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Baseball Prospectus’s National Prospect and Player Development Writer Jason Parks is, to me, among the most uniquely enjoyable follows in the baseball corner of Twitter. He has a style (and hashtags) entirely his own, and his flair is almost as impressive as his baseball acumen.

The latter, however – the baseball stuff – is why it’s worth checking out his timeline when he takes a visit to see the Cubs in Spring Training, as he did yesterday:

I take nearly as much joy from reading those tweets as I infer that Parks took from watching Baez play nearly the full game yesterday.

  • bbmoney

    I’d also recommend the occasional Baseball Prospectus podcast Parks and Mike Ferrin do called Fringe Average. It’s not family friendly, but its pretty enjoyable adult listen if you like learning about scouting and prospects.

    It’s no Bleachernation podcast, but really, what is?

  • ssckelley

    Moar prospect porn!!!!

  • Norm

    Speaking of Baseball Prospectus, they came out with their “Best Talent Under 25″ list. And unfortunately for us Cub fans, the Cards take #1, Pirates at #4. Cubs come in at 10th (5th in NL)

    • Kyle

      This is what I’ve been saying.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett
        • Kyle

          [img]http://www.sportsgeekery.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/steiner.jpg[/img]

      • jp3

        How is that measured other than age being under 25? Would we move up if Javier and say Bryant are hitting the cover off the ball come mid season or does it already account for them being stars? Do we just need more solid prospects to move up or just the ones we have a la vogulbach and Edwards to move up the rankings a bit?

        • half_full_beer_mug

          We’ll move up as soon as the young ML’ers in those systems turn 26

          • Eternal Pessimist

            Move the goalposts a little (prospects under 23) and see who comes out on top. Cubs would be right there.

      • Chad

        That’s kind of like a nice way of saying “DUH”. If this doesn’t make it clearer as to why it is so important to develop the farm system I don’t know what would.

      • brainiac

        i’m actually growing tired of my own statements of the obvious. the irony is that i thought our minor league system was in better shape, and that was tempering my comments to even more positive than they could have been.

        • another JP

          The Cub minor league system is in better shape. Note that the players STL & Pitt has have already graduated to the majors. We’ll be there with them is a couple more years.

          • Kyle

            This is one of those situations where the minor league rankings become absurd. Teams are penalized for having the only success in the minor leagues that matters: successful conversion of minor league talent to MLB production.

            Michael Wacha’s the same age as Kris Bryant. Michael Wacha starred in the NLCS, Kris Bryant starred in the AZL.

            And because of that and a few similar cases, the Cubs’ farm system is better than the Cardinals. Congratulations.

            • brainiac

              well we gotta hold on to something. most of my comments are about PR and logistical practices, which i see not as amateurish but sabotaged by externals that endemic to baseball operations. but i do think they’ve done a great job building stock for the future. will they be able to successfully transition these prospects to major league success with so much purposefully engineered instability, and a lack of investment in a stable major league squad for them to join? i’m very, very doubtful.

              this could change quickly with a few choice signings that they probably wont make due to choice or lack of options.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              And that absurdity (I don’t think it’s gotten that bad, but I see what you mean) is likely why Baseball America added a Talent Under 25 section to the team pages in the Handbook this year, and why other organizations like BP are taking a look at young talent at all levels in addition to just ranking the minors.

              And, to be fair, Bryant also starred in the FSL which is quite a bit higher up than the Arizona Rookie League.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                It might be more useful to rank the “prospects” including the ones who have graduated to the MLB based on their actual talent ranking X control years. Otherwise, this ranking is looking in a vacuum without the needed context of value.

                I think Kyle’s point is unecessarily pessemistic. Of course the Cardinals minors rankings go down when they graduate prospects. They are getting credit for having a great MLB team partly due to those players. I don’t see why they should be double counted if we are just talking minor league systems.

                • ssckelley

                  But because the Cardinals have the 6th ranked farm system they have a good chance at being at the top of a list like this for a long time, as well as teams like the Pirates, Royals, along with the Cubs.

