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The Recent History of Shortstop Prospects, Part Three

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Shortstops Drafted in the First Round, 1994-2005

    In Part Three of our Recent History of Shortstop Prospects series, we look at all shortstops drafted as shortstops in the first round, 1994-2005. Let's see how they did.

1994

Josh Booty, Florida Marlins, Louisiana HS
     5th overall, uber-tools player with a football background. Switched to third base in 1995, showed power but his contact problems and strike zone issues proved insurmountable. Hit .198/.256/.356 in his minor league career, hit .269/.367/.309 in 13 major league games. One of the greatest tools busts in history.

Mark Farris, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas HS
    11th overall. Another tools guy, Farris was considered a slight overdraft at the time due to defensive questions, but still worthy of a first round selection due to an extremely promising bat. Hit .287/.371/.360 in the New York-Penn League, but never built from there, having defensive problems and not showing much power. Was out of baseball by 1999. Career .244/.312/.327 hitter in the minors.

Nomar Garciaparra, Boston Red Sox, Georgia Tech
    12th overall. When drafted, Garciaparra was considered an excellent athlete defensive shortstop but it was uncertain exactly how his bat would develop. He hit .267/.338/.384 in Double-A in 1995, showing good plate discipline and a very low strikeout rate but obviously not exceptional performance. He broke out in Triple-A in 1996, then began a terrific run in 1997. The interesting thing here is that even when he wasn't dominating in the minors, his strikeout rate was quite low. Career .293/.357/.471 in the minors, .314/.363/.525 in the majors.

Hiram Bocachica, Montreal Expos, Puerto Rico HS
    21st overall. Bocachica was considered very promising with both power and speed potential, but some defensive questions. He performed well at the lower levels, but had some injury problems and stalled out a bit when he reached Double-A. Converted to outfield, then second base, he reached the majors with the Dodgers in 2000 and has bounced around rosters ever since, hitting .215/.272/.356 in 535 major league at-bats, but .288/.373/.471 in the minors. Injuries and contact problems stalled his development.

Kevin Witt, Toronto Blue Jays, Florida HS
    26th overall, Witt was drafted for his left-handed power bat. He spent three years at shortstop before switching to first base. He showed lots of power potential, hitting 30 homers in Double-A in 1997 for example, but his strike zone judgment was erratic and his strikeout rate high. He eventually ended up as a productive Triple-A slugger, hitting .272/.334/.499 for his minor league career, but just .233/.267/.376 in 399 major league at-bats.

1995 

Chad Hermansen, Pittsburgh Pirates, Nevada HS
     10th overall. We've talked about Hermansen before. Converted to outfield in 1997, he was young for his leagues, showed lots of power, but never got the strike zone under control. Career .273/.349/.479 in the minors, .195/.255/.329 in 492 major league at-bats.

Ryan Jaroncyk, New York Mets, California HS
    18th overall. Jaroncyk was considered to be an excellent defender with a doubtful bat, and that's exactly what happened. He hit .237/.316/.308 in 154 minor league games at the A-ball level. He got so frustrated that he quit baseball in 1997, throwing his equipment in a dumpster. A brief comeback attempt in 1999 and 2000 ended after 20 games. Huge bust.

Michael Barrett, Montreal Expos, Georgia HS|
    28th overall. After a good rookie ball debut, Barrett converted to catcher in 1996 and has had a long career. .264/.320/.422 career hitter in 1047 major league games, hit .291/.337/.428 in the minors.

1996
Matt Halloran, San Diego Padres, Virginia HS
     15th overall, Halloran was considered a strong athlete with a good glove, but questionable offensive skills. He had injury problems and never hit, finishing his career in 2001 with a .219/.279/.292 line in 396 games.

1997
Mike Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins, Virginia HS
     9th overall. Cuddyer played one year (1998) at shortstop before moving to third base. At times in the minors he looked like a future star, especially after an excellent 2001 season in Double-A. He has not quite lived up to that, hitting .268/.344/.441 in his major league career, but he's been a very good player when healthy. Hit .290/.380/.485 in the minors.

Brandon Larson, Cincinnati Reds, Louisiana State University
    14th overall, Larson switched to third base quickly which was expected. His bat was very promising, but he had injury issues as well as problems with the strike zone. Proved very effective in Triple-A but couldn't bring this to the majors, where he hit .179/.271/.299 in 291 at-bats. Hit .287/.346/.522 in the minors.

