Defining Risk, Scouting Future Value, And How It Applies To Grading

Here at Prospects Live, we use a standard four levels of risk when evaluating the overall future value of prospects. Using the 20-80 Scale, we assign a grade based on overall production. The SFV grades are not an average or combination of the 5 tools. Rather, it paints the picture on player value and the risk assigned to the SFV grade is the amount of risk in order to reach the grade.

We use Extreme, High, Moderate, and Low. For example, we graded Wander Franco a SFV 70 with extreme risk. This risk is based on proximity and age. In order to become a 4-6 WAR player, perennial All-Star, MVP candidate, Franco has the tools that we look for in evaluating those players. But he has yet to play in the advanced level of the lower minors and there is some risk that he moves off SS. We could easily grade him as a 60 with moderate risk to reach those expectations.

Cristian Pache and Nate Pearson are other examples of 70 grade Extreme risk players. We think both have the tools to be two of the best players in the majors at peak. Yet, both have extreme risk to get there. For Pearson, it is injury and experience with an added risk for pitchers due to longer development windows. Pache’s risk is attributed to his bat. He has three tools that grade him as a 60 Low risk even if the bat doesn’t develop like we think.

Players at the upper level of the minors tend to have lower risks compared to those not yet in full-season ball even if they are the same age. High floor guys tend to all be low to moderate risk to reach that high floor.

Risk can be position, injury history, contact rate, lack of command, body, athleticism. The disservice when ranking players sometimes is the inability to convey what that risk may be. Sixto Sanchez is the perfect example. For me, he came into 2018 with significant reliever risk. Most pitchers have that risk. Sixto made great strides in developing his change-up and using his slider early in counts before he was injured. The injury risk coupled with the reliever risk makes him an Extreme risk pitcher to reach a SFV 60-65. With Peter Alonso, there is position risk. I am fairly confident Alonso will hit and hit for power. But in order for Alonso to remain in the lineup, he has to hit. There is some moderate risk that he never hits above .245 but still manages to hit 30 HR. The risk is if his hit tool eats into his game power and he produces at 45 SFV clip,  where do we go from there?

In short, this inexact science is one part of the equation that we use to separate prospects when ranking them. I hope this helps you understand our thought process behind the rankings.