Failed Tools Players: 1990 through 1993
Per reader requests, here are some Failed Hyped Tools Players who were contemporaries of Torii Hunter. To qualify as a FAHTOP, the player in question must have been drafted in the first or second round, and must have been praised as an amateur for his excellent physical tools. . .strength, speed, etc, but who was raw when drafted and never "learned to hit."
A guy who was considered a balanced player or a polished hitter WHEN DRAFTED does not qualify. . .even if he doesn't make it. I'm also not looking at slow sluggers, the Ryan Luzinskis of the world. What I'm looking for here are the Torii Hunters who don't pan out, the guys who had the physical tools to be multi-faceted players, but who don't make it. No one thought Eddie Pearson or Chris Schwabe was going to be a multi-faceted player. I'm using 1990 through 1993 since these guys were coming through the minors at the same period of time as Hunter.
I'm looking for guys who were complete and total busts. There are some borderline cases. Does Mike Kelly count as a failed pick? Certainly compared to what was expected, but he did make it to Majors, even if he didn't turn into the player everyone thought he would be.
FAHTOPs, 1990 through 1993 drafts.
1990: Sam Hence, OF, Cleveland Indians (2nd round, Mississippi high school)
Tom Nevers, SS, Houston Astros (1st round, Minnesota high school)
Leroy Williams, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd round, Louisiana high school)
LaRue Baber, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (2nd round, California high school)
Stan Robertson, OF, Montreal Expos (1st round supp, Texas HS)
Mike Hardge, SS, Montreal Expos (1st round supp, Texas HS)
1991: J.J. Johnson, OF, Boston Red Sox (1st round supp, New York HS)
Tarrick Brock, OF, Detroit Tigers (2nd round, California HS)
Shawn Livsey, SS, Houston Astros (1st round supp, Illinois HS)
Al Shirley, OF, New York Mets (1st round, Virginia HS)
Tommy Adams, OF, Seattle Mariners (2nd round, Arizona State University)
Borderline Case: Mike Kelly, OF, Atlanta Braves (1st round, Arizona State)
1992: Tony Sheffield, OF, Boston Red Sox (2nd round, Tennessee HS)
Chris Smith, SS, California Angels (2nd round, California HS)
Chad Mottola, OF, Cincinnati Reds (1st round, Central Florida University
Yuri Sanchez, SS, Detroit Tigers (2nd round, Massachusetts HS)
Michael Moore, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (1st round supp, UCLA)
Dwain Bostic, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd round, California HS)
Kenny Felder, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (1st round, Florida State University)
Chad Roper, SS, Minnesota Twins (2nd round, South Carolina HS)
Shon Walker, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (2nd round, Kentucky HS)
Todd Steverson, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (2nd round, Arizona State University)
1993: Andre King, OF, Atlanta Braves (2nd round, Florida HS)
Pat Watkins, OF, Cincinnati Reds (1st supp, East Carolina University)
Matt Brunson, SS, Detroit Tigers (1st round, Colorado HS)
Todd Dunn, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (1st supp, University of North Florida)
Kelcey Mucker, OF, Minnesota Twins (1st supp, Indiana HS)
Josue Estrada, OF, Montreal Expos (1st supp, Puerto Rico HS)
Jeff D'Amico, SS, Oakland Athletics (2nd round, Washington HS)
Charles Peterson, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (1st round, South Carolina HS)
Edwin Diaz, OF, Texas Rangers (2nd round, Puerto Rico HS)
Matt Farner, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (1st round supp, Pennsylvania HS)
Injuries ruined some of these guys, but the big issue in most cases was plate discipline and the lack thereof. There are also more college guys on this list than you may expect if you weren't following prospects back then. Guys like Mottola, Watkins, and Dunn were all very toolsy, but considered raw for college hitters when drafted.
Tools players from these years who did make it (in one way or another) include Hunter himself, Trot Nixon, Shannon Stewart, Cliff Floyd, Michael Tucker, Johnny Damon, Preston Wilson, Carl Everett, Tony Clark, and Rondell White.
Some success stories like Dmitri Young, Derek Jeter, Jeffery Hammonds, Shawn Green, and Chipper Jones were considered fairly polished when drafted and not "raw" in the sense that I'm talking about, although some cases are borderline. How do you classify someone like Manny Ramirez? Scouts loved his bat but disliked the rest of his game, so he wasn't really a "tools" player.