Prospects or free agents?

Ranking prospects is about as easy as herding cats. That’s what makes the decision whether to keep or trade a prospect so difficult. And it’s what led to the saying, “prospects are cool, parades are cooler.”

This thought occurred when weighing the free agent decisions still ahead of the Rangers. Do you invest in a proven commodity or wait for a prospect to come up?

How accurate are prospect rankings? How much stock should you put in them?

There are two ways to determine that.

One, get into your time machine and see how today’s prospects are faring in the next five to ten years. That’s not always feasible. Mainly, because time machine technology doesn’t yet exist.

The second way is to get in your time machine and go back in time to see how yesterday’s prospects panned out. That can be accomplished via the magic of the internet.

Go back ten years. 2011. MLB Pipeline nailed their number one prospect, a guy named Mike Trout. Their number two that year was Bryce Harper. Pretty good picking. 

Until number three. It falls off from there. It’s interesting to note that three of the top ten on MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 50 prospects in 2011 ended up pitching for the Rangers.

Number 3: Matt Moore.

Number 5: Shelby Miller.

Number 8: Martin Perez, the only Ranger prospect in the top ten.

The top ten also included Julio Tehran (4) , Jesus Montero (6), Jacob Turner (7), Jameson Taillon (8), and Manny Machado (10).

Number 11 in 2011 was Jurickson Profar.  Current Ranger Kyle Gibson was ranked 28. Tanner Scheppers was 41.

The top ten Rangers prospects in 2011 were Perez, Profar, Mike Olt, Sheppers, Michael Kirkman, Leonys Martin, Robbie Ross, Engel Beltre, Jake Skole, and David Perez. Drafting is hard, right?

Mike Olt was a can’t miss prospect. Mike Olt was Josh Jung.

But looking back is often the best way to look forward. Because 2011 was the year the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a six-year contract.

Fans were less than thrilled with this. 

“But why do we need him when we have Mike Olt?”

“He’s going to block Mike Olt.”

“Mike Olt.”



Why throw all that money away on Beltre? The more prudent move would have been to stop-gap it with Aubrey Huff or Jose Uribe for a few years until Mike Olt was ready.

Something to think about as fans debate the merits of which free agent to sign and which prospect to pave the way for.

A lot of stupid money is wasted trying too hard to spend smart money.