Is Your Prospect a Jeans Model or a Baseball Player?

I'm going to compare two prospects for you. Some of you consider one of the two to be elite. In fact, many baseball scouts think he's something special. He was drafted in the first round, he's 6'3", and when I asked my wife what she thought about the guy, she said he had a "good face."

The other guy is 5'9". He was drafted in the fifth round. He's just another minor leaguer that nobody cares about. I'm not going to tell you which one is which until after you look at the numbers.

A 0.277 0.373 0.445 0.325 11 /4 29/49
AA 0.285 0.360 0.464 0.300 25 /9 57/73
A 0.318 0.363 0.520 0.366 9 /5 38/117
AA 0.291 0.343 0.408 0.355 6 /8 39/119

Both guys played one year at each level at roughly the same age (Johnny was 4 months younger, so he has that in his favor). Johnny has been helped out by a very high BABIP each of the two years, leading to his higher batting averages. However, Billy has actually done pretty well in the average department as well. Billy's BB/K rate is considerably better, to say the least. Billy is also a considerably better base stealer, and both guys play the same position (kind of).

While the two of these guys may look like a wash to you, there's a twist to this story. One of these guys went on to triple A the next year. And what a year it was. He hit .354/.430/.554 with 30 steals in 33 tries. Billy absolutely tore it up. If you thought these guys were pretty similar before, you now see the difference. Billy keeps getting better, while Johnny puts up a 97 wRC+ season.

See, Billy was drafted in the fifth round and didn't win the Futures Game MVP. He's my height, which is to say he's normal. He's just a regular guy that's not going to sell any jeans.

Billy's real name is Collin Cowgill, and Johnny is Grant Green. Grant Green recenly ranked number 6 on the A's top 10 prospect list over at Baseball America and was our "best hitter for average." Cowgill ranked ... nowhere. Sure, they threw him a bone as the "best outfield arm," but that's it. No love. In fact, they both play Center Field, and while Cowgill is apparently decent there, we only have a partial season of Green there after not cutting it at SS.

I'm not a prospect evaluator, so I haven't seen the "tools" that these guys have. But one thing I do know is that I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more Cowgill.

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