Tuesday, February 23, 2010
BA’s Top 100 Prospects: Something’s wrongPosted by Pat Andriola
Baseball America released their newest Top 100 Prospects list today, and of course I'm now here to complain.
BA ranked OF Fernando Martinez 77th overall, a forty-seven rank drop from last season. Why? Let's take a look at Martinez's 2009 season:
Triple-A (190 Plate Appearances): .290/.337/.540, .316 BABIP
MLB (100 Plate Appearances): .176/.242/.275, .197 BABIP
So he raked in Triple-A and stunk in the majors, although his BABIP is partly to blame. Guess what? He's 20 years old! How can you drop forty-seven slots when you put up those numbers in the highest level of minor league ball as a twenty year old? I guess the only answer is that there are some other awesome prospects that overtook him. Let's take a look:
3B Josh Vitters was ranked 70th overall, seven slots ahead of F-Mart. A year younger than Martinez, here was Vitters' 2009 season in which he was nineteen years old:
Single-A (288 Plate Appearances): .316/.351/.535, .326 BABIP
High-A (196 Plate Appearances): .238/.260/.344, .256 BABIP
When you consider not only that Martinez can play all three outfield positions, whereas Vitters is a third baseman, it makes this situation all the more absurd. In his age-nineteen season, Martinez hit .287/.340/.432...in Double-A! I mean, this is really funny. In their recently released top prospect list, Project Prospect ranked F-Mart tenth overall, whereas Vitters didn't even crack the top 100.
OF Austin Jackson was ranked one spot ahead of Martinez. Here was Jackson's 2009 season, in which he was twenty-two years old, two years older than F-Mart:
Triple-A: .300/.354/.405, .384 BABIP
Seriously...that's it? Talk about going gaga for tools and batting average. Jackson, who was dealt by the Yankees to the Tigers in the Curtis Granderson deal, had an OPS .121 lower than Martinez last year, at the same minor league level, playing the same position, all while being two years older. Here's Jackson's age twenty-one season:
Double-A: .285/.354/.419, .346 BABIP
That's almost the exact same OPS as F-Mart's in Double-A, only that Jackson was two years older than Martinez at the time he was playing.
There are some other seriously questionable guys ranked higher than Martinez, including Brett Lawrie (#59) and Jiovanni Mier (#73). However, this one takes the cake:
OF Jared Mitchell was ranked 55th overall. Mitchell is three days older than Fernando Martinez, and mustered an OPS .025 points lower than Martinez playing in A-Ball! I mean, that is so laughable as to be silly. You have a guy older than Martinez performing about equally at a much lower level in the minors, whereas Martinez is at the highest level, and you call the guy twenty-five spots better than F-Mart.
Update: Sam Page of Amazin Avenue pointed out in the comments section here and at AA that the drop is because of F-Mart's injuries. However, AA's own prospect guy Mark Himmelstein responded well:
Dropping him because he can’t stay healthy, which seems a little silly, being that none of his injuries have been related, and the most serious one was a few years ago now when he broke his hamate bone. If anything, that should have earned him at least a season of good grace to get his power back, even forgetting he was in a level way to advanced for him at the time. And of course, now that he finally showed he got his power back by crushing Triple-A pitching for two months, now its time to start writing him off and dropping him spots.
I also noted that Martinez's Triple-A and Caribbean Series manager, Ken Oberkfell, said this:
"He's been doing well after he struggled early in the year," said Dominican Republic manager Ken Oberkfell, who also serves as Martinez's manager in Buffalo. "He had some nagging injuries, but he's in better shape. He really had a great Dominican championship. He's been swinging the bat well, and he's ready for Spring Training."
Martinez won the MVP of the Caribbean Series.