Every year, right after the Baseball America Orioles top 10 prospects lists comes out, I rush to the phone to interview the writer of the list to get some insights on those players.
This year I had to interview myself. At least I didn't have any trouble reaching the guy.
It was exciting to be asked by Baseball America to do the O's list this year. They are the industry standard for prospects and when they talk about young players a lot of people listen. I tried to do a job worthy of their high standards.
Without further ado, here is some info on the list when I had a chat with myself about the task.
So, Steve, how did this all come about?
"Thanks for asking, Steve. Love your work, by the way. Well, sometime in late October, John Manuel, Baseball America's editor in chief, called me and asked if I would be interested in doing this. I jumped at the chance. John was already working on the O's list himself when another person had to drop out of working on another team. John picked up that other team and asked me to work up the O's list."
How did you compile the list?
"Good question, Steve. First, I randomly wrote down about 50 names that I felt could make the top 30. Next, I asked several people in baseball to rank their O's top 30. Amazingly, everyone I asked to do this said yes. That was great because the list is really a composite of the thoughts of the pros and not my personal opinions. This came about with huge input from people in baseball who have seen these players often.
"I submitted an initial list to the Baseball America editors and the process was then well under way. The editors provide input, too, and they tweak the final version and double-check it with scouts and others around the game. The list gets vetted a few times.
"I feel good about the list, but I also know players are humans. Over the next year, some will get better, improve, work hard and move up the list. Others will not and fall off the list. A year or two from now, we may look at the list and wonder how a certain player was ranked so high or low. That is the life of prospects. Things can change rapidly and that is expected.
"By the way, I have mentioned the top 30. Only the top 10 has been released so far; that came out on Tuesday. But the top 30 are ranked for the Prospect Handbook. Much more information will be in that book including an organizational depth chart."
Overall how do the O's rank in baseball?
"Well, their list is top heavy with two of the game's better prospects in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. They don't have depth to match up with a lot of other clubs. Some see them somewhere in the middle of the pack, maybe that 15 to 20 range."
How many top 100 prospects are on this list?
"We discussed that in this post with John Manuel. It looks like the top four have a good chance to also be top 100."
Steve, any final impressions on this list?
"Another good question Steve. Sure, I have a few. First, the O's have more pitching prospects than hitting prospects right now and the depth chart on the farm for position players is lacking.
"But the club's top four prospects are pitchers. So are five of the first six and six of the first eight. If you are going to have an imbalance have it be with more pitching.
"Because the Orioles' track record of producing pitching has not been good for many years, let's see if the new regime of Dan Duquette with Rick Peterson as director of pitching development changes that. Now, add new pitching coach Dave Wallace to the group trying to turn pitching prospects into pitching products that are good enough to help the major league team."