Prospect List Season: What in the *%&$ is going on?

'Tis the season for prospect lists to be released, and the last couple weeks have seen a flood of them.  Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, John Sickels, and you fine folks here at RR have all compiled and released top prospect lists.  I have been following the Reds farm system fairly closely for a few years now, and I've never seen lists that are in such disagreement as they are this year.  Typically, lists will disagree after the top 5 or 10 prospects as players become less of a sure thing and at which point projection and, frankly, blind guessing comes more into play.

But for this year's Reds system, after (near) consensus top pick Aroldis Chapman, there is considerable disparity.   I'm not sure what this says about the Reds system, but it is definitely interesting.  As a prelude to BK's RRCPR wrap up post (sponsored by Vanity Fair) tomorrow, below the jump you will find a few of the most prominent rankings as well as a bit of discussion on some of the biggest surprises.  Please feel free to use the comments to discuss where you think these guys got it wrong.

John Sickels


1. Aroldis Chapman
2. Devin Mesoraco
3. Yonder Alonso
4. Billy Hamilton
5. Yasmani Grandal
6. Juan Francisco
7. Todd Frazier
8. Donnie Joseph
9. Kyle Lotzkar
10. Yorman Rodriguez
11. Zack Cozart
12. Brad Boxberger
13. Dave Sappelt
14. Ismael Guillon
15. Henry Rodriguez
16. Junior Arias
17. Ryan LaMarre
18. Jonathan Correa
19. Ronald Torreyes
20. Sam LeCure

Baseball America

1. Aroldis Chapman
2. Billy Hamilton
3. Devin Mesoraco
4. Yonder Alonso
5. Yorman Rodriguez
6. Yasmani Grandal
7. Juan Francisco
8. Zack Cozart
9. Todd Frazier
10. Kyle Lotzkar
11. Ryan LaMarre
12. Drew Cisco
13. Donnie Joseph
14. Chris Valaika
15. Daniel Corcino
16. Ismael Guillon
17. Junior Arias
18. Brad Boxberger
19. DiDi Gregorius
20. Dave Sappelt

Baseball Prospectus

1. Aroldis Chapman
2. Devin Mesoraco
3. Billy Hamilton
4. Yasmani Grandal
5.Yorman Rodriguez
6.Yonder Alonso
7. Zack Cozart
8. Juan Francisco
9. Kyle Lotzkar
10. Ismael Guillon
11. Junior Arias
12. Donnie Joseph
13.Ryan LaMarre
14. Brad Boxberger
15. Todd Frazier
16. Chris Valaika
17. DiDi Gregorius
18. Drew Cisco
19. Ronald Torreyes
20. Kyle Waldrop

There is a lot of disparity here.  Alonso and Frazier are the two notables from the top 10 who draw a lot of disagreement, but besides them the top players are fairly set.  Beyond the top 10, though, it's a crapshoot.  Drew Cisco cracks #12 on one list and is completely left off another.  Same thing with Dave Sappelt, who makes #13 on one and is left off of another.  Ryan LaMarre ranges from 11 to 17.  Daniel Corcino is #15 on one and doesn't make the other two.  The list goes on.  All told, 25 different players make an appearance on at least one list. 

I'm honestly not sure what to make of the mayhem at the bottom of the lists.  On the one hand, it's really good that there are so many players that are considered worthy of consideration.  On the other, there are very few guys on these lists without serious question marks.  Driving that point home is ProjectProspect.com's Top 100 list, released today.  They don't have a Reds only list, but based on the Reds rankings within the list, they would place the top 4 as:
1. Alonso
2. Chapman
3. Mesoraco
4. Grandal

 Hamilton doesn't even make the top 100 and they list Chapman at 23 and Mesoraco at 24, indicating they are virtually identical in value as prospects.  I can't get my head around Alonso being a better prospect than Chapman, but whatevs. 

The point is, this is a really unique system, which is probably why there has been so much spirited debate over it during the last month.  BK, during one of our clandestine conversations about this, pointed out that this system has every type of prospect you could want.  Young pitchers with ace upside?  Check.  Teenage tool sheds who are all projection? Check.  High floor/lower ceiling guys who are close to the majors? Check.  The only thing we are missing is the sure-fire, hyped 1st round pick, SP stud prospect.  We had Homer, and Leake sort of qualified, but we are missing that "sure fire" top end starter.

Still, I am more excited about this minor league season than any I can remember.  There are going to be so many fun players to follow and with all the young talent, I can't help but feeling that a breakout season or two is inevitable.

So what do you think?  Who is being overvalued? Under?  Which list most closely resembles what you think?

(Tomorrow BK will post your final 25 along with his and my personal lists)

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