Here’s another annual book, and this one is essential for anyone who is zeroed in on prospects. The folks at Baseball America kick out an early spring compilation called the Prospect Handbook and it has their top 30 rankings for each organization. This is a book you will go to again and again throughout the season.
The information compiled for each club is comprehensive. An overview begins each team’s section, followed by a full page of charts showing this year’s top 30, last year’s top 30 so you can see what changed and other listings including previous draft picks and prospect rankings. A graphical depth chart depicts a club’s minor league system at each position, going well beyond the top 30 listing.
The staff of Baseball America has also compiled a ranking for the organizations with a brief explanation of each. At the back of the book, after all the clubs have been profiled, there are various resource sections starting with listings of what each team spent in the most recent draft. The spending is broken down per club, vs. the budgets they were given and what each drafted player’s signing bonus was.
The handbook continues with top 100 rankings of college and high school players. Finally, each team’s top 20 minor league prospects are listed. Overall, it is a comprehensive set of lists that will come in handy on many occasions.
Whatever Baseball America has come up with in the way of analysis of prospects is included in the book and it has been compiled for easy reference. Succesfully evaluating baseball talent is an extremely difficult thing to do consistently, but there is much explanation at how the staff arrived at their observations throughout the book. If you have enough interest to buy the current year’s edition, you will likely make it an yearly purchase that is one of your early indicators that the offseason is over and it is time to get ready for baseball.