First Pitch: Ranking the New Prospects

I had to step in to the First Pitch spot last minute, basically before walking out the door to go out for a little while, so I didn’t have anything planned here. In our Winter Leagues article, there was a lively discussion about ranking the new prospects brought into the system yesterday, so I figured that I would bring that here to get more attention. We will rank the two Rule 5 picks, Jose Soriano and Luis Oviedo, in our new Prospect Guide. We purposely waited for the Rule 5 draft to finalize it.

If you missed the details for the book and other sales we have going on, here’s the link. Buried in that article is the fact that shipping times are going to be worse this year. I mailed a package early on purpose last Monday and it just got there last night, five days later than the estimated delivery. Basically as a service announcement to everyone, just not people purchasing items from us, you’ll want to mail out gifts soon if you expect to get them there by Christmas. We are trying to get all sales in by Tuesday to “hopefully” ensure that they get there on time. After that point, we recommend our gift cards or subscriptions.

Enough of the shipping advice, John! Didn’t you say you were in a rush? Get to the prospect rankings part!

I hear you. We saw rankings yesterday from MLB Pipeline that put Oviedo at #20 and Soriano at #21. I believe that Pipeline will have updated rankings during the winter when they redo their entire top 30, so these are probably just temporary placements.

In the comments earlier, jaygray007 did the work from Fangraphs for me:

If fangraphs still considers Oviedo “a 45” and Soriano “a 40+”, then that would put Oviedo somewhere between 10 and 13 on the pirates, among Castro, Bae, Bolton, and just above Mlodzinski… and Soriano somewhere in the late teens early 20s.

Baseball America has been pushing how Soriano was going to be top ten for the Angels. Unfortunately, that system doesn’t compare well with the Pirates system, or most systems in baseball. I haven’t looked at their list recently, but I remember at one point in the last two years or so that the player ranked either third or fourth for the Angels wouldn’t be in my top 30 Pirates. They’re better now, but not by much.

While we won’t give away our rankings just yet, we will eventually once everything is done. I’ll say that I’ve seen a lot of guys throw hard with below average control and not make it. Age helps in these cases, but my personal opinion is that we need to be a little more cautious with their rankings because of the control, injuries for both and their lack of experience above Low-A. There’s also the part about how it’s unlikely that either will see significant mound time in 2021, then be sent to the minors to pick back up where they left off, assuming that they remain in the system. Then there’s this whole lost season for most minor league players that makes it impossible to truly feel good about any rankings once you go lower than the elite prospects on the list and neither of these new pitchers can be considered elite right now, at least not in the Pirates farm system. It’s a lot to take in, so expect to see rankings fluctuate in 2021 much more than normal.

Anyway, give your thoughts on the new player rankings in the comments. We will have all five new players in our prospect guide.

PS: Read the Snapshot in Time article in the links below. You won’t regret it, unless it makes you want to learn more history and you’re already stretched for time. Then I apologize.

The 2020 Prospect Guide returns to print for our tenth¬† we are releasing two variant covers, featuring Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Visit our shop to order these extremely limited items!