It may be hard to believe, since a sizeable number of people reading this have a foot or two of snow on the ground, but spring is nearly here. More importantly, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just a few weeks. One of my favorite things about being a fan of baseball is the preseason speculation -- who doesn't like predicting the future before it happens? Possibly the most exciting players to speculate about at this time of the year are the prospects. We all pretty much know that Albert Pujols will put up an MVP-type season and Roy Halladay will humiliate most of the thousand-or-so batters he faces, but with young players, there's always that tantalizing unknown.
Last week, Keith Law unveiled his Top 100 prospects. Prospecting always involves as many failures as successes, but odds are that some of the best players of the '10s are on that list and a few will eventually have an argument for Cooperstown.
Keith identifies the 20 players most likely to make an impact on the 2011 season. Since more information, whether it's scouting or sabermetrics, is better, I'm also providing the 2011 ZiPS projections for each of the players on that list. Computers and algorithms don't know everything about a player, but they do a good job at interpreting at least what the statistics mean and adding a bit of cold sobriety to balance out the natural optimism that we naturally have as baseball fans. All projections are full-season projections, even though many of these players will be up for only parts of the season.