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Bloops: Top 50 prospects of the draft era

Posted by Neil Paine on May 26, 2011

A fascinating list from David Schoenfield of ESPN's SweetSpot blog. I posted the link at Stathead, but I knew I needed to post it here as well, because it's a great discussion starter and all-around trip down memory lane.

23 Responses to “Bloops: Top 50 prospects of the draft era”

  1. Tony Pavon Says:

    I'm not a fan of the guy, but how do they miss Chipper Jones???

  2. Doug B Says:

    Most of those guys weren't even first round picks. I think what he's after is "most hyped at some point before making major league debut".

    I think there are a whole lot of players that are equaly qualified as half the guys on this list.

    Matt Wieters? Gregg Jeffries? you could go on and on.

  3. RobM Says:

    I don't understand how to evaluate his list. Is it about hype? Is it about fullfilling the hype? Is it an after-the-fact look at how hyped players performed in the majors? It seems to be a combination. When I see Bryce Harper all the way up at #6, but Josh Hamilton at #29 (or whatever the exact number is), I'm struggling with where to even comment.

  4. Artie Z Says:

    On the ESPN boards (which I am reluctant to post on because of comments like "unknown Bobby Grich") I posted that Danny Goodwin would have almost certainly been hyped beyond belief in today's environment. This is a guy who was the number one draft pick - twice. I know he didn't do much in the majors, but in the minors, both before and after his major league career, he was a .300/.400/.500 triple slash guy. And he started out as a catcher.

    His 1977 minor league season in AAA was .305/.403/.520 in 331 PAs. For some reason he spent 1978 in AA ball and hit .360/469/.627. He had a 141 OPS+ in the majors that year, albeit in limited playing time. He was "old" (24 in 1978) but I still can't believe he wouldn't have been hyped beyond belief. In 1979 he had a 118 OPS+ in a little more playing time in the majors, and lit up AAA ball for a .349/.434/.608 line in 100 games. After 1979 his major league career was basically done, but before then how could he have not been hyped, even before his first major league game in 1975?

    Perhaps he was an awful defensive catcher (he played a lot of DH in the minors and then switched to 1B), but still, drafted number one overall twice?

  5. jason Says:

    as a lifelong omaha, neb resident, alex gordon was pretty effing hyped when he came out of college. unanimous college p.o.y. then raked at all minor league levels. they said he would be a gold glover at 3b (ignoring his prodigious amount of throwing errors) and steal 30-40 bases a year, 120 bb a season given, bat 320 lifetime with 40-45 hr power.

    and i don't recall adrian gonzalez being on that list either, or darin erstad, or carl crawford. and all those guys had tons of hype. ventura, clemens? were they on there?

  6. Chuck Says:

    Yeah, I would say "bloop" is an appropriate description.

  7. Steve Says:

    Gordon isn't finished yet.He might still have a decent career.

  8. Clem Vennison Says:

    Thanks for the link. That's one heck of a list and brings back a flood of memories (Mike Ivie!). Like any list, it is liable to create some debate and ruffle a few feathers; but overall it is a pretty solid list.

    Seems like the majority of respondents to the original article are a little bent out of shape over Chipper's omission from the list. While I agree that he should have been on the list, I think Darryl Strawberry at #18 is the greater injustice.

    Strawberry was in a class by himself when he was drafted and then coming up through the Mets farm system. He was labeled as "the black Ted Williams" by scouts and had a name straight out of Marvel Comics!

  9. Dan E. Says:

    Where are all the international prospects? Felix was the only one on there that I saw.

  10. Tmckelv Says:

    Nice list that covers a few generations.

    When I saw the title I first thought of Clint Hurdle and his SI cover story.

  11. Chuck Says:

    "Where are all the international prospects? Felix was the only one on there that I saw."

    Adrian Beltre was there as well.

  12. Brian Says:

    I have a magazine from 1996 where Andruw Jones is the #2 ranked prospect to...............Paul Wilson.

  13. 704_Brave Says:

    International prospects: Andruw Jones is from Curacao.

    Agree with the omission of Chipper.

    How about 2 other guys who never played minor league ball: Bob Horner and Pete Incaviglia? Also, Brooks Kieschnick?

    Brandon Wood, Andy Benes, B.J. Surhoff, and Dave Magadan were supposed to be really good also...just to name a few.

  14. 704_Brave Says:

    @4 Artie: Good article on Danny Goodwin. Has worked with the Braves in some different capacities:

  15. Dan E. Says:

    That makes 3 international prospects. That's still not very representative at all. What about Johan Santana, Hanley Ramirez etc. Considering how many great international players there are, this list should include more of them as well.

  16. Joseph Says:

    Somebody should do an article of most under-rated prospects. For example, Pujols in the 13th round.

  17. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Johan Santana was not a legendary prospect. He was a Rule 5 pick. I wouldn't put Hanley there either. He was considered very toolsy, promising guy but his minor league performance was underwhelming. But I agree, there certainly are international prospects who would fit the bill, and I agree with the early posts that it's difficult to tell what the criteria were.

  18. Chuck Says:

    "Considering how many great international players there are, this list should include more of them as well."

    The article's title says of the "draft" era, which, to me, excludes non-drafted players.

    And I agree with what Rob said in #3, the players listed were ranked by newspaper or internet headlines, not by talent or performance.

    Otherwise, there is no justifiable reason for Bryce Harper to be included.

  19. Cheese Says:

    He brings up Dykstra's minor league season when he killed it.

    Would be cool to see a list of 'best' minor-league seasons in the last 30 years or so. Did 'name' players have the big seasons, or no-name guys reaching their peak in the minors.

  20. Clem Vennison Says:

    I remember an old Baltimore farmhand named Ken Gerhart, I believe, who had some big numbers in the minor leagues, but for some reason never was able to put it together in the majors for any length of time.

  21. John Autin Says:

    @19, Cheese -- I assume you refer to Dykstra's 1983 season with the Class A Lynchburg Mets, when he hit .358 with a .472 OBP, stole 105 bags and scored 132 runs in 136 games.

    That Lynchburg club went 96-43, .691 (a 112-win pace in a 162-game schedule), winning their division by 10.5 games over a club that played .618 ball.

    There was another player on that club who was even more dominant than Nails: 18-year-old Dwight Gooden, the youngest player in the league, went 19-4 with a 2.50 ERA in 27 games, with 10 CG and 6 shutouts, and 300 Ks in 191 IP. The next year, he made the big team out of spring training.

  22. Steve Says:

    Gary Redus hit over .400 in the minors once .

  23. Dvd Avins Says:

    Garciaparra? Jeter?