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Prospects In The Year 2000

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A prospect from the far future of the year 2000

In the Year 2000. In the Year Two Thou-SAND. . .

This will be the last list I examine in this manner, since more guys are popping up who are not proven to be successes or failures just yet.

Although we don't have final data on some of these guys, the 2000 list was easily the weakest and most ill-fated of the ones we've looked at so far.

  1. Corey Patterson, OF: Not quite a bust, but not nearly as good as he should be or could be. In this case, I believe both the organization and the player hold responsibility. Corey seems to be a stubborn sort about making adjustments, but the Cubs screwed up by promoting him too quickly in the first place. Young enough to recover, but will probably need a new team. Was in the book after hitting .320/.358/.592 with 33 steals and 20 homers at the age of 19 in the Midwest League.
  2. Rick Ankiel, LHP: Carry over bust from '98.
  3. Pat Burrell, 1B-OF
  4. Vernon Wells, OF
  5. Nick Johnson, 1B
  6. Dee Brown, OF: BZZT!!! Super-bust. Was in the book after hitting .353/.440/.591 in 65 games in Double-A at the age of 21. Good tools, showed good strike zone judgment in the minors, but totally fell apart when he reached the majors. Injuries were a factor, but not enough to explain his failure entirely.
  7. Kip Wells, RHP
  8. Ben Petrick, C: Parkinson's Disease
  9. Sean Burroughs, 3B: Like Patterson, not as good as he could be or should be. His power has not developed, and he looks like a player who simply topped out too early. Was in the book after hitting .359/.464/.479 in the Midwest League at age 18.
  10. Mike Cuddyer, 3B
  11. D'Angelo Jimenez, SS
  12. Ruben Mateo, OF: holdover from previous lists, tools guy ruined by injury.
  13. Brad Penny, RHP
  14. Chin-Feng Chen, OF: In the book after hitting .316/.404/.580 with 31 steals and 31 homers (and 123 RBI) in the California League at age 21. Appears to have peaked in Triple-A. His speed and defensive skills deteriorated instead of improving. He looked like a good-tools guy, but morphed into a different player.
  15. Rafael Furcal, SS
  16. Eric Gagne, RHP
  17. Matt Riley, LHP: holdover from '98 list.
  18. Hee Seop Choi, 1B: On the list after hitting .321/.425/.610 with 18 homers and a 50/68 BB/K ratio in 290 at-bats in the Midwest League at age 20. Old-Player style skill set, has not thrived in the majors although not a complete failure.
  19. Wilfredo Rodriguez, LHP: Went 15-7, 2.88 with strong component ratios in the Florida State League at age 20. Was an excellent prospect, but hurt his shoulder and lost the zip on his pitches.
  20. Ed Yarnall, LHP: Went 13-4, 3.44 with strong component ratios at age 23 in Triple-A. Looked like a solid, polished finesse pitcher, but he lost his control, had some injury problems, gained too much weight, and faded out of the picture quickly.
  21. Ramon Ortiz, RHP
  22. Ryan Anderson, LHP: Holdover, ruined by injuries.
  23. Alfonso Soriano, SS
  24. John Patterson, RHP
  25. Milton Bradley, OF
  26. Jesus Colome, RHP: Still trying to put it together, but not really a bust.
  27. Ramon Hernandez, C
  28. Pete Bergeron, OF: Holdover bust.
  29. Abraham Nunez the Outfielder, OF: Age-Gate. Hit .273/.378/.492 with 22 homers, 86 walks, and 40 steals in the California League. At the time, was reported to be 19 years old. However, he was really 23, and those four years make a HUGE difference.
  30. Matt LeCroy, C
  31. Mike Lamb, 3B
  32. Josh Hamilton, OF: 1998 first-round pick, hit .347 in the Appalachian League. Great tools, but career ruined by injuries and drug use.
  33. Tony Armas JR, RHP: A decent pitcher when healthy, which he seldom is, but not really a bust.
  34. Aaron Myette, RHP: BZZT! Ok, now this counts as a bust. Myette has good stuff but has never been able to throw strikes at the major league level. Was in the top 50 after going 12-7, 3.66 in 28 starts in Double-A at age 21, with decent K/IP and H/IP ratios. His K/BB was below average, showing the need to improve his command. I thought he had a good chance to do that, but I was wrong.
  35. Jack Cust, 1B: BZZT! Old Player Skill Set bust. Hit .334/.450/651 with 32 homers in the California League at age 20. His home park helped him, but given his age and his ability to draw walks, I was confident he would hit at higher levels. Has proven to be an effective Triple-A slugger, but awful defense and high strikeout rate will likely keep him there for the rest of his career.
  36. Francisco Cordero, RHP
  37. A.J. Burnett, RHP
  38. Luis Rivera, RHP: BZZT! Made the list after striking out 81 guys in 67 innings in the Carolina League at age 20, showing off a mid-90s fastball. Blew out his arm the following season, ruining his career.
  39. Junior Guerrero, RHP: BZZT! Made the list after fanning113 in 104 innings in the Midwest League and 68 in 51 innings in the Carolina League at age 19. Used mid-90s fastball and nasty slider. But he lost 5 MPH off his fastball in 2000, had injury problems, and was out of baseball by 2003.
  40. Drew Henson, 3B: BZZT! Hit .280/.345/.480 in the Florida State League at age 19, showing good power potential. His strikeout rate was high, but given his youth and overall performance, I wasn't worried. Stagnated after reaching Triple-A and eventually returned to football.
  41. Chad Hermansen, OF: Holdover failure from previous lists.
  42. Mike Restovich, OF: Although he hasn't played regularly in the majors, he has three decent Triple-A seasons under his belt, and certainly deserves more of a chance than he has received in the majors. I do not count this one as a bust, not yet.
  43. Lance Berkman, OF
  44. Wes Anderson, RHP: BZZT!!! Made the list by posting a 3.21 ERA with good K/IP and H/IP ratios in the Midwest League at age 19, impressing scouts with mid-90s fastball. Blew out his arm in 2001 and never recovered.
  45. Adam Dunn, OF
  46. Ben Broussard, OF
  47. Chip Ambres, OF: Like Restovich, he can't be regarded as a failure yet and deserves a chance to play based on his minor league performance.
  48. Josh Beckett, RHP
  49. Adam Piatt, 3B-OF: Should we count this as a bust? He played very well in the majors in 2000, but injuries ruined him after that.
  50. Travis Dawkins, SS: BZZT! Good field/no-hit shortstop hit .364 in 32 games in the Southern League at age 19. I thought this could be genuine improvement, but the sample size was too small and I took these numbers much too seriously. Given his youth and athleticism, I thought he could build on this, but that was stupid of me.
The number 51 player was Hank Blalock, a kid from rookie ball who I gave a Grade B+ to, and who I compared to George Brett.

