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BA’s top propects, 10 years later


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I found this interesting, even if revisionist. Just wanted to pass it along:

Baseball America’s top 100 prospects come out today. And, roughly 10 years ago today, Baseball America’s top 100 for 2001 came out. Ten years isn’t quite enough time to reflect on those rankings, but it’s darned close, so that’s more or less what I did. I measured the Wins Above Replacement* for every minor leaguer in baseball at the time to see what the perfect top 100 would have looked like if, say, God did a prospects list.

So, if you were completely omniscient, you’d have known that an 18-year-old Dominican kid named Hanley Ramirez who nobody had yet heard of because he had just been signed for $20,000 a few weeks earlier would become the best-hitting shortstop of his era. And Brendan Donnelly, a relief pitcher who was a minor league free agent because he had been released twice in the previous three months — you’d have known he would become a shutdown reliever worth more in his career than sure-things Sean Burroughs and Matt Ryan Anderson. Yeah, you were pretty smart.

Here’s what your list would have looked like, and what the actual BA Top 100 in 2001 looked like. The numbers in parentheses are where the players on each list ranked on the other list.

List behind link


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This is great, nice find.

Orioles 2001 ranking was:

1. Keith Reed

2. Richard Stahl

3. Ed Rogers

4. Nteme Ndungid

5. Luis Rivera

Should have been

1. Brian Roberts (was ranked 10)

2. Erik Bedard (was ranked 19)

3. Daniel Cabrera

4. Jay Gibbons (was ranked 11)

5. Willie Harris (was ranked 26)

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Very interesting how some predictions were very right and some the total opposite. Guess even the best baseball minds never know. Sidenote, I was looking at the list for all teams and I remember Sean Burroughs of the Padres. Just remember SI hyping the hell out of that guy and seeing him in a couple games and not coming away impressed. It's crazy to think that Albert Pujols played for the then Prince William Cannons. Don't think many people who saw him there had an idea that he would turn out to be the great player he is today.

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Ryan Langerhans has a higher career WAR than Jason Marquis?

What is this... I don't even...

One's a quality backup who can good outfield defense and get on-base. The other is a back-of-the-rotation starter who is below-average at allowing runs despite pitching entirely in the NL.

It's a bit surprising based on name recognition, but that's why you never judge solely based on name recognition.

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Interesting article, thanks for sharing. I've been toying with the idea for years of doing this with my lists but never got around to doing it. My first list was in 1996 so maybe I will do the first 4-5 lists.

I'd love to see your list Tony. I think these types of lists tell us more than that talent is hard to gauge. It can also show why that is.

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One's a quality backup who can good outfield defense and get on-base. The other is a back-of-the-rotation starter who is below-average at allowing runs despite pitching entirely in the NL.

It's a bit surprising based on name recognition, but that's why you never judge solely based on name recognition.

No, you're absolutely right. I totally get that Jason Marquis is a terrible pitcher that puts up consistent negative WAR numbers (5 over 11 ML seasons). It is just staggering to see it so plainly. Especially since Marquis has earned $45.5 million in his ML career while Langerhans has earned about $1.5 million in a career in which he topped 300 PAs only twice (back in 2005-6 at that).

I'm not shocked that Jason Marquis is bad, but that bad? That is some crazy stuff. Although, looking at the BR, I wonder if the list is counting Marquis' offensive contributions since it shows he has been worth 2.6 oWAR for his (decent for a pitcher) bat.

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