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Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects


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#1 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:41 PM

Like his farm system rankings, this is ESPN Insider content. Hence I'll only be posting relevant snippets.

 

First, he has 4 Red Sox players on the list:

 

5. Xander Bogaerts, SS

40. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF

63. Allen Webster, RHSP

79. Matt Barnes, RHSP

 

In addition, LHSP Henry Owens tops his 10 Prospects Who Just Missed list.

 

Before reading the blurbs, I was surprised but gratified to see the lofty rating for Bogaerts. Similarly, I was confused and dismayed by his seemingly pessimistic take on Barnes. On to the blurbs, which are quite illuminating:

 

5. Xander Bogaerts
 
"a year of full-season ball at shortstop with continued work on maintaining his conditioning has his odds of remaining in the middle of the field up over even money. And a shortstop who can hit like this is a pretty special commodity."
 
"a very easy, picturesque right-handed swing, with great hand acceleration that leads to surprisingly hard contact ... He gets his front leg down a little late, which could lead to timing issues but hasn't so far."
 
"not likely to become a plus defender at short, but even fringe-average defense there would make him a five-win player or more given his bat ... I like his chances to do just that."
 

 

40. Jackie Bradley Jr.
 
"a potential Gold Glove defender in center ... who should hit for average and get on base as long as he doesn't overextend himself and try to hit for power."
 
"just an average runner but his reads on balls in center rival those of the other elite defensive center fielders in the minors, even ahead of guys like Albert Almora and Mason Williams." 
 
"His lower half can be a little noisy at the plate, getting his front foot down late, gliding over his front side and sometimes even drifting back mid-swing. But when he keeps his swing short and simple he generates hard line-drive contact from foul line to foul line, with doubles power that might max out around 10-12 homers a year. When he over-rotates to try to hit the ball out, he doesn't make enough contact and the result of the tradeoff is a net negative."
 
"best attribute as a hitter has been his plate discipline, producing high walk rates in the minors with good pitch recognition"

 

63. Allen Webster
 
"three plus pitches and looks like he should be at or near the top of someone's rotation, but as a converted position player, he has struggled to develop enough fastball command to translate the raw stuff into on-field success."
 
"will sit at 94 mph with his fastball and can reach 97 with plus sink that led to a 2:1 groundout-to-fly out ratio in AA ... with a swing-and-miss changeup with good action and a slider that will flash plus but isn't as consistent as the other two pitches."
 
"a former shortstop, he is athletic and can repeat his delivery well, but he lacks the feel for pitching that he'll need to succeed as a starter even at Triple-A, both in terms of just throwing strikes and in using and mixing his pitches more effectively."
 
"The Red Sox ... view Webster as a potential No. 2 starter. I see that ceiling, but a lot of work between here and there."

 

79. Matt Barnes
 
"Barnes shocked a lot of scouts this year with the leap forward in his fastball command, working with it up and down, side to side, so even though he wasn't consistently 93-97 as he was in college he could still get outs and set up his off-speed stuff."
 
"He's ditched the below-average slider that screwed him up in his junior year at UConn and pitched most of the season with an above-average downer curveball that he could throw for strikes. His changeup gradually improved over the year as the Red Sox forced him to throw it a number of times each game, but even in Salem he was still getting hitters on both sides of the plate out with the fastball."
 
"Barnes was a little experienced to spend the whole year in A-ball, so his stat line overstates how advanced he is, but he looks like a solid mid-rotation guy who'll be at least league-average, with a chance to profile better than that because of how well he locates the fastball."

 

101. Henry Owens
 
"Owens works at just 88-92 mph with a big, slow curveball and some feel for a change, but has posted high strikeout totals in the low minors because he hides the ball so well behind his 6-foot-6 frame that hitters don't pick it up, swinging through 88 mph like it's 94 mph. That can work for guys in the big leagues, but I'd like to see Owens, who doesn't have a ton of projection for future velocity gains, do it against a higher caliber of hitter before buying in fully."

