We’re reaching the end of the offseason prospecting season, and one of the most respected prospectors is finally out with his top list.
Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein (who is, by the way, a must-follow on Twitter) has revealed his list of the top 101 prospects in baseball entering the 2012 season, and – surprise, surprise – you’ll recognize the names.
Outfielder Brett Jackson is at the top for the Cubs, coming in at number 44 on the list. Shortstop Javier Baez is at 66, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo follows, all the way down at 75, far lower than he’s been on a number of other lists.
From Goldstein’s perspective, a first base prospect simply isn’t all that valuable, even if he can crush it. Indeed, first base prospects don’t show up on Goldstein’s list until number 69 (the Cardinals’ Matt Adams), when they pop up in a bunch. Rizzo is third among them, behind Adams and the Astros’ Jonathan Singleton.
Baez is the 7th shortstop on the list, and Jackson is the 11th outfielder.
Goldstein also preemptively answered folks’ questions about the three Cubans of the day, Yoenis Cespedes, Jorge Soler and Gerardo Concepcion. On Cespedes, Goldstein said he’d rank 20th on the list if he were signed … which he was just a few hours ago. Goldstein says Soler would come in at number 39, just behind some truly impressive prospects (and at the top of the Cubs’ list, were they to sign him). Concepcion, Goldstein says, was eligible for the list, but simply isn’t top 101 material right now.
After the release of his list, Goldstein also did a fair bit of chatting this afternoon, touching on guys both on and off the list. Goldstein said that Baez’s chance of sticking at shortstop long-term is about 10%, calling him a third baseman or second baseman in the future. Goldstein, sticking with his theme on first basemen, said that Dan Vogelbach could be a future top 101 prospect type, but he’ll have to absolutely crush it offensively to do it. The chat was relatively thin on Cubs-related content, but is an interesting read on how guys like Goldstein come up with their lists (including one fascinating question on whether he feels like the GMs/executives/scouts with whom he speaks about prospects is trying to pump up a kid’s value by getting Goldstein to rank the kid higher).
And, for what it’s worth, Goldstein calls the Cubs the present favorite to sign Soler (though he’d previously pegged the Cubs as the favorite to sign Cespedes – which is not a criticism of Goldstein, but, instead, a reminder that the prediction business is an imprecise one).