Fans of teams tend to overrate their prospects. Sometimes this reaches absurd levels. I mentioned J.A. Happ in my last entry, and apparently a few amateur prospect watchers weight him highly due to his close proximity to the Majors. Does a high level outweigh potential? What about performance vs. scouting? When I develop a prospect list, I think the correct way to go about it is to view the players as trading chips. If you were trading for a team's top prospects, which ones would you value? (Ignoring positional and team needs and such.)
J.A. Happ led the International League in strikeouts, at the age of 25. For comparisons sake, these are the other starters who have finished top ten in strikeouts at the same age. Brandon Knight, Brandon Duckworth, Travis Harper, Luke Hudson, Eric Junge, Denny Lail, Everett Stull, Tim Rumer, Brad Woodall, John DeSilva, Mike Oquist, Jesse Cross, Dave Telgheder, Josh Hancock, Aaron Heilman, Brian Burres, Virgil Vasquez, J.A. Happ, Jeff Niemann and Chris Lambert. Note any All-Stars on that list? None of them even held a starting pitching job long term. Oquist had the most wins, with 25. To make a pitcher on that level a team's top ten prospect is simply delusional.