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 Moore, LHP, Rays, Grade A: Verified when healthy.
2) Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals, Grade A: Verified so far.
3) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade A: Career 4.42 ERA in 552 innings, 4.24 FIP, fWAR 5.6. Can be erratic from start to start, a slightly above-average pitcher overall. I expected more and it still may yet happen. Incomplete.
4) Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves, Grade A: Grade verified.
5) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates, Grade A: Career 3.23 ERA in 579 innings, 2.98 FIP, fWAR 12.7. A very successful pitcher, verified, will have to see about long-term durability.
6) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners, Grade A-: Career 4.18 ERA in 357 innings, 4.30 FIP, fWAR 3.4. Very strong when he’s going well but still inconsistent. Incomplete but I think he verifies eventually.
7) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates, Grade A-: Looked good this year.
8) Jacob Turner, RHP, Tigers, Grade A-: Incomplete but trending negative.
9) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles, Grade A-: Fought injuries but did fairly well in 2016, 3.96 ERA in 111 innings, 4.70 FIP, fWAR 0.9. Incomplete but trending positive.
10) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Rockies, Grade A-: Solid.
11) Jarrod Parker, RHP, Athletics, Grade A-: Verified when healthy.
12) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Diamondbacks, Grade A- : Career 4.60 ERA in 231 innings, 4.15 FIP, fWAR 2.1. Performed reasonably until going down with Tommy John surgery. Incomplete.
13) Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade A-: 5.18 ERA in 177 innings, 4.27 FIP, fWAR 1.8. Command problems an issue at present but shows signs of being able to improve. Incomplete.
14) Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners, Grade A-: Bust due to shoulder trouble.
15) James Paxton, LHP, Mariners, Grade B+: Career 3.43 ERA in 286 innings, 3.32 FIP, fWAR 5.7. Effective when healthy. Verified per-inning but will have to see about durability.
16) Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Braves, Grade B+: Incomplete.
17) Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: Career 3.32 ERA in 493 innings, 3.36 FIP, fWAR 8.4. Very successful to this point, verified.
18) Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets, Grade B+: Career 2.94 ERA in 520 innings, 2.79 FIP, fWAR 14.2. Outstanding talent verified but health problems stand in the way.
19) Zack Wheeler, RHP,Mets, Grade B+: Grade verified when healthy.
20) Trevor May, RHP, Phillies, Grade B+: Up and down with control problems 5.14 ERA in 203 innings, 3.71 FIP, 2.8 fWAR. Incomplete but I still think he will verify eventually.
21) Randall Delgado, RHP, Braves, Grade B+: Incomplete.
22) Addison Reed, RHP, White Sox, Grade B+: Career 3.53 ERA in 327 innings, 3.07 FIP, fWAR 6.0, 106 saves. Can be erratic but very good when he’s on; verified as reliever.
23) A.J. Cole, RHP, Athletics, Grade B+: 5.29 ERA in 48 innings, 4.38 FIP, 0.5 wFAR; proven in Triple-A but still looking for major league role; incomplete.
24) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: Excellent major league pitcher, 2.89 ERA, 2.72 FIP in 334 innings, 9.6 fWAR; talent verified, will have to see how durable.
25) Justin Nicolino, LHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: 4.99 ERA in 153 innings, 4.61 FIP, fWAR 0.6. Mediocre so far, still concerned about lack of strikeouts, incomplete.
26) Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: 5.88 ERA in 52 innings, 6.86 FIP, -1.0 fWAR; ineffective in first trial but more data needed, incomplete.
27) Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: Solid so far, 3.64 ERA in 136 innings, 4.35 FIP, fWAR 1.4; durability main issue going forward, incomplete but positive trend.
28) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Royals, Grade B+: Verified.
29) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies, Grade B+: Command problems, concussion blowback, and elbow injury have slammed his prospect status. Incomplete but trends negative.
30) Nestor Molina, RHP, White Sox, Grade B+: I played contrarian on this one and I lost the bet, he’s topped out in Double-A. Scouts were right about him, the numbers weren’t.
31) Drew Hutchison, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: Career 4.93 ERA in 418 innings, 4.25 FIP, fWAR 4.2. Incomplete, but has looked good at times, slowed by injury.
32) Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox, Grade B+: Established in Sox bullpen, 4.55 ERA in 119 innings, 4.24 FIP, fWAR 0.1; basically a replacement level reliever at this point but has time to improve; incomplete.
33) Zach Lee, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B+: Still a prospect, stock down from this level.
34) Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres, Grade B+: Incomplete, 4.54 ERA in 149 innings, 3.78 FIP, fWAR 1.9; health/durability main issues.
35) Deck McGuire, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: Did not verify.
36) Joe Wieland, RHP,Padres, Grade B+: 6.32 ERA in 53 innings, 5.49 FIP, -0.4. Injuries, incomplete but trends negative.
37) Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Padres, Grade B+: 5.60 ERA in 92 innings, 5.38 FIP, fWAR 0.1; replacement level pitcher at this point, still young enough to improve, incomplete.
38) Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers, Grade B+: Decent when healthy so far.
39) Brad Peacock, RHP, Athletics, Grade B: 4.57 ERA in 264 innings, 4.93 FIP, fWAR 0.2. Incomplete, has the stuff but command troubles.
40) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees, Grade B: Injuries, incomplete.
41) Sonny Gray, RHP, Athletics, Grade B: Career 3.42 ERA in 608 innings, 3.61 FIP, fWAR 9.0. Excellent so far, grade verified to this point.
42) Chad Bettis, RHP, Rockies, Grade B: Career 5.01 ERA in 370 innings, 4.30 FIP, fWAR 4.1. Looks like a workhorse type.
43) Nate Eovaldi, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B: Career 4.21 ERA in 739 innings, 3.85 FIP, fWAR 9.3. Decent enough.
44) Garrett Richards, RHP, Angels, Grade B: Verified when healthy.
45) Jeurys Familia, RHP,Mets, Grade B: Career 2.46 ERA in 256 innings, 2.93 FIP, fWAR 4.4, 100 saves. Verified.
46) Lance Lynn, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B: Career 3.37 ERA in 791 innings, 3.36 FIP, fWAR 13.6. Very good unti he got hurt. Verified.
47) Wily Peralta, RHP, Brewers, Grade B: Career 4.18 ERA in 647 innings, 4.34 FIP, fWAR 5.4. Some success, not terrific.
48) Alexander Torres, LHP, Rays, Grade B: Career 2.68 ERA in 154 innings, 3.65 FIP, fWAR 0.8. Successful reliever over parts of three seasons but stuck in Triple-A this year. Incomplete?
49) Tyler Thornburg, RHP,Brewers, Grade B: Career 2.87 ERA in 220 innings, 3.83 FIP, fWAR 2.6. Very good so far in bullpen.
50) Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees, Grade B: Verified in bullpen.
COMMENTARY: Lots of incompletes and it will be another couple of years before the list can be fairly judged.