 

I'll give Law credit -- he explains the pros and cons of each guy very thoroughly and covers all key aspects and traits. He's a trained scout who knows what he's talking about. But I still don't see anything substantive in his blurb on Barnes to make me think he's unworthy of being ranked in the top half of the list. An over-reliance on the fastball? Really? Too experienced to spend the entire year in A-ball? In his first year as a pro? Sorry, Keith. I don't get it.



#2 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

FYI, Keith will be holding an online chat today at 3 pm EST.

 

LINK

 

He'll also have on on Thursday at 1 pm EST.



#3 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

Here's how other AL East teams fared in his rankings:

 

YANKEES

18. Gary Sanchez, C

35. Mason Williams, OF

52. Tyler Austin, OF

57. Slade Heathcott, CF

103. Jose Ramirez, RHP

 

RAYS

4. Wil Myers, OF

47. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP

53. Chris Archer, RHP

68. Jake Odorizzi, RHP

78. Hak-Ju Lee, SS

81. Alex Colome, RHP

 

ORIOLES

3. Dylan Bundy, RHP

26. Kevin Gasuman, RHP

50. Jonathan Schoop, SS

100. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

 

BLUE JAYS

19. Aaron Sanchez, RHP

87. Roberto Osuna, RHP

 

As expected, rounding out the Top 5 along with Bundy, Myers & Bogaerts are #1 Jurickson Profar (SS, Tex) and #2 Oscar Taveras (OF, StL).



#4 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:57 PM

Any former Sox prospects pop up elsewhere?

#5 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:08 PM

Casey Kelly is #60. That's it.



#6 bbc23

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:10 PM

Any former Sox prospects pop up elsewhere?

Casey Kelly shows up at 60



#7 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

From Law's ongoing chat:

 

 

Chris (Boston)
Is Allen Webster ahead of Matt Barnes simply because he is closer to major league ready?
 
Klaw  (3:25 PM)
Webster has way better stuff, is a better athlete, and has a better delivery. Barnes has much better present command.


#8 SoxScout


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:31 PM

Are you confident enough in Jackie Bradley Jr's ability that you would like Jacoby walk at the end of the year and hand the CF/ lead off spot to Jackie?

 

Klaw  (3:21 PM)

If I'm Cherington, that is my plan, yes.



#9 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

tommy (nyc)
I feel like the Sox (and the fans) have some lofty expectations for Will Middlebrooks. Undoubtedly, he had a pretty good rookie year, but I fear a sophomore slump, especially in the OBP department. (Bill James projects his OBP at .316 - ouch.) What say you, both in the near and long-term?
 
Klaw  (3:32 PM)
I tend to agree with you that his OBP will be a problem for a while.


#10 Hugh G Rection

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:47 PM

I love that Law is High on Webster, especially because I personally am not.... I agree that he is underselling Barnes, but that is because I saw Barnes pitch at Uconn a couple times and was absolutely blown away (even before the sox drafted him). This might sound stupid, but Barnes reminded me of Papelbon, with that big exploding fastball that you guessed was 98mph or better, but when the gun showed its true speed it was 93. I actually thought Barnes had a much better curveball then he gets credit for, it made BigEast hitters look foolish (not sure what that is saying). I still think Barnes is a better propect then Webster and a better bet to be a #2 despite what Law says, but again I am biased.

 

I really love the fact that KLaw puts Xander at #5 , he has always been a big believer that he'll stick at SS.



#11 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

Trey Anastasio (Burlington, VT)
On June 1st, Stephen Drew is lost for the season. Would you turn to Boegarts or give Iglesias a shot?
 
Klaw  (4:03 PM)
Sorry, still laughing that you gave him till June 1st...


