This is a ranking system that considers a base that is stolen to be as valid a unit of offensive production as a base that is attained any other way. It takes the sum of total bases + walks + SBs, adjusts it slightly, and divides by games played to arrive at a score, according to which the players are ranked. (Hitting prospects are starters, not pinch hitters or defensive replacements, so dividing by games is about as valid as dividing by at-bats or plate appearances.)
The adjustment represented by the “adj points” column is Points minus Games. This adjustment rests on the idea that one total base (or walk or SB) per game is a baseline, required to get you to zero.
In the past I have included Boise stats only in combination with Peoria numbers, after a player has been promoted. I expect to continue that practice. Boise always seems like a small data sample, whereas the promotion adds weight to the Boise numbers.
My initial reaction to the rankings is that Brett Jackson, in spite of his higher level of strikeouts, is about as productive as ever before; and that Geiger, Baez, Hoilman and DeVoss are welcome new names in the upper reaches (1.20 and above) of the rankings. I omit Perez and Rohan from those congratulations since they are a bit old for their levels.
Baez has risen to second in the list–first, really, since Rizzo is gone from the minor leagues, never to return, we trust, except for an infrequent and brief rehab. Szczur gets a boost from his large number of walks and SBs. Brett Jackson still looks fine in an offensive table that doesn’t include a column for strikeouts.
If we consider only players who are actually in the minors, Cardenas is #3, Lake is 5 and a couple of 20-year-olds, Alcantara and Geiger, are 6 and 7.
Recently promoted Krist, Rademacher and Saunders are new to the ranking.
Newly acquired Christian Villanueva and recently promoted Jorge Soler make their first appearances on the list and propel themselves toward the top, where they are joined by shortstop Tim Saunders. Saunders is the 32nd rounder who hit .493 over 17 games in the Arizona (rookie) League (the numbers from which I do not include here) before shipping out, first to Daytona and then to Peoria after Javier Baez claimed the job of SS at Daytona.
Tim Saunders jumps over Szczur, Jackson, Baez and Soler into the #2 position in the ranking, just below Rizzo. Since Rizzo is no longer a prospect, Saunders is really number one.
Saunders looks old (22) for his level (Peoria), but he was just drafted in June, and after skipping Boise and Peoria, he was doing fine at Daytona when Baez pulled rank and grabbed the shortstop position there, knocking Saunders back down a peg. It’s early, but so far Saunders looks like he might follow a step behind as Baez ascends the ladder to Tennessee and Iowa.
These are the final regular-season numbers for Cub hitting prospects in 2012. Rizzo is the starting 1B on the major-league team for the foreseeable future, and is kept on this list for historical purposes. (He did spend half the season at Iowa.) I exclude him from the top-ten list of hitting prospects, which looks like this today, based on the ranking formula laid out at the top of this page:
1) Jacob Rogers
2) Jorge Soler
3) Brett Jackson
4) Tim Saunders
5) Javier Baez
6) Matt Szczur
7) John Andreoli
8) Luis Valbuena
9) Logan Watkins
10) Zeke DeVoss
Here are the next five:
11) Adrian Cardenas
12) Josh Vitters
13) Arismendy Alcantera
14) Junior Lake
15) Greg Rohan
A few of these players have major-league numbers this season, but I exclude those numbers from the table data. A few have Arizona League numbers, which I also exclude. I exclude Boise numbers unless the player was promoted to Peoria or Daytona, in which case I include the Boise stats. A player is thus excluded from the table if he played no higher than Boise. So much for Almora, Vogelbach, Candelario, Bruno, et al.
Rogers and Soler get a big boost from the small size of their data samples, sixteen and twenty games as a Peoria Chief, respectively. Rogers raked in 26 games with the Arizona League Cubs, however, and Soler didn’t disappoint in 14 games; so I let their Peoria numbers stand. You may be seeing Jacob Rogers’s name for the first time.
Well, you heard it here first.