriously, bro, it’s just way more nuanced and complex than that.

          Stop listening to the first thing you hear when an analyst is describing a pitcher and start listening to the second, third, fourth, and fifth things the analyst says. Oh, and make sure you’re not listening to poor analysts.

        • pete says:

          except kell’s numbers ARE better. And he’s much younger. Kelly is a good prospect. Not quite as good as buccholz was a year ago, but not too far behind.

          • mryankee says:

            Now Bucholz and Hughes and Bailey were all 1-2-3 prospects in 2006. All three essentailly dominated the minors around the same time. If I am not mistaken I think Bailey had the most consistent velocity on his fastball at that time. Look back and Bailey hsd taken the longest to produce. My point is the “experts” all seem to love the big fastball-they never talk about command or secondary stuff. Ability to make adjustments as a pitcher.

            • pete says:

              bailey hasn’t taken the longest to produce. None of them have produced as expected yet. Neither hughes nor buccholz has secured a rotation spot yet. And I think a lot of people felt that hughes was better than bailey at the time because of his command. What it comes down to is that there is wayyyy more than MiLB numbers when it comes to projecting prospects, or else Michael Taylor and Chris Carter wouldn’t be 25th and 30th. There is also more to evaluating young pitchers than stuff or command.

            • A.D. says:

              they never talk about command or secondary stuff.

              They most certainly do talk about these things, but part of the reason they are talked about less is command & secondary stuff can be learned over time, a big fastball cannot.

          • Chris says:

            Kelly’s number’s really aren’t much (if any) better. His 19 year old season (2009) is basically identical to McAllister’s 20 year old season (2008). Is one year in age enough to make up that significant a difference is how they’re regarded? I don’t think it should.

    • Rick in Boston says:

      You also have to look at age/level comparisons and upside. Z-Mac’s who he is; Kelly theoretically is polished and should move very quickly. They’re two different types of pitchers.

      Delmon Young:

      Age 18 – low-A: OPS .926 in 578 PA’s
      Age 19 – split between AA and AAA: OPS .881 in 604 PA’s
      Age 20 – AAA: OPS .814 in 370 PA’s

    • pete says:

      I have to admit that I’m a little perplexed, after having watched young play for a couple years, at why he was so highly touted for so long. My guess is that people added power projection because of his big frame, and he had reputedly a terrific natural hitting ability in the minors. Still, it’s really hard for me to see that swing producing much power at all.

      And as for the McAllister argument, you’re missing a key point. McAllister has one year of dominance at the AA level at age 21 on his resume. He’s certainly a prospect anybody would like to have, but you can’t project much out of him. That’s not to say he couldn’t replicate those numbers at the MLB level, just that it’s incredibly rare for guys with average stuff to dominate in the majors, whereas it’s fairly common for guys with great stuff and great command to at the very least pitch fairly well at the major league level. Kelly is a guy with only solid bordering on above average stuff right now, but he absolutely obliterated the minors last year, at a young age, and, MUCH more importantly, scouts see him adding a few mph to his fastball. When a guy already has terrific command, a great feel for pitching, slightly above average stuff, and the numbers Kelly has, he’s a good prospect. When he projects to IMPROVE, he’s a terrific prospect. And even having said that, K-Law is a little high on Kelly. With guys in the low minors, scouts’ opinions are always going to vary a lot. Law just happens to be on the higher end. But regardless, any way you look at it, Casey kelly is a good prospect. period.

      • Rick in Boston says:

        With regards to Young – he was such a stud when he was drafted and what he did at his age at those levels is Montero-esque. And you could see the type of hitter his brother developed into and they could see projection.

        He’s still only, what, 24? I’d say he could bounce around a bit and turn into a solid player in the same line as his brother.

        • pete says:

          I dunno. I look at that swing and see doubles power, but never too many HRs. With his defense and plate discipline, he should be hitting HRs. Of course, the man is a behemoth who swings what appears to a 36 or 37 inch bat. Maybe if he goes the bonds route and cleans up his swing and gets a bit smaller bat, he could change as a hitter.

          • Rick in Boston says:

            I’d agree with that. A smaller bat with his strength would definitely improve his bat speed. I also think that he needs a good batting coach.

            If it came down to it and I had the choice to grab him now for the Yankees for the remains of JB Cox’s career, I’d do it in a cocaine heartbeat.

  11. CountryClub says:

    The little respect I had left for Law evaporated yesterday.

    • pete says:

      really? other than the sox being ahead of the rays, I really didn’t have much of a problem with his ranking. It’s always good to get a reality check on your guys, and the reality is, the yanks have one stud prospect, and a bunch of guys who could end up on that list next year, but chances are, plenty of guys will flop. When your 25-man is as good as the Yanks’ is right now, you should be able to live with that.

      • mryankee says:

        If the Yankees had a young Longoria, Verlander and Pujols in the system Klaw would find a way to rank the Sox ahead of the Yankees. I do not hear mention of how Lars Anderson flopped last year, after him who is major league ready? Bowden-the guy the Yankees absoloutely torched last year? who else is on the cusp of being ML ready in their system?

      • CountryClub says:

        The Yankees system is middle of the road right now. And being middle of the road is more than enough to help them achieve their big league goal every.

        However, they do not have the 25th best system in baseball. And the Sox have nowhere close to the #2 system. Both teams are very similar right now. They have high end talent in the lower levels of their systems and very little in the upper levels. Both teams should fall in the 10 – 20 range. There is no way that one is 23 spots better than the other.

        And when you look at his top 100 you see why he ranks them so high. 7 Sox in the top 100? Please….

  12. It is kind of sad to see a few former prospects in our system on the list.

    However, Austin Jackson will never be Curtis Granderson.