#12 LondonSox

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

I love that Law is High on Webster, especially because I personally am not.... I agree that he is underselling Barnes, but that is because I saw Barnes pitch at Uconn a couple times and was absolutely blown away (even before the sox drafted him). This might sound stupid, but Barnes reminded me of Papelbon, with that big exploding fastball that you guessed was 98mph or better, but when the gun showed its true speed it was 93. I actually thought Barnes had a much better curveball then he gets credit for, it made BigEast hitters look foolish (not sure what that is saying). I still think Barnes is a better propect then Webster and a better bet to be a #2 despite what Law says, but again I am biased.

 

I really love the fact that KLaw puts Xander at #5 , he has always been a big believer that he'll stick at SS.

I don't think that's true, he's come around all year on the chances of sticking at SS. When others were dismissive Law gave X a chance to stick but hearing better than even chance is always nice. To me more important is that the consensus of many scouts is moving to where Law is, from some being totally dismissive of the possibility.



#13 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

I'm consistently amused by how the name Drew automatically makes people assume Stephen is fragile. He's had exactly one major injury in his career that just happened to straddle two seasons. He played in 150 or more games in 3 of the 4 seasons leading up to the year he got hurt, and 135 in the year he did not.

J.D. he is not.

#14 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

Over the course of their careers, excluding their first years since they were called up mid-season...J.D Drew averaged 119 games a year. Stephen Drew has averaged....119.

 

Snod's point remains true, but it is kind of an odd coincidence.



#15 Super Nomario


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:58 PM

I love that Law is High on Webster, especially because I personally am not.... I agree that he is underselling Barnes, but that is because I saw Barnes pitch at Uconn a couple times and was absolutely blown away (even before the sox drafted him). This might sound stupid, but Barnes reminded me of Papelbon, with that big exploding fastball that you guessed was 98mph or better, but when the gun showed its true speed it was 93. I actually thought Barnes had a much better curveball then he gets credit for, it made BigEast hitters look foolish (not sure what that is saying). I still think Barnes is a better propect then Webster and a better bet to be a #2 despite what Law says, but again I am biased.

Law's description made me think of Papelbon, too. It's got to be hard to evaluate a guy like that, though. For every Papelbon who is able to be successful at the MLB level throwing 75% fastballs (and who knows if he could have done that as a starter?), there must be 10 guys (or 100) who find they need to mix up their pitches more even at the AA or AAA level. I saw Papelbon's final AA start (6 no-hit innings, 10 Ks); he was utterly dominant, and I still had no idea if it would translate to higher levels.

 

I suspect this is part of Law's "a little experienced to spend the whole year in A-ball" comment; it sounds like Barnes could get by on his fastball in the Carolina League, but we'll need to see him at higher levels before we know if a) his fastball's good enough to rely on that much against more experienced hitters and/or b) his offspeed stuff is good enough to get more advanced hitters out.



#16 Detts

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

Law's description made me think of Papelbon, too. It's got to be hard to evaluate a guy like that, though. For every Papelbon who is able to be successful at the MLB level throwing 75% fastballs (and who knows if he could have done that as a starter?), there must be 10 guys (or 100) who find they need to mix up their pitches more even at the AA or AAA level. I saw Papelbon's final AA start (6 no-hit innings, 10 Ks); he was utterly dominant, and I still had no idea if it would translate to higher levels.

 

I suspect this is part of Law's "a little experienced to spend the whole year in A-ball" comment; it sounds like Barnes could get by on his fastball in the Carolina League, but we'll need to see him at higher levels before we know if a) his fastball's good enough to rely on that much against more experienced hitters and/or b) his offspeed stuff is good enough to get more advanced hitters out.

Don't forget that Barnes changed the grip on his changeup to a 4 seamer grip from a 2 seamer grip at Salem.  If you include the fact that this was his first full season, I don't see how you can really fault the Sox decision to leave him in Salem.

 

barnes-changeup-grip.jpg?w=300&h=225


Edited by Detts, 05 February 2013 - 05:17 PM.


#17 Papelbon's Poutine


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

I was as equally surprised to see Xander that high as I was to see the organization as a whole that low. I know he loves X and is probably the most optimistic he will stick at SS but I was expecting more like 10-15 range.

