Thinking About the Grade C Prospect

One of the oddities of my grading system is that there are basically two kinds of Grade C prospects...actually four kinds if you think about it, with two varieties of Grade C hitters and two varieties of Grade C pitchers. First, the definition of a Grade C prospect, lifted directly from the introduction to the Book.

Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all.

A Grade C prospect in rookie ball or Low-A is, in most cases, a very different thing than a Grade C prospect in Double-A or Triple-A. The latter tend to be older prospects or future role players, while many Grade C guys at the lower levels have considerable upside, but are just too raw or inexperienced to project beyond "maybe they will pan out."

I usually make it clear in the player comment what kind of Grade C prospect the player in question is. However, some readers still get confused. I'm trying to figure out a way to clear this up, and below the fold you will see one possible solution.


Here are two player comments from the early draft of the 2012 book, Kyle Waldrop and JaDamion Williams. Both are Grade C prospects. The text makes it clear that they are very different, but what I'm considering here is not just calling them Grade C prospects, but distinguishing between "Grade C-Roleplayer" and "Grade C-Projectable."

 

Kyle Waldrop, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-4     WT: 205   DOB: October 27, 1985
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Drafted in the first round back in 2004, Waldrop never picked up the velocity scouts anticipated, his fastball stalling out in the 87-90 range. However, he reached the majors last year anyway, thanks to the sinking movement his fastball possesses, resulting in a 3.34 GO/AO in Triple-A and 3.83 in the majors. He adds in some curveballs and changeups and did a good job throwing strikes in the minors, though in the majors he nibbled too much. With better command, his ground ball tendencies could make him a useful ROOGY or short man. Grade C-Roleplayer.

 

JaDamion Williams, OF, Minnesota Twins
Bats: S    Throws: R     HT: 5-11    WT: 185     DOB: November 20, 1990
INSERT STATS

 

The Twins drafted JaDamion Williams in the 10th round in 2010 from high school in Tampa, Florida. He shows up as "J.D. Williams" on some stat sheets and draft lists. He signed for $125,000. As you can see, he struggled in the Gulf Coast League after signing, but was more effective in the Appalachian League in 2011. Originally a second baseman, he converted to the outfield last year. Williams runs well and some scouts see power in his bat. He drew more walks last year, but his strikeout rate remains high enough to be worrisome. Grade C-Projectable, but has some upside. Sources close to the team regard him as a sleeper, but I want to see how he does in the Midwest League.

Do you guys think this sort of distinction is worthwhile? There are some guys who would cross boundaries or be difficult to classify, but these two are easy examples. What do you think?

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