Today in my mailbox the yellow package arrived from the folks at Baseball America. Contained inside was their annual Prospect Handbook product, the Bible for following baseball prospects.
Published annually, the Prospect Handbook contains the Top 30 prospects for each organization in Major League Baseball as evaluated by the staff of Baseball America.
The book contains a full page spread on the #1 prospect in each organization, shows a thumbnail photo of each of the top 10 prospects, with a bio and brief scouting report on every one of the 30 listed.
A new feature with the 2012 edition is the inclusion of both a scouting numerical "grade" and a "risk factor" for each evaluated prospect.
The scouting grade will reflect the state of the player's current physical skills. The risk factor will show whether that player is more likely at this stage of his career to maximize those skills and to reach his potential.
The scouting grade is based on the traditional baseball 20-80 'OFP' (Overall Future Potential) formula in which players are rated on their power, hitting ability, arm, base running/speed, and fielding ability.
The highest ranked players, those in the 75-80 range of the scale, are impact talents that can change the face of an organization. Most prospects will fall into the 50-55 range. You will rarely see players at a 30-35 or lower level make it into the book.
The risk factor was developed by the folks at Baseball America, and includes ratings of "Safe", "Low", "Medium", "High" and "Extreme" that will reflect their opinion as to how likely it is that a player with a certain skill set is to maximize his potential and translate those skills to the big league level.