#18 Papelbon's Poutine


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:56 PM

Mabrown, was that you that asked about reposting portions of content as long as you provide a link back to the pay wall?

#19 The Best Catch in 100 Years

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:56 PM

Why do people have a problem with Law talking about Barnes being too advanced for single-A? It's just a fact. He dominated the league, and most first round college pitchers go straight to A+.



#20 mabrowndog


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:54 PM

Mabrown, was that you that asked about reposting portions of content as long as you provide a link back to the pay wall?

 

Nope, that was somebody else. I've long been aware of ESPN's (and this board's) policies, and try to stay within the constraints Keith noted (i.e. quoting of relevant snippets to stimulate discussion and debate, but not the entire article/lists, or even substantial sections).

 

I asked a question about Barnes, but he addressed Matt when another poster asked about Webster. I asked about 2 more prospects (Cecchini and Swihart) but he didn't answer. For both, I was curious where they rank overall at their respective positions, since only 7 third basemen and 4 catchers made his Top 100 (compared to 50 pitchers, 13 shortstops and 22 outfielders).

 

By the way, C and 3B aren't the only sparsely represented positions. He includes only 3 second basemen and just 1 first baseman.



#21 Super Nomario


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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:17 PM

Don't forget that Barnes changed the grip on his changeup to a 4 seamer grip from a 2 seamer grip at Salem.  If you include the fact that this was his first full season, I don't see how you can really fault the Sox decision to leave him in Salem.

I don't think anyone is questioning the decision, but I think it's harder to contextualize his performance this year in terms of evaluating him as a prospect.



#22 Papelbon's Poutine


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:53 PM

I hit him up on FB and he replied to say that Rubby would have been top 100 had he been eligible, fwiw.

#23 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:19 PM

As to Barnes, Law has been consistent across years/teams/players in judging mid-rotation 'pitchability' types more harshly than other evaluators.  He's said, I believe, that he weights upside more than probability (and his balance is more heavily weighted on that than others, I'd observe), and I think this fits in quite well with his assessment of Barnes as a prospect.  

 

I think a reasonable case can be made that probability of making it should figure in more than he tends to, but he's got a reasonable approach that he is consistent in applying.

 

The one thing I do believe he is overly doctrinal about is closers/relievers...not that I wholly disagree with him, but my observation is that he goes out of his way to underrate them to make his point clear there.



#24 Hugh G Rection

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:06 PM

Don't forget that Barnes changed the grip on his changeup to a 4 seamer grip from a 2 seamer grip at Salem.  If you include the fact that this was his first full season, I don't see how you can really fault the Sox decision to leave him in Salem.

 

barnes-changeup-grip.jpg?w=300&h=225

 

I pretty sure you have it backwords..... He always threw the 4 seemer grip, now he has changed to the 2 seem grip which he used on the Cape. It was more of a palm ball, now it's more of a true circle change.... He gets a liitle more fade with it now.


Edited by Hugh G Rection, 06 February 2013 - 05:08 PM.


#25 Detts

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:27 PM

I pretty sure you have it backwords..... He always threw the 4 seemer grip, now he has changed to the 2 seem grip which he used on the Cape. It was more of a palm ball, now it's more of a true circle change.... He gets a liitle more fade with it now.

 

“I talked to one of my buddies who played for Lynchburg, Nick Ahmed, and I kind of asked him, ‘did any hitters on your team say anything that could possibly help me?’” Barnes explained. “And he told me that one of the guys saw the spin on the changeup as being a two-seam spin and I only threw four-seam fastballs. He said he was able to pick it up really early and able to put a good swing on it. Therein lied the change to the four-seam.”

 

http://salemsox.mlbl...p-his-changeup/

 

You are correct.  Hell, the picture I linked even shows it.  I just brainfarted it I guess.



#26 JimBoSox9


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

You were right the first time, today he throws a 4-seam change.

Edit: or my comprehension is just completely broken. 50/50.

Edited by JimBoSox9, 06 February 2013 - 10:33 PM.


