Top 50 Hitting Prospects from 2006 in Review
Every year about this time, I go back and review my Top Prospect Lists from five years previous, since it takes at least that long to know how a list turned out. You can find a January 2010 review of the 2005 list here.
So let's get in the Wayback Machine and see how my Top 50 Hitting list from 2006 looks in 2011. The pitching list will follow tomorrow.
1) Delmon Young, OF, Tampa Bay Rays: Career .292/.325/.435 hitter, had his best season in 2010 with a 121 OPS+. Still just 25 years old. WAR hates him, career value of -1.0.
2) Jeremy Hermida, OF, Florida Marlins: Other than a very good year in 2007, he's been very disappointing, career mark .259/.335/.417, 97 OPS+. Career WAR of 3.1. Hermida has had a better career than Delmon? Really?
3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington Nationals: .288/.355/.484, career OPS+ 121, Gold glove defense. Career WAR 17.5.
4) Brandon Wood, SS, Los Angeles Angels: Looks like a huge bust at this point, .169/.198/.260 in 450 at-bats over four seasons. Was handled badly by the Angels, but muffed his opportunity when it finally came. Bad strike zone judgment and loss of confidence key factors.
5) Andy Marte, 3B, Boston Red Sox: Another bust, .218/.277/.358 in 838 at-bats over six seasons. Will show flashes but just never puts everything together.
6) Carlos Quentin, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: Career .251/.347/.488, 114 OPS+. Doesn't hit for average and prone to injuries, but draws walks and has good power. Career 5.6 WAR.
7) Alex Gordon, 3B, Kansas City Royals: Career .244/.328/.405, 95 OPS+. Aside from a decent sophomore season in 2008, he's been very disappointing. Injuries have been an issue but even when healthy he hasn't hit as well as anticipated. Not a complete lost cause yet, but likely needs a change of scenery. Career WAR 4.0.
8) Stephen Drew, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks: .272/.332/.448, 99 OPS+, though 113 last year. A solid player. Career WAR 8.9.
9) Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers: .279/.385/.535, 139 OPS+. An outstanding slugger. Career WAR 15.8.
10) Howie Kendrick, 2B, Los Angeles Angels: .295/.327/.425, 99 OPS+. Can hit for average, slowed by injuries earlier in his career. Career WAR 9.6.
11) Chris Young, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: .241/.316/.441, 92 OPS+, good power, draws walks, strikes out a lot and won't hit for average, strong defense. Career WAR 4.9.
12) Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Atlanta Braves: Career .248/.315/.386, 82 OPS+. Bad stagnated, as happens with many catchers, injuries, etc. Career WAR 0.4.
13) Joel Guzman, SS-OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: .232/.306/.321 in 24 major league games. Has settled in as a minor league slugger, with poor strike zone judgment his main problem. Never lived up to the tools that scouts saw when he was young.
14) Justin Upton, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks: He ranked here without having played professionally to that point, being drafted in '05. .272/.352/.471, 112 OPS+ so far in the majors. Still just 23. Career WAR 8.4.
15) Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Rockies: .245/.332/.451, 96 OPS+ in the majors. Has pop, doesn't hit for average, solid glove at third base. Career WAR 2.5.
16) Nick Markakis, OF, Baltimore Orioles: .298/.368/.463, 118 OPS+, power production has declined since his debut but gets on base. Career WAR 18.3.
17) Lastings Milledge, OF, New York Mets: .269/.328/.394, 91 OPS+. Flashes talent but erratic, hasn't lived up to his physical tools. Career WAR -2.0.
18) Daric Barton, 1B, Oakland Athletics: .260/.369/.399, OPS+ 109, seems to be gradually improving each year. Very strong defense. Career WAR 6.7.
19) Jeff Clement, C, Seattle Mariners: Another 2005 draftee who made his debut high on the list. .223/.281/.383 in 363 at-bats over three seasons. Has power, doesn't control zone, couldn't stay at catcher. Career WAR -1.2.
20) Conor Jackson, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks: .276/.358/.419, 98 OPS+. An above average hitter 2006 through 2008, then crippled by injuries. Career WAR 3.1.
21) Andy LaRoche, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers: .224/.304/.338, 71 OPS+. Never got untracked in LA, injuries an issue, does have a good glove at third but quite disappointing overall. Career WAR -0.4.
22) Ryan Braun, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers: .307/.364/.554, 140 OPS+. 2005 draft pick made his debut on the list here. An outstanding hitter. Career WAR 14.5.
23) Kendry Morales, 1B, Los Angeles Angels: .284/.336/.502, 118 OPS+. Excellent season in 2009 but limited by injuries in '10. Career WAR 4.4.
