I currently play in one long-term fantasy baseball keeper league, so it is in my best interest in this league to keep current on all the information I can find about top prospects.
Prospects are a bit hard to gauge, for a number of reasons:
– You are trying to project what a player will do in future, against better competition, based on either what you see, or what he does against inferior competition.
– Scouting plays a large portion of determining what can be done with a player. A player that is 25 isn’t going to have as much potential to grow from their current level as a player who is 19.
– Rankings for players can be subjective (I personally like to look if a team has been good historically at developing prospects of certain positions.
– Players still have a mental aspect to them. Why do certain players thrive in the spotlight (like a Derek Jeter), when others melt under its pressure? Why do certain players work harder than others?
Remember, the draft is no guarantee of talent. The best player in the game, Albert Pujols, was drafted in the 13th round. There have also been two different players who were taken #1 overall, who never played a day in the major leagues (Brien Taylor (NYY), Matt Bush (SD)). So while the draft will help to show some of the higher end talent, that doesn’t mean that there still won’t be players from the lower rounds that will play their way into the Majors.
Statistical analysis has gotten better at quantifying which players are likely to do well in the majors, and which players are likely to improve. But some of it is still a bit of guess work. That said, these guys are considered by many to be excellent sources for prospect information.