This is my first stab at a top 100 prospects list for Major League Baseball at ESPN after doing this a few times at FanGraphs. The idea is to combine various advanced metrics, industry sources (mostly scouts and executives) and my own eyeballs to rank players, essentially based on their trade value.
I would normally say “based on how good of a player I think they’ll be,” but it’s always more complicated than that. There are plenty of players at the lowest levels of the minors in whom I have a lot of faith, but the risk created by their not yet facing upper-level competition and their being years behind other prospects in terms of when they’ll reach the big leagues can really hurt their value, independent of how good they are.
With that said, a word or two about the process:
• You might read some reports and wonder what you’re missing when I describe a player in Triple-A whom I project to be a solid regular but not much more, but teams really value those six to seven years of team control (i.e., before free agency) that a ready-made, everyday player offers. It’s a tough balancing act considering these factors, so trade value is the easiest shorthand to sum up that combination.