13 years ago, Jeri and I were driving down a Missouri highway on the way to our honeymoon in one of these, a Mitsubishi Mirage.
Prospects of 1992
My wife and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary today. We got hitched back in '92. For you little ones, that was back in the first Bush Administration. Before the internet. When I was still a graduate student studying history. Long ago in the dark ages. I drove a 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage. I loved that car, although not as much as I loved my previous vehicle, an old 1977 Mustang II. That's the one I still have dreams about, the old Mustang, piece of crap that it was. It looked almost exactly like this one:
Anyway, I was thinking about 1992 this morning. I'm certainly NOT where I thought I would be in 2005. This was before I worked with Bill James, and the idea of being a baseball prospect analyst for a living was something that I wouldn't have thought possible.
Here is a look at the top Triple-A prospects from 1992, according to the 1993 edition of the Baseball America almanac. We'll hit the Double-A and the Class A guys later in the week. Stats are through the end of 2004.
American Association Top 10 Prospects
1) Kevin Young, 3B, Buffalo (Pirates)
Had his moments. Finished at .258/.324/.438 in 1205 career games.
2) Carlos Garcia, SS, Buffalo (Pirates)
.265/.304/.366 in 469 career games.
3) Rene Arocha, RHP, Louisville (Cardinals)
One of the first Cuban defectors, he won 11 games for the Cards in '93, but hurt his arm. 18-17, 4.11 in 331 career innings.
4) John Jaha, 1B, Denver (Brewers)
Had some good seasons. Finished at .263/.369/.465 in 826 career games.
5) Cal Eldred, RHP, Denver (Brewers)
The Brewers blew his arm out, but he rebuilt his career as a reliever. 86-74, 4.49 in 1330 innings.
6) Jeff Conine, 1B, Omaha (Royals)
Excellent at times. .287/.348/.451 in 1650 career games.
7) Wil Cordero, SS, Indianapolis (Expos)
Flashes of success, but wears out his welcome quickly. .275/.332/.441 in 1218 games.
8) Al Martin, OF, Buffalo (Pirates)
An adequate player for several years. .276/.339/.444 in 1232 games.
9) Tim Wakefield, RHP, Buffalo (Pirates)
Durable knuckleballer. 128-111, 4.29 ERA in 2067 career innings.
10) Sean Berry, 3B, Omaha (Royals)
Kind of a forgotten guy nowadays, but had some good years in the mid 90s. .272/.334/.445 in 860 career games.
International League Top 10 Prospects
1) Sam Militello, RHP, Columbus (Yankees)
One of the biggest prospect busts of the 1990s. Brilliant in the minors, but got hurt.
2) J.T. Snow, 1B, Columbus (Yankees)
Very good at times, his glove and reputation kept him in the lineup even when he didn't hit. 267/.358/.433 in 1560 career games.
3) Arthur Rhodes, LHP, Rochester (Orioles)
Effective when he throws strikes. 72-54, 4.37, 26 saves in 921 innings.
4) Bernie Williams, OF, Columbus (Yankees)
First actual superstar on this list. .301/.388/.483 in 1661 career games.
5) David Nied, RHP, Richmond (Braves)
Became famous as Rockies expansion draft pick. 17-18, 5.06 in 242 innings, career ruined by injuries.
6) Ryan Klesko, 1B, Richmond (Braves)
Successful power hitter. .285/.377/.518 in 1334 career games.
7) Brad Pennington, LHP, Rochester (Orioles)
Never found his control. 7.02 ERA in 76 career innings.
8) Ryan Thompson, OF, Syracuse (Blue Jays)
Epitome of a Quadruple-A outfielder. .243/.301/.433 in 416 career games.
9) Hensley Meulens, 3B, Columbus (Yankees)
Bam-Bam never found his stroke in the majors, ended up in Japan. .220/.288/.353 in 182 games. Averaged 26 homers a year in three Japanese seasons.
10) Gerald Williams, OF, Columbus (Yankees)
Played a lot, but really no better than Ryan Thompson. .252/.296/.402 in 986 career games.
Pacific Coast League Top 10 Prospects
1) Tim Salmon, OF, Edmonton (Angels)
His body betrayed him at times, but had some superstar seasons. .281/.384/.497 in 1460 games.
2) Bret Boone, 2B, Calgary (Mariners)
You can't trust his batting average or OBP from year to year, but the power is consistent. .268/.327/.447 in 1692 games.
3) Pedro Martinez, RHP, Albuquerque (Dodgers)
Hall of Famer. 182-76, 2.71 in 2295 career innings.
4) Damion Easley, SS, Edmonton (Angels)
.252/.329/.402 in 1325 games. Good pop for an infielder, but buckled under the weight of his contract.
5) Mike Piazza, C, Albuquerque (Dodgers)
Hall of Famer. .315/.385/.562 in 1590 games. And he did this in Chavez Ravine and Shea Stadium.
6) Andujar Cedeno, SS, Tucson (Astros)
One of the biggest prospect busts of the last 20 years.
7) Pat Mahomes, RHP, Portland (Twins)
Good arm, never found command or consistency. 42-39, 5.48 ERA in 708 innings.
8) Royce Clayton, SS, Phoenix (Giants)
Not one of my favorites, but he held a job for a long time based on glove reputation. .257/.313/.371 in 1751 games.
9) John Patterson, 2B, Phoenix (Giants)
A bust. .215/.289..287 in 228 career games.
10) Reggie Jefferson, 1B, Colorado Springs (Indians)
Never seemed to get much respect, but he was a fine hitter. .300/.349/.474 in 680 games.
Overall, I'd say that Baseball America did a pretty good job. The Double-A and Class A lists will be even more interesting.