    Arodys Vizcaino has a LONG way to go.

    Tabata won’t be the “Manny Ramirez” we once categorized him as. He’ll probably end up as Jose Guillen if anything.

    I’m okay with winning a 27th World Championship and being in prime condition to win 28 in 2010 than having a boatload of future talent which may or may not ever become something.

  13. JohnC says:

    and we have all our draft picks this year, even though its the last spot. #32. This year is supposedly very strong in pitching, particularly right hand pitching. A couple of previous draftees who did not sign are eligible again this year, Sam Dyson and Matt Harvey

  14. pete says:

    I wouldn’t worry about this. There’s a decent chance that in addition to Jesus and Heathcott make next year’s top 50, and ManBan, McAllister, Sanchez, Ramirez, and Murphy all crack either the top 100 or “10 guys who didn’t make it” article. And there’s also a chance that some sox guys drop. Another bad year from anderson would likely pull him out of the top 100, and if Kallish doesn’t hit, he won’t be there either.

  15. bexarama says:

    I feel like Vizcaino wouldn’t even be on the list if he was still with the Yankees. He has potential, but he’s got a long way to go.

    Montero FTW, please teach him to play left field so that way everyone will stop whining about how LF has no power.

  16. D-Coops says:

    So if we traded Montero, would he all of a sudden become the best prospect in baseball .

  17. FWIW, Law’s top ten prospects by org (also Insider):

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb.....id=4865694

    New York Yankees
    1. Jesus Montero, C
    2. Manny Banuelos, LHP
    3. Zach McAllister, RHP
    4. Austin Romine, C
    5. Slade Heathcott, CF
    6. Jose Ramirez, RHP
    7. Gary Sanchez, C
    8. Andrew Brackman, RHP
    9. David Adams, 2B
    10. JR Murphy, C

  18. TheZack says:

    Ahh, nothing like prospect lists to bring out the bad sides of both side of the equation: people who get up in arms about the Yankees/Sox ranking and think it has more point and value than it does, and the snarky, how can you know so little I must belittle you frequent posters.

    People, prospect rankings don’t matter at all. The Yankees won the WS. Period. End of discussion.

    People, some people don’t have the time, energy, or vast, all worldly baseball knowledge that you do, so cut them a break. Just because they aren’t so supper internet and baseball savvy as you are doesn’t mean its okay to condescend and treat them like they are somehow beneath you.

    So, in summary: it doesn’t matter who Law ranks where, what matters is what that player does this season and what you can get another GM to trade you for that player.

    • There’s a difference between not having baseball knowledge and not having critical thinking skills.

      I never get frustrated by someone who is merely ignorant. I get frustrated by the willfully ignorant or the intellectually lazy. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something. There is something wrong with being okay with not knowing something. There is something wrong with jumping to conclusions from positions of ignorance and believing that your conclusions are logically sound.

    • pat says:

      Most people here are griping about Law’s rankings. The only person who is being belittled is another regular who is frequently vocal and even more frequently under informed. People shouldn’t say dumb shit if they don’t have anything to back it up. Simple as that. It’s internet Darwinism.

    • pete says:

      the assumption on this blog is that everyone who comments on it has read all the comments before theirs, as well as the article above. The only people who get shat on here are those who blatantly ignore preexisting counter-arguments that fully and empirically address their own, and post them anyway, because A) it’s really annoying to read the same argument 14 times when it just repeats itself without addressing the points raised in its counter-arguments, and B) it creates a circular discussion that contributes nothing to anybody’s knowledge.

  19. Reggie C. says:

    Hahaha.

    Klaw brushed off my Rizzo question. Surprised he even fielded it at the end of his chat. Anyone care to give me a summary of Klaw’s Rizzo writeup?

    • 53 Anthony Rizzo
      Age: 20 (DOB: Aug. 8, 1989)
      Bats: Left Throws: Left
      Position: First Base Organization: Boston Red Sox
      Top ’09 Level: A (Salem)
      2009 ranking: UR

      Boston’s (former) top first-base prospect, Lars Anderson, struggled last year, but Rizzo is on the rise. Rizzo lost most of 2008 to his battle with limited stage classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s fully recovered now and, during his time away from baseball, transformed himself physically, making himself leaner and more athletic. In the process, he became one of the best defensive first basemen in the minors. He’s a left-handed hitter with a very easy stroke that generates line drives to all fields, although as he grows he should develop 25-30 home run power. His approach at the plate remains immature, unsurprising given the time he missed, and he has to work on getting himself into better counts where he can stay back and drive the ball. He can’t match Anderson’s offensive potential, but Rizzo’s defensive prowess and strong 2009 put him ahead of Lars on the Red Sox rankings.

    • A.D. says:

      What’d you ask?

      • Reggie C. says:

        “Please Explain the Anthony Rizzo ranking.”

        - Klaw posted it towards the very end of his chat. he fielded a bunch of questions this afternoon. I think its still up. I dont have insider access so check now before the wall goes up. Klaw said he’s being called a yankee hater today.

  20. if anyone is interested in a 2 second way to crack the ESPN URL and get the rankings for free, DM me on twitter. its so easy its scary.

  21. Gleb says:

    “I want to be a catcher. I love to catch. I like to be a catcher. I like to be in the middle of the game. I mean, it’s my position. I want to play my position.”

    Jesus has spoken.

  22. [...] Montero appeared in several top 100 prospects lists, while the team’s farm system was ranked towards the back of the [...]

  23. [...] Romine was listed as one of three players that just missed the cut. Montero was number ten on KLaw’s list back in January, so even though it seems as though move up, he technically went backwards. Six of the nine players [...]

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