Jason Dellaero, Chicago White Sox, University of South Florida
    15th overall, Dellaero was considered an overdraft by most people at the time. He had a good glove and some power, but was not consistently effective in college, and this carried through to the pros, where he hit a mere .210/.256/.340 in his minor league career, undone by horrible strike zone judgment. Hit .091 in 11 major league games.

Adam Kennedy, St. Louis Cardinals, Cal State Northridge
    20th overall. Kennedy was considered a pure hitter with defensive questions. He ended up at second base, which was anticipated, and while erratic he has had some major league success, hitting .276/.328/.389 in 1227 games. Not great, but it's a career. He hit .311/.354/.457 in the minors, showing occasional pop with a high batting average but a low walk rate.

Kevin Nicholson, San Diego Padres, Stetson
    27th overall, Nicholson was the first Canadian ever drafted in the first round, though he went to college in the US. He was considered OK with the glove but promising with the bat due to unusual power from a 5-9 frame. He struggled in Double-A in 1998, hitting just .215, and aside from a brief trial with the Padres in 2000 he spent the rest of his career in the upper minors, hitting .265/.334/.398, not living up to the potential scouts saw in him. He had decent plate discipline, but had injury troubles.

Troy Cameron, Atlanta Braves, Florida HS
    28th overall, Cameron was considered a very promising power hitter but likely to convert to third base. He moved to third in 1998 and indeed showed power, hitting 21 homers that year and 22 in 1999, but strikeouts eventually got the best of him and he seemed to age poorly, his bat topping out in Double-A. Hit .238/.339.420 in the minors.

1998
Felipe Lopez, Toronto Blue Jays, Florida HS
     8th overall,. Lopez was considered highly promising on both offense and defense, but somewhat raw. He was pushed fast, playing Double-A at age 20 and perhaps suffered somewhat as a result. His development path wasn't exactly smooth. Major league career has been up-and-down, .262/.330/.395, compared to .279/.341/.430 in the minors.

Josh McKinley, Montreal Expos, Pennsylvania HS
    11th overall. This was considered an overdraft by a lot of people. McKinley's athleticism was respected, but scouts doubted his bat. He never reached the majors, hitting .251/.337/.370 before ending his career in 2004. He showed good strike zone judgment and had a nice year in Double-A in 2003 (.288/.367/.467) but things just never came together for him.

Adam Everett, Boston Red Sox, University of South Carolina
    12th overall. Scouts expected Everett to be an excellent defensive shortstop with a questionable bat, which is exactly how things have turned out. Hit .259/.346/.368 in the minors, .246/.298/.355 in the majors.

1999
Corey Myers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona HS
   4th overall, Myers was rated as an overdraft done for local publicity reasons by most people, though Arizona denied this. He moved to third base in 2000 and had a few flashes of success in the minors, but didn't have the bat for a corner position, hitting .272/.335/.406 through 2007.

2000
Luis Montanez, Chicago Cubs, Florida HS
   3rd overall. You can read all about him here   

David Espinosa, Cincinnati Reds, Florida HS
    23rd overall, considered one of the top players in the draft but with excessive bonus/Boras demands. He ended up signing a major league contract worth $5 million over eight years. I hope he invested the money wisely. Espinosa has been a useful minor league player, hitting .260/.352/.403, showing some on-base ability and occasional pop, but his defense at shortstop proved much worse than advertised, and he simply didn't hit enough to reach the majors after moving to the outfield.

2001
Chris Burke, Houston Astros, University of Tennessee
    10th overall. Already mentioned in this series. Burke certainly hasn't developed as hoped.

Bobby Crosby, Oakland Athletics, Long Beach State University
    25th overall. Had the solid rookie year but hasn't followed that up for various reasons. It will be interesting to see how long he lasts at his current level of performance. Is there any hope for a rebound, Oakland fans?

Josh Burrus, Atlanta Braves, Georgia HS
    29th overall, Burrus was a tools player and speedy athlete with questions about his bat. He moved to third base in 2002 then outfield in 2003, A career .243/.317/.364 hitter in the minors, he played in the Can Am League in 2008. Classic tools bust.

