The Top Pitching Prospects of 1993, Part One
Here is a look at the Top Pitching Prospects of 1993. Let's see what happened to them.
I went back and made a list of all pitchers listed in Baseball America as Top 10 prospects in their respective leagues in 1993. I'm not going to try and rank the pitchers specifically, and this was before I did formal prospect rankings on my own, but I think BA did a good job of identifying the key guys.
Top Triple-A Pitching Prospects of 1993
Jason Bere, RHP, Nashville (White Sox): Career record of 71-65, 5.14 ERA in 1,110 innings. Effective at times, but very erratic due to shaky control.
Allen Watson, LHP, Louisville (Cardinals): Career record of 51-55, 5.04 ERA in 891 innings. Faded rapidly in his late 20s.
John Roper, RHP, Indianapolis (Reds): Career record of 8-7, 5.35 in 180 innings. He was out of affiliated baseball by the age of 26.
Steve Trachsel, RHP, Iowa (Cubs): Career record of 118-131, 4.23 ERA in 2102 innings entering 2005. Your basic adequate starting pitcher.
Aaron Sele, RHP, Pawtucket (Red Sox): Career record of 131-92, 4.52 in 1880 innings entering '05. Like Trachsel, an adequate starting pitcher who won some games when given proper support.
Mark Hutton, RHP, Columbus (Yankees): Career record of 9-7, 4.75 in 190 innings. Career ended at age 29 due to control problems and injuries.
Pat Mahomes, RHP, Portland (Twins): Career record of 42-39, 5.48 in 708 innings entering 2005. Has a good arm but never found his command.
Todd Van Poppel, RHP, Tacoma (Athletics): Career record of 40-52, 5.58 ERA in 907 innings entering 2005. He did have some success as a reliever at times, but obviously failed to reach expectations.
Salomon Torres, RHP, Phoenix (Giants): Career record of 27-38, 4.78 ERA in 527 innings entering 2005. Torres is a tale of two careers: a failed prospect in the mid-1990s who revived his career after the age of 30.
Top Double-A Pitching Prospects of 1993
Brien Taylor, LHP, Albany (Yankees): Never reached the Majors, tore up his shoulder in a bar fight. One of the biggest prospect busts in recent history.
Albie Lopez, RHP, Canton-Akron (Indians): 47-58, 4.94 ERA in 841 career innings. Perfect example of the journeyman pitcher.
Gabe White, LHP, Harrisburg (Expos): Career 34-25, 4.55 ERA in 562 innings entering 2005. A starter in the minors, but ended up as a bullpen lefty.
Frankie Rodriguez, RHP, New Britain (Red Sox): 29-39, 5.53 in 654 career innings. Flashed potential in Minnesota, but poor command and eventual arm problems doomed him.
James Baldwin, RHP, Birmingham (White Sox): Career 79-72, 5.07 ERA in 1266 innings. Another basically average pitcher.
Steve Karsay, RHP, Huntsville (Athletics): Career 31-38 ERA, 41 saves, 3.87 ERA in 572 innings entering 2005. A very good pitcher but fragile.
Scott Ruffcorn, RHP, Birmingham (White Sox): Career 0-8, 8.57 ERA in 70 innings. He proved he could pitch well in Triple-A, but he was never able to overcome problems with confidence.
Ben VanRyn, LHP, San Antonio (Dodgers): Career 0-2, 5.74 ERA in 16 innings. Topped out as an effective pitcher in Triple-A, then hurt his arm.
Rick Helling, RHP, Tulsa (Rangers): Career 90-78, 4.77 ERA in 1442 innings entering 205. Like Sele, Trachsel, Baldwin, your basic average starting pitcher who could eat some innings for you.
Alvin Morman, LHP, Jackson (Astros): Career 6-7 record, 4.79 ERA in 143 innings. Tried to build a career in a LOOGY role but wasn't especially successful.
We'll hit the Class A and short-season guys in a separate post.
Let's summarize this a bit.
Think about this. If someone said to you in 1993, "I will give you all of the top pitching prospects, as determined by informed experts, in Double-A and Triple-A," you'd be ecstatic. Surely there'd be a top-notch Number One starter in there somewhere.
But the result would be a starting rotation of Steve Trachsel, Aaron Sele, Rick Helling, James Baldwin, and Jason Bere. Your closer would be Steve Karsay, the rest of the bullpen would be something like Van Poppel, Watson, White, Torres, and Lopez.
Now, a starting rotation of Trachsel, Sele, Helling, Baldwin, and Bere, at their peak, wouldn't be a BAD rotation. If your team can score some runs and provide defensive support, you'd finish over .500. But none of these guys is a genuine ace.