With 20 years of prospect lists on the docket, I am going back and reviewing the top prospects from my books, the STATS Minor League Scouting Notebook (1996 through 2002) and the Baseball Prospect Book (2003-2016). The very brief comments provided include a statistical summary (through the 2016 season) and a marker on whether I considered the grade verified or not.
The lists from 1996 through 2002 were unified Top 50 lists with both hitters and pitchers. 2003 was the first year with Top 50 Hitters and Top 50 Pitchers.
There is a gray area of course, some players who were not as good as expected but not exactly failures, either. For me, a bust is a player that you get nothing out of.
Generally speaking, I am more interested in the players who didn’t make it than the ones who did.
1) Matt Wieters, C, Orioles, Grade A: Grade verified.
2) Travis Snider ,OF, Blue Jays, Grade A-: Didn’t verify a grade this high.
3) Lars Anderson, 1B, Red Sox, Grade A-: Did not verify. The Brandon Wood of first basemen.
4) Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals, Grade A-: Didn’t live up to this but has value.
5) Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins Grade A-: Didn’t live up to this but has value.
6) Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies, Grade A-: Career .266/.366/.422 in 4381 PA, wRC+110, fWAR 17.5. Not a star really but has certainly been an effective player. I think this verified.
7) Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates, Grade A-: Career .238/.311/.449 in 3160 PA, wRC+107, fWAR 7.2, 153 homers. Disappointing but can’t say he’s a total bust.
8) Jason Heyward, OF, Braves, Grade A-: Grade verified.
9) Buster Posey, C, Giants, Grade A-: Career .307/.373/.476 in 3692 PA, wRC+136, fWAR 33.1. Outstanding player. Grade verified.
10) Justin Smoak,1B, Rangers, Grade A-: Career .223/.308/.392 in 2887 PA, wRC+95, fWAR 0.3. A few moments of adequacy but greatly disappointing overall. Has somehow held his job despite replacement-level production for years.
11) Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers, Grade A-: Grade verified.
12) Mike Moustakas ,3B, Royals, Grade A-: Some good years.
13) Logan Morrison, 1B, Marlins, Grade A-: Career .245/.325/.416 in 2753 PA, wRC+105, fWAR 2.3. Hasn’t lived up to this grade but not a total bust.
14) Brett Wallace, 3B, Cardinals, Grade A-: Career .238/.316/.389 in 1440 PA, wRC+94, fWAR -1.4. Good Triple-A hitter but like Smoak and Morrison he hasn’t lived up to this at all.
15) Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates, Grade B+: Grade verified.
16) Matt Gamel, 3B-OF, Brewers Grade B+: Injury bust.
17) Carlos Santana, C, Indians, Grade B+: Career .247/.365/.444 in 4115 PA, wRC+124, fWAR 20.2. Highly-productive regular. Grade verified.
18) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves, Grade B+: Career .288/.373/.484 in 3790 PA, wRC+135, fWAR 20.8. Highly-productive regular. Grade verified.
19) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals, Grade B+: Career .277/.335/.428 in 3722 PA, wRC+107, fWAR 5.6. Like Moustaksas, he’s had two excellent seasons but has otherwise been a replacement level player.
20) Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets, Grade B+: Career .257/.296/.408 in 1220 PA, wRC+94, fWAR 3.5. Incomplete, too soon to know. Age-relative-to-league was the big asset here. He’s been pretty decent for two and a half years.
21) Jordan Schafer, OF, Braves, Grade B+: Did not verify.
22) Gordon Beckham, SS, White Sox, Grade B+: Career .240/.303/.370 in 3474 PA, wRC+81, fWAR 5.0. Not great but he’s held a job. Grade this high not verified but not a complete bust.
23) Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets, Grade B+: Did not verify.
24) Carlos Triunfel, SS, Mariners, Grade B+: Did not verify.
25) Jesus Montero, C, Yankees, Grade B+: Career .253/.295/.398 in 865 PA, wRC+92, fWAR -0.8. A gigantic disappointment, no pun intended. At age 26 he could still turn it around but seems unlikely.
26) Ben Revere, OF, Twins, Grade B+: Grade verified.
