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) Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers, Grade A: Got hurt, incomplete.
2) Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals, Grade A: Tragedy.
3) Wil Myers, OF, Rays, Grade A: Has been good when healthy.
4) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox, Grade A: Look excellent.
5) Mike Zunino, C, Mariners, Grade A-: Career .195/.262/.370 in 1247 PA, wRC+78, fWAR 2.6, 50 homers. Good power, strong glove, no batting average, showed signs of improvement in 2016. Incomplete.
6) Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds, Grade A-: Grade was a notch too high I think.
7) Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins, Grade A-: Incomplete but should work out.
8) Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins, Grade A-: Verified.
9) Travis D’Arnaud, C, Mets, Grade A-: Solid when healthy.
10) Javier Baez, SS, Cubs, Grade A-: Career .244/.289/.392 in 759 PA, wRC+83, fWAR 2.5. Extreme boom/bust hitter, defense has turned out really well. Incomplete as his career could still go in any number of directions.
11) Carlos Correa , SS, Astros, Grade A-: Verified. .276/.354/.475 in 1092 PA, wRC+127, fWAR 8.3. Excellent player.
12) Mike Olt , 3B, Rangers , Grade B+: Bust.
13) Addison Russell , SS, Athletics, Grade B+: Hitting .240/.314/.404 in 1121 PA, wRC+ 93, fWAR 6.9; good power though bat can be erratic, excellent defense. Looks good.
14) Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians, Grade B+: Hitting .306/.356/.454 in 1122 PA, wRC+ 118, fWAR 10.8; excellent defense to go with very strong bat. Verified.
15) Austin Hedges, C, Padres, Grade B+: Hitting .161/.206/.236 in 178 PA, wRC+ 19, fWAR -0.6. Good glove, bat has been horrible. Incomplete.
16) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins, Grade B+: Incomplete.
17) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros, Grade B+: Incomplete but unlikely.
18) Gary Sanchez , C, Yankees, Grade B+: Incomplete but looks great right now.
19) Byron Buxton, OF, Twins, Grade B+: Hitting .220/.274/.398 in 469 PA, wRC+ 77, fWAR 1.2; glove has been strong, bat has been weak but with glimmers; incomplete.
20) Trevor Story, SS, Rockies, Grade B+: Hitting .272/.341/.567 in 415 PA, wRC+ 120, fWAR 2.8. Impressive debut in 2016, incomplete but looks good.
21) Albert Almora, OF, Cubs, Grade B+: Hitting .277/.308/.455 in 117 PA, wRC+ 101, fWAR 0.9. Strong glove, I’m still not sure about the bat. Still a prospect.
22) Tyler Austin, OF, Yankees, Grade B+: Hitting .241/.300/.458 in 90 PA, wRC+102, fWAR 0.0. Decent debut in 2016 after shaky ’14 and ’15 seasons, still a prospect although stock down from this level.
23) Jorge Soler , OF, Cubs, Grade B+: Hitting .258/.328/.434 in 765 PA, wRC+106, fWAR 1.5. Not terrific to this point but hit better this year; incomplete.
24) Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres, Grade B+: Good role player.
25) Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners, Grade B+: Incomplete.
26) Brad Miller, SS, Mariners, Grade B+: Career .246/.310/.423 in 1844 PA, wRC+103, fWAR 6.2. I was the only person to rank him this highly although he has turned out differently than I expected, with a lower batting average and OBP but more power.
27) Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox, Grade B+: Career .237/.316/.409 in 1421 PA, wRC+93, fWAR 7.4. Looked like a bust for awhile but has turned his career around.
28) Alen Hanson , SS, Pirates, Grade B+: Just now reaching the majors, .226/.273/.258 in 33 PA; has been stagnant in Triple-A but still only 23.
29) Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers, Grade B+: Career .287/.361/.472 in 1751 PA, wRC+135, fWAR 12.1. Two excellent seasons, two shaky ones, but talent certainly verified.
30) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals, Grade B+: Verified.
31) Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates, Grade B+: Career .253/.318/.404 in 1551 PA, wRC+98, fWAR 5.1. Power came around this year, improving steadily.
32) Rymer Liriano, OF, Padres, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
33) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies, Grade B+: Verified.
34) Nick Castellanos 3B-OF, Tigers, Grade B+: Trending positive.
35) Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels, Grade B+: Hitting .176/.210/.267 in 139 PA, wRC+29, fWAR -0.4. Looks like a long shot at this point but still just 24.
36) David Dahl, OF, Rockies, Grade B+: Strong debut with .315/.359/.500, wRC+111 in 237 PA, fWAR 1.2. Incomplete but certainly looks successful right now.
37) Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers, Grade B+: Stunning rookie year at .312/.374/.519, wRC+142, FWAR 9.0. Obviously verified.
38) Wilmer Flores, 3B, Mets, Grade B+: Looks good.
39) Brian Goodwin, OF, Nationals, Grade B+: .286/.318/.429 in 44 PA, still a prospect, stock has been volatile but improved this year.
40) George Springer, OF, Astros, Grade B+: Verified.
41) Courtney Hawkins, OF, White Sox, Grade B+: Struggling with severe contact problems in Double-A; still young at 22 but trends are negative.
42) Mason Williams, OF, Yankees, Grade B: .292/.320/.438 in 51 PA; stock up and down due to injuries, lack of power but rebounded this year. Still a prospect.
43) Delino DeShields, 2B, Astros, Grade B: .245/.324/.356 in 695 PA, WRC+84, fWAR 1.6. Nice debut in 2015 but less successful this year. Incomplete.
44) Aaron Hicks, OF, Twins, Grade B: Incomplete but doesn’t look good.
45) Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers, Grade B: Hitting .252/.305/.366 in 2037 PA, wRC+82, fWAR 8.9; excellent defense has kept him employed despite shaky bat.
46) Eddie Rosario, 2B, Twins, Grade B: Incomplete.
47) Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies, Grade B: Hit .182/.217/.295 in 138 at-bats with the Rockies, wRC+20, fWAR -1.0; unable to bring minor league production foreward to majors. Looks like a bust.
48) Dorssys Paulino, SS, Indians, Grade B: Still a prospect at age 21, hit well in High-A in ’15 and ’16 while fighting injuries.
49) Garin Cecchini, 3B, Red Sox, Grade B: Hit .229/.325/.400 in 40 PA; bat stalled in Triple-A, still fairly young at 25 but he hasn’t hit well in three years; I was wrong on this one.
50) Adam Eaton, OF, Diamondbacks, Grade B: Career .284/.357/.414 in 2313 PA, wRC+113, fWAR 12.8. A very fine player.
COMMENTARY: Too soon to know for several guys including Profar at the top.