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) Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers, Grade A: Excellent.
2) Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves, Grade A: Hit .302/.361/.442 in 145 PA, wRC+107, fWAR 0.8; thrived just one year out of college. Incomplete due to sample size but every reason for optimism.
3) Yoan Moncada, 2B, Red Sox, Grade A: Still a top prospect.
4) Byron Buxton, OF, Twins, Gade A: Incomplete.
5) Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers, Grade A-: .219/.273/.358 in 216 PA, wRC+64, fWAR -0.2; not much with the bat yet but still only 22; incomplete.
6) Joey Gallo, 3B-OF, Rangers, Grade A-: Incomplete.
7) Trea Turner, SS, Nationals, Grade A-: Looks excellent so far.
8) Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox, Grade A-: Still a top prospect.
9) Alex Bregman, SS, Astros, Grade A-: Hit .264/.313/.478 in 217 PA, wRC+112, fWAR 1.0; performed well in majors one year out of college; looks excellent so far.
10) Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox, Grade A-: Hit .295/.359/.476 in 118 PA, wRC+120, fWAR 0.6; retains rookie status for 2017, looks excellent so far.
11) A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros, Grade A-: Hit .164/.270/.262 in 141 PA, wRC+50, fWAR -0.9; mashed Triple-a but struggled in majors, will get more chances, incomplete.
12) J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies, Grade A-: Still a top prospect.
13) Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers, Grade A-: Decent MLB debut.
14) Franklin Barreto, SS, Athletics, Grade A-: Still a top prospect.
15) Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers, Grade B+: Should make MLB debut in ’17, still a top prospect.
16) Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
17) Clint Frazier, OF, Indians, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
18) Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
19) Nick Williams, OF, Phillies, Grade B+: Mediocre year in Triple-A but should still make debut in ’17,
stock down a bit but still an intriguing prospect.
20) Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies, Grade B+: Solid season in low-A, still a top prospect.
21) Max Kepler, OF, Twins, Grade B+: Hit .233/.307/.419 in 454 PA in debut, wRC+91, fWAR 1.0; not great but not terrible for a guy with one month of Triple-A experience; incomplete but promising.
22) Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox, Grade B+: Hit .283/.306/.432 in 431 PA in debut, wRC+95, fWAR 2.4; excellent defense, incomplete but very, very promising despite OBP issues.
23) Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
24) Hector Olivera, OF, Braves, Grade B+: Hit .245/.296/.378 in 108 PA, wRC+83, fWAr -0.3; Complete disaster with horrible off-field issues ruining any chance.
25) Brett Phillips, OF, Brewers, Grade B+: Not a great 2016 year in Double-A though production remained above-average for context, still a prospect though stock down a bit.
26) Jesse Winker, OF, Reds, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
27) Ozzie Albies, SS, Braves, Grade B+: Excellent in Double-A, so-so in Triple-A, only 19 years old, still a top prospect.
28) Christian Arroyo, SS-2B, Giants, Grade B+: Adequate year in Double-A at age 21, still a prospect.
29) Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
30) Boddy Bradley, 1B, Indians, Grade B+: Two strong A-ball power seasons; still a top prospect.
31) Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees, Grade B+: Looks great, incomplete.
32) Nick Gordon, SS, Twins, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
33) Jose Peraza, INF, Reds, Grade B+: Incomplete but looks good.
34) Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates, Grade B+: Incomplete but looks good.
35) Raul Mondesi, SS, Royals, Grade B+: Weak MLB debut but young, incomplete.
36) Jacob Nottingham, C, Brewers, Grade B+: Very shaky Double-A season, still just 21 but stock down.
37) Jorge Mateo, SS, Yankees, Grade B+: Decent year in A-ball at age 2, still a top prospect.
38) David Dahl, OF, Rockies, Grade B+: Looks good so far.
39) Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
40) Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
41) Willy Adames, SS, Rays, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
42) Renato Nunez, 3B-OF, Athletics, Grade B+: 15 PA in the majors, hit 23 homers in Triple-A, age 22, still a prospect.
43) Manuel Margot, OF, Padres, Grade B: .243/.243/.405 in 37 PA, wRC+68, fWAR 0.3; still a prospect, very good in Triple-A, fine glove.
44) Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays, Grade B: Two decent years in A-ball, still a prospect.
45) Byung Ho Park, 1B-OF, Twins, Grade B: Hit .191/.275/.409 in 244 PA, wRC+80, fWAR 0.1; hit 12 homers, showed power but finger injury was a significant issue, incomplete.
46) Trevor Story, SS, Rockies, Grade B: Looks good so far.
47) Javier Guerra, SS, Padres, Grade B: Terrible 2016 season in High-A but still just 20, still a prospect but stock down.
48) Victor Robles, OF, Nationals, Grade B: Very impressive A-ball season at age 19, still a top prospect and stock rising.
49) Yusniel Diaz, OF, Dodgers, Grade B: Decent year in High-A at age 19, had injuries, still a prospect.
50) Dom Nunez, C, Rockies, Grade B: Mediocre season in High-A at age 21, did not break through as hoped, but too soon to give up given age.
COMMENTARY: The top ten looks very good right now thanks to the 2015 college draft class and great debuts from Seager and Turner.