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This is always painful, but it’s also necessary.  What follows is a look back at my preseason prospect rankings — a self audit, if you will.  To be clear, this isn’t a re-ranking or anything, but it should suffice to remind all of you that I am mostly stupid.  Please keep in mind that these guys are very early in their careers, and there is plenty of time for each to either figure it out, or get figured out.  Anyway, let’s cut to it.  Here’s the list as it appeared back in February:

1.  Shelby Miller, RHP, STL
2.  Oscar Taveras, OF, STL
3.  Wil Myers, OF, TB
4.  Tyler Skaggs, LHP, ARI
5.  Julio Teheran, RHP, ATL
6.  Bruce Rondon, RHP, DET
7.  Trevor Bauer, RHP, CLE
8.  Wily Peralta, RHP, MIL
9.  Hyun-Jin Ryu, RHP, LAD
10.  Travis d’Arnaud, C, NYM
11.  Adam Eaton, OF, ARI
12.  Dan Straily, RHP, OAK
13.  Leonys Martin, OF, TEX
14.  Mike Olt, 3B/1B, TEX
15.  Jurickson Profar, SS, TEX
16.  Zack Wheeler, RHP, NYM
17.  Dylan Bundy, RHP, BAL
18.  Martin Perez, RHP, TEX
19.  Rob Brantly, C, MIA
20.  Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, STL
21.  Jedd Gyorko, 2B, SD
22.  Gerrit Cole, RHP, PIT
23.  Hunter Morris, 1B, MIL
24.  Oswaldo Arcia, OF, MIN
25.  Jake Marisnick, OF, MIA

THE GOOD

  • It’s far easier to gauge opportunity than potential impact, so just because some of these prospects may have surfaced in the bigs doesn’t entitle me to any bonus points.  This list was intended to identify fantasy value, so unless he offered legitimate mixed league relevance at some point this season, I can’t justify listing him on the good side of things.
  • His performance has waned in recent months, but I’m still happy with Shelby Miller at #1.  He’s the 3rd highest valued rookie according to our to-date player rater.
  • Wil Myers was an easy top-3 choice, even with the knowledge that he wouldn’t be called up until June.  Since his arrival, he’s hit .280/.343/.441 with 9 HR and 5 SB.
  • I believed the reports that suggested Teheran’s poor Triple-A season in 2012 was due to mechanical tweaks, and that said tweaks would make him a better pitcher for the future.  Thanks, reports!
  • Ryu isn’t your typical rookie, but his circumstances allowed for prospect status.  Considering his experience, I probably should’ve listed him higher than #9, but I try to be cautious with the Asian imports.
  • With 30 stolen bags, it’s difficult to deny Leonys Martin’s fantasy value.
  • Zack Wheeler, Martin Perez, Trevor Rosenthal, Jedd Gyorko, Gerrit Cole, and Oswaldo Arcia have offered value appropriate to the range in which I ranked them.  I’m pleased with having slotted each in the top 25.

THE BAD

  • Taveras at #2 is a classic case of me assuming that talent would supersede opportunity.  It didn’t work out that way.  It also didn’t help that an ankle injury kept him off the field for most of the season.  Still, the 21-years-old, is an easy #1 on this list next spring, provided the Cardinals don’t retain Carlos Beltran.
  • Based on MLB success down the stretch last season, I put some faith in Tyler Skaggs.  Sorry about that.
  • Back in February, Bruce Rondon was the odds-on favorite to claim the closer gig in Detroit, so I’m not especially disappointed with ranking him at #6.  Looking back, though, #6 is pretty lofty for a relief pitcher who’s only earned 1 save in 29 games.
  • My, how Trevor Bauer has fallen from grace over the past year.  One cannot walk 5+ batters-per-nine at Triple-A and expect to be an effective big leaguer.
  • At the time I ranked these guys, Hunter Morris seemed to have a great shot at claiming the 1B job in Milwaukee.  The Brewers didn’t think he was ready, however, and they never really gave him a serious look — a good move in retrospect, as Morris has batted just .247 at Triple-A.

THE HORRENDOUS OMISSIONS

  • Let me begin this section by saying I’ve never been shy about my love for Jose Fernandez.  That love dates back to early last season when I began highlighting him in my weekly MiLB reports.  I also want to make it clear that in a podcast segment from August of 2012, I told Nick and Rudy that I thought Fernandez would arrive this season… I just didn’t think he’d arrive in April.
  • Blocked by an outfield loaded with big contracts, I didn’t see a clear path for Yasiel Puig to join the Dodgers this season.  Also, when I put these rankings together  — prior to when he started mashing in big league camp at Dodgers spring training — there wasn’t a ton of intel on Puig, and I fully admit that I underestimated his skill set and readiness.
  • While their time spent in the majors has been brief, it’s tough to ignore the impact that both Danny Salazar and Sonny Gray have had on the fantasy game.
  • To be fair to myself, I actually ranked the top 50 fantasy prospects (26-50 are here), but we’re only discussing the top 25 right now.  A few valuable names appeared in the second half, including Chris Archer (#31), and Tony Cingrani (#32).
  • I also want to give a nod to Nick Franklin, who’s truly surprised me with his production this season.
  1. Frank Kim says:
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    You did a great job!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Frank Kim: Thanks, Frank!

  2. Carnac says:
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    Yes, great stuff this season, Scott. Thank you.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Carnac: Thanks for reading!