2002
B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Virginia HS
     2nd overall. Exact shape of career going forward is unclear, but certainly was worth the pick.

Scott Moore, Detroit Tigers, California HS
      8th overall. Drafted on the strength of his power bat, he moved to third base in 2003. Too many strikeouts and a low batting average cost him prospect luster. Looking for a utility role now. Career .259/.345/.444 hitter in the minors.

Drew Meyer, Texas Rangers, University of South Carolina
      10th overall. This pick was strongly criticized at the time, as Meyer's bat wasn't considered first round quality by most teams, and a weak arm made him a better fit at second base in the opinions of most. A career .262/.320/.348 hitter in the minors, he's never lived up to Texas' expectations.

Khalil Greene, San Diego Padres, Clemson University
     13th overall. Already mentioned earlier in this study. A regular shortstop though not a star.

Russ Adams, Toronto Blue Jays, University of North Carolina
     14th overall. Respected for his contact hitting skills and speed (he posted a 52/19 BB/K ratio his junior year with 45 steals), Adams reached the majors quickly (2004) but never hit enough to get beyond utility work. .276/.355/.400 in the minors, .248/.314/.378 in the majors.

Josh McCurdy, Oakland Athletics, University of Maryland
     26th overall. Part of the Moneyball class, McCurdy hit .443/.496/.826 for Maryland, but with an 18/31 BB/K ratio. . .and indeed, plate discipline proved his Achilles heel in the pros. Hit .253/.302/.365, 2006 was his last season. Good example of how you can't just look at the surface stats in college. . .though even on a sabermetric basis, there were warning signs.

Sergio Santos, Arizona Diamondbacks, California HS
     27th overall. Already mentioned. Another example of how age-relative-to-league isn't everything.

2003
Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays, Louisiana State University
     13th overall. Drafted on the strength of his bat, though with the idea that he would probably move to second or third base. College and early pro performance were solid, plate discipline good until he reached Triple-A. .284/.339/.409 major league hitter thus far.

Brandon Wood, Anaheim Angels, Arizona HS
     23rd overall. Wood was a "great glove, might not hit" guy until he suddenly started slamming homers in his senior year in high school. Had the monster season in the Cal League, but has been hot-and-cold since then, held back by plate discipline issues and odd handling by the Angels. I still hold out hope for him.

2004
Matt Bush, San Diego Padres, California HS
     1st overall, apparently due to ownership interference. Was regarded as a good athlete with defensive potential, but not a legitimate first overall pick by any means. Didn't hit, fielding proved much weaker than expected, makeup issues, converted to pitcher, injuries. . .lots of drama here.

Chris Nelson, Colorado Rockies, Georgia HS
     9th overall. Very toolsy, considered highly promising on both offense and defense when drafted. Performance has been very erratic, could still turn into a good player.

Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida State University
    15th overall. Would have gone much higher if not for signability issues.

Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota Twins, California HS
    20th overall. When drafted, considered a skilled defender who should hit for average with gap power, Plouffe has not thrived by any means, but has reached Triple-A and still has a shot as a utility guy. Career .255/.318/.380 hitter, still young enough to step forward but I'm not holding my breath.

2005
Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks, Virginia HS
      1st overall. Converted to outfielder immediately. Immense potential, but like his brother it is still unclear exactly what kind of player he will be.

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies, Long Beach State University
     7th overall. Hard to complain about this one.

Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics, Texas A&M University
     21st overall. Drafted for his speed and on-base ability, but lack of power has prevented him from emerging as a possible regular. I still think he could be useful in a utility role.

C.J. Henry, New York Yankees, Oklahoma HS
     29th overall. Super tools guy better-known as a potential college basketball player. Undone by bad plate discipline and general lack of polish, .222/.296/.353 in 272 games.

Tyler Greene, St. Louis Cardinals, Georgia Tech
     30th overall. Greene is a tremendous athlete with speed and power, but was rather raw for a top program college player. Strike zone problems and injuries have held him back. Career .254/.326/.418 hitter with 82 steals in 94 attempts in 377 games thus far.

In Part Four, we will look at all current starting shortstops in the Major Leagues and track their origins. In Part Five we will try to pull all this data together and draw some conclusions.