Top 10 N.L. Pitcher Prospects - John Sickels
But not amongst the Rotisserie experts.
What's happening, of course, is that the three expert leagues in question are all conducting their auctions at separate times. Sportsline (February 6) is drafting based on reports from the previous season, and perhaps from what they've seen or heard from the Arizona Fall League. LABR (March 2) and Tout Wars (March 22), on the other hand, are reacting to what's going on in Spring Training, and what they're hearing about Manny Parra's chances of making the Brewers.
Looking more closely, the touts are reacting much more to what they're hearing about whether Johnny Cueto's going to be pitching in Cincinnati or Louisville come April.
2008 Spring Training Statistics - N.L.
|2||Franklin Morales||21 2/3||29||10||15||6.65||1.800|
|3||Johnny Cueto||17 2/3||16||12||19||5.09||1.585|
|6||Manny Parra||20 2/3||22||10||19||6.10||1.548|
Except for Kershaw, none of these studs were doing anything to write home about in March. But the news reports were pointing to Cueto and Parra earning major league jobs, while Bailey and Morales weren't going to be so lucky. The odds of Cueto and Parra keeping major league jobs all year certainly weren't tremendous, but the odds of a pitcher in AAA spending all year in the majors are zero.
For all of the food fights over these guys, they wound up doing nothing more than stinking up the joint. The two highest earners on this list were two pitchers who weren't expected to be up this year, including a guy (McDonald) who earned more in six innings than Johnny Cueto (174) and Manny Parra (166) earned in a whole lot more.
(Why this is the case is a discussion best left for masochists).
Another expectation we have about pitchers is that there will be more of a difference of option among the minor league experts.
Top 10 N.L. Pitcher Prospects - Baseball America
Amazingly, no. The top four pitching prospects are the same guys, with Bailey and Cueto flipped. Jurrjens, Carrasco, and Volstad replace McDonald, Parra, and Weathers.
Success! Jurrjens and Volstad are what you're hoping for when you close your eyes and take a stab on a rookie arm. Of course, these aren't the guys the market was putting its money on last spring. Jurrjens 3.82 K/IP rate in his trial with Detroit in 2007 likely scared most owners away, while Volstad didn't seem likely to make an impact in 2008.
I can't get over how similar these lists are. Since I'm looking at three prospect lists per article, hopefully the third list provides some major differences.
Top 10 N.L. Pitcher Prospects - Baseball Prospectus
Latos and Elbert join the list, but we're still looking at a pretty similar set of pitchers.
This is the most depressing part of Stage Three - particularly in the information age. When even the best and brightest minor league soothsayers agree to such a great degree on these pitchers, we're all going to be swimming in the same crowded part of the pool.
The only advice I can give is to decide what you think about your favorite pitching prospects now. The market shouldn't have changed its tune so dramatically on Bailey and Parra. But it did. You didn't see these kind of wild fluctuations on Jay Bruce and Colby Rasmus, even though Rasmus' playing time was as much of an open question in early March as it was for Cueto.