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) Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs, Grade A: Excellent.
2) Carlos Correa, SS, Astros, Grade A: Excellent.
3) Addison Russell, SS, Cubs, Grade A: Fine player.
4) Byron Buxton, OF, Twins, Grade A: Incomplete.
5) Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs, Grade A: Incomplete.
6) Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers, Grade A: Excellent.
7) Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians, Grade A: Excellent.
8) Rusney Castillo, OF, Red Sox, Grade A-: Serious disappointment with the bat, .262/.301/.379 in 337 PA, wRC+82, fWAR 1.3; advanced metrics like his glove a lot but that’s not enough to live up to this grade.
9) Yoan Moncada, INF, Red Sox, Grade A-: 20 plate appearances in the majors so far; destroyed minor league pitching in 2016 and widely regarded as best prospect in baseball.
10) Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers, Grade A-: Working out so far.
11) Kyle Schwarber, C-OF, Cubs, Grade A-: .242/.353/.479 in 278 PA, wRC+129, fWAR 1.8; bat looks excellent, still have to see about defense and health.
12) Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox, Grade A-: Incomplete.
13) Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins, Grade A-: Should work out.
14) Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers, Grade A-: Incomplete.
15) J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies, Grade A-: Still a top prospect, should debut in '17.
16) Jesse Winker, OF, Reds, Grade A-: Still a prospect, should debut in '17.
17) Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers, Grade B+: Decent debut season, .266/.320/.419, wRC+94, fWAR 1.2, 20 homers; should improve from here.
18) Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies, Grade B+: Should work out.
19) Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics, Grade B+: Performing well in high minors, still a top prospect.
20) Alex Jackson, OF, Mariners, Grade B+: Still a prospect but stock has dropped due to struggles against A-ball pitching; hasn’t live up to initial hopes but too soon to give up.
21) Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
22) Dilson Herrera, 2B, Mets, Grade B+: Hitting .215/.308/.383 in 169 plate appearances, wRC+96, fWAR 0.9, has mastered Triple-A but still looking for an opportunity.
23) Andrew Susac, C, Giants, Grade B+: Just needs a chance.
24) Jose Peraza, INF, Braves, Grade B+: Hitting .312/.343/.401 in 281 PA, wRC+98, 24 steals, fWAR 0.7; still only 22 years old, off to a good start.
25) Steven Souza, OF, Rays, Grade B+: Hitting .234/.308/.404 in 920 PA, wRC+97, fWAR 2.8; contact issues continue but has had his moments of success.
26) Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, Grade B+: Hitting .179/.263/.345 in 95 PA, wRC+63, fWAR -0.3; contact concerns apparent but has nothing left to prove in minors, still a prospect.
27) Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics, Grade B+: .095/.321/.143 in 28 PA; power and patience remain attractive, still a prospect.
28) Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates, Grade B+: Incomplete but looks good so far.
29) D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners, Grade B+: Still a prospect but stock down.
30) Daniel Robertson, INF, Rays, Grade B+: Should make MLB debut in 2017, still a prospect.
31) David Dahl, OF, Rockies, Grade B+: Looks good so far.
32) Willy Adames, SS, Rays, Grade B+: Excellent Double-A season in 2016, still a top prospect.
33) Greg Bird, 1B, Yankees, Grade B+: Very good MLB debut in 2015, .261/.343/.529 in 178 PA, wRC+137, but got hurt and missed all of 2016. Incomplete.
34) Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
35) Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals, Grade B+: Hitting .228/.281/.363 in 791 PA, wRC+71, fWAR 1.4; good glove and speed but not hitting much yet, incomplete but I retain some optimism.
36) Rafael Devers,3B, Red Sox, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
37) Brandon Drury, 3B,Diamondbacks, Grade B+: Hitting .275/.321/.449 in 558 PA, wRC+98, fWAR -0.6; advanced metrics don’t like him particularly on defense but my take is that he will improve signicantly from here.
38) Clint Frazier, OF, Indians, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
39) Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
40) Yasmany Tomas, OF, Diamondbacks, Grade B: Hitting .272/.309/.462 in 989 PA, wRC+100, fWAR -1.5; 40 homers; terrible defense holds back his value but the power is genuine.
41) Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays, Grade B: Hitting .222/.291/.385 in 148 PA, wRC+86, fWAR 0.4; received a lot of hype two years ago but looks more lke a fourth outfielder at this point, incomplete.
42) Michael Conforto, OF, Mets, Grade B: Hitting .238/.319/.448 in 542 PA, wRC+109, fWAR 3.4; very productive in 2015, less so in 2016, just needs to play in my view.
43) Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers, Grade B: Still a prospect.
44) Brandon Nimmo,OF, Mets, Grade B: Still a prospect.
45) Alen Hanson, INF, Pirates, Grade B: Still a prospect.
46) Nick Gordon, SS, Twins, Grade B: Two solid A-ball seasons under his belt, still a top prospect.
47) Trea Turner, SS, Nationals, Grade B: Outstanding in his debut, .329/.361/.539, wRC+138, fWAR 3.4 in 368 PA; would like to see larger sample size but overall success is not a fluke.
48) Kevin Plawecki, C,Mets, Grade B: Hitting .211/.287/.285 in 409 PA, wRC+58, fWAR 0.1; weak hitter so far but glove has been very good; I still think he might hit someday.
49) Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres, Grade B: .371/.389/.800 in 36 PA; need a larger sample obviously so incomplete but ready for a full trial in 2017.
50) Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers, Grade B: Still just 20 years old, good in Double-A this year, still a prospect.
COMMENTARY: Lots of incompletes of course but overall I am pleased so far.