It was pointed out yesterday that through 16 years of prospect analysis, I have never given anyone a Grade A+. Commentators wondered if Alex Rodriguez or Andruw Jones would have been worthy of such a grade, and if not them, who?
To me, a Grade A+ hitting prospect would be a player with 80 ratings in every traditional scouting category, as well as outstanding plate discipline, terrific makeup factors, and flawless statistics. He would be very young for his levels, and already playing a premium defensive position with present Gold-Glove caliber defense. I have never see a prospect like that.
A Grade A+ pitching prospect would have four plus-plus pitches, exceptional command and control, a great body, perfect mechanics, no injury history, outstanding makeup, and a brilliant performance record. Again, I've never seen anyone like that. There is always some flaw somewhere, no matter how minor.
Maybe that is just an impossible standard, but to me an A+ would mean "this player has no discernable problems or issues to work on at all." A Grade A+ prospect would be a Platonic ideal.
Now, that said, maybe I will change my mind about that someday, but unless Bryce Harper switches to shortstop and fields like Ozzie Smith, I don't see anyone on the horizon who will earn that grade. I also know that if I ever did give anyone a Grade A+, they would promptly suffer a catastrophic career-ending injury of some kind, or otherwise be struck down by the Fates.