As the opening acts of the 2018 baseball season draw near, various media outlets across the sport have been releasing their prospect rankings for the upcoming year. After Baseball America released their list last week, Major League Baseball Pipeline followed suit over the weekend.
I find studying the similarities and differences between the lists intriguing. Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna takes the top seed in the BA rankings, while Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani is number one - according to MLB. Ohtani is BA’s number two, and Acuna is in the same situation on the MLB side. Still, it makes one curious as to why they are graded differently from list to list.
Aside from some minor flip-flopping (like of Acuna and Ohtani), the top 15 of each list is very similar. The real interesting swaps begin beyond that point.
The same four Cardinals who were featured in the BA rankings were featured in MLB.com’s - right-hander Alex Reyes, right-hander Jack Flaherty, catcher Carson Kelly, and outfielder Tyler O’Neill. They rank in this same order, but the actual numeric of their rankings all differ.
Reyes is number 18 on MLB’s list, just one spot below his BA ranking. One player who notably ranks above Reyes on the BA rankings is Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford, who sits at 16. On the MLB list, Crawford resides at the 37 spot - just ahead of another Cardinals right-hander.
Flaherty jumps up 15 spots, to 38, on the newer list. On the MLB list, Flaherty outranks Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows (45) and Yankees left-hander Justus Sheffield (48) - two players that bested him on the BA list.
Kelly falls between Meadows and Sheffield at 46, up nine spots from his BA ranking. Kelly ranks above a pair of praised Braves prospects: Luiz Gohara and Ian Anderson. Gohara and Anderson rank 49 and 51 by MLB, respectively, while they are 23 and 42 on BA.
O’Neill is rated in the 94 spot by MLB, eight back of his BA mark. On MLB, Reds prospects Jesse Winker and Tyler Mahle are in the 82 and 84 slots, ahead of O’Neill. On BA, O’Neill’s ranking at 86 bests Winker at 94 and Mahle at the 90 spot.