One fun aspect of prospect analysis is that it truly is an adventure in ‘prospecting’— looking for gold amongst the less valuable pebbles. We deal in long shots, not sure things. We speculate and ask questions that we can’t assuredly answer, use information to make a projection, and then we wait and see.

Since I’ll be in Altoona periodically this summer to cover the Curve for Pirates Prospects, I’m starting to have questions about some of the prospects that I’ll be looking at, many for the first time. It’s been said over and over that the jump to AA is the most difficult in the minor leagues, and even the top prospects walk into AA with question marks about their true ceiling and long-term value.

Seven players in the top 40 of the 2013 Prospect Guide will begin the year in Altoona, a...

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