Yesterday, Scouts, Inc's Keith Law posted his Top 100 Prospects. The first 25 are available for all to see as are the ten who missed the cut. Also posted for all to see are his top ten prospects by position. Additionally, he chatted about the list, too, with some humorous references to the New York Senate appointment situation.
For those of us who enjoy Law's style, the day was a great one. As an Insider subscriber, I am able to read all of the Top 100. I am sure many others will pan it because Law has taken an approach to prospecting that is against the consensus. It reminds me very much of what Dave Luciani of Baseball Notebook did a few years ago.
Whether it was ranking Kansas City Royals' 3B Alex Gordon at 36 or ranking 2B Travis Denker 4th, Luciani always provided his ranks based on his methods rather than following the prospecting consensus. Mr. Law has continued down that admirable path.
The anti-establishment ranking by Mr. Law? Pittsburgh Pirates' 3B Pedro Alvarez at 38. Given two of the titans at Baseball America have ranked Alvarez as the top and 5th overall best prospect, this ranking is bound to cause the most discussion.
In addition to this gutsy ranking, Mr. Law provided a detailed write up of every player in his Top 100. This is markedly different that what is provided by Baseball America who has moved to a more spartan listing of just the player and his "vitals" without much in terms of commentary.
Here is what Keith Law said about Pedro Alvarez. I will leave it up to the reader and his/her conscious whether Mr. Law deserves any hate on the levels received by Mr. Luciani.
RANK PLAYER POS. ORGANIZATION '08 RANK #AGE 38 Pedro Alvarez 3B/1B Pittsburgh Pirates
TOP '08 LEVEL: N/A
Alvarez needs to consider hiring a publicist, as just about every story about him over the past seven months has been unflattering, from the minor scandal when he and his agent, Scott Boras, called the Pirates out for violating the terms of the CBA and then settled for a $250,000 dollar increase in Alvarez's signing bonus to recent reports that he was out of shape in the Pirates' mini-camp and is already experiencing tendinitis in his knees. Conditioning has always been an issue for Alvarez dating back to his freshman summer with Team USA, and it's the main reason he's likely to end up at first base.
At the plate, Alvarez is strong and has a high-effort swing that produces big power and lots of hard contact, mostly to right and right-center, but he has struggled with left-handers. In general, he didn't make enough contact in the SEC after coming back from a broken hamate (hand) bone. His setup, with an extremely wide base that doesn't give him much chance to adjust to offspeed stuff, isn't helping, but it's fixable. Plus, you can't teach the kind of raw power Alvarez has.
The bonus kerfuffle cost him any chance to play in 2008, even in winter ball, so all we have now are year-old scouting reports and questions about his conditioning and commitment. He could be in the top 10 next year with a full, healthy season in which he addresses concerns about his ability to make contact.