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) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles, Grade A: Incomplete but was pretty good this year.
2) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates, Grade A: Verified.
3) Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals, Grade A: Verified.
4) Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins, Grade A: Career 2.58 ERA in 471 innings, 2.44 FIP, fWAR 13.9. Tragedy.
5) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians, Grade A-: Incomplete.
6) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Diamondbacks, Grade A-: Decent when healthy.
7) Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets, Grade A-: Successful when healthy.
8) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates, Grade A-: Successful in rookie year.
9) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners, Grade A-: Incomplete but should work out.
10) Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade A-: Incomplete.
11) Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals, Grade A-: Verified.
12) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets, Grade A-: Verified.
13) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles, Grade A-: Career 3.97 ERA in 453 innings, 3.92 FIP, fWAR 6.9. Coming along well.
14) Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: Career 2.92 ERA in 277 innings, 2.67 FIP, fWAR 6.0, 110 saves. Verified.
15) Chris Archer, RHP, Rays, Grade B+: Looks good.
16) Danny Hultzen , LHP, Mariners, Grade B+: Injured.
17) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: Career 2.86 ERA in 317 innings, 3.78 FIP, fWAR 4.7. Very impressive so far, command is improving.
18) Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals, Grade B+: Can’t stay healthy.
19) James Paxton, LHP, Mariners, Grade B+: Looks good so far.
20) Casey Kelly, RHP, Padres, Grade B+: Injuries, incomplete.
21) Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox, Grade B+: Bullpen part.
22) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds, Grade B+: 6.08 ERA in 37 innings so far, 6.50 FIP, fWAR -0.3. Incomplete, good stuff but command remains inconsistent, still a prospect.
23) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays, Grade B+: Lot a year with injuries and other issues, decent Double-A season in ’16 but with weaker scouting reports. Still a prospect.
24) Justin Nicolino, LHP, Marlins, Grade B+: Ehhh.
25) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Reds, Grade B+: Career 3.91 ERA in 269 innings, 4.41 FIP, fWAR 1.4, saved 17 this year. Very good in 2013 but replacement level the last two years.
26) Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants, Grade B+: Command failed in Double-A. Stock fading.
27) Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: Career 3.74 ERA in 491 innings, 3.60 FIP, fWAR 7.4. Impressive 2014 and 2015 seasons.
28) Jesse Biddle, LHP, Phillies, Grade B+: Stock down due to injuries.
29) Alex Meyer , RHP, Twins, Grade B+: 6.75 ERA in 28 innings, 5.32 FIP, fWAR 0.0. Struggling with injuries and control problems. Incomplete.
30) Chris Stratton, RHP, Giants, Grade B+: Just reached majors this year, 3.60 ERA in 10 innings; still a prospect but more in the C+ range now.
31) Luis Heredia, RHP, Pirates, Grade B+: Still technically a prospect at age 22 but performance has been spotty, moved to relief in High-A in 2016. Stock down.
32) Roberto Osuna, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+: 2.63 ERA in 144 innings, 3.11 FIP, fWAR 3.1, 56 saves. Excellent so far.
33) Jake Odorizzi , RHP, Rays, Grade B+: Successful.
34) Dan Corcino, RHP, Reds, Grade B+: 4.34 ERA in 19 innings, has lost time to injuries, in Triple-A now but clock ticking at age 26. Incomplete.
35) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Giants, Grade B+: Two Triple-A seasons under his belt but no major league innings yet. Incomplete.
36) Julio Teheran, RHP, Grade B: Very successful.
37) Kyle Gibson , RHP, Twins, Grade B: Okay starter.
38) Wily Peralta, RHP, Brewers, Grade B: Okay starter.
39) Nick Maronde, LHP, Angels, Grade B: 7.13 ERA in 18 innings, 4.91 FIP, fWAR -0.3. Stalled as Triple-A reliever. Incomplete but doesn’t look good.
40) J.R. Graham, RHP, Braves, Grade B: 5.10 ERA in 65 innings, 4.63 FIP, fWAR -0.2. Bullpen spare part so far, incomplete.
41) Michael Fulmer, RHP, Mets, Grade B: Impressive rookie season, 3.06 ERA, 3.76 FIP, fWAR 3.0 in 159 innings. Incomplete but talent is clear.
42) Robbie Erlin, LHP, Padres, Grade B: Incomplete.
43) Allen Webster, RHP, Red Sox, Grade B: Career 6.13 ERA in 120 innings, 5.93 FIP, fWAR -1.0. Fizzled due to command problems.
44) Brandon Maurer, RHP, Mariners, Grade B: Career 4.85 ERA in 280 innings, 3.90 FIP, fWAR 1.9. Erratic but seems to have found bullpen niche.
45) Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals, Grade B: Career 3.89 ERA in 548 innings, 3.98 FIP, fWAR 6.5. Ver good at first, more human recently, but verified overall.
46) A.J. Cole , RHP, Athletics, Grade B: Still a prospect.
47) Max Fried, LHP, Padres, Grade B: Blew out elbow, recovered for decent 2016 season. Still a prospect.
48) Matt Wisler, RHP, Padres, Grade B: 4.88 ERA in 266 innings, 4.88 FIP, 0.6 fWAR. Replacement-level starter so far, could still be a nice inning-eater. Incomplete.
49) Victor Sanchez, RHP, Mariners, Grade B: Killed in boating accident. Tragedy.
50) Dan Straily, RHP, Athletics, Grade B: Career 4.24 ERA in 452 innings, 4.78 FIP, fWAR 2.4. Some success as an inning-eater so far.
COMMENTARY: Large number of incompletes of course but overall I am pleased with this.