#27 The Best Catch in 100 Years

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:59 AM

The one thing I do believe he is overly doctrinal about is closers/relievers...not that I wholly disagree with him, but my observation is that he goes out of his way to underrate them to make his point clear there.

Maybe, but I think relatively few "closer prospects" actually turn out to be elite closers--guys who end up being valuable enough to retrospectively justify being on this kind of list. A lot of great relievers are failed starters, and I actually see quite a few pitchers on Law's list this year whose dominant RP/closer floor he mentions as a factor that played into their ranking--Carlos Martinez, Julio Teheran, Jarred Cosart, Trevor Rosenthal, Arodys Vizcaino, etc.



#28 The Best Catch in 100 Years

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:02 AM

Like Craig Kimbrel and (maaaaaaybe) Drew Storen are the only two guys who I can remember who actually came up as relief prospects, had a high enough profile to land on this kind of list, and have had enough big league success to justify that kind of ranking. 



#29 Stanley Steamer

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:14 AM

'Overly doctrinal' is a good descriptor for Keith Law, in general. I don't pay for Insider, but am always interested in his opinion. Yet he comes across as an ass. I wonder if that's why he works as a snarky pundit, rather than in someone's front office.

#30 Papelbon's Poutine


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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:29 AM

'Overly doctrinal' is a good descriptor for Keith Law, in general. I don't pay for Insider, but am always interested in his opinion. Yet he comes across as an ass. I wonder if that's why he works as a snarky pundit, rather than in someone's front office.

 

While it could certainly be posturing, he's stated repeatedly that he has no interest in FO work anymore and has no intentions of going back to it. I believe either last year or the year previous he was offered a role with the Astros and he turned it down. Which I think leads to his coming off as an ass - he shoots straight because he doesn't care about pissing off any potential future employers and in comparison to most of the generally wishy washy people in his role, he comes off as overly harsh.



#31 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

Some people don't need any outside force to make them an ass.  Judging by the literary reviews on his personal blog, I think Keith might be one of those people.  Having said that, I still love reading his stuff and hearing him on podcasts, partly because he can be such a bullheaded dick--he pulls off that voice well.



#32 steveluck7

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

Like Craig Kimbrel and (maaaaaaybe) Drew Storen are the only two guys who I can remember who actually came up as relief prospects, had a high enough profile to land on this kind of list, and have had enough big league success to justify that kind of ranking. 

Huston Street?



#33 seantoo


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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:13 AM

Like his farm system rankings, this is ESPN Insider content. Hence I'll only be posting relevant snippets.

 

First, he has 4 Red Sox players on the list:

 

5. Xander Bogaerts, SS

40. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF

63. Allen Webster, RHSP

79. Matt Barnes, RHSP

 

In addition, LHSP Henry Owens tops his 10 Prospects Who Just Missed list.

 

Before reading the blurbs, I was surprised but gratified to see the lofty rating for Bogaerts. Similarly, I was confused and dismayed by his seemingly pessimistic take on Barnes. On to the blurbs, which are quite illuminating:

 

I'll give Law credit -- he explains the pros and cons of each guy very thoroughly and covers all key aspects and traits. He's a trained scout who knows what he's talking about. But I still don't see anything substantive in his blurb on Barnes to make me think he's unworthy of being ranked in the top half of the list. An over-reliance on the fastball? Really? Too experienced to spend the entire year in A-ball? In his first year as a pro? Sorry, Keith. I don't get it.
I was surprised as well but if Keith has his reasons buried in there. I believe it was in this, "Barnes was a little experienced to spend the whole year in A-ball, so his stat line overstates how advanced he is". It appears that Keith believes he was not challenged enough so he's taking the lofty stats with a grain of salt. As good as Barnes stats were if you followed his progress it seems obvious, to me anyway, that he wore down greatly by seasons end because for most of the season his numbers were just plain filthy, dirty filthy even. That is why I think he's under-rated and perhaps should be ranked even higher.





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