In case you haven't noticed over the off-season, I'm a big fan of anything prospect related. It's one of my favorite parts of baseball. Anytime something comes out, I try and give it a read and an honest assessment as a baseball fan instead of through the Northwest Green lenses of a Mariners fan. It's why I didn't have a huge issue with Keith Law ranking the Mariners 20th this offseason.
Kiley McDaniel, who does prospect rankings over at ESPN, has now released both his top 100 and a modified version of the team rankings. Essentially, they assign value to a player based on the FV (Future Value) ranking that they have been given. If you read the analysis I put up the other day about how it was odd that no one had a 50 FV grade outside of Ford and Miller... well, it really rears its ugly head here.
He has the Mariners 29th in his valuation rankings based off the Fangraphs methodology for compiling the values.
That's embarrassing. Does he really think that the Mariners only have 2 prospects in their entire system with a grade of 50? If you think that a handful of players not getting 50s and instead getting 45s isn't that big of a difference... prepare to be surprised.
Here is why it makes such a big deal. You can see massive jumps in value when you change from one ranking tier to the next. Also, the article is from 2018, but the values don't change a ton in relation to the whole. Even if there are slight differences in an update, it won't change the rankings on a league-wide basis. The values come from the tables linked above.
$ Valuations (2018 Value)
See the massive leap from a 50 FV player to a 45 FV player? A 50 is an everyday player, while a 40/45 is a platoon/back of the bench type player. For pitchers, its the difference between a 4th/5th starter and a spot starter/long-reliever.
Can you understand now why it's such a big difference?
Plenty of places have Harry Ford as a 55. McDaniel has him as the 18th 50 FV prospect. A lot of places have a fair amount of other Mariners as 50 FV players. Shoot, some even have Bryce Miller as a 55 as well. Want to see how much of a difference it really makes? Here's what happens when we only adjust the top 6 players in the Mariners farm system to realistic and informed levels.
Kiley Top 6 value
Adjust Top 6 value
Top 6 Value Increase
New Total Value/Rank
Now, some of the other ones would likely adjust up as well, as Kiley is a cautious and wary grader, with only 41 players receiving 55 FV or higher. Most places have more than that. Still, this comfortably puts the Mariners up into the teens, and makes a lot more sense.
Also, this is without talking about Felnin Celesten or the Mariners upcoming three picks in the top 30, both of which are going to be huge going forward. For now, they don't adjust this, but they will A TON next year.
Anyway, it's obvious that the Mariners should be higher up than 29th. I can accept being off by 5 spots, even up to 10 spots. It is a matter of preference and personal evaluation when scouting. However, this is just ridiculous. If you're looking for prospect information, go to one of the real sites for it, and not ESPN.