Future Forty 2.5
Okay, so, the Future Forty update is going to go here shortly, once I can figure out how to upload the file in the new WordPress. But, I wanted to be able to publish this post so that you guys could start getting your questions in the comment boxes, and I’ll get to them in a little bit.
So, with the minor league seasons kicking off last night, Iâ€™ve updated the Future Forty and once again changed the format around a little bit. It still looks like the last version with players being grouped by projected roles rather than being ranked numerically, but Iâ€™ve made a few changes that I think are for the better.
1. Gone are the 1-10 rankings for risk/reward. Honestly, I wasnâ€™t really using the bottom half of that scale anyway, as everyone on the list was basically somewhere between a 5 and a 10 in almost every scenario. So, since I was using a 5 point scale, I simply reduced it to 1-5 to allow the numbers to represent something – in this case, projected wins above replacement for a player in his prime. So, instead of Jeff Clement now being a â€œ7 rewardâ€, which has some nebulous definition, heâ€™s now a â€œ3 win rewardâ€ player, which tells you that I think heâ€™ll approximately a +3 win player if he fulfills his potential.
The present column displays what I believe the playerâ€™s win value would be if they played in the majors in 2008, relative to replacement level. This should help give an idea of who is capable of contributing to the major league club in some form. The risk ratings are also now scaled 1 to 5, but still represent relative risk for each prospect. A risk factor of 5 is significantly less likely to live up to his projection than a risk factor of 1.
2. Iâ€™ve created a new group called â€œInternational Prospects – Guys Who Signed for $ And I Know Nothing Else Aboutâ€. Every summer, the Mâ€™s spend millions of dollars on teenagers from other countries, and the clubâ€™s best prospects often come out of that group a year or two later. Iâ€™ve never felt comfortable talking about these guys, simply because I donâ€™t know anything more about them than you do, but itâ€™s also always felt weird to omit them while including replacement level guys like Cesar Jimenez. So, I just gave them their own category, giving you names to follow as potential prospects to watch, without trying to offer any insight on their abilities without the necessary information.
3. And finally, Iâ€™ve tossed everyone (except Brandon Morrow, who I’m making an exception for) off the list that has more than one full season in the major leagues. Yes, Felix is still part of our future, but you donâ€™t learn anything from seeing him at the top of this list, and he just takes up a spot that could go to someone you may not know about. Guys like Lowe, Rowland-Smith, and Oâ€™Flaherty will stay on for 2008, but they wonâ€™t be back next year.
And now, for the player comments.
With Tillman, Butler, and Mickolio now in Baltimore, the pitching side of the system is really, really weak. Juan Ramirez and Phillipe Aumont are both high ceiling, high velocity right handers, but both begin 2008 in Wisconsin and are at least 2-3 years from Seattle, and probably 3-4 years before they’re helping this team win anything. After those two, though, it’s a cornucopia of guys who might be a #5 starter if everything breaks right. The team is stocked up on lefties who throw 86-90 and don’t have a true outpitch, but when those guys are your best hope for arms from the farm in the next two years, it’s not a good thing.
On the other hand, though, the team has a pretty good stock of position players. Everyone knows about Clement, Balentien, and Triunfel, but there’s a crop of pretty interesting guys behind then as well. From Gregory Halman (personal favorite, Alfonso Soriano clone) to Michael Saunders (others like him more than I do, but he’s got some skills) and Danny Carroll, there’s some real outfield depth in the organization, which could come in handy in the next year or two. The infield doesn’t have quite as much talent after Triunfel, but there are a few guys who could turn into useful parts, and with Tui, Chen, and Mangini at the upper levels, it might not take more than a year or two to see some returns from that group.
Overall, the farm system is in decent shape, but certainly took a hit from the Bedard trade. If the international guys (DeJesus and Noriega especially) pan out, that will give the team even more depth in future position players, though the team probably won’t be able to get much pitching help from the minors for several years.