Taking a Look at Prospect Rankings

*Edit 3/1: Keith Law brought to my attention that Jenrry Mejia was excluded from his list because he is no longer a rookie and thus not eligible. This has been changed. Also, the Baseball Prospectus rankings have been included.

I have been trying to obtain information on MLB prospects since the beginning of this year (thanks, dynasty league fantasy baseball). Sure, I had heard of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, but it was literally a surprise to me when some new prospect would come along and win a starting job. People like Carlos Santana. Buster Posey. Even Jason Heyward. Pathetic, right? So now I know a tiny bit more. I know that Devin Mesoraco used to be highly thought of, had a few pretty poor years in the minors, was nearly written off, supposedly re-tooled his swing, had a good year last year and is now back on prospect lists. Not too in-depth, but it’s a start.

Anyways, that’s not the point. I, like many others, like lists. I also like making spreadsheets with all of the lists put together and comparing them. So that’s what I did with prospect top 100 lists. I looked at AOL Fanhouse (AOL), Baseball America (BA), Baseball Prospectus (BP), Keith Law (Insider) (KL)MLBProspect Junkies (PJ) and Project Prospect (PP). I will also be looking at Fangraphs once they are available. Of course, the MLB rankings only go to 50, so they do not contain as much information. Here is the spreadsheet.

I took all of these rankings and averaged them to get an overall rank for each prospect. The averaged list starts out with Mike Trout with an average rank of 2, contains 156 players and ends with Jacob Petricka, James Jones, Joe Benson and Tyrell Jenkins. Each of these four players were only listed as the number 100 prospect and only on one list. Good start. Now comes the fun part. What can I do with all of this information? Well, the first thing is look at how each list likes or dislikes certain players. The average for a player may be 63 (Jaff Decker), but he may be ranked at 26 on one list (PP), 97th on another (BP) and not even show up on others (AOL, BA, MLB). As it turns out, Jaff has the greatest standard deviation among players ranked at least twice (isn’t cherry picking fun?).

For each ranking, I looked at the players it had ranked higher or lower than at least 20 spots from the average of players that were included on at least 3 lists. Why 20? Because. I also listed the players who were surprisingly included or excluded. A surprising inclusion is defined as a player who was only on one or two lists and was ranked higher than 80. A surprising exclusion is defined as a player who was on at least 4 prospect lists, but did not make that specific list. Another note: by “likes” or “doesn’t like” I simply mean ranks higher or lower than average. It is definitely not to be taken as “Keith Law doesn’t like Chris Sale as a person.” The wording is simply odd since “ranked highly” could mean “ranked 100″ or “ranked 1.” Just to be clear. First, a summary of each system:

So here we go.

AOL (Frankie Piliere)

Players AOL really likes (AOL, AVG, DIFF):
Jurickson Profar (SS, TEX) (33, 63, -30)
Anthony Ranaudo (RHP, BOS) (41, 66, -25)
Jonathan Singleton (1B, PHI) (11, 34, -23)
Hak-Ju Lee (SS, TB) (48, 68, -20)


Players AOL doesn’t like (AOL, AVG, DIFF):
Alex White (RHP, CLE) (96, 62, +34)
Jake Odorizzi (RHP, KC) (95, 66, +30)
John Lamb (LHP, KC) (55, 34, +21)
Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) (67, 47, +20)
Chris Carter (1B, OAK) (91, 71, +20)


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, AOL):
Jeremy Jeffress (RHP, KC) (1, 75)
Zach Stewart (RHP, TOR) (2, 56)
Oswaldo Arcia (OF, MIN) (2, 65)


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
Travis d’Arnaud (C, TOR) (4, 52)
Jaff Decker (LF, SD) (4, 63)
Yasmani Grandal (C, CIN) (4, 66)
Nick Castellanos (3B, DET) (5, 62)
Zach Lee (RHP, LAD) (5, 72)


Baseball America

Players BA really likes (BA, AVG, DIFF):
Dee Gordon (SS, LAD) (26, 60, -34)
Christian Colon (SS, KC) (51, 78, -27)


Players BA doesn’t like (BA, AVG, DIFF):
 Hak-Ju Lee (SS, TB) (92, 68, +24)
Arodys Vizcaino (RHP, ATL) (93, 69, +24)
Anthony Rizzo (1B, SD) (75, 54, +21)
Yonder Alonso (1B, CIN) (73, 53, +20)
Chris Carter (1B, OAK) (91, 71, +20)


