Monday, March 03, 2008

Looking Back at Top 100's

Below is the 1998 BBA Top 100. I am going back ten years because it takes that long before you know who really turned out and who didn't. I am not going to go through the entire list - but that guy at the top stands out. Ben Grieve - the best prospect in baseball? What were they thinking?

And the answer is that they were thinking quite clearly. The reality is there is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to baseball prospects. As I have written before, the major leagues play a different game than the minor leagues. And sometimes the flaws don't show up immediately even at the major league level. Grieve was noted for his "patience". Unfortunately for him, major league pitchers throw a lot more strikes and Grieve didn't get good results when swinging at them.

For Twins fans remembering that Sidney Ponson, Ray Ortiz and Dennis Reyes were all once top prospects may make them a lot more patient with the Twins farm system's productivity. You can add Darnell McDonald to that list of curious acquisitions. Or Enrique Wilson, who some Twins fans mourned the loss of for years after he was traded away. And lets not forget how much heat the Twins took from some fans when they failed to get Rickey Ledee in the Knoblauch deal. Or that having lost Travis Lee in the draft looked like a real disaster in 1998, not so much in 2008.

You might want to notice some players who were missing from this list. Torii Hunter for instance. But I am not going to try to go back and create that list because it would be almost as long as the one below. The reality is that while top 100 lists are fun for fans and writers, they should not be mistaken for the scouting lists that every team maintains. Most of the best players will make the list eventually, even if it is just before they win a major league job. But the fact that a player is or isn't on it one year doesn't guarantee anything.

And that is important for Twins fans to remember this year when only three Twins prospects made the list, two of them just acquired in the Santana trade. The Twins have a lot of depth in their system. And that depth will likely produce more major league players than having a handful more players on this years Top 100.

1. Ben Grieve, of, Athletics
2. Paul Konerko, 1b/3b, Dodgers
3. Adrian Beltre, 3b, Dodgers
4. Kerry Wood, rhp, Cubs
5. Aramis Ramirez, 3b, Pirates
6. Matt White, rhp, Devil Rays
7. Kris Benson, rhp, Pirates
8. Travis Lee, 1b, Diamondbacks
9. Carl Pavano, rhp, Expos
10. Miguel Tejada, ss, Athletics
11. Todd Helton, 1b, Rockies
12. Mark Kotsay, of, Marlins
13. Chad Hermansen, 2b, Pirates
14. Brad Fullmer, 1b, Expos
15. Juan Encarnacion, of, Tigers
16. Matt Clement, rhp, Padres
17. Ruben Mateo, of, Rangers
18. Rick Ankiel, lhp, Cardinals
19. Richard Hidalgo, of, Astros
20. Sean Casey, 1b, Indians
21. Darnell McDonald, of, Orioles
22. Brian Rose, rhp, Red Sox
23. Ryan Anderson, lhp, Mariners
24. Matt Anderson, rhp, Tigers
25. Eric Milton, lhp, Twins
26. Russell Branyan, 3b, Indians
27. Bruce Chen, lhp, Braves
28. Scott Elarton, rhp, Astros
29. Grant Roberts, rhp, Mets
30. Eric Chavez, 3b, Athletics
31. Cesar King, c, Rangers
32. Dermal Brown, of, Royals
33. Eli Marrero, c, Cardinals
34. Mike Caruso, ss, White Sox
35. Ryan Minor, 3b, Orioles
36. Troy Glaus, 3b, Angels
37. Rolando Arrojo, rhp, Devil Rays
38. Roy Halladay, rhp, Blue Jays
39. Braden Looper, rhp, Cardinals
40. Ruben Rivera, of, Padres
41. Francisco Cordero, rhp, Tigers
42. A. J. Hinch, c, Athletics
43. Carlos Lee, 3b, White Sox
44. Luis Rivera, rhp, Braves
45. John Patterson, rhp, Diamondbacks
46. Ricky Ledee, of, Yankees
47. Derrek Lee, 1b, Marlins
48. Alex Gonzalez, ss, Marlins
49. Ben Davis, c, Padres
50. Willie Martinez, rhp, Indians
51. Michael Coleman, of, Red Sox
52. Vernon Wells, of, Blue Jays
53. Ben Petrick, c, Rockies
54. Jason Grilli, rhp, Giants
55. Luis Rivas, ss, Twins
56. Magglio Ordonez, of, White Sox
57. Julio Ramirez, of, Marlins
58. Ryan Brannan, rhp, Phillies
59. Mike Judd, rhp, Dodgers
60. Ed Yarnall, lhp, Mets
61. Enrique Wilson, 2b, Indians
62. Damian Jackson, ss, Reds
63. Corey Lee, lhp, Rangers
64. Lance Berkman, of, Astros
65. Abraham Nunez, ss, Pirates
66. Joe Fontenot, rhp, Marlins
67. Shawn Chacon, rhp, Rockies
68. Robbie Bell, rhp, Braves
69. Brent Butler, ss, Cardinals
70. Preston Wilson, of, Mets
71. Mike Lowell, 3b, Yankees
72. Rafael Medina, rhp, Marlins
73. Jarrod Washburn, lhp, Angels
74. Ramon Hernandez, c, Athletics
75. Ramon Oritz, rhp, Angels
76. Wade Miller, rhp, Astros
77. Karim Garcia, of, Diamondbacks
78. Sidney Ponson, rhp, Orioles
79. Robinson Checo, rhp, Red Sox
80. Lorenzo Barcelo, rhp, White Sox
81. Derrick Gibson, of, Rockies
82. Gil Meche, rhp, Mariners
83. Javier Vazquez, rhp, Expos
84. David Ortiz, 1b, Twins
85. Nelson Lara, rhp, Marlins
86. Juan Melo, ss, Padres
87. Todd Dunwoody, of, Marlins
88. Chris Reitsma, rhp, Red Sox
89. Valerio de los Santos, lhp, Brewers
90. Jeff Wallace, lhp, Pirates
91. Dennis Reyes, lhp, Dodgers
92. Orlando Cabrera, 2b, Expos
93. George Lombard, of, Braves
94. Lariel Gonzalez, rhp, Rockies
95. Geoff Jenkins, of, Brewers
96. Geoff Goetz, lhp, Mets
97. Daryle Ward, 1b, Astros
98. Jackson Melian, of, Yankees
99. Kevin Witt, 1b, Blue Jays
100. Chris Enochs, rhp, Athletics

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