I love prospect ranking season.
It’s the time of year when you get to definitely see where your favorite prospect to follow ranks in the farm system, along with his upside.
Except, nothing is ever definitive with prospect rankings, and that’s never more apparent than when you start to compare rankings from the different outlets.
After today’s release of the FanGraphs top 51 prospects for the Pirates, I put together an average ranking of four lists — Our top 50 from the 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide (available here on Digital in a “Pay What You Can” format), Baseball America’s top 40, FanGraphs top 51, and MLB Pipeline’s top 30.
A quick disclaimer about these lists: I had a hand in crafting two of them — Pirates Prospects and Baseball America. It’s interesting how those two still ended up different. There’s more influence from John Dreker and Wilbur Miller in the Pirates Prospects rankings, and obviously Baseball America has influence from their own writers and editors. All of the newly acquired prospects were graded by BA after I submitted my list, so there’s more variance with those players. As a side disclaimer about a list I’m not affiliated with, I’m not a big fan of how Pipeline does a constant update of their lists after every move. I have a feeling theirs will be much different when they do a full re-rank.
My favorite part of these comparisons is to see where different outlets disagree on different players. I’ll be digging deeper into this list in a future article, likely tomorrow, showing where those outliers fall. For now, we’ll focus on the combined top 30, to get a good consensus idea of where the top prospects rank in this system.
The chart below features average Future Value grades and average numerical rankings from all four outlets. I added my own default ranking order and tiered system, which was geared more toward the Grade ranks.
Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 Top 30 Prospects (Combined Rankings)