There R Giants Top 50: An Introduction
Photo Credit: Ralph Thompson / Sacramento River Cats
No more dissembling folks, it is time to get busy! The moment is at hand. No more pushing it off for other off-trail pursuits. The time has come to plunge head-long into my winter’s grand project: one essay for each player on my new There R Giants Top 50. Starting on Wednesday, I’ll be devoting most of the next few months to one player per post.
That’s right. It’s very exciting! First up…. well, I’m not going to spoil the surprise! But I do want to take a few words here to talk about my process this year.
Last year when I started this process, I used Future Value as an organizing principle for the Top 50, along with a rough assessment of the player’s risk factor in full development towards that value. The idea of using “Future Value” for prospect lists was pioneered by the superb Fangraphs’ prospect team of Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel (now with ESPN), and their work was a real advanced in prospect writing as they utilized the FV concept to give real insight into the way modern front offices evaluated their players (I’ll avoid the icky use of “assets” in this human context). McDaniel, coming out of several jobs with teams wanted to give an expression to the way team management viewed their prospects through a prism of actual dollar values assigned to them according to their scouting grades. That model of efficiency truly revolutionized how trade talks are now conducted, with each team looking to give and receive equivalent $$ values in their deals. Longenhagen and McDaniel also co-wrote a book entitled Future Value which dives into this front office revolution in much greater detail — and I highly recommend everybody who is interested in prospects (or modern baseball) give that book a read. It’s a unique and valuable insight into what’s going on behind the curtain.
That said, over the last few months, I’ve been moving away from the notion of Future Value for my own rankings — and that, too, has to do with innovations and trends in modern baseball.