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Thread: Buxton vs Sano aka Potential vs Advancement

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    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Buxton vs Sano aka Potential vs Advancement

    This was brought up in the recent thread about the BP Twins top 10 list, but I want to talk about it a little more generally, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    It is not uncommon to see a recent high draft choice be at the top of an organization's prospect ranking list. It's not crazy to do so. After all, they have made a significant investment in that player and their scouts (and likely scouts of other teams) are in love with him. And yet....

    Scouts are often wrong. Teams are often wrong. I don't know how many first round picks (or top 10 picks) don't make the majors at all, but I'm sure studies have been done on that. I'd be interested to see how it compares to a fairly young guy who does well (not great, but well) at AA. (AA is often viewed as the league where the biggest step up is taken for prospects.) I wouldn't be surprised if the latter has a better chance of making it to the majors or even of having a successful major league career. They might even have a better chance at being an All-star.

    If that's the case, then you could make a pretty good argument that Hicks or Rosario should be ranked higher than Buxton, and maybe higher than Sano. Or, maybe more importantly, that the organization should value them more - targeting similar players in a trade and be more willing to trade away the possible future star (or bust) who is still in the rookie league.

    Am I crazy?

  2. #2
    Senior Member All-Star 70charger's Avatar
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    You're absolutely not crazy.

    In my limited research, it seems as though roughly 10% of draftees see the majors, but it's something like 65% of first-rounders. Way more likely, but still a huge failure rate. I think the balance when ranking prospects is between ceiling and likelihood. When you're in rookie ball your likelihood is pretty low regardless of your ceiling. If you're already in AAA your likelihood is way higher, even though your ceiling may be a bench player.

    In the end, I'd be inclined to weight likelihood far more highly than "scouts" (mainly amateur rankers on the internet) have a tendency to do, especially when you're in the lowest levels of the minors. I haven't publicly published my personal rankings, but I'd have Buxton lower than Sano, Hicks, Rosario, and Arcia for the simple reason that he hasn't done a damn thing yet. If he plays as advertised through A-AA-AAA, then we'll rank him as the top prospect for sure.

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    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Part of the reason that first round picks do get to the big leagues, even if they aren't very good is because of the signing bonus. Matt Moses got six years in the minor leagues pretty much solely because of the signing bonus the TWins gave him. The Twins have like 6.25 million reasons to give Buxton every opportunity they can. The have about 1.8 million reasons to be patient with Hicks and hope his tools become skills. . They may only have 70,000 reasons to stand by Arcia, but they have 3.15 million reasons to be patient with and give every opportunity to Miguel Sano. To me, that greatly increases the "Likelihood" portion of the prospect equation.

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    Twins Contributor Big-Leaguer Cody Christie's Avatar
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    This is one of the great thing about prospect lists. Some people put more value on the players that are closer to making their big league debut and other's will look at potential as being the most important thing. Finding the balance between these two areas makes creating a prospect list that much more fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    This was brought up in the recent thread about the BP Twins top 10 list, but I want to talk about it a little more generally, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    It is not uncommon to see a recent high draft choice be at the top of an organization's prospect ranking list. It's not crazy to do so. After all, they have made a significant investment in that player and their scouts (and likely scouts of other teams) are in love with him. And yet....

    Scouts are often wrong. Teams are often wrong. I don't know how many first round picks (or top 10 picks) don't make the majors at all, but I'm sure studies have been done on that. I'd be interested to see how it compares to a fairly young guy who does well (not great, but well) at AA. (AA is often viewed as the league where the biggest step up is taken for prospects.) I wouldn't be surprised if the latter has a better chance of making it to the majors or even of having a successful major league career. They might even have a better chance at being an All-star.

    If that's the case, then you could make a pretty good argument that Hicks or Rosario should be ranked higher than Buxton, and maybe higher than Sano. Or, maybe more importantly, that the organization should value them more - targeting similar players in a trade and be more willing to trade away the possible future star (or bust) who is still in the rookie league.

