Last week, ESPN's Keith Law unveiled his highly anticipated top 100 prospect list and, curiously (at the time), he left newest Reds prospect Jose Peraza off the list. This was curious, you see, because just the year previous, when he was a Braves prospect, Peraza was ranked 24th on Law's list. While the prospect shine has wore off of Jose over the year, not much about his performance indicated he'd fall off the list all together.
So, what gives?
Law attempted to clear it up on his personal blog in a chat with readers shortly after the list was published. When one of our own, RedInWrigleyville, asked, "How does Jose Peraza hit 293/.316/.378 as a 21-year-old in AAA and drop from #24 in your rankings last year to off the list??" Law answered:
So this seems like a good first question because I can start by clearing up a misconception or two. First, the 2015 list is not just (2014 ranking + 2015 performance). I start from scratch each year, and if that means correcting a mistake or two (or ten) from the previous year's list, so be it. If I tried to use old lists as a basis for future ones, I'd just be perpetuating old errors. There's value in being consistent, but too much so is just stubbornness. Second, nothing about this list is purely performance-based; the rankings are based in scouting, in physical tools and baseball skills, as much as they are in performance, probably more so. As for Peraza, a second baseman with no power and a .316 OBP is not someone who belongs on a top 100. The reports from the past year were worse than the year before, and now with two years gone from shortstop, the odds of him being able to return there seem quite slim.
So, whatever. There are obvious flaws in that particular explanation, but his list is what it is: his list.
Today, Law has released his top prospects in each organization, so the most pressing question would be where Jose Peraza falls in line with his fellow Reds youngsters? With four Reds in the top 100, one would speculate at least fifth, maybe sixth.
Jose Peraza is eighth on Keith Law's Reds prospect list and has subsequently went from top 25 prospect in all of baseball to, in Law's eyes, not likely being able to stick as an everyday player in the major leagues. All in one year!
Jose Peraza took a step back in 2015, failing to show any improvement at all in his approach; he has played only 14 games at shortstop over the past two years, and there's real doubt he can return there, but with grade-35 power, he might not be an everyday player at second base. He is still a 70 runner, and not only does he not have much power, but he's not even an elite line-drive hitter, putting the ball on the ground too often for someone batting from the right side.
Not mentioned: Peraza is 21 years old and reached the big leagues last year despite "taking a step back" by posting a .293/.316/.378 triple slash in AAA, and moved from shortstop because he was blocked by Andrelton Simmons and Corey Seager along the way. It remains to be seen whether the Reds will attempt to move him back (with how badly the Reds tried to trade BP this off season, it seems that Peraza is the 2B of the future).
This is the lowest I've seen Peraza ranked on any Reds prospect sheet and it borders on a contrarian view of Peraza's skills. Skills, I'll add for the eleventith billion time, that remain unchanged from 2015. Both Nick Travieso and Alex Blandino are ranked ahead of the former Dodger prospect (which, at #6, is a particularly bullish ranking for Nasty Nick).
Law's top 10 is below; you'll need ESPN Insider to unlock access to the full analysis along with notes all the way down to 20. It's interesting for sure... even though he's totally wrong on Jose Peraza, in my totally (amateur) opinion.