Originally Posted by Salukifan2
My only problem with all the lists is that they put imo more emphasis on age than performance. An example is Taijuan Walker. He is obviously a phenominal talent but his high positioning in rankings is due to the fact that he is so young as opposed to his performance. This year his ERA spiked by 2 points, his k/9 dropped by over 2, and his WHIP was above 1.3.
I still think he is a top 25 prospect i just dont think he is top 5 or 10, like he probably will be, just because he is 19. Idk if other people feel that way but i do.
The player's age is a big factor, and so are his stats. But when it comes to prospects it is more about looking at his swing or his mechanics and his athleticism and tools to project in your mind how good he will eventually
be. It is more art than science. Minor league stats should be taken with a grain of salt. Park and league factors have to be considered. Many minor league ballparks are like Coors Field on steroids -- small dimensions at high altitude. Some ballparks are tremendous pitchers' parks where it is very hard to hit. Oftentimes the players with the best stats are not even close to being the best prospects.
Playing in the minor leagues is not about trying to get the best stats, it is often a matter of focusing on development and instruction. Some teams will have pitchers working on a certain pitch and improving it instead of using his whole repertoire to retire hitters. Usually a player is instructed to focus on improving his weaknesses rather than trying to win a minor league game. The minor leagues are more like practice than a real game. Some of these guys are very raw athletes who don't really know how to play baseball in a professional manner yet. They will be a lot better down the road than they are now, so basing one's analysis on their current statistics is not going to give you an accurate projection of their future production at the major league level.
Taijuan Walker is an elite prospect because of his size, his athleticism, his arm strength, the movement of his pitches and his command of those pitches. Once he learns how to properly harness and utilize his arsenal there is every reason to believe he will become a very good major league pitcher. The fact that he held his own as a 19 year old in AA ball (the youngest pitcher in the league) playing against guys 3-4 years older is just another feather in his cap.