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) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates, Grade A: Still a top prospect.
2) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals, Grade A: Still a top prospect.
3) Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers, Grade A: Look great so far.
4) Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals, Grade A: Looks great so far.
5) Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins, Grade A-: Incomplete.
6) Steven Matz, LHP, Mets, Grade A-: Great when healthy.
7) Blake Snell, LHP, Rays, Grade A-: 3.54 ERA in 89 innings, 3.39 FIP, fWAR 1.9; very good in his first exposure, incomplete but a good start.
8) Sean Manaea, LHP, Athletics, Grade A-: Solid so far.
9) Jose De Leon, RHP, Dodgers, Grade A-: 6.35 ERA in 17 innings, fWAR 6.97; superb in Triple-A and still a top prospect.
10) Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies, Grade A-: Very good so far.
11) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds, Grade A-: Still a prospect.
12) Carson Fulmer,RHP, White Sox, Grade B+: 11.2 innings in the majors with 8.49 ERA, erratic but promising in minors, incomplete but still a good prospect.
13) Mike Clevinger, RHP, Indians, Grade B+: 5.26 ERA in 53 innings, 4.86 FIP, fWAR 0.3; inconsistent in first look but showed promise, incomplete.
14) Francis Martes, RHP, Astros, Grade B+: Excellent season in Double-A, still a top prospect.
15) Anderson Espinosa, RHP, Red Sox, Grade B+: Scouting reports ahead of A-ball numbers but only 18 years old, still a top prospect.
16) Jorge Lopez, RHP, Brewers, Grade B+: Disastrous 2016 season knocks stock back after impressive ’15, still a prospect but lots of questions.
17) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Rays, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
18) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Braves, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
19) Cody Reed, LHP, Reds, Grade B+: 7.36 ERA in 48 innings, 6.06 FIP, fWAR -0.4; weak debut but succeeded in Triple-A and will get more chances, incomplete.
20) Aaron Blair, RHP, Braves, Grade B+: Incomplete.
21) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Astros, Grade B+: 4.06 ERA in 62 innings, 4.18 FIP, fWAR 0.8; intriguing command artist, incomplete.
22) Dillon Tate,RHP, Rangers, Grade B+: Erratic season in A-ball; long-term role remains in question, still a prospect.
23) Michael Feliz, RHP, Astros, Grade B+: Looks like a good relief arm.
24) Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds, Grade B+: Fine season in high minors, should debut in ’17, still a top prospect.
25) Phil Bickford, RHP, Giants, Grade B+: Strong year in A-ball, still a top prospect.
26) Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
27) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Indians, Grade B+: Still a prospect.
28) Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves, Grade B+: Successful campaign in rookie ball and A-ball, still a top prospect.
29) Justus Sheffield, LHP, Indians, Grade B+: Good year in high-A at age 20, still a top prospect.
30) Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Rockies, Grade B+: 4.88 ERA in 31 innings, 6.27 FIP, fWAR -0.2; had his moments but needs more consistency, incomplete.
31) James Kaprielian, RHP, Yankees, Grade B+: Missed most of ’16 with elbow trouble but active in Arizona Fall League, still a top prospect.
32) Josh Hader, LHP, Brewers, Grade B+: Still a top prospect.
33) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Giants, Grade B+: Still a prospect but this looks too high.
34) Michael Fulmer,RHP, Tigers, Grade B: Very strong MLB debut.
35) Luis Ortiz, RHP, Rangers, Grade B: Solid A/AA season at age 20, still a top prospect.
36) Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B: 5.70 ERA in 36 innings, 4.33 FIP, fWAR 0.5; excellent season in high minors, retains rookie status for 2016, still a top prospect.
37) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates, Grade B: Looks good so far.
38) Edwin Diaz, RHP, Mariners, Grade B: I liked him as a starter but instead he’s a stellar reliever, 2.79 ERA, 1.88 FIP in 52 innings, 1.9 fWAR, 18 saves. Incomplete but a terrific beginning.
39) Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B: Incomplete.
40) Domingo Acevedo, RHP, Yankees, Grade B: Very good year in A-ball, still a good prospect.
41) Antonio Senzatela, RHP, Rockies, Grade B: Bothered by shoulder problems in ’16 but effective when healthy, still a prospect.
42) Jacob Faria, RHP, Rays, Grade B: Not a bad year in Triple-A, should make debut in ’17, still a prospect.
43) Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B: Still a good prospect.
44) Grant Holmes, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B: Still a good prospect.
45) Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Nationals, Grade B: 4.91 ERA in 44 innings, 3.92 FIP, fWAR 0.5; wish I had him higher, inconsistent but promising, incomplete.
46) Braden Shipley, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B: Incomplete.
47) A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals, Grade B: Still a prospect.
48) Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians, Grade B: Outstanding season in lower minors, reputation growing. Still a top prospect.
49) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles, Grade B: Incomplete but promising.
50) Ariel Jurado RHP, Rangers, Grade B: Very solid year in A/AA, still a promising arm who deserves more attention..
COMMENTARY: Overall this looks good given all the incompletes and still-a-prospects. We won’t know for sure until 2019.