Instead of the usual Minor League Report this week, we bring you the 1st ever WSD Prospect Power Rankings. Note that this is not the same as the Top Prospects List, and is not based on projections for a player’s future, but on how they have actually been producing this year, with higher levels of the minors holding higher consideration. However, this is strictly limited to those who would qualify for the Top Prospects List, rather than old minor league journeymen or players who simply don’t have the potential to start everyday in the MLB.
The Prospect Power Rankings will replace the Minor League Report about once per month, and will normally hold consideration for hot streaks during that time span between two rankings; however, the first edition will focus on the season to date.
A simple formula is used to compute these rankings. As short-season and rookie ball has only recently begun, and Jorge Soler and Albert Almora have yet to play, only players in full-season ball were considered. It is intended that the Prospect Power Rankings include ten players, but the first edition will include just five for the reasons stated.
The formula used is very much a work in progress, with this beta version simply including OPS and a set value for a player’s level in the system (e.g. 60 points for AAA, 10 points for Rookie Ball).
Number 5 – Shortstop – Junior Lake – Score of 816
Junior Lake has been the biggest prospect in Tennessee this season, and while not as big of a name that one may find in Iowa, Daytona, Peoria, or even Boise, Lake has the potential to be a major league second baseman. Lake has made twenty errors at shortstop this season, but has posted a .289/.343/.422 line so far.
Number 4 – Center Fielder – Matthew Szczur – Score of 840
Matthew Szczur came into the season as a Top 100 Prospect, one of four Cubs on Baseball America’s list, but struggled early on. However, Szczur rebounded despite a trip to the DL to save his season and he now has a .290/.388/.412 slash line, without having made an error all season.
Number 3 – Center Fielder – Brett Jackson – Score of 892
Brett Jackson came into the season as the Cubs top prospect, but quickly fell behind Anthony Rizzo for that distinction. However, with Rizzo in the majors, Jackson has reclaimed his title despite having well over 100 strikeouts only halfway through the season. In spite of his strikeout totals, Jackson has somehow managed to still produce at a high level, with a .259/.337/.495, good for a .832 OPS.
Number 2 – Shortstop – Javier Baez – Score of 907
Despite being in a low-A ball, Baez managed to find his way to number two in this top-biased formula. Baez has posted a solid .299/.382/.495 line in the Midwest League.
Number 1 – Third Baseman – Josh Vitters – Score of 911
Narrowly beating out Javier Baez, Josh Vitters clearly isn’t the Cubs top prospect. However, he has re-emerged as a legitimate prospect that could start at third base for many years in Chicago, perhaps as early as 2013. Always underrated and overlooked because of how long he has been in the system (drafted third overall in 2007), Vitters is still significantly below the average age of a AAA player, still just 22, but his stats speak for themselves with a .298/.350/.510 line.