Blalock aside, I am NOT happy with the way the '00 list turned out.

Problem Summary:
Corey Patterson: PROBLEMS: Hasn't developed skills, bad plate discipline, handled poorly by the Cubs, too stubborn for his own good. Still has time to turn it around.
Dee Brown: PROBLEMS: Tool player bust. Had some injuries, but basically stopped hitting for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he was a Royals prospect and the Royals aren't allowed to have their prospects pan out.
Sean Burroughs: PROBLEMS: Flip side of Corey Patterson. Very polished, but stubborn, peaked too early.
Chin-Feng Chen: PROBLEMS: Lost his speed, struck out too much, didn't make adjustments to high-level pitching.
Wilfredo Rodriguez: PROBLEMS: Blew out his arm.
Ed Yarnell: PROBLEMS: Lost his control, got too fat.
Abraham Nunez the Outfielder: PROBLEMS: Age-Gate, too many strikeouts.
Josh Hamilton. PROBLEMS: Druggie.
Aaron Myette. PROBLEMS: Bad control.
Jack Cust. PROBLEMS: Horrible defense, high strikeout rate, extreme Old Player Skill set.
Luis Rivera: PROBLEMS: Blew out his arm.
Junior Guerrero: PROBLEMS: Blew out his arm.
Drew Henson: PROBLEMS: A football player.
Wes Anderson: PROBLEMS: Blew out his arm.
Adam Piatt. PROBLEMS: Injuries.
Gookie Dawkins: PROBLEMS: Can't hit, sample size was too small, putting him on the list was a stupid decision.

The pitching failures were almost entirely due to injury. The hitter failures have more diversely tangled roots.