Tuesday, April 26, 2005


1998 Retrospective

I was reorganizing my baseball bookshelves and came across my Baseball America's 1999 Baseball Almanac. I purchased this back in the day because of McGwire and Sosa's homerun chase. I decided to do a Prospect Retrospective from the "Top Prospect" from each organization...why did I do this? Because when I first flipped it open I saw Peter Tucci for Toronto...who the hell is Peter Tucci? I hate to even admit that I don't know who he is, but seriously folks, who is he? And so we move on to the rest of the former prospects, as well as detailing where the careers of organizations top major league players have gone to:

Just so everyone understands this complex system, the first name is the top major leaguer, while the second is the top minor leaguer.

Anaheim: Darin Erstad (I bet Anaheim wants to take this one back); Troy Glaus (great player when healthy)

Arizona: Devon White (retired, in the RLWHF); Brad Penny (very good, even great when healthy)

Atlanta: Chipper Jones (rebounding from a bad start last year, future HoF'er?); Bruce Chen (finally doing well in Baltimore so far)

Baltimore: Rafael Palmeiro (winding down, HoF'er); Calvin Pickering (sent down, poor man's David Ortiz?)

Boston: Nomar Garciaparra (ouch); Trot Nixon (Can't hit lefties, but looks like MVP vs. righties.)

Chicago (AL): Albert Belle (arthritis and an attitude all that will keep him out of Cooperstown); Joe Crede (Well Chicago is still using him...does that count?)

Chicago (NL): Sammy Sosa (slugging away in Baltimore thus far) ; Brian McNichol (0-2, 6.75 ERA in 1999)

Cincinnati: Barry Larkin (retired, should make HoF); Jason LaRue (used to be stolen base killer; now lives off reputation and weakened bat).

Cleveland: Manny Ramirez (the 400 homerun club is calling you Manny); Alex Ramirez (sub-.300 OBP in 398 career AB)

Colorado: Vinny Castilla (You know my thoughts); Mike Kusiewicz (not listed at Baseball Reference...wow).

Detroit: Tony Clark (If Tony Clark falls from grace, and no one notices, does anyone care?); Gabe Kapler (who would have thought that these two would square off in a battle of the bench players in the 2004 playoffs?)

Florida: Cliff Floyd (very good when healthy, which is never); Brian Daubach (a favorite of Boston fans usually, now playing in minors again. 92 homeruns in 2000 AB.)

Houston: Craig Biggio (HoF-bound); Lance Berkman (star caliber player)

Kansas City: Dean Palmer (Palmer was very good when healthy); Jeremy Giambi (Giambi got shutdown and Ortiz got a starting spot in Boston...I see no problem).

Los Angeles: Raul Mondesi (malcontent, used-to-be-great); Adrian Beltre (If great, then how great?)

Milwaukee: Jeromy Burnitz (Rocky Mountain Revival in 04'); Ronnie Belliard (starting at second for Cleveland, living up to projections for most part).

Minnesota: Todd Walker (one of my favorites, good stick, not as good with glove); Michael Restovich (still trying to make a name for himself.)

Montreal: Vlad Guerrero (greatest of the no-patience hitters in league); Michael Barrett (as c atcher, I'll take it...memories of third base play makes me sad inside.)

New York (AL): Derek Jeter (HoF'er if he stays healthy, and probably even if he doesn't due to media infatuation); Ryan Bradley (you expected a late 90's Yankees prospect who wasn't Mike Lowell to make something of himself?)

New York (NL): John Olerud (The Ghost of John Olerud is a free agent); Alex Escobar (traded for Robbie Alomar, and turned out to be a bust just like Robbie in a Mets uniform)

Oakland: Kenny Rogers (In Texas where he thrives); Eric Chavez (one of my favorites: MVP caliber player with Gold Glove skills...love a great third basemen)

Philadelphia: Curt Schilling (Curt was never more succesful than after this publishing); Marlon Anderson (top prospect? I made fun of the Cardinals for having him on the World Series roster 6 years later..not to mention DHing. If your DH is hitting 9th, you've picked the wrong guy...forget who said it but I agree).

Pittsburgh: Jason Kendall (After the freak ankle injury still came back...HoF'er with continued production?); Emil Brown (He's not good enough to play corner OF for the Royals...oh wait.)

St. Louis: Mark McGwire (I hate controversy on occasion); Rick Ankiel (I wish him luck as a 4th or 5th outfielder)

San Diego: Kevin Brown (falling apart at this stage of the game, great career though); George Arias (Quad-A player is/was his upside).

San Francisco: Barry Bonds (He's ok I guess...you know I love his numbers); Armando Rios (his career looks like a good season, until you realize it took over 1,000 AB and covered 6 years).

Seattle: Alex Rodriguez (one of the great active players); Ryan Anderson (one of the great active disapointments)

Tampa Bay: Rolando Arrojo (Traded for Mike Lansing...wow); Scott McClain (not listed at Baseball Reference.)

Texas: Juan Gonzalez (Gonzo is basically that every season, but a very good career overall); Ruben Mateo (.194/.235/.301 in 32 G with the Royals last year).

Toronto: Roger Clemens (The best player on this list with the exception of Barry Bonds); Peter Tucci (luckily, Tucci never played, so I didn't miss anything)

Scott McClain (not listed at Baseball Reference.)

That just completely describes the D-Rays....it took them far, far too long to develop some real talent. It's coming now, but if you've never won more than 70 games, your minor league system must've been really bad for much of your history.
Check out thebaseballcube.com for the guys that aren't in baseball-reference. Mike Kusiewicz apparently played for the Paw Sox a couple of years back. He spent last year on Milwaukee's A level club.
Thanks for the heads up on future projects Brian.
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