Ranking 2017’s Graduated Prospects

We continue Prospect Week 2018 by trying to address a question frequently asked by fans of teams that have just graduated multiple high-level prospects — namely, where would those graduated prospects rank if they were still eligible for the Top 100? We usually don’t have that answer ready off the top of our heads since, as prospect analysts, we aren’t thinking about those players very much. We decided that wasn’t okay, though. So now, whenever we do an updated top-100 or midseason list, we will also provide an update on the prospects who have lost their eligibility in the previous/current year.

Even for fans of teams with no players on the list below, there’s still some value here. Names like Derek Fisher and Clint Frazier have appeared in trade rumors, often packaged with or chosen in lieu of prospects who are constantly ranked. This list will help give some context to those rumors, with the Present and Future Value (PV and FV) grades to tie them together — a concept for valuation we will be making more accessible in the future.

There wasn’t a hard and fast cut-off for this list. We started simply by considering players who’d lost eligibility in 2017 and whom we project to be 50 FV or higher, thus being top-100-quality prospects. I believe Chad Green and Joe Musgrove are the two players who lost eligibility in 2016, but we feel as though they aren’t finished products yet or still have evolving roles, so you get two extra players graded on the list. There were also some interesting former top prospects who just missed this list (Jharel Cotton, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, etc.) whom Eric will address on a more individual basis later to explain why we’ve downgraded them.

For a quick primer on the PV and FV concepts — including, in particular, how it scales to WAR — see this article. Broadly speaking, the aim behind these rankings is to capture true talent level, so just because a rookie recorded two wins in half a season of playing time last year doesn’t mean he’s a 4 WAR player. It may mean we think that, going forward, he’s just a 2 WAR player and thus a 50 FV, despite outperforming some veterans who we also think are 50 PV/FV. We are projecting the future, not just reporting what happened. Think of PV as what we think his WAR total will be this year and FV as what we think his one- or two-year peak level will be.

If your team had a prospect who was rated in the minors as a 55 FV and he’s a 50 FV on here, it’s not just because his numbers were bad in a couple dozen MLB games, but rather because we think either the ceiling is now lower or he’s less likely to reach it. The only real example where the WAR totals overwhelmed what we considered to be the actual talent is Judge. We feel like he probably settles in as a 70 or 75 FV like Bellinger, somewhere outside of the top three at his position (outfielders) but very close to that level; it’s just hard to ignore the fact that he recorded highest WAR in baseball as a rookie, so we leaned toward WAR outcome when assigning his PV/FV in that case only.

Also, in close situations (like the 65 FV hitters), we tended to lean toward the guys we thought were more advanced now (higher PV) and taking hitters over pitchers (discussed in the above-linked Making the Top 100 conversation).