                  The #3 ranked team on this list, the Braves, are the most likely to fall considerably in a couple of years since they have a number of 24+ year olds (half) and a farm system ranked 24th.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    “but because the Cardinals have the 6th ranked farm system they have a good chance at being at the top of a list like this for a long time”

                    Yeah, the Cardinals have built quite an advantage in this area as they don’t need to keep graduating prospects to fill a MLB need. They can keep stashing/building the minors this year and possibly more (barring a St Louis God’s wrath plague)

                • Kyle

                  “I don’t see why they should be double counted if we are just talking minor league systems.”

                  I don’t see why we should be just talking minor league systems.

                  • Eternal Pessimist

                    I was responding to your comment:

                    “This is one of those situations where the minor league rankings become absurd. Teams are penalized for having the only success in the minor leagues that matters: successful conversion of minor league talent to MLB production.”

                    I think most people have observed and acknowledged the success they Cards have had converting their minor prospects to MLB performance. My point is that when we are comparing snapshot quality of minor league systems we should not throw in the Cardinals recent conversions to overstate current minor system strength.

                    The 25 and under thing is a somewhat useful thing for describing recent minor-major building success I guess.

              • Kyle

                Derp, I meant AFL.

    • ssckelley

      Is this a premium article or can you link us to it? I do not understand why the Cubs are ranked so high as a farm system but only ranked 10th in an under 25 ranking.

      • Kyle

        Well, the obvious answer is that we don’t have a ton of MLB talent 25-and-under:

        http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22944

        The Cardinals, for example, have Miller, Wacha, Martinez, Rosenthal, Adams and Kelly. The Cubs have Castro, Rizzo and Lake.

        Here’s the opening of their blurb on the Cardinals”
        “Summary: The Cardinals possess a perfect collection of talent. Their farm system ranks as one of the best in the game, teeming with both depth and impact ceilings, and the major-league roster is filled with young players making an impression on both sides of the ball.”

        • Head and Heart

          So the difference from the Cubs have the farm system but not nearly as many in the majors making an impact and especially on the pitching side.

          • ssckelley

            Exactly, and without knowing exactly how they rank these teams I am sure they place more value on teams that have players 25 and under performing at the MLB level. The scary part of that list is both the Cardinals and Pirates being in the top 5 and having high ranking farm systems to go with it. Next year at this time the NL Central could have 3 teams in the top 5 if the Cubs joined them.

        • ssckelley

          I get why they have the Cardinals #1 and the Pirates ranked highly, but with the Cubs having Castro and Rizzo on the MLB roster I wondered why they were so low. I cannot argue against any of the teams they have ranked higher than the Cubs but I see the Cubs can easily move up this list as some of those teams rankings do not appear to be sustainable.

          Thanks for sharing the link.

      • Norm

        It’s the same as a Farm System ranking, but extending the eligibility of the players to under age 25 instead of cutting off at “prospect”. It’s more important than simply a “Farm Ranking”.

    • Jason P

      Cubs at 10 isn’t too bad considering they were probably bottom half last year and bottom 5 the year before that.

      • Kyle

        I find it pretty unlikely they were bottom-5 in 2012.

        • Jason P

          The farm system was below average, and Castro and Wood were about it on the big league side. At least bottom 7 or 8 if not bottom 5.

        • ssckelley

          You don’t think so? Just guessing here but I assume the top 10 include a few of these names:

          Vitters, B Jackson, Watkins, Ha, Szczur, Colvin, Coleman, Castillo, Cashner, LeMahieu, Castro, Lake, McNutt, Campana, and Russell. Baez and Vogelbach could be on this list since they were both drafted that year.

          • Kyle

            A 22-year-old Starlin Castro by himself gets you out of the bottom-5.

            • Norm

              I don’t know….Angels are bottom 5 despite Mike Trout.

            • Jason P

              To be fair, the Angels farm system is currently a lot worse than the Cubs was pre-2012. But then again, Mike Trout’s a whole lot better than Starlin Castro was.

  • chifords2000

    Scintillating praise, made me feel a little uncomfortable! ;-)

  • jp3

    I guess the biggest takeaway I have from that is the Villinueva hit the gym in the offseason which is great news. If he continues to develop his power numbers we’re going to have a high class problem at 3B in the next year. I mean I also took away from his tweets that Javier is good at baseball…duh

  • Ballgame17

    Great stuff from Parks. Always re-assuring hearing an un-biased opinion raving about our prospects as much as we do on here. Bryant HR vs Angels was an absolute bomb to CF on like the 12th pitch or something. Great AB!the prospects have a ways to go, but this is the point where these guys are knocking on the door. It could get to a point where FO has no choice, but to promote Baez/Bryant and hopefully Alcantara.

