Top 50 Hitting Prospects from 2007: Where Are They Now?
One thing I do every year is go back and examine my old prospect lists to see how they turned out. It takes at least four or five years to get an accurate read on a list. With the end of the 2011 season upon us, I want to go back and look at how my lists from 2007 panned out, to see what things went right and what things went wrong. We will begin today with the Top 50 Hitters, and will look at the Top 50 Pitchers tomorrow.
TOP 50 HITTING PROSPECTS FOR 2007
1) Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals: Finally lived up to his potential this year, hitting .303/.376/.502, WAR 6.4. Career WAR is 11.1 with a .262/.343/.434 line. He is now the player we thought he would be, and a good example of why it takes so long to see how a prospect list really turns out.
2) Delmon Young, OF, Rays: Flashes talent, but the Rays gave up fast and then the Twins did. Career .287/.320/.425, WAR 1.5. At age 26 he still has time to correct his flaws, namely plate discipline.
3) Brandon Wood, SS, Angels: One of the biggest prospect failures of the last 20 years. Undone by inability to make contact. .186/.225/.289, WAR -2.6.
4) Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies: Brilliant in all respects, career .293/.364/.505, WAR 24.9.
5) Andy LaRoche, 3B, Dodgers: Back injuries a big issue here, and he just never got his bat going. Career .226/.305/.337, WAR 1.0.
6) Ryan Braun, 3B, Brewers: Monster bat. Career .312/.370/.563, WAR 24.8.
7) Billy Butler, OF, Royals: Steady producer, career .297/.359/.457, WAR 6.4. I think the best is yet to come here.
8) Chris Young, OF, Diamondbacks: Doesn't hit for average, but does everything else. Career .239/.318/.437, 104 steals, WAR 12.9.
9) Jay Bruce, OF, Reds: Career .256/.331/.473, 99 homers, WAR 11.1. As with Butler, I think the best is yet to come here.
10) Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks: Career .277/.358/.489, WAR 14.9, already excellent and has some MVP seasons in him.
11) Hunter Pence, OF, Astros: Another consistent producer, career .292/.342/.485, WAR 19.2.
12) Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates: Continues to improve steadily. Career .278/.366/.460, 78 steals, WAR 13.0
13) Reid Brignac, SS, Rays: Not much with the bat. .229/.271/.324 so far, WAR 0.3. At the time his glove was considered questionable, but that's turned out to be better than his offense.
14) Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays: Career .273/.357/.512, WAR 25.7. Nothing to complain about here, excellent source of power and a great glove.
15) Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays: Up and down career, strong season in 2009. Career .268/.318/.468, 4.7 WAR.
16) Cameron Maybin, OF, Tigers: Very strong glovework, bat power disappointing but has stolen 38 bases this year. Career .253/.316/.384, WAR 6.4.
17) Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets: Still stuck on Triple-A/major cusp, injuries have hampered him, bat just hasn't developed and can't use "young for league" as excuse anymore. .183/.250/.290 in 145 major league at-bats, WAR -0.7.
18) Jose Tabata, OF, Yankees: Still finding his way, career .284/.348/.383 in 823 PA, WAR 3.1. Still just 23 years old.
19) James Loney, 1B, Dodgers: Has held his job despite lack of typical first base power. Career .288/.346/.432, WAR 8.2.
20) Travis Snider, OF, Blue Jays: Needs a change of scenery. Career .248/.307/.423, WAR 1.8.
At age 23, way too soon to give up on him.
21) Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox: Massive power burst this year leads to MVP-caliber (WAR 9.2) season. Career .301/.355/.451, 174 steals, WAR 17.1.
22) Felix Pie, OF, Cubs: Career .249/.298/.374, WAR -0.1. Never figured out how to turn his tools into skills.
23) Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Diamondbacks: Bounced around a bit, but figured out how to use his tools. Career .298/.350/.521, WAR 14.1.
24) Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals: Strong '10 season but disappointing this year. Career .252/.324/.435, WAR 7.9. I think he'll be fine.
25) Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies: Not a terrific hitter, but a useful player. Career .235/.357/.431, WAR 9.6.