  3. Scott:

    Hell of a job all year. A must read for me every week. Like that you posted all of it – hits / misses. I whiffed badly on Taveras as well, he may have been on/off my team no less than 6x this year. Yeahhhh

    Ask Grey for a raise! well deserved…

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @EL BURRO: Haha Thanks, El-B! I’m anxious to see how the Cards approach Beltran this off-season… obviously hoping to see Taveras up ASAP, so let him walk, plz!

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: beltran isn’t blocking taveras so much as jay, which makes no sense unless oscar isn’t a good center fielder.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @goodfold2: He doesn’t profile well in center… good enough to get by, but they’d be sacrificing a lot defensively.

  4. chris j. says:
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    Scott,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your research this season.
    I remember reading recently that Bauer also has been “tweaking” his delivery all season, similar to Teheran (although I believe Bauer’s is by his own accord). You have any belief he turns it around next year? Or, will his (peculiar) mind continue to be his own worst enemy?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @chris j.: Thanks, Chris!

      I think Bauer will figure it out. He’s had a rough year, and he’s taken a lot of heat for the way he approaches instruction, but he’s way too talented to fail to put it all together as he matures. It might not be next year, but I’m confident he’ll make for a great MLB pitcher in the foreseeable future.

  5. Prezi says:
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    Honestly, you didnt do THAT bad.. ive seen alot worst over the years! Haha There is no way to predict injuries and thats wat got puig up and oscar kept down. I wouldnt beat myself up, you werent far off.. trying to predict the unpredictable is not an easy task..

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Prezi: Thanks, Prez! It’s more fun to make fun of myself than to pat myself on the back… but you’re right — this year was much better than last year.

  6. Dkohn says:
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    Scott you’re my boy.

    If there’s anyone who loves rookie nookie as much as you and Grey it’s me. I always looked forward to reading your posts. Great stuff!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Dkohn: thanks, dkohn!

  7. Sh!t W!zard says:
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    Thanks for the excellent column this season. I know he hasn’t been up that long, but what’s your impression of Christian Yelich? He wasn’t in your top 25…do you consider him merely a fringe (better yet, average) player as opposed to an omission? He hasn’t totally lit it up like he did in preseason, but he is providing some fantasy returns now and appears to have the goods to perform next season.

  8. bossmanjunior says:
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    I honestly thought you did a great job. Im sure Grey would admit that ranking MLB players every year is tough enough, but ranking guys who have mostly never had a major league at bat is extremely tough. It really is a crap shoot. It’s always fun to look back at old top prospect lists from years past and see how many guys flamed out or came out of no where. For God sakes Delmon Young was a consensus #1 overall prospect once haha. Always look forward to your weekend articles, great job.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @bossmanjunior: thank you, bossman!

  9. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    Good job, mister.

    I especially enjoyed all the horrible things you wrote about Grey.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Wallpaper Paterson: much, much more to come in that department…

  10. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    Is Sano gonna be top 5 next year?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Wallpaper Paterson: Doubtful. Don’t think he’ll arrive early enough to make that sort of impact.

  11. Joel Vetter says:
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    You are being too hard on yourself. This is pretty impressive looking back at it.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Joel Vetter: Thanks, Joel. I have more fun when I’m poking fun at myself. These rankings are always tough.

  12. Robinson Checo says:
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    Thanks Scott. Enjoyed your perspective and insights.

  13. Nick says:
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    You did a lot better than a lot of us could’ve done, Scott. The only reason I stashed Puig was because of his ridiculous spring training stats, and the fact that a Kemp/Crawford/Ethier outfield couldn’t possibly stay healthy for a whole season. If Tavaras hadn’t had those ankle injury setbacks, I guarantee he’d be producing right now in St. Louis. Gyorko and Cole definitely should’ve been higher than 21 and 22, but I understand the skepticism given, well, Padres and Pirates.

    My early top 5 for 2014:
    1. Oscar Tavares
    2. Taijuan Walker (assuming they shut him down after a couple more starts)
    3. Xander Bogaerts (assuming he gets the starting nod come Spring Training)
    4. Jameson Taillon
    5. Javier Baez

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Nick: I like your 5… might got Bogaerts over Walker, though… and I’m not so sure Baez will be up soon enough to have a top 5 impact — cubs will likely give him a long look at AAA to get him more comfortable defensively.

      • Jeff P says:
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        @Scott Evans: Does Baez stick at short, and Castro goes to second, or does Baez move to third?

  14. Oz says:
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    Thanks Scott! When I first started doing fantasy baseball (and first got into baseball at all actually) I thought your columns were useless. Now that I’m in a dynasty league (btw I’ll need your help on who to keep or not soon plz!) I can’t get enough of your posts. Thanks again!
    >Oz

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Oz: That’s awesome to hear, Oz. I’m glad you’ve come around!

  15. Wake Up says:
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    I really like these kind of look-backs…thanks for all the info this year!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Wake Up: Thanks for reading!

  16. griff says:
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    Hey Scott,
    I thought the Astros would call up Springer this month, but that appears to be a no-go. Do you think Springer has a shot at making the opening day roster next year? Is he worth stashing now in a dynasty roto?

  17. steve says:
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    Hey Scott….

    Great work, and thanks.

    H2H/10 Team/6×6/keep 5 (with salary cap implications)/ *No 2013 implications as I am not in the playoffs

    Would you rather have Shelby Miller or Taijuan Walker for 2014?

    Thank you again,
    steve

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