Is Matt Moore Baseball's No. 1 Prospect?

ST PETERSBURG, FL: Pitcher Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) has released their list of the 100 best prospects -- up from 50 in previous seasons -- but it's the guys at the top of the list that we can really argue about, and they've got Tampa Bay's Matt Moore at the very top.'s first-ever Top 100 Prospects was published last night, and it's got all the multimedia bells and whistles that you would expect. Which is not a knock, at all.

Of course I'm not remotely qualified to quibble with a list like this.

Except I'm going to quibble, just a little ...

I don't believe Matt Moore is the No. 1 prospect in the game.

Look, I know he's brilliant. I can read the numbers, and I saw him pitching for the Rays last October. But let me ask you this question ... If you could have one prospect for the next (say) three or four years, who would you take?

Matt Moore? There is a significant chance that Matt Moore will spend one of the next three or four years on the Disabled List. Also, most young pitchers, no matter how talented and healthy, need a few years to adjust to the rigors of facing the best hitters in the world. Granted, the Rays have a spectacular tradition of keeping their pitchers healthy. Still.

I'll take Bryce Harper, for the next three or four years and beyond. There's a pitching prospect like Matt Moore every two or three years. There's a hitting prospect like Harper every ... what, decade or so? Just in case anyone's forgotten, last summer Bryce Harper was


Let that swirl around inside your brain-holder for a few seconds.

I don't think Harper's actually ready to really help the Nationals in the majors quite yet. I think if he plays he'll be adequate, at best. But both Ken Griffey and Alex Rodriguez were All-Star caliber players at 20, and I don't think anyone should be particularly surprised if Harper's a star in 2013. Should we really expect the same of Matt Moore?

Maybe. He's phenomenally talented. I certainly wouldn't quibble with listing him No. 2, or 3 (behind Mike Trout). But I do not think he's the most valuable, promising young player who's eligible for a Rookie of the Year Award in 2012.

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