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Top Prospects who petered out long before their expected peak

Here is the All-Dud team of failed prospects since I’ve been playing Scoresheet Baseball. The first number in the parentheses represents the highest ranking achieved in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects of the Year. Actually, in order to fill out a regular at each position I did not have to go past no. 10 in any year. A top 10 prospect of all teams combined is surely expected to have a long solid career. Anyone ranked first or second was likely counted on to be a star.

 

Just a few specific notes before we get to the All-Disappointment Team:

 

Ryan Anderson only achieved a no. 7 ranking, but he was considered the top pitching prospect of his draft (as was Matt White), and in Baseball America’s top 10 three years in a row as he dominated each level of the minors rising to AAA. There were chinks only in his attitude which may have prevented him from achieving a top 2 status. Some see this as part of why he never recovered from shoulder surgery.

 

Ben Grieve just barely qualifies as a top 10 overall prospect, and had a respectable career during his four years in Oakland. However, after playing so well in the Majors at such a young age, it seems he deserves to make this list.

 

Of course, if it were not for his sudden excellence this year, Josh Hamilton would be at the top of the outfielder list. Even if he remains an impact outfielder for several years, Tampa Bay must consider their considerable investment in him an absolute failure.

 

Pitchers:

 

SP  Brien Taylor (#1 ’92) NYY-Cle

pitched well in AA then hurt his arm defending his brother in a bar fight.

 

SP  Ryan Anderson (#7 ’99) Sea-Mil

146 K in 104 AAA Ing. until he tore his rotator cuff.

 

SP  Matt E. White (#4 ’97) TB-Cle

shoulder and back injuries arrested any promotion beyond AAA. Do not confuse this rhp10 million dollar bonus baby with lhp Matt J. White the billion dollar rock quarry owner.

 

SP  Kiki Jones (#6 ’90) LAD-TB-Tex

reached AA, but not effective past Rookie League.

 

SP  Tyrone Hill (#10 ’93) Mil-Ana

effective in low A mid-west, but never found control before shoulder surgery. He is four years younger than the famous basketball player of the same name.

 

 P  Todd Van Poppel (#1 ’91) Oak-Det-KC-Tex-Pit-ChC-Tex-Cin

merely one fine season as a reliever at age 29.

 

Honorable Mention :

Each of these players pitched in the majors, but never had much impact for a full season. Benes came close with an outstanding season at 25, however cut short on July 31 with a torn rotator cuff and never returned to effectiveness.

 

 P  Frank Rodriguez (#9 ’92) Bos-Min-Sea-Pit-Cin

SP  Allen Watson (#9 ’93) StL-SF-Ana-NYM-Sea-NYY

SP  Paul Wilson (#2 ’96) NYY-TB-Cin

SP  Alan Benes (#5 ’96) StL-ChC-Tex-StL

 

Position Players:

 

 C  Ben Davis (#10 ’96) SD-Sea-ChW-NYY-LAD

peaked at age 24 his only full season as a regular (.694 O+S).

 

1B  Travis Lee (#8 ’98) Arz-Phi-TB-NYY-TB-Was

given 8 years as a regular in the majors, but produced only a .745 career O+S.

 

2B  Mark Lewis(#9 ’91)Cle-Cin-Det-SF-Phi-Cin-Bal-Cle

converted from SS at 26 and had three years as a regular (.692 career O+S).

 

SS  And˙jar Cede˝o (#2 ’91) Hou-SD-Det-Hou-NYY

Major League career seemed to be progressing nicely at 23, then stopped hitting at 25.

 

3B  Sean Burroughs (#4 ’02) SD-TB-Sea

career peaked at ages 20-22; career MLB O+S: .698 in 440 games

 

utl  Pablo Ozuna (#8 ’99) StL-Fla-Col-Phi-ChW

peaked as a utility player at age 31, but broke leg next year.

 

OF  Ruben Rivera (#2 ’95) NYY-SD-Cin-Tex-Bal-SF-Sea-NYY-ChW

hit >.900 O+S in four levels of minors including AAA at age 19-21, career MLB: .700.

 

OF  Karim Garcia (#7 ’96) LA-Arz-Det-Bal-Cle-NYY-Cle-NYM-Bal-Phi

peaked as a part-time outfielder at ages 26 and 27 – pitifully bad MLB trials before then.

 

OF  Ruben Mateo (#6 ’00) Tex-Cin-Phi-Pit-KC-Mil-

broke leg at 22 just as he was establishing his MLB career, then he got fat and his lost skills.

 

DH/OF  Ben Grieve (#10 ’95) Oak-TB-Mil-ChC-Pit-ChW

looked like a young MLB star at 21, but never improved; went downhill at 25. Perhaps, had enough success, though, for it to be unfair calling him a “failed prospect”.

 

Must not leave out:

OF  Eric Anthony (#8 ’90) Hou-Sea-Cin-Col-Tex-LAD

hit in low .700s when given full time job at 24 & 25; never given another real chance.

 

OF  Josh Hamilton (#1 ’01) TB-Cin

derailed by injuries and drugs until coming to life at 26; injuries still a problem.

John Carter