If you haven’t noticed, we’ve not only entered prospect season, but we’ve also entered projection season. Today, Dan Szymborski applied his projection system ZiPS to minor league players, and then compared the projections to Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list. The Yankees landed four prospects on this list, far more than we’ll see on any top 100 prospect lists this year.
I’m assuming there are a number of reasons for these discrepancies. All four of these players are position players, and I’ve assumed for a while that Yankee hitters are undervalued due to playing in perhaps the most pitcher-friendly system in baseball. Another reason would be the weight of injuries, and I’m not sure how much ZiPS takes into account the injury plagued seasons of Heathcott and Williams. Finally, these ZiPS projections are looking at overall career win contributions, and Keith Law is looking for breakout impact players that could be All Stars. ZiPS likely values a player like J.R. Murphy higher, as the system sees a young catcher that’s ready to start everyday as an above average player.
In my opinion, the Yankees still lack major league ready breakout talent, but the ZiPS projections at least shine some light on how overlooked position players are in this system. The farm system is still incredibly disappointing, but I also think some analysis of the system has grown overly negative due to the pitcher-friendly environment.