    Am I crazy?
    John, I am confused about the point you are making. It seems you are saying that someone who has done well at AA should be ranked higher than someone in rookie ball. Is that your point? Yet, you state that Hicks and Rosario should be rated higher than Buxton and even Sano. Considering Rosario and Sano played at the same level (Beloit) last year, you lost me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
    Part of the reason that first round picks do get to the big leagues, even if they aren't very good is because of the signing bonus. Matt Moses got six years in the minor leagues pretty much solely because of the signing bonus the TWins gave him. The Twins have like 6.25 million reasons to give Buxton every opportunity they can. The have about 1.8 million reasons to be patient with Hicks and hope his tools become skills. . They may only have 70,000 reasons to stand by Arcia, but they have 3.15 million reasons to be patient with and give every opportunity to Miguel Sano. To me, that greatly increases the "Likelihood" portion of the prospect equation.

    Absolutely agree!!! I think this is the sole reason many *prospects* stick around as long as they do compared to another player with similar stats...and really, it probably should be that way; might as well see if there is something there since the bonus is already a sunken cost.

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    In addition to what Seth said, low prospects are sexier. We can dream on Buxton becoming another Upton or healthy Sizemore type. But players, as they get closer to ML, lose that luster. Scott Diamond, for instance, was an absolute lock to be a MLer when the Twins grabbed him in the rule V but nearly no one put him in the top 20 prospects because (and I think the fan vote at Twinkie Town had him in the 30s), by that time, he was seen as a 5th starter/long reliever.

    Hicks and Arcia have both lost that luster. Sickels thinks Hicks will be a good CFer but no longer an all-star type. Arcia is being compared to Jason Kubel and not Bobby Abreau. When the Twins drafted Parmelee, he was compared to Adam Dunn, now he's a replacement level first baseman. Of course, some guys keep that luster - reviews of Gibson have been extremely positive, Sano, still far away, hasn't done anything to quiet talk of him being the best power prospect in the minors. It's a tough juggling act.

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    This was brought up in the recent thread about the BP Twins top 10 list, but I want to talk about it a little more generally, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    It is not uncommon to see a recent high draft choice be at the top of an organization's prospect ranking list. It's not crazy to do so. After all, they have made a significant investment in that player and their scouts (and likely scouts of other teams) are in love with him. And yet....

    Scouts are often wrong. Teams are often wrong. I don't know how many first round picks (or top 10 picks) don't make the majors at all, but I'm sure studies have been done on that. I'd be interested to see how it compares to a fairly young guy who does well (not great, but well) at AA. (AA is often viewed as the league where the biggest step up is taken for prospects.) I wouldn't be surprised if the latter has a better chance of making it to the majors or even of having a successful major league career. They might even have a better chance at being an All-star.

    If that's the case, then you could make a pretty good argument that Hicks or Rosario should be ranked higher than Buxton, and maybe higher than Sano. Or, maybe more importantly, that the organization should value them more - targeting similar players in a trade and be more willing to trade away the possible future star (or bust) who is still in the rookie league.

    Am I crazy?
    Not crazy at all. I definitely believe in putting up numbers. Sano's were great enough to me to warrant being at the top, but Buxton needs a full year of similar (but different) greatness for me to consider placing him above Hicks, Arcia, and Rosario.

  9. #9
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
    In addition to what Seth said, low prospects are sexier. We can dream on Buxton becoming another Upton or healthy Sizemore type. But players, as they get closer to ML, lose that luster. Scott Diamond, for instance, was an absolute lock to be a MLer when the Twins grabbed him in the rule V but nearly no one put him in the top 20 prospects because (and I think the fan vote at Twinkie Town had him in the 30s), by that time, he was seen as a 5th starter/long reliever.

    Hicks and Arcia have both lost that luster. Sickels thinks Hicks will be a good CFer but no longer an all-star type. Arcia is being compared to Jason Kubel and not Bobby Abreau. When the Twins drafted Parmelee, he was compared to Adam Dunn, now he's a replacement level first baseman. Of course, some guys keep that luster - reviews of Gibson have been extremely positive, Sano, still far away, hasn't done anything to quiet talk of him being the best power prospect in the minors. It's a tough juggling act.
    With regard to Hicks and Arcia, how did they not improve their "luster" in 2012? Would you not take a Hunter-esque Hicks and a Kubel-esque Arcia right now? Did you see what Kubel did in 2012?

