Baseball America’s 2006 Prospects Revisited

Baseball America’s 2006 Prospects Revisited

This week, I found several old Baseball America handbooks at my house that I don’t even remember purchasing.  After finishing the system rankings, I decided  to go through BA’s 2006 handbook to see how their rankings turned out.  Not wanting to spend much time using advanced criteria, I used a very simple system.   I went through and marked the players listed who were ever reasonably productive in the major leagues and/or remain one of their organization’s legitimate prospects.   The method is arbitrary as it’s difficult to determine which players ”made it,” but basically, I was looking for players who established themselves as a reasonably productive every day major league player for an extended period of time (at least 2-3 months).

Reviewing the rankings taught me (or reinforced) several things.  First, Baseball America does a terrific job with their rankings, as the rankings listed below are their original rankings from 2006.  Second, since so many prospects bust, system depth is extremely important.  The Dodgers–who BA ranked #1–are a great example because many of their “impact players” were not the top prospects.

Finally, for fantasy baseball purposes, the rankings show older prospects have a considerably better chance of success than an equally-ranked younger prospect.  More than half (about 60-65%) of the players who ranked among their organization’s top 10 prospects in 2006 who never established themselves as a major league regulars (or are not still prospects) were players who had not reached AA.  This would be less troubling if a significantly greater number of these players became impact players.  However, judging from this small sample size, the impact these players had was not great enough to justify the risk of failure (especially in a fantasy league).

Here are Baseball America’s original ’06 rankings along with the number of quality major leaguers each system produced (and the “impact players”).  With a few exceptions, BA’s accuracy is pretty impressive.

  1. Dodgers             13         Billingsley, Russell Martin, Broxton, Kemp, James Loney, and Carlos Santana.
  2. Marlins                11        Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, and Dan Uggla
  3. Angels                 14        Howie Kendrick, Jered Weaver, and Kendry Morales
  4. D’Backs              11        Upton, Stephen Drew, Carlos Quentin, Carlos Gonzales, and Mark Reynolds
  5. Brewers              12        Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Gallardo, Corey Hart, Alcides Escobar, Nelson Cruz
  6. Twins                    8         Francisco Liriano, Jason Kubel, Matt Garza, Denard Span
  7. Red Sox              10       Jon Lester, Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clay Bucholz
  8. Braves                  9         Elvis Andrus, Yunel Escobar, and Martin Prado
  9. Rockies               11        Ian Stewart, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Troy Tulowitzki
  10. Devil Rays           11       Delmon Young, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, and Jeremy Hellickson
  11. Indians                10        Fausto Carmona
  12. White Sox             8         Bobby Jenks and Chris Young
  13. Orioles                  6         Nick Markakis
  14. Tigers                   8         Justin Verlander and Jair Jurrgens
  15. Cubs                     9          Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot
  16. Rangers               9         Edinson Volquez, John Danks, Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson
  17. Yankees               7          Phil Hughes
  18. Giants                   9           Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Brian Wilson, Pablo Sandoval
  19. Pirates                12          McCutcheon, Jose Bautista, McClouth, Capps, Rajai Davis, and Nyjer Morgan
  20. Astros                    7         Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist
  21. Cardinals            10        Colby Rasmus, Adam Wainright, Jaime Garcia
  22. Phillies                11         Cole Hamels, Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino
  23. Royals                  4         Billy Butler
  24. Nationals              4         Ryan Zimmerman
  25. Blue Jays              8         Ricky Romero, Adam Lind, Shaun Marcum
  26. Athletics                8        Andre Ethier
  27. Mariners               8        Adam Jones, Shin Soo Choo
  28. Padres                  5          Chase Headley
  29. Reds                     7          Jay Bruce, Joey Votto
  30. Mets                     9          Mike Pelfrey, Matt Lindstrom, John Niese