John Sickles, who does fantastic work covering the minor leagues for SB Nation over at Minor League Ball, released his Top 150 Prospects list this morning, along with grades for each of the top 150. The list is culled from all players who haven't yet used up their rookie eligibility, so you'll see a fair amount of players currently in the bigs right now.
The Braves were represented by three different players. Lucas Sims leads the way at #77 with a B+ grade. David Hale checks in at #137 with a grade of B-, and Tommy La Stella checks in at #142, also with a grade of B.
In case you're curious about what the grades mean, here's what Sickles has to say about them:
Grade A prospects are the elite. They have a reasonable chance of becoming stars or superstars. In theory, most Grade A prospects develop into major league regulars, if injuries or unanticipated problems don't intervene. Note that is a major "if" in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
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. Some end up as role players or bench guys. Many don't make it at all.
So what do you think? Surprised to see Hale and La Stella? Curious about other potential omissions? Feel free to sound off in the comments. If, like me, you're a prospect junkie, Sickles is doing an all-day Q&A session in the comment section of his post, so you can head over there and pick his brain, if you like.
Here's what Sickles had to say of those three guys from his organization rankings in December:
Lucas Sims, RHP, Grade B+. Borderline A-. All the attributes of a future number two starter. I want to see how he handles a larger workload going forward, but that’s nitpicking at this point. Clearly the class of the system. Went 12-4, 2.62 with 134/46 K/BB in 117 innings in Low-A, just 83 hits. Low-to-mid-90s, good curve and change, throws strikes, athletic. Complete package.
Tommy La Stella, 2B, Grade B: Borderline B-. What? Why so high? Simple: I get theMatt Carpenter/Allen Craig St. Louis Cardinals type massively underrated prospect vibe with this one, and I swore this year that I won’t get talked out of where my analysis leads me. La Stella can simply hit and his fielding is underrated. My main concern is durability, but if injuries don’t get in the way I think he is going to outperform a lot of guys who get more hype.
David Hale, RHP, Grade B-: Older arm at age 26 but I think he’s made enough progress to rate well. Does he start or relieve? His component ratios aren’t great but I think there is enough stuff here particularly if used in pen.