Ranking The Prospects: How We Do It

It's time again to count down our list of the Top 50 Prospects. We thought we would give you a little glimpse behind the scenes of how we put together our list. Plus, give you the guidelines for just who qualifies as a prospect.

Who qualifies?

Generally, any player in the Phillies organization. Once our list is compiled, we don't delete players who may be involved in trades or other transactions. In other words, if a player shows up on our list and is traded before we've even profiled him, we still keep him on our list.

Who doesn't qualify?

Generally, we will consider any player in the Phillies organization, who would be considered a rookie by Major League Baseball standards. To be a rookie, a player must meet the following circumstances:

  • He can not have more than 130 at bats or more than 50 innings pitched in any major league season or seasons.
  • He can not have been on the 25 man roster for more than 45 days (excluding any time on the DL) and excluding any time when the rosters are expanded to 40 players.

How do we determine who goes where?

That's the hard part. Prospects are more than just stats. A good example is Kyle Drabek. He was the Phillies' first round pick last June and had a horrible first pro season. The guy is still a prospect though and will show up pretty high on the rankings. Yes, his bad season hurt his ranking and dropped him lower than where we might have thought he would be coming into 2006, but he's on the list.

We also consider injuries. A player that is coming off a major injury, like Zack Segovia was in 2006, is cut some slack. In all honesty, the only goal for Segovia in 2005 was to stay healthy and compete. He did both of those things and made a jump up the rankings. He showed that our ranking of him was justified when he put up big numbers in 2006. Will he move even further up the rankings? Well, you'll just have to wait and see. Just know that injuries are a part of the game and we take them into consideration when cutting a player some slack, but repeated injuries certainly hurt a player's ranking. That theory will also be reflected when you see where Scott Mathieson is ranked. His season-ending injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery hurt his ranking, but didn't send him tumbling.

Personality also counts for something. Since we talk to a lot of people to compile our list - many of whom have been in baseball for many years and know the players on a personal level - we can get a good grip of a player's personality. A guy who is hard working may get the edge over a guy with more raw talent if the two put up similar numbers. Basically, the reasoning is that the less talented player will make the most of his talents, while the other player could find himself floundering and being a disappointment.

In other words, there are a lot of things that go into rating a player. Throwing 98 miles per hour is only great if the hitters aren't hitting it. The real fun part is when we try to gauge how a player's talents and attributes will contribute to his career in the majors (if he has one). In all honesty, it's mainly guess work on that part, but at least it's an educated guess. We also talk to many scouts around baseball and get their input. Obviously, we put a lot of stock into their opinions.

Finally, who determines the rankings?

Everyone on the PBN staff was invited to give their input into players - especially the ones that they've seen play on a regular basis - and from there, we compiled all of the notes, mixed them with the stats and looked at the player from every conceivable angle to come up with where they fit in. We also look back on notes from coaches, scouts and the players themselves and talk to some of those same folks again to get their impressions on players. Sometimes, we even play the old, "who's better, player A or player B". From there, we sort of put them all in a sifter and sort out exactly where they will fall in the rankings.

The bottom line is that these rankings ain't perfect, but we think they're pretty close and they were given a lot of thought and input. Looking back on the 2005 list, I remember a discussion about who was number one and who was number two. I argued that Gavin Floyd should be number one. My associate, Jay Zenz wanted Ryan Howard. I won the battle, but he won the war. With that in mind, when Jay and I had our annual "discussion" in 2006, I let him win, and Giovany Gonzalez came out as number one over Cole Hamels.

Enjoy the rankings and enjoy debating them, because we enjoyed putting them together and debating them amongst ourselves.

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