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Update on the Baseball Prospect Retrospective Project

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Jim Rogash

Work proceeds on the John Sickels Baseball Prospect Retrospective Project and we are still looking at a September 1st release date. This is an electronic-only product that will be issued as a .pdf. It will contain four sections:

SECTION ONE: This will be an overview of how I analyze prospects, how the system works, and how it has changed over time, dating back to my first prospect book in 1996. You will see how it started off as almost pure sabermetrics, gradually incorporated more scouting, then recently back towards more of a saber approach again. Which lists turn out better?

: This section will look at all of my Top 50 prospect lists from 1996 through 2013. We will look at how each prospect performed and what kind of career they had. I have posted some of this material in recent comment threads and it will look something like this:

1996 Hitters
1) Johnny Damon, OF, Royals, Grade A: Hit .284/.352/.433 in 10917 PA, wRC+105, fWAR 42.9. Good solid player for a long time. Grade verified.
2) Andruw Jones, OF, Braves, Grade A: Hit .254/.337/.486 in 8664 PA, wRC+111, fWAR 67.6. Regarded as somewhat disappointing at times but had a remarkable career overall due to marvelous glove. Grade verified.
3) Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees, Grade A:
Hit .311/.479/.443 in 12400 PA, wRC+120, fWAR 74.3. Hall of Fame shortstop. Grade verified.
4) Ruben Rivera, OF, Yankees. Grade A: Hit .216/.307/.393 in 1818 PA, wRC+83, fWAR 4.9. One of the biggest tools busts in recent history, undone by contact issues and personal problems. Excellent career in Mexico. Did not verify.
5) Karim Garcia, OF, Dodgers, Grade A: Hit .241/.279/.424 in 1560 PA, wRC+78, fWAR -3.9. Bust. Could never turn his raw power into consistent production, contact issues and plate discipline. Very good in Mexico. Did not verify.
6) Scott Rolen, 3B, Phillies, Grade A:
Hit .281/.364/.490 in 8518 PA, wRC+122, fWAR 69.9. Excellent player. Grade verified.
7) Bob Abreu, OF, Astros, Grade A: Hit .291/.395/.475 in 10068 PA, wRC+129, fWAR 58.0. Excellent player. Grade verified.
8) Javier Valentin, C, Twins, Grade A:
Hit .251/.310/.402 in 1663 PA, wRC+80, fWAR 2.8. Had a couple of useful seasons as a role player but didn’t live up to promise. Did not verify.
9) Steve Gibralter, OF, Reds, Grade A-: Just five major league at-bats, topped out in Triple-A. Career ruined by injuries and contact problems. Did not verify, injury bust.
10) Todd Walker, 3B, Twins, Grade A-:
Hit .289/.348/.435 in 5055 PA, wRC+99, fWAR 9.3. Did not live up to expectations but not a bust either, played regularly for eight years. Grade verified.
11) Shannon Stewart, OF, Blue Jays, Grade A-:
Hit .297/.360/.430 in 6205 PA, wRC+107, fWAR 21.8. A good solid regular. Grade verified.
12) Mike Sweeney, C, Royals, Grade A-:
Hit .297/.366/.486 in 5848 PA, wRC+117, fWAR 21.0. Didn’t age well but excellent hitter for several years. Grade verified.
13) Jason Kendall, C, Pirates, Grade A-:
Hit .288/.366/.378 in 8702 PA, wRC+99, fWAR 40.2. Excellent career. Grade verified.
14) Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Expos, Grade A-: Hit .318/.379/.553 in 9059 PA, wRC+136, fWAR 56.5. Excellent career. Grade verified.
15) George Arias, 3B, Angels: Grade A-:
Hit .238/.278/.371 in 513 PA, wRC+64, fWAR -0.2. Didn’t make it in the majors but played well in Triple-A and was a star in Japan. Did not verify.
16) Darin Erstad, OF, Angels, Grade A-:
Hit .282/.334/.407 in 6621 PA, wRC+93, fWAR 28.3. Bat faded quickly after remarkable 8.7 fWAR season in 2000. Grade verified.