Ranking the Graduated Prospects
Rank Name Club Pos Age PV FV
1 Aaron Judge NYY RF 25 80 80
2 Cody Bellinger LA 1B 21 65 70
3 Rhys Hoskins PHI 1B 24 60 65
4 Rafael Devers BOS 3B 20 55 65
5 Ozzie Albies ATL 2B 20 55 65
6 Andrew Benintendi BOS CF 22 55 65
7 Yoan Moncada CHW 2B 22 50 65
8 Matt Chapman OAK 3B 24 55 60
9 German Marquez COL RHS 22 55 60
10 Luis Castillo CIN RHS 24 55 60
11 Dansby Swanson ATL SS 23 45 55
12 Manuel Margot SD CF 22 50 55
13 Amed Rosario NYM SS 21 40 55
14 Joe Musgrove PIT RHS 25 55 55
15 Ian Happ CHC UT 22 50 55
16 Bradley Zimmer CLE CF 24 50 55
17 Luke Weaver STL RHS 23 50 55
18 Jordan Montgomery NYY LHS 24 50 55
19 Josh Hader MIL LHP 23 45 55
20 Sean Newcomb ATL LHS 24 45 55
21 Chad Green NYY RHP 26 50 55
22 Francis Martes HOU RHS 21 40 55
23 Tyler Glasnow PIT RHS 23 40 50
24 Matt Olson OAK 1B 23 50 50
25 Mitch Haniger SEA RF 26 50 50
Rank Name Club Pos Age PV FV
26 Jose Martinez STL RF 28 50 50
27 Paul DeJong STL SS 23 50 50
28 Clint Frazier NYY RF 22 45 50
29 Jeimer Candelario DET 3B 23 50 50
30 Dominic Smith NYM 1B 22 40 50
31 Josh Bell PIT 1B 24 40 50
32 Lucas Giolito CHW RHS 22 40 50
33 Jeff Hoffman COL RHS 24 40 50
34 Derek Fisher HOU LF 23 45 50
35 Jake Faria TB RHS 23 45 50
36 Brandon Nimmo NYM LF 24 45 50
37 Nick Williams PHI LF 24 45 50
38 Dinelson Lamet SD RHS 24 45 50
39 Reynaldo Lopez CHW RHS 23 40 50
40 Yandy Diaz CLE 3B 25 40 50
41 Robert Gsellman NYM RHS 23 45 50
42 Trevor Williams PIT RHS 25 50 50
43 Kyle Freeland COL LHS 24 45 50
44 Johan Camargo ATL 3B 24 45 50
45 Matt Strahm SD LHS 25 40 50
46 David Paulino HOU RHS 24 45 50

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6 years ago

Seeing Castillo ranked the same as German Marquez confuses me based on everything else I read.

6 years ago
Reply to  Robert

feel like that says more about Marquez than anything. but I agree, it looks odd given the hype (or lack thereof) around these guys

6 years ago
Reply to  Robert

Castillo’s hype train got going later than Marquez, so maybe its recency to some extent. But a lot of the current attention on Castillo is probably for fantasy purposes as he seems to be this year’s “potential breakout ace”, and even if Marquez is just as good skills wise he’s gonna get discounted in fantasy like any Rox starter.

6 years ago
Reply to  Robert

People are going crazy over L. Castillo, and there’s a lot to like. But he was deemed a RP before his debut last year. Was never considered a top prospect. He debuted and was electric. He’s due for regression and I still think, he’s a 2 pitch SP. If he can effectively through a CH, he could be CMart or Severino. If not, he’s M. Pineda.

If G. Marquez didn’t pitch in Colorado he’d be a Top 30/35 SP, imo. Great stuff. Great command.

6 years ago
Reply to  asreitz

Rockies pitchers need to start getting the “reverse” Coors treatment that the hitters have to live down.

6 years ago
Reply to  asreitz

Marquez had a 4.26 FIP/4.58 xFIP on the road last year.

6 years ago
Reply to  Crash

players are better at home than on the road, shocking

6 years ago
Reply to  Hugh

When you’re a pitcher and home is Coors Field, then yeah, that’s legitimately shocking.

6 years ago
Reply to  Crash

If anything, his home/road splits suggest Marquez is valuable because he does just as well at Coors as he does on the road. There’s no evidence that he’s somehow worse off because he plays half his games at Coors, which is freaking amazing.

Finding someone who pitches just as well at Coors as everywhere else is pretty awesome for Colorado. He may not have Castillo’s star potential but he looks like a stable, long-term guy for them and they should be thrilled.

6 years ago
Reply to  asreitz

Umm, Castillo’s changeup has never been the issue. His changeup was always graded as plus when he was a prospect. The issue for him coming up was the lack of a breaking ball, but then last year he busted out what appeared to be an above-average slider out of nowhere. The pitch generated a ton of whiffs. If he can maintain that, he’s actually a 4 pitch guy since he throws two different fastballs as well.

6 years ago
Reply to  Robert

They’re both 60’s, which is well above-average starting pitchers. Given that Marquez just threw 160 innings with an 87 ERA- and a 95 FIP- as a 22 year-old (not to mention was well-regarded as a prospect), that seems fair. I’d strongly consider Marquez if I could have either of the two for the next 5 years