Eric and I have been working hard the last few months to rank everything that we can, including produce at the grocery store and our friends and family. As far as the rankings that appear on FanGraphs, we’ve had Prospect Week, headlined by the annual top-100 prospects list and complemented by nine other associated pieces, including preseason draft rankings that were updated yesterday to account for what’s happened in the last 10 weeks.
In that spirit of ranking and constantly updating, along with the desire to show our work and give readers tools to make decisions, today we are introducing THE BOARD.
This represents just the first pass at a feature that is likely to be modified and improved upon. Feel free to submit any suggestions in the comments. (I, personally, have a list of about a dozen additions for the coming months.) While we could have continued to develop this before releasing it, we felt this was something from which readers could benefit ASAP. It also serves as a bit of an apology for the team prospect lists taking so long. We’ll still be releasing an article for each team as planned over the next couple weeks. In the meantime, though, every organization is included in THE BOARD, updated with full tool grades. Readers, for example, can check out some of those to-be-published audits, like the record-breaking Padres’ list featuring 43 prospects.
A big hat tip is in order to dark overlord David Appelman for making our crazy ideas a reality.
For those wondering why certain players haven’t been reranked — after having arm surgery, for example — since the top 100 list was released, these are preseason evaluations that have been updated only to account for transactions (mostly Rule 5 picks being returned and minor DFA type trades). Eric and I will be updating the rankings regularly in-season, with the first update coming in the next couple weeks. I hinted at some of the changes in yesterday’s chat.
If you look at the positional tabs, for example, you will find the top 100-ranked prospects in correct order, but the other prospects are not ranked within their FV tiers. The 45 FV first basemen here are not listed in any specific order, for example, but we will be fixing that in a future version very soon. That said, you can see all the candidates for a top positional list and clearly see the tiers. As noted, there will be an update in a couple weeks.
As an example of what you can do with the current version of THE BOARD (I’m trying this out to see if always doing it in caps should be a thing), take a look at the 2015 July 2nd signing period. You can use the tabs across the top to look at minor-league prospect lists (2017 and 2018), July 2nd prospect lists (2015, 2016 and 2017), or draft prospect lists (2015, 2016, 2017). If you use the 2018 minor-league overall list (735 players in total) and sort by “Signed,” for example, you’ll find all the players with “J2 2015” who made our prospect lists this year (40 FV or higher). Open another tab and click over to the 2015 July 2nd tab for the rankings I did (before I left for the Braves) of that class before they signed, and you can compare the same group of players based on what we thought of them 33 months apart.
All of the current top-100 prospects who signed in that class were on the board as amateurs and all but one were in the top 20 (nice job by me!), but that one very notable player was in the others section, essentially ranked 50th in the class 33 months ago. Fernando Tatis, Jr., the player in question, is now ranked second in his class, behind only Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. Can’t win ’em all!
Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.