I finally picked up my copy of the 2012 Baseball America Prospect Handbook today*, so today was ultimately a happy day. For the second year in a row, the editors did something that appealed to the nerdy scout that lives within all baseball fans, listing 20-80 scouting grades in five categories for each team’s top prospect.
Last season, I averaged out the five grades to find the best overall prospects in the book. I noted at the time that this was purely an exercise for my own amusement, and that certainly still holds true. Please don’t look at this and be like, “Jesus Montero
AND TRAVIS d’ARNAUD ARE GONNA BE BUSTS! BRIAN SAID SO! YOU CAN LOOK IT UP!” Because that’s not what I’m saying at all. We’re just having some fun out here. This game’s fun, okay? Fun goddamit.
Six players repeated as their organization's number one prospect this season: Harper (Nationals), Trout (Angels), Shelby Miller
(Cardinals), Julio Teheran
(Braves), Jacob Turner
(Detroit), Jesus Montero (New York). Montero, of course, was traded to Seattle in late January. I'm not including Jarrod Parker
, who was the top dog for Arizona in 2011 and Oakland in 2012, but he could be on that list as well.
One more thing before the grades: last year, there were four 80s in the book – Bryce Harper
’s arm and power, Mike Trout
’s speed, and Aroldis Chapman
’s fastball. This year, there are five – Harper’s arm and power, Trout’s speed, Gary Brown
’s speed, and Gerrit Cole’s fastball.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals – 67 (2011: 67)
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – 67 (2011: 65)
Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates – 67
, Tampa Bay Rays – 65
Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals – 64 (2011: 63)
, Arizona Diamondbacks – 63
, Seattle Mariners – 63
Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles – 62
Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves – 61 (2011: 62)
, Texas Rangers – 61
Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants – 61
, Chicago White Sox – 61
Jacob Turner, Detroit Tigers – 60 (2011: 62)
, Milwaukee Brewers – 60
Jarrod Parker, Oakland Athletics – 59
, Colorado Rockies – 58
, Minnesota Twins – 57
, Boston Red Sox – 57
, Chicago Cubs – 56
, Los Angeles Dodgers – 56
, New York Mets – 56
, Cleveland Indians – 56
, Miami Marlins – 56
, Kansas City Royals – 55
, Philadelphia Phillies – 54
, San Diego Padres – 52
Travis d’Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays – 52
, Cincinnati Reds – 51
, Houston Astros – 50
Jesus Montero, New York Yankees – 50 (2011: 51)
*I did nothing right when it came to buying this book. First I planned on ordering it from Amazon to save money on both the book and shipping. Then I realized it wouldn’t come out until February 21, so I decided to wait and buy it in the store, but when I called around on Tuesday, every local bookstore was sold out. So I had the one down the street order it for me. I went to pick it up tonight, saw it on the shelf before the guy behind the counter did, and started saying, “Right there, right there, right there, RIGHT THERE! BASEBALL AMERICA PROSPECT HANDBOOK! IT SAYS 2012 ON THE SIDE!” until he found it and I bought it. I don't think he liked me very much.
Sooo, yeah. Could’ve handled the whole thing better, I think.