Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's rankings

Prospect rankings are out by The Newberg (aka, Noobie, Newbie, Hello Newman) and Jason Cole (paywall). Can't say that I really care about rankings all that much, though Newberg's are the worst by one measure at least (mine), but I'll have some thoughts on them (later) nevertheless. I don't think I will comment on Newman's list this year, per say, except to say that the lack of any kind of credible critical framework in his approach to ranking talent indicates that he just might be a fanboy shill (see, shilling with Newman), while also, undoubtedly, managing to be a resolutely decent human being, to the extent possible as a lawyer. Though we are all mere prospect fanboys in the end, and not scouts, I think we could agree that some of us are more or less irritating than others, or at least, in acknowledging that "he do what he do", there are some folks we prefer not to read. You know who that is for me (though Hindman is a close second, and he has arisen). I hardly think what I wrote last year about the matter will change at all in 2011 (or ever) so no need to rehash it all in a new entry. Suffice it to say, the first time I hear Newman engage in a non-kitschy, rigorously analytic and critical assessment of a prospect or prospecting (either prospective or retrospective), which might even throw in a few statistical measures, MLEs, historical benchmarks, personal failures, I'll eat your boot heel (you, the reader; I will not eat Newman's boot heel, and not just because he wears a bangle loafer).

Now that I mull it over a little, critical introspection that is, I think that I will put together an entry that looks at my take on some prospects last year that were dead on and some that weren't. Since he doesn't really engage in this sort of thing (Michael Main and Kasey Kiker say "Hello, Newman!"), you can put together your own "Top 25 Newberg Flops" just for kicks (maybe he will do it for you). And then I'll make some predictions. As a prospect fanboy, that's the fun part. I could also do something similar to what I did last year, ranking prospects in tiers, based upon reasoned speculation about their _likely_ ceiling rather than upon ridiculously optimistic projections about their tool kits. Not sure. I just don't have enough play-by-play data to do it with the same confidence. The problem is that I didn't get the chance to listen to or watch a lot of games in 2010 like I did in 2009, and, let's face it, I probably won't catch that many games in one season again, ever. So what I know about established prospects will stand while my opinions on new prospects will have to be rooted in secondary sources. So, TBD I guess.

If I'm still in Austin in April, I will get to catch some AAA games in person though I will probably be working more on video and photography projects than charting pitches.

And just a parting word: Chad Bell is incredibly underrated. Tony Doyle, Chris Hanna, Nick McBride, Andres Perez-Lobo and Carlos Melo are underrated. Tony Doyle's suspension gives me pause. Engel Beltre does not have 5-tool potential. Matt Thompson and Joe Wieland are overrated. Braden Tullis was overrated. Trevor Hurley can start. Leury Garcia is an org guy. Zach Phillips is overrated. My new t-shirt: no middle relievers. Robbie Ross breaks bats (still). Tommy Mendonca will have a breakout year. Josh Richmond will have a breakout year. I like Ruben Sierra Jr. DGut was suspended to begin the season wile Velazquez and Tobin were suspended to end it. Velazquez will not play stateside next year, at least, not for Texas. Makeup matters. Worst 2010 draft pick: Brett Nichols. The TX 2010 draft, Rounds 10-14. Nice. Rounds 6-9. WTF. Barrett Loux is underrated (for some reason). Alex Claudio pitched winter ball at age 18 (though it was the PRWL).


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