Updated: Nov 24, 2017
As the title of this post states, I just wanted to take some time to prepare you for me and what I am going to be doing with these lists. I wanted the introduction to the lists to stand on their own because. It felt like it might bog down the article for the first group that you'll be introduced to; The Outfielders.
I'm the type of evaluator that approaches creating these lists a little differently as compared to most. First we'll start by talking about the minor leaguers at each position that you have already heard about. These are the guys that have already made it to the majors but still have rookie eligibility. Names like Harrison Bader and Carson Kelly. I am omitting these players from the top 5 list because, well, you already know them. Everyone has already written about them. There is very little that I'll be able to tell you that the television broadcast crew hasn't already shoved down your throat. It's time to learn about next wave.
The next part will be the top 5 at each position. Pretty straight forward, really.
That will be followed by the "Next Guy Up". I'll be highlighting one player deeper down in the organization. Sometimes this player will be the player that would have been #6 on the list. Sometimes it'll be a deep sleeper that I think might find his way onto your radar by the end of the 2018 season. Other times, it just might be a prospect that I like or find interesting that I want to tell you about.
Also with these lists, I'll be taking my first shot at grading out prospect as if they were in grade school. You'll see anywhere from an "A+"(actually, you won't because I don't believe the Cardinals have an A+ prospect) to a "C-" next to each prospect. TAKE HEED OF THIS ADVANCED WARNING: I am a little less of the optimist and more of a realist when it comes to the value of prospects and that will be reflected in each grade. Baseball has really changed in the last few years and the cost to do business has gone up. Where someone like Luke Weaver used to be a B+ type prospect on the trade market, he probably would carry a grade closer to a B or B- in reality. That's the number you'll see. That the state of trading in major league baseball right now.
Also, these profiles will be "The Cliff Notes" version of my rankings and, thus, the capsules on each prospect might seem abbreviated. Worry no!!! After the start of the New Year Colin Garner (From my former home The Redbird Daily) and I will be offering long-form player profiles in the form of our combined TOP 30 PROSPECTS COUNTDOWN. Try to think of these lists as the basic primer, a teaser, for that list. I have to tell you, you're in for a huge treat when we start counting down the list. It's some truly fantastic stuff. Because we will be getting into way more detail come top 30 time, I'm going to keep the stat sets simple for each player. Also, the level next to each player's name represents the highest level that they reached during the 2017 season, not necessarily where they spent most of their time.
You'll also find that I have omitted most of the organizational depth guys from the list. Players like Casey Grayson. You will also see that I have included some organizational depth guys. Guys like Jacob Wilson. Take note of that. It'll give you a good idea of the depth of each position. I have been known to take heed of prospects below the Johnson City level because those kids are still so damn far away. So, if you see one of those guys on the list please understand that I think there might be something special about that player but, also, that the depth at the position that player is ranked in is probably a little more on the weak side.
And, on that, so concludes the intro. Let's do this "thang", as the kids would say(I haven't the slightest idea what kids say). Follow THIS LINK RIGHT HERE to read the first group that I've ranked: the extremely deep OF group. As always, have fun, get involved, talk trash, and happy hunting!
Thanks For Reading!