Keith Law Midseason Top 50

Keith Law put out his mideason Top 50 prospect list today.  No surprise that J.P. Crawford was #2 on the list.  However, Aaron Nola came in at #38 on the list.  I ranted about this on Twitter so I won’t rant here and instead will just leave this.


For some added context here are Law’s updates in his chat:

Sam (philly) [via mobile]

Can you explain the ranking of Henry Owens over Aaron Nola?

Klaw  (1:07 PM)

Owens is LH, a year younger, and has one pitch (the changeup) that is better than any single pitch Nola throws. He’s also got a full year of solid performance in AAA under his belt already.

Derek (Work)

Klaw, when you miss a week of chats I like to go through your archive and read some old ones. It’s pretty fun to see how often your right compared to when you’re wrong. Anyway, I know you’re high on JP Crawford (obviously) but is he a budding superstar or just a star?

Klaw  (1:12 PM)

Superstar. He makes everything look easy. I would bet substantial money that some white sportswriters will call him “lazy” or something comparable because he seems to expend so little effort to do things most players have to work to do.

Mike (SF, CA)

Is Aaron Nola ready to be promoted to the bigs (as some rumor-type articles suggest) or are the Phils better served letting him develop more in the minors? Thanks.

Klaw  (1:21 PM)

I don’t think there’s any development ahead of him; I thought when they drafted him that he should have been in their Opening Day rotation in 2015. This is what he is, and it’s good. Why waste the bullets?

Matt Burks (Eatontown, NJ) [via mobile]

Can you.clarify Aaron Nola being #38 on your prospect rankings? I look at him and I see a solid number two. Reminds me a bit of Rick porcelain if you had to draw a comparison

Klaw  (1:27 PM)

Sounds like you’re scouting the stat line, then. Again, I like Nola, and I think I ranked him appropriately for a guy who’s very polished but doesn’t have any of the plus pitches you’d want to see in a pitcher who’d be top ~40 or so baseball.

Mike (Philly)

Just an FYI, Owens (DOB: 7/21/92) is nearly a year older than Nola (DOB: 6/4/93). Not saying it drastically changes a perception – just letting you know to get ducks in a row.

Klaw  (1:42 PM)

Thank you. Correct that it doesn’t change the rankings because of the other stuff I mentioned – unless Nola is actually LH and I got that wrong too.

Dan (Philly)

Hey Keith, is it alright for me to be really excited about Kilome? Looks like he could develop into a top of the rotation guy, but that is just to my civilian eyes

Klaw  (1:48 PM)

Yes, be excited.

Nik (Philly)

You use the Age difference to support your Owens > Nola ranking, but when provided the correct ages, you just dismiss ages a non-factor.

Klaw  (1:50 PM)

It is a factor and I didn’t dismiss it. But it wasn’t a significant one in that ranking; the #1 factor for me was Owens having a grade-70 pitch that Nola doesn’t have.

Matt Burks (Eatontown, NJ) [via mobile]

Nola K’s a decent amount of batter even at AAA for not having a “plus” pitch you really don’t believe he is capable of being a solid #2 in the rotation?

Klaw  (2:04 PM)

I don’t think it’s very likely at all. You can strike out a lot more guys in the minors with location or changing speeds than you can in the majors. Many AAA hitters are AAA hitters precisely because they can’t hit those pitchers.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. dlhunter

    Can I ask you to speculate on why Law ranked him so low?

    • Matt Winkelman

      No clue because he spent his time ranting about the Phillies not promoting Nola and not Nola’s stuff. My only guess is that he hasn’t actually watched Nola or talked to anyone who has.

  2. Berrios hits mid-90s,younger and is nearly as close to the majors. I don’t disagree with him being ranked above Nola.

    • phillysf

      Berrios is two inches shorter has no downward plane on the fastball and loses velocity after two inning and has average control, try again Brian P

      • That doesn’t make him have less upside given his age/level.

        • Philly SF

          Not even a year difference in age, seriously, for a second I thought Berrios was like 18 , and it turns out he is like 11 month younger, probably not gonna grow, or gain that much in stuff, I’m a Homer so my opinion is biased, but really

  3. phillysf

    I wanna know how is it possible that Klaw sucks and blows at the same time

  4. msb

    Very Important Person. Contrarian, Picker of Fights and Legend in his own mind….. Keith Law

  5. Romus

    KLaw must be a velo man.
    Have to assume if a young pitcher does not sit at 93-95, T97, a K/9, 9 or better….not going to be ranked highly on his list.
    Hopefully it is another “Goldschmidt’ projection.

  6. He regularly seems to slightly degrade Phillies prospects, other than Crawford who he loved before everyone else did.

    • Romus

      The one Phillies guy he had ranked very high was Dom Brown back in Feb/Mar 2011. And Paul Goldschmidt, I do not think was in his top 20.
      That turned out a little different.

  7. Tim

    He did say white reporter that can get in A load of trouble. Funny how Owens stats are not as good as Nola’s.

  8. The assumption everyone is making is that his rankings are meaningful. That is the faulty assumption. He is a journalist and gets paid to produce page views. He doesn’t run a scouting department. He sees people from time to time and talks to other people off the cuff and puts a list together to get paid. The difference between being ranked 38th or 22nd is meaningless with regard to Nola’s career. It is just one guy’s partially informed opinion.

    • Another example, KLaw has always been down on Franco. Last year, he dropped him outside of the top 100 prospects in baseball. Now I that relevant at all with regard to Franco’s career success trajectory?

      • phillysf

        @ V1again , that is very good way to think about Klaw

  9. Handzus

    I think my takeaway from Nola’s seemingly low ranking is that Law thinks he doesn’t have any plus pitches. At least not “the plus pitches you’d want to see in a pitcher who’d be ~ top 40” which, I think, means the same thing.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve read things that suggest he has up to 3 plus pitches. Even if none of them are 70 grade, that’s still really good. To me, the best thing about this discussion is that both Nola and Owens will probably be in the majors soon, and we’ll get to see for sure then.

  10. grant610

    Owens is walking 4.5 per 9 this year and just about that for his entire minor league career- im pretty sure if you offered them Nola for Owens they would take it. I get that he doesnt give up many hits but major leaguers will take more advantage of his lack of command.

    • KLaw always values stuff over command.

    • Romus

      Have to assume KLaw has Owens CU as the 70, and his ‘out’ pitch, since according to “Owens’ best pitch is his changeup, which is also one of the best in the Minors. He often works with average velocity on his fastball, which ranges from 88-94 mph”………..but I think he may lack the greatest of command of it since his BB rate is pretty high.