MLB.com released its updated midseason prospect rankings to some fanfare Sunday evening. That, along with Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN.com's Keith Law, gives us four major new lists to ruminate on and compare/contrast to our heart's content, because let's face it, when you're asking to rank the top 50 of anything, you're going to find differing opinions, sometimes extreme differences.
As we did in the offseason over on the PROSPECTive blog, consider this an attempt to harness the noise and bring some harmony to the differing voices. We've given a point value to each ranking -- 50 points for the No. 1 spot, 49 for No. 2 and so on -- and tallied up the points in a new NCAA-poll-style list.
A couple of notes first.
MLB.com ranked the top 100 prospects, but only the first 50 were given points here because the other three outlets only provided their top 50. In that same vein, BP and BA did not rank 2014 draftees, so they weren't included in the aggregate. Neither were prospects who were in the Majors at the time of the list release, such as Oscar Taveras, Taijuan Walker and Mookie Betts -- each of which still have rookie eligibility and rank among the top 15 players on MLB.com's version.
That being said, you'll only find the final point totals for the top-50 prospects in our table below. While MLB.com and Baseball America's rankings are free and can be viewed by all, the lists by Baseball Prospectus and ESPN are behind paywalls. Though the lists were used to tally the below aggregate, you'll only be able to find the rankings in their entirety at those links.
Finally, there were tiebreakers instituted when needed. The first tiebreaker is amount of lists on which the prospect appears. For instance, a prospect that was ranked in the top 50 by three different outlets gets the boost over one that was ranked in only two. The next tiebreaker is highest individual ranking. For example, Corey Seager is placed one spot ahead of Noah Syndergaard because his highest ranking (five) beat out the Mets right-hander's (nine). In the cases of Tim Anderson/Jimmy Nelson and Hunter Dozier/Jose Peraza, they both appeared on only one list and received the same ranking on that list, thus they are tied.
Onto the list. . .
Aggregated midseason PROSPECT rankings
|AGG RANK||PLAYER||MLB ORG||POS||POINTS|
• Buxton remains the headliner in three of the four groups, even though he missed most of the first half of the season with a left wrist injury. (Only Law slotted Bryant above him to keep him from a perfect 200 score.) Despite the lack of playing time, that still comes as no big surprise given Buxton's profile. Outfielders with five potential plus tools like the ones Buxton possesses are so rare that it's nearly impossible to say anyone in the Minors right now has a higher ceiling. That kind of thing tends to get rewarded here.
• We'll get to the disagreements shortly, but there's one other bit on which each outlet agrees -- shortstop prospects are very hot right now. Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell and Javier Baez take up spots three through six here. Not only that, none of those four ranked any lower than eight on an individual list. Put another way, the distance between No. 3 prospect Carlos Correa and No. 6 Javier Baez is only 15 points. That's the same exact difference between Baez and No. 7 prospect Jon Gray, who was slotted as low as No. 15 by MLB.com.
• But like Buxton, this glut of shortstops near the top shouldn't come as a big surprise. Baez might have the greatest offensive potential in the Minors, Lindor has a chance to be a special defensive wunderkind when he gets his call to the Majors, and Correa, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken right fibula, and Russell are well-rounded types that bring plus tools to both offense and defense.
• No. 25 prospect Austin Hedges was the highest ranked among the bunch to not appear on all four. The 21-year-old Padres catcher, who has earned praise for his defensive acumen but is batting only .234 at Double-A San Antonio this season, was left out of Law's top 50.
• The highest player among those appearing on only two lists was Kyle Zimmer at No. 34. The Royals right-hander hasn't pitched in 2014 due to tendinitis and a lat injury, and unlike Buxton, those health issues have hurt him some. The 22-year-old was slotted at No. 26 in the preseason aggregated rankings.
• The widest gulf in opinion for any player ranked by all four outlets was Henry Owens. The Red Sox left-hander has dominated Double-A ball with a 2.56 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 116 innings, but scouts differ on how well his stuff will play at the highest level. Baseball America placed him at No. 15 on their list, while Baseball Prospectus had him at No. 40. For what it's worth, MLB.com and Law were both close at 24 and 23 respectively, and the lanky southpaw checked in at No. 22 on the aggregate, so maybe everything checks out in the end.
• The Cubs placed six players among the aggregated top 50, most among Major League organizations. Not that this was their aim, but the club's trade for Russell in the Jeff Samardzija deal earlier this month actually gave the edge over the Twins and Pirates, which each have five. The Dodgers, Rockies and Royals -- each with three -- were the only other organizations with more than two. The A's, Angels, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Rays and Tigers did not place a prospect in the top 50.
• Mark Appel has been a controversial figure in the last week following his promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi despite his 9.74 ERA at Class A Advanced Lancaster. His Cal League woes did some damage to his ranking but not as much as some might have expected. He slipped from No. 23 in the preseason aggregate to No. 36 above, boosted by top-35 ranks from BP and Law.