One simple question for this Monday: is there any college program in the country that you would be willing to trade your favorite MLB team’s top ten ranked minor league prospects in order to acquire their (the college program’s) top ten ranked amateur prospects? I ask that knowing full well that there are but a handful of people out there with intimate knowledge of ten prospects in all of college baseball, let alone ten players on just one team. I figured if there was anybody out there who could answer this question, it would be here. Maybe consider the question a different way first: would you be willing to risk losing your top ten minor league prospects for the draft haul Tampa is about to cash in on? Assume bonus demands aren’t part of this particular equation. The breakdown would be…
OUT: ten top minor leaguers
IN: the following picks in the first “two” rounds – 24, 31, 32, 38, 41, 42, 52, 56, 59, 60
I’m not saying there is a college program that currently has ten potential top 60 picks on its roster, but I think the basic idea here is the same. Do you trade the pro prospects who you know and love for a new crop of untested amateur ballers, more or less sight unseen? The strength of certain 2011 college programs and players makes this question more difficult than it may first appear.
I know Houston isn’t at the way bottom of most prospect rankings this year, but I think it is fair to say that their system is still not particularly strong, right? I don’t mean to pick on them, it’s just that they were one of the first teams to pop into my head. Would the Astros ever in a billion years consider trading their top ten minor league guys for, I don’t know, Rice’s top ten pro prospects? Rice wouldn’t be one of the schools I would pick for this exercise, but perhaps the presence of a marquee talent like Anthony Rendon would make the trade something to consider. The idea can be expanded even further; what if you could set the terms on how many players both teams would be giving up? Would Houston trade their top prospect (RHP Jordan Lyles) for Rice’s top prospect (Rendon)? If that’s a yes, and I’m pretty sure it would be, then how many players would you have to extend it to until it became a no? Would Houston trade their top two prospects (Lyles and Delino Deshields, according to Baseball America) for Rice’s top two prospects (Rendon and…I don’t know…a young arm like one of FR RHPs John Simms or Austin Kubitza…or maybe the toolsy JR OF Jeremy Rathjen)? How far do you have to go to end trade talks? Lots of questions, but I’m really curious as to whether or not I’m as far off the mark as I think I could be. I don’t want to be the stereotypical draft loving guy who overrates amateur prospects (see this all the time with fans of the minors…”I want my team to get Greinke, but no way would I consider moving any prospect in the top 20!!!), but I also think one of the best ways to draw prospect loving fans deeper into the draft/college ball is to tie minor league prospecting closer to amateur evaluation. I clearly need more time to flesh this whole idea out.
I do have one college team in mind that seems particularly stacked in talent. They are the team that actually got me thinking about this whole thought exercise in the first place. This team probably isn’t that hard to guess as I’m not alone in hyping them heading into 2011, but, from a prospect standpoint, they are really hard to beat. Freshmen to juniors, hitters and pitchers, good blend of star upside and high floor talent…what more could you want? College position rankings won’t stop, but in the coming days I’m also hoping to come back to this thought and do some minor league/college ball comparing and contrasting.