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) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals, Grade A: Still a top prospect.
2) Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers, Grade A: Looks great so far.
3) Daniel Norris, LHP, Blue Jays, Grade A: Incomplete but should work out.
4) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates, Grade A: Still a top prospect.
5) Carlos Rodon, LHP, White Sox, Grade A: 3.90 ERA in 304 innings, 3.95 FIP, fWAR 4.7; has been a solid starter to this point and should improve further.
6) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets, Grade A-: Excellent so far.
7) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade A-: Excellent so far.
8) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles, Grade A-: Incomplete but making progress.
9) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds, Grade A-: Still a good prospect though stock down some.
10) Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Royals, Grade A-: 3.81 ERA in 227 innings, 4.97 FIP, fWAR 0.6; advanced metrics don’t like him but he held a rotation spot in 2016 and I think he can improve from here. Incomplete.
11) Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies, Grade A-: Looks good so far.
12) Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox, Grade B+: Incomplete.
13) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Angels, Grade B+: Incomplete due to injury.
14) Luis Severino, RHP, Yankees, Grade B+: 4.46 ERA in 133 innings, 4.43 FIP, fWAR 1.3; very good in 2015, not so good in 2016; incomplete. I think he’ll be fine if health holds.
15) Mark Appel, RHP, Astros, Grade B+: Stock fading but still a prospect.
16) Sean Manaea, LHP, Royals, Grade B+: Looks good so far.
17) Steven Matz, LHP, Mets, Grade B+: 3.16 ERA in 168 innings, 3.44 FIP, fWAR 3.4; excellent when healthy, will have to see how durability pans out but talent verified on a per-inning basis.
18) Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: 4.82 ERA in 37 innings, 5.01 FIP, fWAR -0.1; went down with Tommy John; incomplete pending recovery.
19) Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B+: Incomplete.
20) Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins, Grade B+: Terrible debut, 8.02 ERA in 58 innings, 6.20 FIP, fWAR -0.4; dominant at all levels of the minors and deserves more chances, just 22; if he stays healthy I think he’ll work it out. Incomplete.
21) Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies, Grade B+: 4.29 ERA in 189 innings, 3.48 FIP, fWAR 3.7; very good so far when healthy. Incomplete.
22) Tyler Kolek,RHP, Marlins, Grade B+: Struggled with command and velocity loss in 2015, missed 2016 with Tommy John. Too soon to know anything but early trends are not good.
23) Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins, Grade B+: Incomplete.
24) Aaron Blair, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B+: Incomplete.
25) C.J. Edwards, RHP, Cubs, Grade B+: Nice reliever.
26) Matt Wisler, RHP, Padres, Grade B+: Incomplete.
27) Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, RHP, Rangers, Grade B+: 4.54 ERA in 77 innings, 5.06 FIP, fWAR 0.0; replacement level pitcher so far, may not be dominant enough to improve significantly. Incomplete.
28) Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B+: Incomplete.
29) Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Red Sox, Grade B+ 4.25 ERA in 229 innings, 4.16 FIP, fWAR 3.0; inconsistent thus far but I think he will work things out if he stays healthy. Incomplete.
30) Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants, Grade B+: Looks like a bust at this point.
31) A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
32) Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: Looks great so far.
33) Michael Feliz, RHP, Astros, Grade B+: 4.81 ERA in 73 innings, 3.60 FIP, fWAR 0.7; a decent reliever and looks like he could take a larger role going forward. Incomplete but remains promising.
34) Hunter Harvey, RHP, Orioles, Grade B+: Hurt.
35) Kyle Freeland, LHP, Rockies, Grade B+: Solid 2016 season, should make debut in ’17, still a prospect.
36) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Cardinals, Grade B+: Decent 2016 in Double-A, still a prospect.
37) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates, Grade B: Very good so far.
38) Jake Thompson, RHP, Rangers, Grade B: 5.70 ERA in 54 innings, 6.17 FIP, fWAR -0.4; struggled in his debut but performed well in Triple-A and will get more chances; incomplete.
39) Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets, Grade B: Incomplete.
40) Josh Hader, LHP, Astros, Grade B: Remains promising with terrific strikeout rate, should make debut in ’17, still a prospect.
41) Grant Holmes, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B: Command wobbles in A-ball but stuff is fine, still just 20, still a prospect.
42) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Braves, Grade B: Incomplete.
43) Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies, Grade B: Incomplete.
44) Lucas Sims, RHP, Braves, Grade B: Still a prospect.
45) Tyler Beede, RHP, Giants, Grade B: Good Double-A season in ’16, debut could come in ’17, still a prospect.
46) Raisel Iglesias, RHP, Reds, Grade B: 3.42 ERA in 174 innings, 3.47 FIP, fWAR 3.0; success as both starter and reliever; talent is clear and obvious.
47) Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros, Grade B: Looks good when healthy.
48) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Angels, Grade B: Good Double-A season in ’16, should make debut in ’17, still a prospect.
49) Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B: Two solid A-ball seasons, still a prospect.
50) Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays, Grade B: Another strong year in ’16 with ’17 debut possible, still a prospect.
COMMENTARY: As with the newer lists we won’t know for awhile but in general the early returns are good on this one.