Meanwhile, it's time to retire Keith Law's brilliant "Sliced bread is actually the best thing since Matt Wieters" (41) meme …
Brett Lawrie (21) and Dylan Bundy (20) are Exhibits A and B for why we shouldn't overrate prospects until they actually start producing; and yes, I'm a terrible, Canadian-loving homer
Also, all fans of all teams in all sports overrate prospects, but baseball fans are undoubtedly the worst about it. The reasons are obvious (takes much longer for prospects to develop relative to other sports, takes longer for teams to go for bad to good relative to other sports), but that doesn't mean every fan who lights up a message board with a comment to the effect of "[My favorite team] would never trade [name of prospect who is at least two years from MLB and will probably never make it] for [established and available above average player]. [Name is prospect] is a sure thing." shouldn't be shot out of a circus cannon into an alligator pit.
[Shelby Miller] faded in the second half, which isn't that unusual for a pitcher tossing more innings than ever before. Then the Curious Case of the Disappearing Shelby happened,
44. Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): The Brewers owe Lucroy a total of $9 million over the next three years, or $14.25 million over the next four assuming they pick up his option in 2017. Here's a list of the things Lucroy would have to do to fail to earn that contract:
1. Hit .024 with 400 strikeouts and 968 errors
2. Suffer a career-ending stubbed toe tomorrow
3. Say the word "Smaug" 17,227 times in a row until someone stabs him
I'm not saying I've never used hyperbole to sell a joke. But come on, what Jonah just wrote is terrible. It's fucking horrible. Especially the last part. Jesus H. Christ-that line is Easterbrookian.
Given the flashier names around Lucroy on this list, he might seem out of place at first glance. But if anything, this ranking feels a little low.
More patented Simmons second guessing your own arbitrary ranking cow shit. Infuriating. YOU KNOW I THINK I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING HERE, BUT ON SECOND THOUGHT, MAYBE I'M ACTUALLY SMARTER THAN MYSELF AND THUS AM MAKING ERRORS THAT MYSELF IS UNABLE TO CATCH. Fucking barf.
He delivered offense 5 percent better than the league average, excellent defense, and the health and stamina to play 138 games. After that campaign, [Salvador] Perez's contract looks even more unbelievable. Like, it's actually impossible to believe. The Royals owe Perez $1.5 million in 2014, $1.75 million in 2015, and $2 million in 2016. KC then has a $3.75 million club option for 2017, followed by a $5 million option for 2018 and a $6 million option for 2019, which would normally be Perez's first two years of free agency. That's $20 million for his next six seasons, for a four-win player.
32. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers (18); 31. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox (NR):
Remember how Brett Lawrie and Dylan Bundy were high on last year's list? This time around, Jonah promises to stop overrating prospects.
18. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies (23): I live in Denver. I'm at Coors Field a lot. Last fall, I spent two hours talking to de facto Rockies general manager Bill Geivett about … everything, really. And I still have no idea what the Rockies are doing, other than making arguably the best party atmosphere in and around any ballpark even better. This winter's Tulowitzki dance continues that theme. Tulo's name came up in trade rumors with the Cardinals, a team with enough talent to revitalize the Rockies' stockpile of good, young players and potentially set Colorado up with its best starting rotation ever. Instead, the Rockies more or less came out and said Tulo isn't going anywhere under any circumstances.
None of those moves or non-moves is that bad in isolation; Tulo is a superstar who, even when he plays only 130 games a year, is still the best shortstop in baseball and one of the 20 best players in the majors, and Fowler is a perfectly fine player who also has gigantic home/road splits. The bigger issue is that management doesn't seem to have much of a tangible plan, other than keeping its biggest star in town so fans will keep lining up to buy $12 microbrews on sunny afternoons and the club can keep raking in gigantic gobs of money that it pretends not to have.
That's the most cynical, retarded viewpoint on how an MLB team should manage its assets I've ever read. Jonah is apparently one of those IF YOU DON'T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS BLOW IT ALL UP AND START OVER PROSPECTS ARE AWESOME guys. What a dope.
15. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals (8): Strasburg falls a few spots from last year, since there's now at least a little doubt over his ability to take over the world. There's the still-tough-to-fathom innings-limit gambit of 2012, which sparks doubt over whether there was something else at play aside from a shot-in-the-dark guess at his appropriate workload in the thick of a pennant race.
What? What the hell else could have been at play? Someone in the Nationals front office ordering a shutdown so he could profit from betting against the team's postseason chances? That decision was astonishingly dumb, but I'm 100% certain it was motivated solely by a shot-in-the-dark guess at Strasburg's appropriate workload.
13. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants (27): Bumgarner should have ranked higher last year, so we're correcting matters this time.
Pretty much every player should have been ranked differently than they were on last year's list. Please stop trying to sound like you've finally cracked the trade value code and are providing 100% accurate information, as opposed to last year when you were only providing barely-educated guesses.
12. Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals (44): Wins Above Replacement underrates Molina, maybe severely.
CHECK OUT HIS CATCHER ERA! ALSO HE FRAMES PITCHES A LOT! Fucking gag me. Not saying there's no value to pitch framing or "handling the staff," but to say Molina is "severely underrated" by any metric is laughable. He's been a 6ish rWAR player these last two years. I'm pretty sure he's not really actually a 10 rWAR player or something ridiculous like that. He's not Barry fucking Bonds.
For now, though, Molina just might be the best player in the NL.
No. He's not, and he's not in the top 5. He might not be in the top 10.
5. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants (4); 4. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays (5): There are always what-ifs in baseball, especially when it comes to the draft. But given the success the Rays had with their top picks in 2006 (Longoria) and 2007 (Price), we might need to give a team of scientists 100 years to figure out how Tampa Bay chose Tim Beckham over Buster Posey with its top pick in 2008.
No team has ever had mixed success with high draft picks! It's impossible to believe it happened to the Rays! Like, literally impossible to believe!
When SI's Tom Verducci wrote about Harper back in 2009, he called the Las Vegas–based teenager "Baseball's LeBron," adding: "Golf has Tiger Woods, basketball has LeBron James, hockey had Wayne Gretzky and military history had Alexander the Great, but baseball, like jazz, is a discipline that does not easily engender prodigies … So good and so young is Bryce Harper, however, that he explodes baseball convention." Those words weren't just hosannas from a seasoned and well-respected writer; they reflected the opinion of every talent evaluator in baseball. When Verducci revisited Harper in May of last year, right after Harper's major league debut, it was impossible to overlook the irony involved. "Harper's debut was the most anticipated debut in baseball history," Verducci wrote, "if only because of the volume, scope, and speed of coverage we give professional sports." Basically, Harper is megahyped because Verducci and I and everyone else who writes about the sport drools over Harper's ability.
IRONIC IRONY! Good job by Jonah of 1) misusing that, 2) not grasping that there's nothing weird (let alone ironic) about a writer doing a profile of a megaprospect and then three years later noting that lots of people were eager to see said megaprospect reach MLB, and 3) incorrectly crystalizing his own point, awkwardly flailing and ultimately failing to give any insight into the feedback loop of hype he's trying to describe. Good effort, Jonah. Better luck next year. At least you put Mike Trout at #1 on the list.