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, BA):
Tyler Chatwood (RHP, LAA) (2, 76)
Cesar Puello (OF, NYM) (2, 77)


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
Hank Conger (C, LAA) (5, 74)
J.P. Arencibia (C, TOR) (4, 56)
Christian Friedrich (LHP, COL) (4, 77)
Ben Revere (CF, MIN) (4, 76)
Jaff Decker (LF, SD) (4, 63)
Yasmani Grandal (C, CIN) (4, 66)
Matt Harvey (RHP, NYM) (5, 79)

Baseball Prospectus (Kevin Goldstein)

Players BP really likes (BP, AVG, DIFF):
Chris Carter (1B, OAK) (30, 71, -41)
Stetson Allie (RHP, PIT) (39, 69, -30)
Drew Pomeranz (LHP, CLE) (43, 67, -24)
John Lamb (LHP, KC) (11, 34, -23)
Craig Kimbrel (RHP, ATL) (56, 77, -21)
Miguel Sano (3B, MIN) (21, 52, -21)


Players BP doesn’t like (BP, AVG, DIFF):
Anthony Ranaudo (RHP, BOS) (100, 66, +34)
Jaff Decker (LF, SD) (97, 63, +34)
Tony Sanchez (C, PIT) (93, 61, +32)
Jonathan Singleton (1B, PHI) (63, 34, +29)
Wilmer Flores (SS, NYM) (98, 73, +25)
Chris Archer (RHP, TB) (70, 45, 25)
Dee Gordon (SS, LAD) (84, 60, +24)
Yasmani Grandal (C, CIN) (86, 66, +20)


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, BP):
Kenley Jansen (RHP, LAD) (1, 72)
Jeremy Jeffress (RHP, KC) (2, 76)


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
Travis d’Arnaud (C, TOR) (4, 52)
Yonder Alonso (1B, CIN) (6, 53)
Jarred Cosart (RHP, PHI) (4, 55)
Zack Cox (3B, STL) (4, 68)
Hak-Ju Lee (SS, TB) (4, 68)
Christian Friedrich (LHP, COL) (4, 77)
Nolan Arenado (3B, COL) (4, 83)

Keith Law

Players KL really likes (KL, AVG, DIFF):
Aaron Hicks (CF, MIN) (10, 36, -26)
Wilmer Flores (SS, NYM) (48, 73, -25)
Miguel Sano (3B, MIN) (29, 52, -23)
Arodys Vizcaino (RHP, ATL) (47, 69, -22)
Jarred Cosart (RHP, PHI) (34, 55, -21)
Manny Banuelos (LHP, NYY) (12, 32, -20)
Derek Norris (C, WAS) (33, 53, -20)

Players KL doesn’t like (KL, AVG, DIFF):
Chris Sale (LHP, CHW) (67, 37, +30)
Mike Minor (LHP, ATL) (61, 34, +27)
Wilin Rosario (C, COL) (69, 42, +27)
J.P. Arencibia (C, TOR) (82, 56, +26)
Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) (68, 44, +24)
Danny Duffy (LHP, KC) (98, 74, +24)
Dellin Betances (RHP, NYY) (73, 50, +23)
Freddie Freeman (1B, ATL) (43, 20, +23)
Adeiny Hechevarria (SS, TOR) (96, 75, +21)


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, KL):
Carlos Martinez (RHP, STL) (1, 52)
Alex Torres (LHP, TB) (1, 77)
Christian Yelich (1B/OF, FLA) (2, 79)
Zach Stewart (RHP, TOR) (2, 44)
Oswaldo Arcia (OF, MIN) (2, 74)


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
Danny Espinosa (SS, WAS) (4, 79)
Christian Colon (SS, KC) (5, 78)
Alex White (RHP, CLE) (5, 62)
Brett Jackson (CF, CHC) (6, 48)
Jake Odorizzi (RHP, KC) (6, 66)
Tanner Scheppers (RHP, TEX) (6, 70)

MLB (Jonathan Mayo)

Players MLB really likes (MLB, AVG, DIFF):
Jake Odorizzi (RHP, KC) (37, 66, -29)
Tanner Scheppers (RHP, TEX) (43, 70, -27)
Christian Friedrich (LHP, COL) (50, 77, -27)

Players MLB doesn’t like (MLB, AVG, DIFF):
None


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, MLB):
None


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
Randall Delgado (RHP, ATL) (6, 41)
Zack Wheeler (RHP, SF) (6, 45)
Jean Segura (2B, LAA) (6, 46)
Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) (6, 47)
Dellin Betances (RHP, NYY) (5, 50)

