First of all, we have something different this year as both Jaypoozle and I will release separate Top 30 lists. First a few ground rules that I follow: I list only players who still maintain their Rookie of the Year eligibility, although I typically don't follow the rule on days on the Active Roster. With guys moving up and down, it can sometimes be hard to determine exact days on the roster. I also typically list guys 25 and younger. If a guy is 26 or older, he better be setting the world on absolute fire in AA or AAA. The other tricky part can be International guys with pro-experience abroad. I rank 'em. Again they're eligible for ROY and neither the leagues in Cuba or Japan are MLB quality.
For my rankings I tend to look at a combination of floor and ceiling. I might rank a high floor in the upper minors higher than someone who values ceiling, almost solely. Why? Because I'm confident a guy whose floor is David Murphy and ceiling is Hunter Pence, will, at minimum provide some value to the Major League team. While a guy whose ceiling is Albert Belle, but whose floor is Hank Blalock, I can't really rely on value from that player, so I might rate him slightly lower. Again, that depends on how likely I think each is to reach their ceiling vs. floor. If I think the guy with the Albert Belle ceiling is 80% likely to reach it, while the Pence ceiling is 20% for the other player, I'd rank the Albert Belle guy higher. Some people differ on this point and instead view ceiling very strongly, with the idea that a guy with a 20% chance of being Albert Belle might be tradeable to get back real value, that's perfectly reasonable.
Another items I look at very strongly is tools vs. skills. Let me explain what I mean by that. Carlos Tocci is graded by scouts at a 70 scouting grade on his speed, but he, currently, kind of sucks at stealing bases. Essentially, he has the tool that tool that could allow him to steal successfully, but he hasn't yet acquired the skills and knowledge to do it consistently. So his tool may be 70, but his skill might be more like 50. Of course, this is offset by his being a 17 year old in Low-A. He has plenty of time to learn and master the skill. If he were a 25 year old in Triple-A, I'd likely write off the skill as unlikely to develop.
I'll start off with a few guys who missed the cut for me:
Larry Greene, Jr.: Fudgie was a disaster in 2013. His swing is completely out of whack with his top and bottom halves rotating off time. Additionally the team had him take first pitch without swinging (Fudgie had been a notorious first pitch swinger. He'd be an easy out at upper levels for anyone who wanted to pitch him backwards). This led to him either K'ing or Walking in nearly 50% of his plate appearances. The team has worked with him this fall and are reportedly happy with his progress as they worked to fix his mess of a swing. If it's fixed, he'll rocket up this list in 2014. If not? He's maybe an Org. First Baseman.
Drew Anderson: Anderson stands a decent chance at being a back of the rotation Starter, but there's so little data and he's so far away. There's plenty of time to rank him once there's actual, measurable innings to base the ranking off of.
Zach Collier: I could end up regretting this one. Collier has the tools to be a very good player, but I'm somewhat convinced at this point he'll never fully put them together. Maybe he can become a 4th OF, but even on that I'm not entirely sold.
Mark Leiter, Jr.- He was fun to follow this summer, but nothing in his profile shouts future star or even future Starter. The things he has going for him are good bloodlines, a reportedly strong work ethic and, given the skills of his Dad and Uncles, good pitching knowledge. That might be enough to carve out a nice career, but I have a personal rule: half a season of stats don't strongly sway my opinion of a recent draftee. Good or bad. A guy may shift a bit if he showed tools he didn't pre-draft or a flaw is exposed. My thoughts on Leiter are roughly the same since Draft day.