17) Nomar Garciaparra, SS, Red Sox, Grade A-:
Hit .313/.361/.521 in 6116 PA, wRC+124, fWAR 41.5. Excellent player. Grade verified.
18) Gabe Alvarez, SS, Padres, Grade A-
Hit .222/.289/.357 in 294 PA, wRC+65, fWAR -1.5. Topped out in Triple-A, had injuries, out of baseball by age 30. Did not verify.
19) Jay Payton, Of, Mets, Grade A-:
Hit .279/.323/.425 in 4490 PA, wRC+92, fWAR 12.4. Did not live up to expectations but had a long career as a role player. Partial verification.
20) Jose Malave, OF, Red Sox, Grade A-
: Hit .226/.248/.368 in 109 PA, wRC+50, fWAR -0.5. Hit well in Triple-A but never got a clean shot at a job. Did not verify.
21) Jermaine Dye, OF, Braves, Grade A-
: Hit .274/.338/.488 in 7214 PA, wRC+110, fWAR 15.3. Long-term regular power hitter. Grade verified.
22) Matt Lawton, OF, Twins, Grade B+:
Hit .267/.368/.417 in 5570 PA, wRC+107, 165 steals, fWAR 12.5. Good solid player. Grade verified.
23) Arquimedez Pozo, 2B, Mariners, Grade B+: Hit .189/.215/.311 in 80 PA, wRC+26, fWAR -0.5. Excellent in Triple-A but out of baseball at age 26. One of the great prospect mysteries. Did not verify.
24) Chris Snopek, 3B, White Sox, Grade B+:
Hit .234/.293/.346 in 668 PA, wRC+68, fWAR -1.0. Topped out as a solid Triple-A player. Did not verify.
25) Richard Hidalgo, OF, Astros, Grade B+: Hit .269/.345/.490 in 3928 PA, wRC+111, fWAR 21.6. Burned out fast but had some good years, grade verified.
26) Trey Beamon, OF, Pirates, Grade B+: Hit .253/.306./.310 in 172 PA, wRC+65, fWAR -0.7. Never developed power to go with contact hitting skills. Did not verify.
27) Derrick Gibson, OF, Rockies, Grade B+: Hit .286/.327/.449 in 52 PA, wRC+78, fWAR 0.2. Tools player who topped out in Triple-A. Did not verify.
28) Ryan McGuire, 1B, Red Sox, Grade B+:
Hit .211/.306/.311 in 730 PA, wRC+64, fWAR -1.3. Never developed power expected for his position. Did not verify.
29) Donnie Sadler, SS, Red Sox: Grade B+:
Hit .202/.262/.284 in 861 PA, wRC+38, fWAR -2.0. Couldn’t hit. Did not verify.
30) Derrek Lee, 1B, Padres, Grade B+:
Hit .281/.365/.495 in 7963 PA, wRC+123, fWAR 35.7. Very successful power hitter. Grade verified.
31) Edgar Renteria, SS, Marlins, Grade B+:
Hit .286/.343/.398 in 9066 PA, wRC+95, fWAR 35.5. Very successful career. Grade verified.
32) Wilton Guerrero, SS, Dodgers, Grade B+:
Hit .282/.308/.369 in 1797 PA, wRC+75, fWAR -2.3. He could hit for average but lacked other skills.
33) Todd Greene, C, Angels, Grade B+:
Hit .252/.286/.444 in 1657 PA, wRC+80, fWAR -1.1. Sort of a power version of Guerrero, Greene could hit home runs but lacked other skills.
34) Jim Bonnici, 1B, Mariners, Grade B+:
Never played in the majors although he hit well in Triple-A. Became a scout. Did not verify.
35) Roger Cedeno, OF, Dodgers, Grade B+: Hit .273/.340/.371 in 3557 PA, wRC+90, 213 steals, fWAR 0.3. Career lasted too long to be considered a bust in my view but didn’t live up to expectations.

There will be a section like that for all of the prospect lists, 1996 through 2013.

SECTION THREE: This section will look at the top players in major league baseball in 2014 and summarize how they were viewed as prospects. It will include the old book player comments from some players, their grades, how/if they ranked on the Top 50 lists, and an assessment of where they currently stand.

: Lessons learned.

I see this product as the bare bones skeleton of a much larger book which will be called The Historical Baseball Prospect Book, but that's a couple of years away. Look at this like a preview of that.

The Prospect Retrospective Project costs $9.95 and can only be ordered at Get your orders in folks! It should be ready by September 1st.