Prospect Junkies (Burke Granger)

Players PJ really likes (PJ, AVG, DIFF):
Chris Carter (1B, OAK) (46, 71, -25)
Jake Odorizzi (RHP, KC) (44, 66, -22)
Simon Castro (RHP, SD) (34, 55, -21)


Players PJ doesn’t like (PJ, AVG, DIFF):
Manny Banuelos (LHP, NYY) (65, 32, +33)
Trey McNutt (RHP, CHC) (91, 65, +26)
John Lamb (LHP, KC) (59, 34, +25)
Arodys Vizcaino (RHP, ATL) (94, 69, +25)
Travis d’Arnaud (C, TOR) (75, 52, +23)
Jarred Cosart (RHP, PHI) (77, 55, +23)
Jaff Decker (LF, SD) (83, 63, +20)
Stetson Allie (RHP, PIT) (89, 69, +20)


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, PJ):
A.J. Cole, (RHP, WAS) (2, 79)
Nick Weglarz (LF, CLE) (2, 72)
Cesar Puello (OF, NYM) (2, 78)


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
J.P. Arencibia (C, TOR) (4, 56)
Hak-Ju Lee (SS, TB) (4, 68)
Brody Colvin (RHP, PHI) (4, 69)
Danny Duffy (LHP, KC) (4, 74)
Danny Espinosa (SS, WAS) (4, 79)

Project Prospect

Players PP really likes (PP, AVG, DIFF):
Yonder Alonso (1B, CIN) (15, 53, -38)
Jaff Decker (LF, SD) (26, 63, -37)
Wilin Rosario (C, COL) (10, 42, -32)
Matt Harvey (RHP, NYM) (48, 79, -31)
Nick Castellanos (3B, DET) (32, 62, -30)
Zach Lee (RHP, LAD) (47, 72, -25)
Devin Mesoraco (C, CIN) (24, 47, -23)
Adeiny Hechevarria (SS, TOR) (52, 75, -23)
Randall Delgado (RHP, ATL) (21, 41, -20)


Players PP doesn’t like (PP, AVG, DIFF):
Miguel Sano (3B, MIN) (98, 52, +47)
Chris Sale (LHP, CHW) (75, 37, +38)
Michael Pineda (RHP, SEA) (56, 22, +34)
Drew Pomeranz (LHP, CLE) (99, 67, +32)
Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) (73, 44, +29)
Jacob Turner (RHP, DET) (55, 26, +29)
Tyler Matzek (LHP, COL) (64, 35, +29)
Mike Montgomery (LHP, KC) (54, 26, 28)
Wilmer Flores (SS, NYM) (100, 73, +27)
Jenrry Mejia (RHP, NYM) (83, 57, +26)
Jean Segura (2B, LAA) (66, 46, 20)
Kyle Gibson (RHP, MIN) (61, 41, +20)


Surprising inclusions (#Lists, PP):
Reese Havens (2B, NYM) (1, 42)
Fernando Martinez (RF, NYM) (1, 53)
Bobby Borchering (3B, ARI) (1, 60)
James Darnell (3B, SD) (1, 62)
Drew Cumberland (SS, SD) (1, 63)
Alex Amarista (2B, LAA) (1, 65)
Dayan Viciedo (1B, CHW) (1, 77)
Josh Spence (RHP, SD) (1, 79)
Josh Sale (OF, TB) (2, 69)
Nick Weglarz (LF, CLE) (2, 33)


Surprising exclusions (#Lists, AVG)
Zack Cox (3B, STL) (4, 68)
Nolan Arenado (3B, COL) (4, 83)
Jarred Cosart (RHP, PHI) (4, 55)
Ben Revere (CF, MIN) (4, 76)
Christian Friedrich (LHP, COL) (4, 77)
J.P. Arencibia (C, TOR) (4, 56)
Brody Colvin (RHP, PHI) (4, 69)
Danny Duffy (LHP, KC) (4, 74)
Billy Hamilton (SS, CIN) (5, 51)
Grant Green (SS, OAK) (5, 56)
Dellin Betances (RHP, NYY) (5, 50)
Trey McNutt (RHP, CHC) (5, 65)
Arodys Vizcaino (RHP, ATL) (5, 69)
Brett Lawrie (2B, TOR) (6, 40)
Chris Archer (RHP, TB) (6, 45)
Dee Gordon (SS, LAD) (6, 60)

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