    Parmelee will be a slightly above replacement level 1B if given the chance in 2013. Down the road, if the Twins don't trade him, he is a bench bat right-side corner fill-in guy. Hopefully, if he is starting in 2015 or 2016, then the Twins have a problem.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Physics Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    This was brought up in the recent thread about the BP Twins top 10 list, but I want to talk about it a little more generally, so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    It is not uncommon to see a recent high draft choice be at the top of an organization's prospect ranking list. It's not crazy to do so. After all, they have made a significant investment in that player and their scouts (and likely scouts of other teams) are in love with him. And yet....

    Scouts are often wrong. Teams are often wrong. I don't know how many first round picks (or top 10 picks) don't make the majors at all, but I'm sure studies have been done on that. I'd be interested to see how it compares to a fairly young guy who does well (not great, but well) at AA. (AA is often viewed as the league where the biggest step up is taken for prospects.) I wouldn't be surprised if the latter has a better chance of making it to the majors or even of having a successful major league career. They might even have a better chance at being an All-star.

    If that's the case, then you could make a pretty good argument that Hicks or Rosario should be ranked higher than Buxton, and maybe higher than Sano. Or, maybe more importantly, that the organization should value them more - targeting similar players in a trade and be more willing to trade away the possible future star (or bust) who is still in the rookie league.

    Am I crazy?
    John, I am confused about the point you are making. It seems you are saying that someone who has done well at AA should be ranked higher than someone in rookie ball. Is that your point? Yet, you state that Hicks and Rosario should be rated higher than Buxton and even Sano. Considering Rosario and Sano played at the same level (Beloit) last year, you lost me.
    Roger, I suspect that John meant to say Arcia rather than Rosario. Otherwise, I see your point.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
    In addition to what Seth said, low prospects are sexier. We can dream on Buxton becoming another Upton or healthy Sizemore type. But players, as they get closer to ML, lose that luster. Scott Diamond, for instance, was an absolute lock to be a MLer when the Twins grabbed him in the rule V but nearly no one put him in the top 20 prospects because (and I think the fan vote at Twinkie Town had him in the 30s), by that time, he was seen as a 5th starter/long reliever.

    Hicks and Arcia have both lost that luster. Sickels thinks Hicks will be a good CFer but no longer an all-star type. Arcia is being compared to Jason Kubel and not Bobby Abreau. When the Twins drafted Parmelee, he was compared to Adam Dunn, now he's a replacement level first baseman. Of course, some guys keep that luster - reviews of Gibson have been extremely positive, Sano, still far away, hasn't done anything to quiet talk of him being the best power prospect in the minors. It's a tough juggling act.
    With regard to Hicks and Arcia, how did they not improve their "luster" in 2012? Would you not take a Hunter-esque Hicks and a Kubel-esque Arcia right now? Did you see what Kubel did in 2012?
    I meant since they were drafted. Hicks and Arcia both had great bounce back seasons, which will see them move up in tons of rankings. But no one thinks Hicks ceiling, for instance, will be what is was when we drafted him. That's what I was trying to get to, as prospects go up the ladder their ceilings come down but a guy like Buxton still has that incredible ceiling.

  12. #12
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    Great takes all the way around on this post. Every level in the minors is a filter that weeds out a few more guys that will never make it to the big leagues. So I agree that production (and level) should matter in these lists. I think Seth makes a great point about the high picks with signing bonuses. Between the money and the credibility they laid on the line when they picked them high, those guys probably get an extra chance or two to succeed. The hard part is you never know what level it is that finally knocks a guy out. For example, I think Joe Benson isn't going to make it. He got to a level where his plate discipline was exposed and unless he fixes it, will go no further.

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    Very good posts on this topic. I have always thought that success, even somewhat marginal success, at higher levels should be given more weight on prospect lists than it usually is. At this point in his career Buxton could not succeed at the big league level. Neither, probably could Sano. On the other hand, it is clear(baring injury) that Hicks and Arcia can or shortly will be able to perform at the big level. Just exactly how good they will be is uncertain but both are going to get real shots at being big league regulars. Buxton's tools suggest he could be a great major league player, but those tools have to be developed. Most of Hicks and Arcia's tools are at least somewhat developed or refined.

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