Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 1/18/13
Today I posted the profile for the number 12 prospect in the system, Dilson Herrera. In the write-up I mentioned that Herrera was the favorite to be the 2013 version of Alen Hanson or Gregory Polanco. In somewhat of a coincidence, Charlie at Bucs Dugout posted a review of the 2013 Prospect Guide today, and noted a few of the aggressive rankings in the book (with Herrera being one of them). I’m glad he brought that up. That’s actually a topic that came under internal discussion while the rankings were being put together. It’s also a topic I’ve been struggling with over the last few years. I’ve explained the ranking process before, but to sum the steps up: 1. Everyone involved submits their own top 50 lists to me. 2. I take the average of four lists. My list, the average of everyone’s list, the average of everyone’s list with the outliers removed, and the average of everyone’s list with individual rankings weighted on who saw what players. 3. I present the average of the four lists to everyone involved, and have people argue individual players up or down. 4. I consider each argument, then use that to make the final adjustments to the list. In the third process, some players were argued up to the point where they’d be considered aggressive rankings. Some were argued down to the point where they’ll probably be lower than most rankings. The method of making those decisions represented a change in the approach to the rankings over the last few years. The first year for the book was in 2011. The rankings were heavily based on stats at the time, and not so much on live scouting reports or input from players, coaches, or scouts. The 2010 season was only the second year for the site, and it was still a part time thing. I had seen a lot of players in the system, but the coverage definitely was not to the point where the site currently is at. As a result, there were some mistakes in the rankings that year. One big mistake was the ranking of Exicardo Cayones. I hadn’t seen much of Cayones. In fact, I’m not sure that I did see Cayones prior to the 2011 season. He was ranked based on his signing bonus and his numbers early in his career. But when I saw Cayones in Spring Training in 2011, he didn’t look like a guy you’d want to place an aggressive ranking on, especially when he just had half a strong season in the GCL. The outfielder looked completely over-matched when I saw him in State College that year, and eventually moved back to the GCL. He was later traded for A.J. Burnett, and he struggled again last year in the NYPL. For the 2012 book, I wanted to avoid any Cayones mistakes. I wanted to avoid aggressively ranking prospects. There were some rankings that might have been a bit aggressive. Nick Kingham being ranked 10th overall was one example. But I went conservative with the rankings, which led to a regret: Alen Hanson. There was a big difference between the site coverage in 2010 and 2011. In 2011 I covered more games, and was credentialed with every level in the minor league system. The site was also my full time job for the first year, which allowed me to follow things closer. We had more people covering live games than the 2010 season. I spent a week and a half in Spring Training prior to the season. We also received more input from opposing scouts and prospect writers who also saw prospects play. One player I kept hearing about was Alen Hanson. I kept hearing scouts rave about him. He looked good every time someone from the site saw him. He obviously was getting a good push from the Pirates, since he was getting playing time over big bonus middle infielders like Yhonathan Barrios and Jodaneli Carvajal. Yet Hanson ended up ranked 37th, because I didn’t want another Cayones situation. Hanson struggled in the second half of the 2011 season, which was the same thing that happened with Cayones (although I think we can chalk it up to a hand injury after seeing him explode in 2012). I didn’t want to rank Hanson high until he had success in a full season league. The error here was that I wasn’t recognizing the difference between the 2010 and 2011 coverage. I ranked Cayones high because of a bonus and good overall numbers. If I would have ranked Hanson high, it would have been because he had good numbers, plus scouts were raving about him, plus we actually saw him perform well in person, plus the Pirates were pretty high on him. There was strong justification for ranking Hanson high. The ranking of Cayones wasn’t nearly as strong. Tyler Glasnow has as much upside as any pitcher in the system. That brings me to the 2013 book. Everyone involved had players they were high on, and players they were low on. Typically the ranking went in favor of the people who saw the player, or had the best information on the player. It wasn’t an Exicardo Cayones situation, where the ranking was unjustified. And while I wanted to avoid another Alen Hanson situation, I didn’t want to go too far in the opposite direction and make too many aggressive moves. So I considered all of the arguments for each player, all of the reports we’ve compiled throughout the last few years, and made a few calculated risks. Guys like Dilson Herrera, Tyler Glasnow, or Jin-De Jhang were rated aggressively, but those ratings were backed by live reports, input from scouts, and of course stats. That’s really how it should be, although the site didn’t get to a point where we could really nail that process down until recently. The art of evaluating prospects is very subjective, and the topic of aggressive rankings really reminds us of that. Take Luis Heredia, for example. He’s got a ton of tools, and the ability to be a top of the rotation starter one day. He’s very raw (although not as raw at the end of 2012 as he was at the beginning of the year), and he’s far enough away that he’s not a guarantee. His ceiling is high, but his floor is low. It’s the same situation with Tyler Glasnow. He’s got the potential to be a top of the rotation starter one day, but he’s also far from the majors with a high ceiling and a low floor. The big difference is that Heredia was the top international prospect in 2010, and has always been considered a top prospect. Glasnow was just another over-slot pitcher who happened to break out in his first season thanks to a big increase in velocity. It’s easier to trust Heredia as a top prospect, because we’ve been doing that for a few years. It’s harder to trust Glasnow, because we hadn’t thought of him as a top prospect, and therefore we don’t trust him as much as someone like Heredia. (Note: I’m not saying these two are equal. Heredia is definitely ahead of Glasnow right now, but their upsides are the same.) That’s really what I tried to eliminate this year. I wanted to avoid looking at a player based on his original hype. Instead, I wanted to try and get a feel for where the player was now. Kind of a clean slate for everyone. Time will tell how the rankings turn out this year. No ranking system is going to be perfect, but I wanted to highlight some of the players who have the best shot at breakout seasons. That way if Tyler Glasnow, Dilson Herrera, and Jin-De Jhang have Hanson/Polanco years in 2013, you’ll already know about them and their potential, and they won’t come as a surprise. Links and Notes **The 2013 Prospect Guide is now available. The 2013 Annual is also available for pre-sales. Go to the products page of the site and order your 2013 books today! **The eBook version of The 2013 Prospect Guide is also available through our publisher. They also have a discount code during the month of January that allows you to save 20%. Use the code JANBOOKS13 to get the discount. This code is only valid on the eBook on the publisher’s web site, and not the books on the products page of the site. **Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #12 – Dilson Herrera. **Pirates Sign Brad Hawpe, Invite Cole and Taillon to Spring Training. **Pirates Make Karstens Signing Official, DFA Zach Stewart. **Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker. **Pittsburgh Pirates Playing in the World Baseball Classic. **Winter Leagues Recap: Johnson Helps His Team To Championship Series.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Miguel Cabrera headed to disabled list for 1st time in career

Report: San Antonio Spurs to sign LaMarcus Aldridge

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

NBA Rumors: Cavs and Spurs vying for David West

Damian Lillard is the Blazers’ new franchise player

Bryce Harper flaunts patriotic bat, hits home run

Report: Magic will sign Tobias Harris to 4-year deal

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.