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Top Prospects of 2002

  1. Hank Blalock, 3B: 78 career win shares
  2. Josh Beckett, RHP: 73 career win shares
  3. Sean Burroughs, 3B: 38 career win shares
  4. Carlos Pena, 1B: 71 career win shares
  5. Wilson Betemit, SS: 22 career win shares
  6. Dennis Tankersley, RHP: Ruined by control problems
  7. Mark Teixeira, 3B: 104 career win shares
  8. Juan Cruz, RHP: 24 career win shares
  9. Mark Prior, RHP: 48 career win shares
  10. Nick Johnson, 1B: 80 career win shares
  11. Mike Cuddyer, 3B: 60 career win shares
  12. Austin Kearns, OF: 84 career win shares
  13. Angel Berroa, SS: 40 career win shares, Age-Gate and plate discipline big problems
  14. Jake Peavy, RHP: 78 career win shares
  15. Kelly Johnson, SS: 28 career win shares
  16. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B: 46 career win shares
  17. Hee Seop Choi, 1B: 26 career win shares
  18. Gabe Gross, OF: 19 career win shares, a useful role player and I think he still has a breakout season in him
  19. Brandon Claussen, LHP: 6 career win shares, hampered by injuries
  20. Boof Bonser, RHP: 11 career win shares
  21. Joe Borchard, OF: Tools bust
  22. Jayson Werth, C: 38 career win shares
  23. Ben Broussard, 1B: 52 career win shares
  24. Joe Mauer, C: 82 career win shares
  25. Rafael Soriano, RHP: 24 career win shares
  26. Jeff Heaverlo, RHP: Ruined by injuries
  27. Corwin Malone, LHP: Ruined by injuries and control problems
  28. Brandon Phillips, SS: 37 career win shares
  29. Miguel Cabrera, SS: 127 career win shares
  30. Chin-Feng Chen, OF: Triple-A slugger
  31. Dewon Brazelton, RHP: 2 win shares, lack of breaking ball major problem
  32. Drew Henson, 3B: Tools Bust
  33. Kenny Baugh, RHP: Ruined by injuries
  34. Justin Morneau, 1B: 65 career win shares
  35. John Buck, C: 31 career win shares
  36. Chris Burke, SS: 21 career win shares
  37. Jimmy Journell, RHP: Ruined by injuries
  38. Xavier Nady, 1B: 40 career win shares
  39. Adam Wainwright, RHP: 24 career win shares
  40. Chris Snelling, OF: 3 win shares; injuries a huge factor
  41. Morgan Ensberg, 3B: 74 career win shares
  42. Carlos Hernandez, LHP: decent year in 2002, then injuries
  43. Brad Thomas, LHP: Control problems and injuries
  44. Aaron Heilman, RHP: 26 career win shares
  45. Jose Reyes, SS: 87 career win shares
  46. Marlon Byrd, OF: 44 career win shares
  47. Seung Song, RHP: Did OK in Triple-A but stuff declined and he never got a chance in the majors
  48. John-Ford Griffin, OF: Triple-A slugger
  49. Kurt Ainsworth, RHP: Pitched well in the majors in '02 and '03, then blew out his arm
  50. Abraham Nunez, OF: Age-Gate
As you can see, we're at the point now where the youngest players on this list are still building their careers and we have to see how things add up further down the road. The biggest failures are obvious, though.

Injury casualties remain an issue with the pitchers. Tankersley was a huge disappointment, due to command problems but there were also problems with his work ethic and personality according to many observers. Berroa was an Age-Gate guy who was never as good as he appeared when this list was made, being two years older than we knew at the time. He did win ROY but never built on it and his weaknesses eventually caught up with him.

One thing that always bugged me was ranking Juan Cruz one notch ahead of Mark Prior. I did that because Prior hadn't pitched professionally yet while Cruz had already shown he could do well in the majors. It's looked stupid for a few years, but it's entirely possible that Cruz may end up having the longer career, if not as impressive at the peak of course.