The Baseball Cube

Prospects Data

Prospects Data

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Prospects Data
Prospects Research | Prospects History @ Data Store

In the context of baseball, a prospect is a player who has potential to play in the Major Leagues but who has not yet been given the opportunity or who is not yet ready. The term is often applied to all minor leaguers since in essence, they are a prospect to one degree or another but for this site, we consider a prospect to be someone who has been ranked by a prospects-ranking web site.

Several sites put in a lot of hard work evaluating players and talking to scouts around the league to come up with a ranked list of Major League Baseball prospects as well as top x per team. The x can be as high as 30. TBC accumulates these lists and integrates the data within the site.

Though each ranking site has a different methodology for their lists, they often come out similar at the top. Ranking talent is very subjective and it is almost impossible for Baseball America or MLB Pipeline to visibly evaluate all the players themselves and so there is a reliance on sources, which of course is also very subjective.

Not to say there aren't statistical metrics to use to help separate the players. Often physical tools such as power, speed or fastball velocity, rated on a scale of 20-80, can help. Also, player statistics, in context with the levels of competition faced, can assist as well.

The earliest prospects list we have in our system is from 1983 Baseball America. It is top 10s for each team. From there, we add Baseball America MLB rankings in 1990 and then MLB Pipeline in 2016 for both team and MLB rankings. FanGraphs has MLB Rankings since 2018 and Baseball Prospectus has both team and MLB rankings since 2019. It is possible we will add more providers in the future but as of now, these are the only 4 sources we have.

Finally, an important note about the Prospect yearly cycle and how its changed over the last few years while not changing for TBC. Prospect lists are now upated dynamically throughout the year based on "graduations" to the Majors. When a player is no longer a prospect, the rankings are updated. TBC only tracks prospects once a year. During the late Winter/Spring Training, ranking sites provide a pre-season prospect list. These are the lists we capture.


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