It's a slow time for prospect news, so I thought I would start some conversation about 2 of the minors' brightest young prospects. No, I'm not going to compare Villalona to everybody's favorite Messiah, though I'm sure there are some Giant fans who would take Big V over the "son of God" in a heartbeat. Instead, I wanted to compare the 2 biggest (by bonus, and probably by size) signings of 2006. Villalona received a 2.1 million dollar bonus, and Montero 1.6. One of them, Villalona is in the top 40 of our community list, and will likely receive a B+ grade from John. Montero received a C+ from John, though is on the border of a B-, and will likely be on the back end of the top 100 if he makes it at all.
Scouting-wise, both are projected to have huge power, with Montero's supposedly at 80 on the scouting scale and Villalona is probably similar. Villalona is probably projected to be a better hitter for average, though I cannot say that with any degree of certainty. Defensively, neither are supposed to be great defenders at their current positions, though they are improving, and neither of them is likely to be moved next season.
Now, let's take a look at the stats at the same level:
Villalona: .285/.344/.450 in 200 AB in the AZL, with 15 walks against 42 strikeouts (I'm going to ignore his mediocre numbers in the NWL because it was a 12 at bat sample).
Montero: .280/.366/.421 in 107 AB's (he missed the first part of the season with an ankle injury, hence the limited at bats). He drew 12 walks against 18 strikeouts.
Both put up very similar numbers in rookie ball, showing the ability to hit for average, walk, and hit for power. Villalona showed a little more power, but Montero demonstrated superior plate discipline (by virtue of the k:bb ratios and his # of walks).
Important factors that have not been mentioned yet are age and position. Age certainly favors Villalona, who was 8 months younger than Montero. Position favors Montero, who was playing catcher, and was impressing scouts who previously didn't think he would stay at the position. His stats for a catcher were more impressive than Villalona's stats were for a 3rd baseman.
Don't get me wrong, I think Villalona's going to be great, but I guess I'm wondering why everybody sees him as far superior to Montero, a prospect with similar (though maybe not equivalent) hype when he was signed, similar numbers (with Montero's at a much more important position). While I'm sure many of you are still operating under the impression that Montero is a 1st baseman waiting to happen, as is Villalona, recent reports speak very favorably of Jesus's improving skills behind the dish, and the Yankees rave about his work ethic.
I'm going to make a poll, and I'd like you to vote for your belief on how Villalona and Montero should be compared. I guess these could be thoughts of how to compare prospects without long track records, and think about the relative importance of position, ARL, bonus size and scouting. Feel free to discuss your votes or other options if I didn't address them. I would advise you to avoid the joke answers, as I put them on there just for fun.