24) Russ Martin, C, Los Angeles Dodgers: .272/.365/.396, 101 OPS+. Above-average hitter 2006-2008 but has slipped the last two seasons. Career WAR 12.7.
25) Felix Pie, OF, Chicago Cubs: .255/.305/.394, OPS+ 82. Hasn't lived up to his physical tools, lack of patience an issue. Career WAR 2.7.
26) Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies: Another 2005 draft pick, .290/.362/.495, 114 OPS+, gold glove defense, hard to find a better overall player. Career WAR 18.6.
27) Adam Jones, OF, Seattle Mariners: .274/.319/.427, 97 OPS+, but 106 OPS+ over the last two seasons despite weak discipline. Very strong with the glove. Career WAR 7.7.
28) Erick Aybar, SS, Los Angeles Angels: .274/.318/.365, 82 OPS+. Good speed, but most of offense lies in his batting average. Glove decent. Career WAR 4.4.
29) Billy Butler, OF, Kansas City Royals: .299/.359/.457, 118 OPS+, but production has escalated last two years, continues to steadily improve. Career WAR 5.0.
30) Blake DeWitt, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers: .259/.335/.378, OPS+ 91. Nothing special either offensively or defensively, but will probably be around a long time. 3.1 career WAR.
31) Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: .299/.344/.519, OPS 119+, broke out in 2010. Tools player who made good. 7.7 career WAR.
32) Marcus Sanders, 2B, San Francisco Giants: Never reached the majors, injuries and offensive collapse.
33) George Kottaras, C, San Diego Padres: .213/.305/.394, 85 OPS+, has some pop and can draw a walk but can't hit for average at all. Career WAR 0.2.
34) Kevin Melillo, 2B, Oakland Athletics: Got one at-bat in 2007. A decent enough Triple-A player but didn't live up to the .305/.399/.535 season (at three levels) he had in '05.
35) Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros: .287/.336/.481, 115 OPS+, 6.7 WAR. Steady and consistent.
36) Justin Huber, 1B, Kansas City Royals: .224/.276/.304 in 161 at-bats over five seasons. Topped out as a Triple-A slugger.
37) Eddy Martinez-Esteve, OF, San Francisco Giants: Hit .295/.383/.432 in the minors but hasn't reached the majors. Power vanished after series of shoulder injuries.
38) Neil Walker, C, Pittsburgh Pirates: .288/.343/.444, 112 OPS+ in the majors, 462 at-bats. Looked like a possible bust until 2010. Career WAR 1.0.
39) Brandon Snyder, C, Baltimore Orioles: Just 20 major league at-bats so far, but still only 24.Career .278/.342/.437 hitter in the minors, position switch to first base has robbed him of much value.
40) Jose Tabata, OF, New York Yankees: hit .299/.346/.400 with 19 steals in 2010 rookie year with the Pirates, WAR 0.8.
41) Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: .286/.365/.459, 120 OPS+, plenty of speed, 6.4 career WAR so far. A very good player who should just get better.
42) Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox: Career .305/.369/.460 hitter, 113 OPS+, AL MVP in 2008, 17.7 career WAR. Obviously excellent.
43) Stephen Head, 1B, Cleveland Indians: 2005 draft pick looked great after signing but has never lived up to full potential. .263/.327/.429 hitter in the minors so far, now in indy ball.
44) Cody Haerther, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: hit .307/.355/.538 in 2005 but never did much after that, hampered by injuries and loss of power in Double-A.
45) Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: .263/.334/.452, 110 OPS+, much better in 2010 sophomore season. 5.7 career WAR.
46) Ryan Shealy, 1B, Colorado Rockies: .268/.331/.424, 95 OPS+, 19 homers in 545 at-bats over six seasons. Under different circumstances he might have done better.
47) Wes Bankston, 1B,Tampa Bay Rays: Hit .203/.238/.305 in 17 games in 2008. Triple-A slugger.
48) Brent Clevlen, OF, Detroit Tigers: .234/.280/.429 in 84 at-bats over four seasons. Hit decently in Triple-A but strikeout problems overrode tools and power.
49) Josh Willingham, C-1B, Florida Marlins: .265/.367/.475, OPS+ 121, 11.0 career WAR. Steady and reliable hitter.
50) Javier Herrera, OF, Oakland Athletics: Tools guy, career ruined by injuries. Career .282/.358/.468 when he's been able to play, no major league time.
There are both tools busts and stathead busts on this list. Biggest failures: Brandon Wood, Andy Marte, Joel Guzman, Lastings Milledge, Jeff Clement, Marcus Sanders. Overall I think it is a decent list. I am more suspicious of one-dimensional slugger types nowadays than I was back then.