PARS: Meet A Brand New Prospect Ranking System

I wanted to find an unbiased way to rank prospects based on an individual score.  I created PARS (Prospect Aggregate Rating System), which rates and ranks players using a custom, proprietary formula. Players are graded in 7 categories and receive a final score between -220 and 660. This number is then converted to the 0-100 scale. Each category is weighted differently, with more emphasis placed on certain stats than others.

PARS focuses more on percentages and ratios than counting stats. Counting stats are often not indicative of true talent level, as there are many factors, independent of player skills, at play. For example, RBI and Runs are ignored for hitters, and Wins and Saves are ignored for pitchers.


Formula Formation:

For hitters, wRC+, wOBA, ISO, BB%, and K% are all included in the PARS formula, to varying degrees. In my research, I have found wOBA and ISO to be superior to OBP and SLG. For pitchers, WHIP, GB%, HR rate, K rate, and BB rate are all included, also to varying degrees.  Other stats that are factored into the final score are BABIP and LD% for hitters, as well as LOB% for pitchers. With these, we are looking more for anomalies and outliers than anything else.

Proximity to the majors is another piece of the formula, though weighted less than performance. This makes it difficult for a prospect tearing up the DSL to rank in the top 50, however, as past performance/track record will raise or lower a player’s score. Without a track record of success, your overall highest possible score is lower. This helps boost AA and AAA player scores, as these players are performing at the highest levels of the minors, and are closest to helping in the majors. Success at AA is much more predictive of future success than success at the Complex.

Scores are also affected by numerous other factors, including hit tool, pitcher arsenal, age-to-level, pedigree, and more. For example, a first round pick with an elite hit tool struggling in their first taste of rookie ball will receive a higher score than a player at the same level with the exact same stats, who is old for the level and drafted in the 28th round.


BBPG:

Counting stats are factored into PARS within a custom stat called BBPG (Bombs + Bags Per Game). This adds HR and SB and divides the total by the number of games played. I wanted to find a way to recognize players who profile as potential power/speed threats. The Trouts and Acunas will shine on their other merits, but what about the Cedric Mullins, Randy Arozarenas, and Trent Grishams? This helps these players not slip through the cracks. Due to the quality of catchers and significant rule changes in A ball and below, stolen bases count as 0.5 at these levels.

PARS is Fluid:

As names are added to the list based on their PARS score, the rankings of prospects below them will change. The #20 prospect today can be #25 tomorrow. It is a fluid list, with new names added, performances changing, and players receiving promotions. Also, if Statcast metrics, such as exit velocity and spin rate, ever become as widely accessible for minor leaguers as they are for big leaguers, needless to say, the formula will see a pretty decent facelift.

Follow the List:

To access the PARS list at any time, click bit.ly/PARSlist or type that URL (case sensitive) into any browser (including mobile). To follow along with daily player additions or other updates, follow the hashtag #PARSlist on Twitter. You can also find me @PARSlist on Twitter. I am always happy to take player requests for the list, as well as hear any suggestions or feedback that you may have.




About Rick Mahieu 1 Article
Ever since I was 6 years old, and I held my very first baseball card, I loved baseball. It was a 1986 Topps card. I grew up in Staten Island, NY (but rooted for the A's), moved to Seattle in 2006, then to Germany in 2015, and finally back to the east coast in 2017. I live in New Jersey with my wife, daughter, and 2 dogs. I'm a pharmacist, but that's only to pay the bills. I'm 100% a baseball guy. My idle message at work says "Probably thinking about baseball". Currently, my focus is on minor league baseball, specifically deep league prospects. I am working on a new rating system called PARS, and hope to learn more about the game I love in my studies.

3 Comments

  1. A common sense and logical way to rate minor leaguers. I love it. So, with this methodology there would be no ‘midseason top prospect list’ because PARS will begin ranking with the first games of the season and change daily, right? What happens when you compare a 26 yr old hitting .330 at AAA versus a 19yr old hitting .220 in single-A but with loud tools? Are any non-statistics included?

    • Thanks James. In-season, each player’s PARS score will be updated monthly. Automation is in the works, but for now it’s a manual process. And yes, those 2 types of players/resultsv would be counted differently, as pedigree and age-to-level will both affect the score. Thanks for reading and for your question!

  2. Hi there. I’m big into prospecting in card collecting and just discovered PARS. it’s incredible. Thank you. I’m wondering how often you update it? I want to make sure I stay on top of it.

    Thank you
    Andrew
    wcdcards

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