  • Jorbert Solmora

    Parks also likes Villanueva over a healthy Olt FWIW.

    • ssckelley

      I would to, Olt is simply a lottery ticket. If he can prove that his issues are behind him the Cubs will have one hell of a trade commodity with either CV or Olt. If CV can keep hitting for power at AAA the Cubs will have some interesting decisions to make. Having surplus at 3rd base is a huge asset, look around the NL there are not many good defensive 3rd baseman around that hit for power.

  • Seth

    MR Parks retweeted me yesterday and I’m still in awe about it. He definitely is a must follow on twitter though.

  • Jon

    Almora and Bryant coming up in the next grouping. I’m no longer wearing pants.

    It’s funny how Carlos Martinez can take some much heat over favoring porn links on twitter, but comments like this from a professional media type are laughed at and supported? Seems a bit of a double standard no? Maybe when Parks grows up can find a sentence more apropos to the situation.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Well there you have it no matter what is said or done Jon will find something tonvplain about and then connect dots that never existed .

    • jp3

      I thought it was funny and he’s got a sense of humor. He didn’t peter Hammond us to sleep on someone’s talent.

      • jp3

        Peter Gammons damnit auto correct.

    • Xruben31

      It’s not like he’s saying “I want to my pants off and jump on their laps” or something. Do you enjoy arguing dumb points?

    • Jon

      nah, personally I think the “prospect porn” thing has just about run its course. Joking about masturbating one’s self to the performance of minor league players is only funny for so long, but that’s just me.

      • DarthHater

        You mean it was masturbation humor? Ewww. I thought it was a compliment to the comfortable seating in the new ballpark.

      • ssckelley

        Right, slamming the FO is what gets you “excited”. :D

      • JAllman

        For what it’s worth I agree with Jon and I hope he is right that this thing has just about run it’s course. Porn is probably one of the worst analogies we can use to describe excitement about the farm system. Porn is not the real thing, it’s an illusion. It is airbrushed and looks much better than it actually is. It gets guys all excited but ultimately it doesn’t satisfy. Oh it also helps to destroy relationships and leads to decreased appreciation for the real thing. In baseball terms porn is a high ceiling bust.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        “Joking about masturbating one’s self to the performance of minor league players is only funny for so long, but that’s just me.”

        Plus, if you do it too long you might turn into Mike Olt…too much?

  • jp3

    I feel like JP’s last tweet about listening to Baez’s swing was like the Dude Lebowski listening to someone bowling a perfect 300 on his Walkman while napping. That made that funnier to me

    • Jon

      now, “Big Lebowski” references are 100% appropriate every time, all the time.

      • DarthHater

        You’re out of your element, Jonnie.

    • Darth Ivy

      what was he listening to while taking the bath when the kidnappers broke in with the ferret and threatened to cut off his johnson?

      • jp3

        I can’t remember, before Dude gets his lights punched out on the carpet he was listening to bowling. Side note, I named my dog Dude for that movie.

      • Edwin

        Wasn’t it whales?

  • SenorGato

    I enjoy Parks’ liking the Cubs’ farm system, it feels good for a major source of prospect talk to like the system. OTOH, I am a hater of his Twitter nonsense. It’s very hip and modern and the kids probably love it, but I for one am a curmudgeon and find it extremely corny (and I usually like corny). Every time I read one of his posts I find myself sitting there for a few seconds thinking this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO8VrhykAlQ

    I do enjoy the praise for Villanueva (and obviously Baez), a prospect I just like despite him not being what can be considered an impact guy. Plays good defense, has a professional makeup, he moves well, he’s got good baseball instincts, he might have some defensive versatility, he’s got a little power, he’s got a little patience.

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Jake Smith (SEMO): Would you throw the generational talent label on Byron Buxton a la Griffey, Pujols, Trout?

    Jason Parks on the Completed Prospect Rankings: He’s pretty special, man. No doubt. But of all the players in the minors, I’d throw a generational label on Baez over Buxton. It comes with more risk and Buxton is a no-doubt up-the-middle player at the next level and a future all-star, but Baez has the generational ceiling.

    Wow.

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