1. Power grades are projected game power based on raw power and other factors that impact a player’s chances to realize it — such as hit tool.
2. Thresholds have been adjusted to account for the increase in home runs and power in general throughout MLB, as well as the uptick in velocity (up a full mph from 2014), and decrease in batting average (down five points since 2014).
3. Have adjusted (a bit) for the slight downward trend in speed. It’s tiny, but it’s there.
4. Scales can vary slightly, depending on the org/evaluator, and other surrounding factors can impact the grade; tail/sink on a fastball can tick up the FB grade, since velo isn’t the entire grade on a FB. Command can have an impact on a pitch grade, as can a player’s ability to use his speed better than others with similar raw speed.
5. 80 grades are rare.
6. Lefty velo is rarer than righty velo, hence the difference in grades.
7. Reliever velo is slightly downgraded versus starter velo.
8. When some evaluators say fringe-average or solid-average, it’s saying slightly below or slightly above, and often that means a tweener grade in between the initial half grade. Fringe-average = 47.5. Solid-average = 52.5. These aren’t used much in baseball; more so in prospect analysis outside the industry itself. Scouts will instead explain a tweener grade in writing.

Rather than use the tweener grades I’ll use a plus sign on the half grade, as I have in the past.

9. Grades are not permanent, although speed tends only to decrease with very little room for increase. Most tools
can be improved, and are, with development time. It may or may not show up on the radar as a significant improvement, or enough to change a player’s grade or overall profile, depending on the level of development of the tool in question.
10. The 20-25 grades are rarely used, because if a significant tool grades that low, the player isn’t a big-league prospect. They are typically only used on speed for slugger/catcher types, but even then it’s rare, and overall concerning for prospects, since ‘prospects’ are young players, usually between 16-25 years of age.

Here is the 20-80 Scale and what the grades represent in terms of performance on the field at the major-league level.

TAG

HIT

PWR

SPD to 1B

60

Velo
RH

Velo
LH


Pop (C)

80

80

.315
AVG

43+ HR

3.9L,
4.0R

6.3

98

96

1.85 &
under

75

.310

38-42
HR

3.95L,
4.05R

6.4

97

95

70

Plus
Plus

.290

34-37
HR

4.0L,
4.1R

6.5

96

94

65

.280

30-33
HR

4.05L,
4.15R

6.6

95

93

60

Plus

.270

26-29
HR

4.1L,
4.2R

6.7-6.8

94

92

1.9

55

Above
Average

.260

22-25
HR

4.15L,
4.25R

6.9

93

91

50

Average

.255

18-21
HR

4.2L,
4.3R

7

92

90

1.95

45

Below
Average

.245

14-17
HR

4.25L,
4.35R

7.1

91

89

40

Well
Below Average

.240

10-13
HR

4.3L,
4.4R

7.2

89-90

88

2

35

.230

6-9 HR

4.35L,
4.45R

7.3

88

87

30


.220

4-6 HR

4.4L
4.50R

7.4

87

86

2.05+

The above chart may explain why an average player is actually good. Everyday players are valuable. Being average across the board is a solid player.

Below is the same scale used to place a number on a player’s potential value, often referred to as Future Value or more traditionally, Overall Future Potential (OFP).

The chart format is inspired by Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs, but has been adjusted for 2017-19 MLB production & performance standards.

Note: If a player is a 65-grade performer for most of relatively long career, he’s a HOF’er. That’s likely an avg of 5 wins per year for 10-12 years plus the intro and outro value to start and end his career. That’s a 60-70 WAR career. The elite players in the game today, the 1-3 80-grade performers, are posting 8-10 wins per year the past 5 years or so. If a player sustained that for 10 years, they’re elite Hall of Fame material.

It’s also important to note that OFPs need to be adjusted, because simply averaging out the tools doesn’t result in a meaningful assessment. Why? Because hitting is more important than speed. Such factors are taken into consideration when determining OFP/FV.


PLAYER

SP

RP

80

Top 1-2
Elite

Ace

NA

75

MVP,
Top 5-7 Player

No.
1/Ace

NA

70

Superstar,
Top 10-15

No. 1
SP

NA

65

All-Star/Star

No. 2
SP

NA

60

Plus/All-Star

No. 2/3
SP

Elite
Closer

55

Above-Avg
Regular

No. 3
SP

Top 15
CL

50

Average
regular

No. 4
SP

AVG HL
RP/SU

45

UT/Platoon
Adv.

No. 5
SP

7th/8th

40

Pure
Reserve

Swing/Long

Middle

35

911

911

911

30

ORG

ORG

ORG

Contrary to tools grades, tweener grades are often used in overall evals, out a decimal half point along the way. It’s common to see 51.5 or 46.5 or 65.5, but the formula for the grade is more complicated than averaging out the tools.

Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI.

Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.

Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.