27) Tim Beckham, SS, Rays, Grade B+: Career .238/.288/.431 in 446 PA, wRC+95, fWAR 1.2. At age 26 this is still an incomplete grade but seems unlikely to verify.
28) Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins, Grade B+: Career .223/.299/.346 in 1289 PA, wRC+77, fWAR 0.8. Another disappointment, with enough time in theory to turn around but no evidence that he will.
29) Matt LaPorta OF-1B Cleveland Indians Grade B+: Did not verify.
30) Yonder Alonso, 1B, Reds, Grade B+: Career .269/.334/.387 in 2343 PA, wRC+102, fWAR 3.4. Another disappointing corner bat.
31) Matt Dominguez, 3B, Marlins, Grade B+: Career .231/.273/.371 in 1369 PA, wRC+77, fWAR -1.5. Wasn’t expected to be a great hitter and wasn’t; glove was supposed to be excellent but wasn’t enough to overcome the bat.
32) Kyle Blanks, 1B, Padres, Grade B+: Career .241/.322/.416 in 933 PA, wRC+108, fWAR 3.6. Hit well at times but couldn’t stay healthy. The run of disappointing first basemen continues.
33) Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton, OF, Marlins, Grade B+: Career .266/.357/.539 in 3428 PA, wRC+141, fWAR 27.0, 208 homers. Outstanding power hitter overcame any worries about contact. Wish I had ranked him higher obviously.
34) Josh Vitters, 3B,Cubs, Grade B+: Did not verify.
35) Jose Tabata, OF, Pirates, Grade B+: Role player.
36) Kyle Skipworth, C, Marlins, Grade B+: Four major league at-bats. Had power but couldn’t make sufficient contact and defense didn’t compensate. Did not verify.
37) Michael Burgess, OF, Nationals, Grade B+: Didn’t verify.
38) Austin Jackson, OF, Yankees, Grade B: Grade verified.
39) Taylor Teagarden, C, Rangers, Grade B: Role player.
40) Angel Villalona, 1B, Giants, Grade B: Did not verify.
41) Wilson Ramos, Twins, Grade B: Career .269/.313/.430 in 2304 PA, wRC+100, fWAR 10.3. A solid player. Grade verified.
42) Max Ramirez, C-1B, Rangers, Grade B: Career .217/.343/.357 in 140 PA, wRC+90, fWAR -0.1. Proven Triple-A hitter but held back by badly-timed injuries and defensive limitations. Did not verify.
43) Todd Frazier, 3B, Reds, Grade B: Career .250/.317/.464 in 3190 PA, wRC+111, fWAR 18.0. Solid regular. Grade verified.
44) Greg Halman, OF, Mariners, Grade B: Career .207/.233/.302 in 121 PA, wRC+49, fWAR -0.5. Stabbed to death by his psychotic brother.
45) David Cooper, 1B, Blue Jays, Grade B: Career .270/.310/.441 in 226 PA, wRC+101, fWAR -0.2. Good Triple-A hitter but hampered by shoulder trouble. Did not verify.
46) Josh Reddick, OF, Red Sox, Grade B: Career .255/.316/.430 in 2934 PA, wRC+105, fWAR 15.9. Lots of value with his glove, bat erratic, but grade verified.
47) Beau Mills, 1B, Indians, Grade B: Topped out as Triple-A slugger. Did not verify.
48) Julio Borbon, OF, Rangers, Grade B: Career .273/.318/.347 in 878 PA, wRC+76, fWAR 1.3. Good glove but doesn’t hit enough.
49) Aaron Cunningham, OF, Athletics, Grade B: Career .219/.280/.347 in 501 PA, wRC+72, fWAR -0.1. Hit well for Padres in 2010 (wRC+106) but slipped after that. Did not verify.
50) Jaff Decker, OF, Padres, Grade B: Career .162/.252/.225 in 129 PA, wRC+37, fWAR -0.8. Hits decently in Triple-A but has not performed during major league trials. Unlikely to verify.
COMMENTARY: Not a good year, with failures from both toolsy and statheady picks and a large group of disappointing corner bats. Posey, McCutchen, Stanton, and Wieters turned out well but there were a large group of replacement-level types.
Overall this did not turn out well in my view.