I noticed recently there's been alot of talk about how to rank the pitchers in our system, specifically related to talent and ceiling or by proximity and likelihood of reaching the big leagues.
Obviously, strictly going by one or the other is going to bring different results, and I think most publications (such as Baseball America) try to find a bridge between the two and go from there. I bring this up because of the recent argument over whether Stetson Allie or Rudy Owens is a better prospect. Of course, going by cieling Allie is, and going by likehood its Owens. Looking at both ways of ranking prospects together however, I still think Allie comes out on top, and its simply a difference in stuff. Owens looks great this year, he's got a plus change-up, and according to most scouts his other pitches are about league average now, where last year they weren't ( and I said most because I know some people will kill me for saying his stuff isn't above average... I'm rolling with the general consensus here). Combine that with great command, and he looks like a very good starter. I love him. But with that said there's no way he's a number one starter, or a number two starter. If he turned into a great number three I would be pumped, but I think thats his ceiling. A good way to measure him actually is James McDonald, who's got very good stuff, a few plus pitches, and is STILL seen as a number three by just about everyone. Keith Law, for example, loves him, and he calls McDonald a good number three or four. Owens meanwhile definitely doesn't have McDonald's stuff, but his command seems better, and I think the two of them have the potential to be a great three-four combo. Allie, on the other hand, has the physical potential to be a number one starter. He's got a plus plus fastball, a plus slider, and an average change, and he's only nineteen. The slider projects as plus plus, and the change as plus. Why does this matter more that Owens proximity and likelihood of reaching MLB? Simply because arms like this don't grow on trees. There's probably 30 or 40 pitchers (at the very least) in our system who rival Rudy Owens in arm strength, and there's only one (Taillon) who rivals Allie, and who can also sustain it for seven innings like him. He's a top 100 prospect just by virtue of having a cannon for a right arm, and one thats capable of starting in the big leagues. Owens is a very good prospect, but real potential aces are about as rare as it gets in the minors, and Allie is one of them. Anyway, thats just the way I see it. Potential number one's are hard to come by (and its nice we just got two of them).