Here is a review of Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists for the three Double-A Leagues from 1996. Let's see how these players did.
1) Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Harrisburg
2) Scott Rolen, 3B, Reading
3) Jamey Wright, RHP, New Haven
Some flashes of success, mediocre pitcher overall.
4) Luis Castillo, 2B, Portland
Marlin mainstay, career .292 average entering '05.
5) Carl Pavano, RHP, Trenton
Has been effective when healthy.
6) Felix Heredia, LHP, Portland
Flashes of bullpen success, average overall.
7) Enrique Wilson, SS, Canton-Akron
Utility infielder. An Age-Gate guy.
8) Bartolo Colon, RHP, Canton-Akron
118-74 career record entering 2005, excellent at times.
9) Todd Helton, 1B, New Haven
10) Todd Dunwoody, OF, Portland
A Quadruple-A guy. Didn't meet expectations.
1) Andruw Jones, OF, Greenville
2) Derrek Lee, 1B, Memphis
3) Mike Cameron, OF, Birmingham
Underrated. Low batting average but good speed, power, glove.
4) Mike Drumright, RHP, Jacksonville
Ruined by control problems.
5) Aaron Boone, 3B, Chattanooga
Solid productive regular.
6) Heath Murray, LHP, Memphis
7) Lou Collier, SS, Carolina
8) Mark Kroon, RHP, Memphis
9) Ron Wright, 1B, Greenville
Ruined by back injuries. Became Quadruple-A slugger.
10) Brett Tomko, RHP, Chattanooga
Erratic, but wins more than he loses.
1) Paul Konerko, 1B, San Antonio
170 career homers entering 2005.
2) Matt Morris, RHP, Arkansas
Very effective when healthy.
3) Eli Marrero, C, Arkansas
Useful role player.
4) Dante Powell, OF, Shreveport
Quadruple-A guy, raw tools did not develop.
5) Richard Hidalgo, OF, Jackson
Sort of the Brett Tomko of pitchers, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
6) Jeff D'Amico, RHP, El Paso
Similar to Jamey Wright, average overall.
7) Mike Sweeney, C, Wichita
Some star seasons, hampered by back trouble, good when healthy.
8) Ron Belliard, 2B, El Paso
Erratic, sometimes very good.
9) Kevin Brown, C, Tulsa
Topped out in Triple-A, hampered by injuries.
10) Brian Bevil, RHP, Wichita
I'd say Baseball America did a good job. Of the 30 players listed, you have at least six star or superstar caliber players, plus many other guys have had good careers. The only complete "no use at all" busts are Drumright, Kroon, Brown, and Bevil, three pitchers and a catcher. Some of the other guys were disappointments, but even AAAA guys like Powell and Dunwoody could be useful roleplayers under certain circumstances. The Double-A ranks in '96 were incredibly loaded.