Everyone, it seems, has a prospects rankings these days, but Baseball America’s Top 100 list is the Grandaddy of Them All. They’ve been doing this for a long time, and their list still carries a lot of weight.
It’s out today, and the Mariners do just as you’d expect. They have five prospects in the top 77 — the same five who have appeared in all these rankings: catcher/DH Jesus Montero (6), RHP Taijuan Walker (20), LHP Danny Hultzen (21), LHP James Paxton (52), and shortstop Nick Franklin (77).
Here was BA’s comment on each:
Montero: He should face less pressure replacing Miguel Olivo rather than Jorge Posada.
Walker: Legitimate comparisons to Dwight Gooden (the good, pitching part)? Sign us up.
Hultzen: He’s apples to Walker’s oranges as a polished college lefty, but he offers plenty of upside himself.
Paxton: Long wait for him to begin his professional career was worth it, as fresh Canadian arm was better in 2011 than he had ever been as an amateur.
Franklin: Switch-hitting middle infielder with power needs to show 2011 was the fluke, not 2010.
Just for the heck of it, I asked a couple of those highly touted prospects if they pay any attention to those lists. The answer was a pretty unanimous “no,” but they said they can’t escape from them, because friends and family are always telling them where they stand.
“I really don’t pay attention to it at all,” Franklin said. “t’s cool and everything to look at who’s ranked what. But in my opinion, it’s what the organization thinks that matters. Baseball America is not going to get me to the major leagues.”
“I don’t really think too much about them,” Hultzen added. “Occasionally, someone will say, did you see the list, but I don’t really pay too much attention to it. It’s an honor to be mentioned, but it doesn’t help get people out. That’s the way I look at it.”
Dustin Ackley’s days of gracing prospects lists are over, but he says he had the same outlook.
“To be honest, I can’t really remember what I was on it. If someone said something, then I might have thought about it a little bit. But I tried to not think about that too much.”
In other words, he didn’t obsess when Bryce Harper finished higher than him.
“You got to figure he’s going to beat everybody out, so it’s not really too much of a surprise,” he said, smiling.
Harper tops the Baseball America list, followed by Rays pitcher Matt Moore and Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the acknowledged Big Three of prospects.