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
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays – 65
Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals – 64 (2011: 63)
Trevor Bauer, Arizona Diamondbacks – 63
Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners – 63
Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles – 62
Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves – 61 (2011: 62)
Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers – 61
Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants – 61
Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox – 61
Jacob Turner, Detroit Tigers – 60 (2011: 62)
Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers – 60
Jarrod Parker, Oakland Athletics – 59
Drew Pomeranz, Colorado Rockies – 58
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins – 57
Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox – 57
Brett Jackson, Chicago Cubs – 56
Zach Lee, Los Angeles Dodgers – 56
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets – 56
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians – 56
Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins – 56
Mike Montgomery, Kansas City Royals – 55
Trevor May, Philadelphia Phillies – 54
Anthony Rizzo, San Diego Padres – 52
Travis d’Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays – 52
Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds – 51
Jonathan Singleton, 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.