Why do we rank? At its most basic level, it's a way to show you the reader which players I think are most valuable, and take stock of the system as a whole.
After procrastinating for January, and then running short of time in February, I rearranged my list after visiting Spring Training. I made almost all of the changes outside the top 12 or so.
In years past, I had some fun slotting players of very different profiles in adjacent spots. For example, last year, I had #13 LHP Darin Gorski just above #14 RHP Domingo Tapia. This year, I have tried to group more similar players together.
A note about eligibility: I'm a little flexible. I start with guys with rookie eligibility. Then I remove guys who spent most of the year in the big leagues.
However, does anyone want me to write about Josh Edgin? He still has rookie eligibility - having only thrown 25.2 MLB innings- I had him ranked #19 heading into last year, and in 2012 he looked like a left-handed middle reliever. He throws hard, and has some control issues. He's no building block, but he's a nice, cheap bullpen piece. There, done. Does anyone want to hear about Elvin Ramirez who walked 20 in his 21.1 big league innings? No, right? For the record, I'd have Edgin right near the back of the top 15, and Ramirez around 20. But are they prospects in the fun sense of the word?
So, off we go.