Unless your name is John Orelud, each baseball player has to go down to the minor leagues, and work his way up the food chain. It is not an easy journey for a player trying to force his way onto a major league roster. Every step along the way, the minor league players performance is analyzed and scrutinized. The players results are compared to the their peers in the current season, and historically to any player who has come through a similar path.
The game of projecting a player’s career based on minor league numbers is not an easy one. For every success case such as an Evan Longoria, there is another player on the other side of the spectrum that fools the critics. Anyone remember when third baseman Andy Marte was rated as a better prospect than David Wright? There are tons of examples out their of players who lived up to the hype, and those who were utter failures:
Jesse Foppert, Joel Guzman, Andy Marte, Sean Burroughs, Greg Miller
Todd Van Poppel, Brien Taylor, Darren Driefort
However, each year we pay attention to these players known as a prospects, phenom, young talent, the future, what ever name you want to give these guys. Some of these players make it, some do not. Another factor in all of this is opportunity. There are some players who did not shows up on the big time prospect lists and go on to have wonderful careers as late bloomers. Matt Holiday is one guy in this mold. Jason Bay is another. How can we forget Big Papi started his career out as with Twins? Johan Santana certainly didn’t start with the Twins organization either.
Now, one last thing that you can’t put a number to (at least yet) is a player make up. The player who has a good head on his shoulders and can get over the failures from previous day, and move on and get past the bad day is better equipped to be successful. The game of baseball is one of always making adjustments and dealing with failure.
With this mind, when you think prospects, think about the combination of talent, opportunity, and makeup. These three together give you an indication of what kind a player you have.
Top Prospect Alert (by team)
Keith Law’s rankings
Scoutingbook.com Prospect Matrix