Bob Dutton was always quality. Now that he's retired, his Twitter feed is improved, maybe because he's got more of a License to Fill. Us in, that is. Tim Williams had opined, regarding MLB prospects:
Untested in the MLB. In theory they are geniuses, but in reality how can you judge a player who has not yet been tested and the upper levels? Many said the 747 couldn't fly. Let time be the answer.
To which Dutton responded, correctly in Dr. D's view,
Absolutely true. I think the rankings are the best available because of the work that goes into them, but there's still a lot of guess work and projections. A year ago, Emilio Pagan was not among ' top 30 prospects in a what was viewed as a weak system.
You were NOT going to throw a dart and hit Pagan last year. And yet here we sit, a year later, with one of our starting 9 rostered in there for him. As time has gone on, Dr. D's opinion has swung back-and-forth as to the value of scouts' prognostications. As we go into 2018, it's less rather than more.
Which is good news, one might say, for the fan of a team whose ranking is #30.
There are certain players who transcend the scouting clipboard. Danny Hultzen, if he'd stayed healthy, simply needed some spit and polish and he was going to win 15. A plus fastball and a plus-plus change from the left side? It works at the ML level. That's all there is to it.
There are 10%, 20% of the players in the minors who fit that description. They just need to develop, and then they're going to help. They've got the bread and butter needed to play at the highest levels, and to do it on a night-in, night-out basis.
But 80%, 90% of them ... Look, Emilio Pagan became what he did, because he threw pitches 3" more accurately than the next guy, 3" more accurately than they expected him to. This applies to a dozen different Seattle Mariners relievers in 2018. Some will aim for the mitt, right on the black, and get it within a basketball's radius. Some will aim for the mitt, and hit it. Which is which? You dunno. You draw at the deck and you hope for a face card. Deuces, Jacks, Kings with an Axe. All wild.
Chris Taylor? Where did John Sickels have him a year or two ago?
D.J. Peterson? Was that a fling at the dart board?
Alex Jackson? Considered THE best prep hitter in the USA in 2014. #1, the best. Not that he's done, but neither is he Cody Bellinger.
BASEBALL AMERICA 2018
Their rankings came out for this year. Worth a look, not much more than that. This much we'll of course grant, that the pyramid is not buff. Here's another quick little read. Dr. D's faves going into March will be Braden Bishop, Dan Vogelbach and Max Povse. But in a broader context, in the 30,000-foot view, you've got "prospects" who have already gone through the water filter and come through pure and clean:
- Mitch Haniger
- Mike Zunino
- Ben Gamel
- Jean Segura
- Ryon Healy
- Edwin Diaz
- Andrew Moore*
What do you call a guy who's got his 130 AB or his 50 IP? And, what's more, has done great with them? I dunno. Ubermensch. Pick a term. From where we're at, we need lots of things to go right, perhaps including Jerry Dipoto reconsidering his thoughts about vets for the rotation.
UND TAKE ZIS MIT YOU, Dept.
33 days till game one. For the Mariners, that month will take on more importance than it will for the Astros.