26) Ian Stewart, 3B, Rockies: Has shown some power, but overall rather disappointing. Career .236/.323/.428, WAR 3.5.
27) Elvis Andrus, SS, Braves: Still finding his way offensively, but he's going to have a very long career. .270/.339/.342, 100 steals, 10.1 WAR so far.
28) Adam Jones, OF, Mariners: Strike zone problems remain an issue, but still young enough to take a leap forward. Career .275/.319/.436, 44 steals, 8.9 WAR.
29) Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks: A very good player. Career .272/.338/.452, WAR 9.8, took a big step forward this year.
30) , INF, Braves: Career stalled out due to injuries and disciplinary issues. Hasn't reached the majors.
31) Bill Rowell, 3B, Orioles: Bat stalled out in High-A. Never lived up to glowing scouting reports from early in his career.
32) Brian Barton, OF, Indians: Hit .268/.354/.392 with 1.1 WAR in 82 games on the Cardinals bench in 2008, but hasn't received another chance.
33) Travis Buck, OF, Athletics: Solid rookie performance in 2007 but then assaulted by injuries, devolved into extra outfielder role. Career .246/.320/.408, WAR 2.7.
34) Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Braves: Didn't turn into the hitter expected by scouts. Career .245/.308/.407, WAR 3.3.
35) Joey Votto, 1B, Reds: Consistently excellent with the bat and was underrated here, I thought he would be solid but he turned into a star. Career .314/.406/.551, WAR 22.7.
36) Eric Patterson, 2B, Cubs: Useful speed with 35 steals in 575 plate appearances, but otherwise weak with the bat, .217/.294/.343, WAR -0.7.
37) Sean Rodriguez, INF, Angels: Not a great hitter, but useful due to glove. Career .229/.306/.367, but 4.4 WAR.
38) Chris Parmelee, OF, Twins: Could play regularly for the Twins in 2012. Solid in Double-A this year and has hit .343/.421/.537 in his first 18 major league games.
39) Chris Marrero, OF, Nationals: Like Parmelee, he is just now getting a major league shot, hitting .265/.292/.316 in his first 28 games. We don't know how it will pan out yet.
40) Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Padres: Hit for power, glove better than expected, but held back by strike zone issues. Career .255/.300/.419, 85 homers, 10.9 WAR.
41) Carlos Gomez, OF, Mets: Outstanding glove, but he can't hit a lick. Career .243/.290/.355, 93 steals, WAR 6.5.
42) Elijah Dukes, OF, Rays: A tragic waste of talent. Hit .242/.349/.421, WAR 2.6, but could have been a star if not for off-field issues.
43) Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox: Good power, 34 homers in 796 plate appearances, but contact problems crippled his chances. Career .234/.303/.421, WAR -0.1.
44) Ryan Sweeney, OF, White Sox: Has held a job despite complete lack of power development. Career .283/.342/.378, WAR 7.1.
45) Daric Barton, 1B, Athletics: Puzzling player, on-base skills looked strong in '09 and '10 but he hasn't put it together, lacks power. Career .252/.362/.378, WAR 7.2.
46) Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox: I remember people telling me I was overrating him by putting him here, but it turned out this actually sold him short. Career .304/.372/.462, 82 steals, WAR 25.5.
47) Nolan Reimold, OF, Orioles: Good at times, injuries have been a problem. Career .256/.338/.437, WAR 2.0.
48) Jeff Clement, C, Mariners: Had to move off catcher, injuries an issue, strikeouts, lots of things went wrong here. .223/.281/.383 in 397 PA, -0.2 WAR.
49) Brad Snyder, OF, Indians: Topped out in Triple-A. Hit .167 in 37 major league PA. Contact problems the main factor.
50) Chin-Lung Hu, SS, Dodgers: Just couldn't hit major league pitching, overriding any value from his glove. Career .176/.225/.259 in 214 PA, WAR -0.9.
Overall I think this list turned out pretty well. Factors that led to failure for several players included plate discipline/contact issues and injuries. The Top 30 are a lot more impressive than the bottom 30, although the second-best player on the list according to WAR, Dustin Pedroia, was low at 46.