Taking a Historic Look at 2007 Prospect Rankings

Because why not? I have a database that includes all of Baseball America’s, Baseball Prospectus’s and ESPN’s prospect rankings since their inception. The first year any website besides Baseball America ran a ranking was five years ago, when Baseball Prospectus started. Now seems like a good time to compare these lists and see how well each place fared. My database also includes the current Fangraphs WAR of each player, which will serve as the value metric.

If players who never made the Major Leagues count as 0 WAR, BA outpaces BP in terms of average WAR overall (6.1 to 5.7) and average WAR in the top 20 (10.6 to 9.8). BA also has 21 players who surpassed the 10 career WAR mark, two more than BP’s 19.

There are six players who made both lists that never made the major leagues: Adam Miller, Bill Rowell, Donald Veal, Chuck Logren, Brandon Erbe and Will Inman. Miller was ranked in the top 25 of both lists.

Differences

Each list has 14 players that are exclusive to that list.

The two big names that stick out are Kurt Suzuki and Elvis Andrus. My guess is that Kevin Goldstein did now want to include Matsuzaka on the list because he came from Japan, not the minor leagues. I can’t find any definitive proof of that, though. Of the players on this list, Goldstein names Suzuki, Drew Stubbs, Neil Walker and Brian Barton as players that “just missed the cut.” He also does rank Andrus, Gio Gonzalez, Daniel Bard, Jeff Samardzija and Greg Reynolds in subsequent years.

So far, Kevin Kouzmanoff is the only player with more than 10 career WAR that BA “missed” on this ranking. Edinson Volquez, Sean Rodriguez and Neftali Feliz may all surpass that mark yet. There are two players exclusive to BP’s list that have not made the Major Leagues: Angel Villalona and Javier Herrera. Villalona was ranked in 2008 and 2009 by BA but has yet to crack High-A. Herrera was ranked by BA in 2005 and 2006, but never made it past Triple-A. This ranking from BP is quite odd, since he had Tommy John surgery in 2006. In 2010, he pitched in the Independent Leagues and has no statistics on baseball-reference from 2011.

Conclusion

The biggest miss for both lists is obviously Brandon Wood. Both had him in their top 10 and he has so far put up a negative major league WAR. The biggest miss besides Wood was Delmon Young. He was ranked third overall on both lists and has only put up 1.6 WAR so far in his career.

Ubaldo Jimenez was the best player that was ranked in the back end of each list’s top 100. He was #66 for BP and #84 for BA.

In general, it appears that Baseball America has the slight advantage over Baseball Prospectus as the best 2007 prospect ranking. However, the difference is very small and this was a fine performance for BP’s first ever ranking.

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