The current chronological and structural limitations of The Board leave two holes in today’s chunk. First, this is not yet a comprehensive historical record of signing bonuses. That’s a possible long-term feature — one that will require some retroactive Board-building — but for now, there are some important flashpoint bonuses from recent drafts (Brady Aiken’s, Mark Appel’s) or deals that illuminate important and consequential trends in the amateur market (Stephen Strasburg’s, Josh Bell’s) you can’t view in the same space as recent pillars.
In addition to the new info, I’ve made a few changes to the rankings on the pro side of The Board based on big league action. Without any minor league games or a reliable way to source info from the offsite camps, the big leagues are where changes are most visible right now. Scouts from other teams are not currently allowed at the alternate sites, and teams do not yet have a campsite data-sharing agreement in place. As a result, any dope coming from the campsites is coming from internal team sources, which creates an incentive/objectivity issue for prospect writers. Sources are also harder to protect because few personnel have camp access. With all that in mind, let’s touch on today’s changes.
I’ve moved Jo Adell back into the middle of the 60 FV tier, behind similarly-talented players who are performing in the big leagues right now, while Adell has looked awkward in the field and overmatched early on. I still like him long-term, but FV is supposed to encompass a players’ years of team control and it appears as though Adell’s first year is going to be filled with adjustments and growing pains, so he belongs behind the Dustin May and Luis Robert types who are performing right now.
I took a similar approach when sliding injured pitcher Forrest Whitley (60 FV to 55 FV), and opt-out guy (opter-outer?) Michael Kopech (60 FV to 55 FV) down next to A’s lefty A.J. Puk, who is also hurt. Again, they all belong in the May, Jesus Luzardo realm on the basis of talent, but health and availability play a role in how I line players up. This also made it necessary to slide Rays righty Brent Honeywell Jr. (50 FV to 45 FV) out of the top 100. By the time Labor Days arrives, it will have been three years since Honeywell threw a pitch in affiliated ball, and an absence that long certainly has an impact on Honeywell’s trade value. I asked some front office folks to ballpark where they valued him on the minor league spectrum, and they generally fell in the 40+ to 45 FV range, with two people specifically citing Padres righty Anderson Espinoza (40+ FV), who has also been injured for a long time, as a benchmark. I think a healthy Honeywell has a better chance to start than Espinoza, hence the slight gap in their respective FVs.
White Sox relievers Codi Heuer (40+ FV to 45 FV) and Zack Burdi (40 FV to 40+ FV) are both stock-up players. Heuer’s slider is better now than it was just after he was drafted and he now has three viable big league pitches. Burdi’s velocity took a while to return after surgery but it’s nearly back to his college peak in the upper-90s. I mentioned in my bullpen Positional Power Ranking piece that hopeful, up-and-coming teams probably needed an internal bullpen boon to really compete. A Heuer/Burdi ascent combined with the way Evan Marshall and Alex Colome are throwing right now means there’s a pretty strong backend of a bullpen percolating here. These were the two most prominent of a handful of minor relief pitcher revaluations made over the weekend, which can be viewed by sorting the “trend” column on The Board.
The several White Sox alterations (led by Kopech’s drop) and changes to Seattle’s list (Kyle Lewis and Justus Sheffield’s graduations, Justin Dunn’s slide) caused those two clubs to move down a tightly packed cluster in our farm system rankings (the Mariners were seventh and the White Sox eighth before these changes; they’re now 10th and 14th, respectively).
The next widespread update to The Board will include the return of the “Variance” column. My erstwhile prospect compatriot Kiley McDaniel and I had tossed around the idea of tweaking how we describe player outcome variance prior to his departure, but it didn’t materialize. I think it’s useful to be able to quickly describe player volatility and ceiling in one, all-encompassing term, so “high,” “medium,” and “low” variance descriptors will soon be back on The Board.
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