I’ve written my thoughts on prospect lists too many times, even on this blog to an extent. They are never going to be a true measure of anything. They are designed for the general public and for discussion. As the fantasy ranks have grown in numbers and evolved in knowledge, so has the popularity of the lists. Yes, the fantasy sports culture is very much list bound.
Seen as they are for discussion, lets review the latest professional entry, the Milb Top-50 by Jonathan Mayo, who can also be found on MLBlog.com with Lisa Winston at He Said, She Said. Unlike years past, I don’t have a list I’m representing and this affords me the autonomy and opportunity for review, although I’m not a huge fan of critics in general, and am feeling a little loathsome in their skin at present.
First off, I don’t know Jonathan that well, but listen to him on the radio and like him from afar as being both knowledgeable and fearless of the critics, the Stone Cold Steve Austin of minor league prospect guys including the easy to manage bare-skull look. I’ve maintained a personal preference to lists that are prepared in the winter, as most of the minor league guys that are good at it do so at the behest of spring publishing deadlines, but I’m not adversed to reviewing this one at face value given where it originated.
Delmon Young tops the list at number one – It’s my opinion that you can’t win a fantasy league with the first pick or first round selection, you can only lose from this spot. In Young you have the safest pick, and the only one possible following that opinion applied to prospect lists.
The top 10 skews to near-ready types which is the correct idea given the trials and tribulations that the guys right out of the draft will endure. And a quip not directed at this list but to the masses in general, is the notation on Francisco Liriano and the comparison to Johan Santana. Not that I disagree with it for a second, but who other than myself was on Santana back in the day? If you want the truth they are not historically comparable stat-wise at all. Johann came right out of high Single-A to join the back of the Twins bullpen at the beginning of the decade. His minor league numbers were mediocre, and I was the only guy I knew of that studied him, liked him guardedly, and only because I had/have an obsession with strikeouts-per-nine. Any power starter with an eight-plus in the minors gets a close look, but I don’t recommend that for your average stat peruser, as it’s a fairy detailed stat/scouting methodology after the number is revealed. Back to the review, I digress too often it seems.
I’m not going to get too bound up in nit picking. I personally like
Chad Billingsley more than Justin Verlander, but many do not, and I might have chosen Verlander over the young Dodger any way for the fact he’s already arrived. I would also suggest that Joel Guzman is too far down, but then I don’t see Scott Olsen or Yusmeiro Petit, and I really like that for I’m nowhere near as high on either as many seem to be. I’ve been criticised for that belief but still maintain my stubbornness. I don’t see Olsen with enough advanced pitches to not take a beating in the overall at present, and don’t envision Petit’s stuff will make him anything but a number three at best, and Ricky Nolasco might actually be a safer bet in the Marlins system. Not that Nolasco is likely to be anything but a middle-rotation guy, and that certainly doesn’t warrant an inclusion on a list.
My feelings on Josh Barfield’s lack of attention have been well documented and not only is this list no exception to the many I talked about previously, but others have already conveyed same sentiments to Jonathan for the lack of inclusion. No sense beating that dead horse, his list represents the more popular view, and the world of prospect lists is not going to change because I think there’s been an omission. The one inclusion I noted in the Yeah, Good Job category is outfielder Carlos Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks. It’s really early in his career having just turned 20 in the off-season and heading to high Single-A in 2006, but he’s a guy to watch for power potential despite the clouded long term outfield situation in Arizona, made worse by the recent news that Justin Upton might be heading to center field this year. I’m not going to comment on a personal disdain for the long-term prognosis of Fausto Carmona. It’s Jonathan’s right to take his candidate for the last spot at number 50. Often a prospect list’s last pick is a hunch of the preparer and you have to respect that. After all, who among us can say with 100 percent certainty it’s dead wrong?
Overall I liked this list. It’s nowhere near suspect and seems to have its fair share of thought put into it. I’ve been scornful of some offered on the free sites this year for having neither original thought nor methodology applied. But this one is worthy of critiques and discussion, which I’m confident Mr. Mayo is up for.