Prospects prospects prospects!

We’re officially in the baseball dead period, but Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and Keith Law of ESPN.com have both released their top 50/100 lists, which you can see in order and with my analysis after the cut.

Mayo’s

1 Jason Heyward ATL
2 Stephen Strasburg WAS
3 Mike Stanton FLA
4 Buster Posey SF
5 Brian Matusz BAL
6 Desmond Jennings TB
7 Neftali Feliz TEX
8 Pedro Alvarez PIT
9 Justin Smoak TEX
10 Madison Bumgarner SF
11 Carlos Santana CLE
12 Alcides Escobar MIL
13 Wade Davis TB
14 Domonic Brown PHI
15 Dustin Ackley SEA
16 Brett Wallace TOR
17 Kyle Drabek TOR
18 Martin Perez TEX
19 Jesus Montero NYY
20 Jeremy Hellickson TB
21 Jarrod Parker ARI
22 Starlin Castro CHI
23 Christian Friedrich COL
24 Tim Beckham TB
25 Logan Morrison FLA
26 Brett Lawrie MIL
27 Ryan Westmoreland BOS
28 Casey Kelly BOS
29 Aaron Hicks MIN
30 Yonder Alonso CIN
31 Jason Castro HOU
32 Mike Moustakas KC
33 Wil Myers KC
34 Julio Teheran ATL
35 Michael Taylor OAK
36 Dee Gordon LAD
37 Chris Carter OAK
38 Austin Jackson DET
39 Tanner Scheppers TEX
40 Drew Storen WAS
41 Aaron Crow KC
42 Jacob Turner DET
43 Mike Montgomery KC
44 Jhoulys Chacin COL
45 Jose Iglesias BOS
46 Michael Brantley CLE
47 Phillippe Aumont PHI
48 Juan Francisco CIN
49 Ethan Martin LAD
50 Jaff Decker SD

Law’s (out of respect to ESPN’s Insider costs and Mr. Law’s prudent analysis, I’m only including numbers 6-50 of his top 100).

6 Desmond Jennings, OF, TAM
7 Martin Perez, LHP, TEX
8 Dustin Ackley, CF, SEA
9 Justin Smoak, 1B, TEX
10 Jesus Montero, C, NYY
11 Brian Matusz, LHP, BAL
12 Starlin Castro, SS, CHC
13 Neftali Feliz, RHP, TEX
14 Domonic Brown, RF, PHI
15 Wade Davis, RHP, TAM
16 Aroldis Chapman, LHP, CIN
17 Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, TAM
18 Casey Kelly, RHP, BOS
19 Aaron Hicks, RHP, MIN
20 Brett Wallace, 1B, TOR
21 Logan Morrison, 1B, FLA
22 Tyler Matzek, LHP, COL
23 Jenrry Mejia, RHP, NYM
24 Michael Taylor, OF, OAK
25 Zach Britton, LHP, BAL
26 Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, CLE
27 Jaff Decker, OF, SDG
28 Madison Bumgarner, LHP, SFO
29 Tim Beckham, SS, TAM
30 Josh Vitters, 3B, CHC
31 Derek Norris, C, WAS
32 Ryan Westmoreland, OF, BOS
33 Chris Carter, 1B, OAK
34 Eric Hosmer, 1B, KAN
35 Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT
36 Christian Friedrich, LHP, COL
37 Jarrod Parker, RHP, ARI
38 Shelby Miller, RHP, STL
39 Dee Gordon, SS, LAD
40 Kyle Drabek, RHP, TOR
41 Wilmer Flores, 3B, NYM
42 Wilson Ramos, C, MIN
43 Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, ATL
44 Carlos Triunfel, 2B, SEA
45 Casey Crosby, LHP, DET
46 Simon Castro, RHP, SDG
47 Brett Lawrie, 2B, MIL
48 Jhoulys Chacin, LHP, COL
49 Mike Trout, OF, LAA
50 Jay Jackson, RHP, CHC

Well first thing’s first, I would absolutely love Mike Trout to become a great outfielder for the Angels, if only so they could have had Salmon and Trout brought up at their farm.

OK.

Mayo has some odd picks in there, namely Michael Brantley of Lonnie Chisenhall and Ethan Martin over Chris Withrow. It seems he gave heavy weight to players ready for the majors in the top 20 and gave the bottom 30 to players with huge and unrealized potential, but there are a few who fall in between.  On the other hand, he supposedly collected lists of top prospects from scouts and assembled his list.

Likewise, Law had some odd picks.  Martin Perez over Neftali Feliz.  Eric Hosmer over Pedro Alvarez.  Law is a big high-upside evaluator and weighs defense into it, but Hosmer is a first baseman who struggled mightily in A and A+ ball last year while Alvarez was tearing it up in AA.  The Pirates are putting Pedro on a training regimen to keep him at 3B, so that may compound his value.  Someone told me that Alvarez has trouble with breaking balls, but that much? Law’s argument is probably that Hosmer is still just out of high school and a few years behind Alvarez and his ceiling is through the roof, but it’s still a little weird. Even with Hosmer’s upside, I’d want to see some kind of production from the player before putting him in the top 50.  Is it really that wrong to put him in the bottom 50 and then put him in the top if he puts together a good year in 2010?

Law’s reasonings are, shall we say, quirky in comparison to Mayo’s seemingly random selection.  Law came out with his best farm systems top to bottom list earlier this week and gave the White Sox the worst because of their lack of investment internationally and in the draft.  He thinks long-term a lot with prospects and farm systems, but that seems like a strong indictment for a team that just came up with Gordon Beckham and has Tyler Flowers and Dan Hudson in the minors when teams like the Cardinals and Astros have almost literally nothing of value below the major league clubs.

Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg are at the top of both.  No real surprise there.  Heyward can pretty much do it all: hit for contact, hit for power and play the field well.  Best of all, he’s increased his BB% over the last few years–putting up an ISOD around .100 over the last year–which is incredible.  Mayo likened him to Dave Parker or Winfield.  Racist assumptions aside, Winfield might be the better projection because of walk rates.

Strasburg … well, you know him already.  His fastball speed changed from 80 to 100 over two years in college, so there’s worry about injuries (the additional stress of throwing faster over as many pitches can cause shoulder injuries), but an innings or, better yet, a pitch cap would likely take care of that.

It looks like Anthopoulos has been rewarded for the Halladay trade–both Brett Wallace and Kyle Drabek, the players the Blue Jays received in return, are in the top 20.  It’d be great to see both in the majors at the end of 2010.

A friend of mine described Alcidis Escobar as an all-glove shortstop who is that good.  I kind of want to see that.  When was the last time we saw a shortstop like that?  Ozzie Smith?

As a Dodger fan, it’s great to see Dee Gordon on there and Withrow and Martin getting some respect, though both are far off.  I really hope Gordon’s as good as promised, but everything I’ve read him independently of rankings is that he’s still quite raw.  It also hurts to see Carlos Santana really high on both lists.  Josh Bell appears in the middle of both as well.

Atlanta did well in Law’s rankings, with five in the top 100, including the no. 2.  Boston led with 7 I think and Tampa Bay had 6.

Feel free to leave your own comments.

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