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More on those prospects

If you're dropping by for the first time in a day or more, be sure to scroll down--I'm apparently in a blogging mood right now so there's a few thousand words of new content.

I've steered clear of talking too much about Nate Silver's PECOTA projections, partly because I prefer ZiPS, and partly because there are so many projection systems now that it gets boring to talk about any one of them.  But Nate has expanded his purview (his ambition for PECOTA might be its biggest selling point) to measuring the "upside" of prospects.  All of his articles on this topic have been subscriber-only, and I'm guessing that if you subscribe and you care, you've already read them.  The upside measurement is fairly complicated, so I'll skip trying to summarize it here.

Yesterday, Nate wrote about 1B and OF prospects--clearly, a topic of interest for Brewer fans.  Prince Fielder's upside score is 224.1, a number that doesn't mean much unless you compare it to the field.  224 makes Prince the #1 first base prospect in baseball, almost DOUBLE the number two guy, Mike Jacobs.  Other guys you might hear about--Conor Jackson, Ryan Shealy, Kendry Morales, James Loney, Daric Barton--all hover around 100.  Nate projects a lot of variability for Prince.  He says, "the fact remains that we're in uncharted territory when it comes to a prospect with this combination of bat and braun."  Indeed.

Prince's ranking comes as no surprise.  It puts him a notch below Ryan Howard (259) who doesn't qualify as a prospect for the list, but above all of the other "almost prospects"--first baseman who got enough playing time last year to qualify.

Here's the real pleasing note in these rankings: Corey Hart checks in as the number three corner outfield prospect in baseball, behind Jeremy Hermida and way behind Delmon Young.  Even Nelson Cruz makes an appearance at #15, right behind Twins' prospect Jason Kubel and just ahead of Cardinal minor league Cody Haerther and future Oriole Nick Markakis.  Here's what Nate has to say about Corey:

Rany Jazayerli asked me whether Corey Hart is this year's Jonny Gomes or Wily Mo Pena. He might be, but only if Geoff Jenkins gets hurt again, or the Brewers move back to the American League. It shouldn't be that hard to see why PECOTA likes Hart; he has the combination of skills and tools that the system has always favored. There's nothing especially goofy about Hart's batting line; his strikeout rates are highish, but well within the tolerable range. I suspect that some of the reason he's remained off the radar screen is because his defensive position has been changed so many times, including some rather brutal experiments at third base (something the Brewers saw fit to recreate in the AFL this year). Hart runs well enough that he almost certainly should make an adequate corner outfielder, and PECOTA thinks he'll develop the bat for the position. Then again, having Corey Koskie on my 25-man roster would make me do some strange things too.

Corey Hart's upside score put him right about #2 on the first baseman list, as well.  And it's not far behind that of Jeff Francouer.  The good news keeps comin'--now, I guess we should start talking about what team will be giving us what prospects for renting Carlos Lee in July!