It seems that there will be baseball season after all, one of 60 matches, after a month of poor public negotiations between players and owners about how to navigate through money from a shortened season. In the words of the Reds jug Trevor Bauer, “COVID-19 have presented a lose-lose-lose situation and somehow we’ve found a way to make it worse. “
However, at least we can turn our attention once more to the coming season and pretend to return in mid-March, talking about baseball and baseball players and the wonders and excitement of the best sports on the planet. Season 60 match? Okay, here are 60 story lines to watch as the first pitch is thrown:
February trade that sent Betts and David Price to the Dodgers for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong may have been done to trigger the rebuilding of various kinds in Boston, but that did not make it less popular. Now we will see Betts in the Dodgers uniform – and you have to admit, it looks very suitable in spring training. Of course, Betts would look great in a horrible White Sox uniform from the 1970s with shorts and a collar.
Betts is arguably the second best player in the department, only lagging Mike Trout in WAR for the past four seasons. Then again, he might just be the second best player at the Dodgers to remember that Cody Bellinger was the National League MVP in 2019. Betts made the Dodgers a better defensive team – and they might already be the best in the majors, having finished second from last year’s Astros in average allowed shots on the ball in the game and the first major running defensive saved. The bottom line: Whether it’s 60 matches or 162 matches, the Dodgers are still a favorite of the World Series.
You might not remember all the offseason signing, but you remember this one: nine years, $ 324 million. Cole will enter our new season with a regular season winning streak from 16 matches after 16-0 with 1.78 ERA for the last 22 matches starting with Astros. The stretch featured 16 double-digit strikeout matches, including the last nine in a row. He did indeed lose one game in the postseason but went 4-1 with 1.72 ERA in five starts, holding batters to an average of 1.65. Signing it makes the Yankees the American League’s favorite consensus, so maybe we’ll head to our first Dodgers-Yankees World Series since 1981.
3. Mike Trout has protection!
The signing of the second largest free agent offseason is Anthony Rendon headed to Angels on a seven-year contract. Trout won his third MVP Award in 2019, and now Angel fans can salivate on the third hit Rendon and follow Trout in the lineup. Angel No. 3 bats battled in .265 / .323 / .464 in 2019, ranking 21st in the majors at WOBA. National Beater No. 3 – mostly Rendon – ranked first.
4. Mike Trout!
He is now in what is considered his 28th season and will be 29 in August. So he theoretically entered a phase of decline in his career. I hope not.
5. The Nationals try to repeat as World Series champions
Remember, the Braves and not the Nationals won NL East, and now the Nationals minus Rendon. The Nationals are clearly unable to start as slowly as last season, when they played 19-31 in their first 50 matches. You will hear what is often cited as evidence of wild results that can occur in a short season, but note that 19-31 is an extreme result for a playoff team. In fact, over the past three years, that’s the worst 50-game range for anything – That’s stretching 50 matches at each point this season. So, yes, bad stretches can happen to a good team, but it might not be what you think it is.
6. How many people will hate Astros?
Before the closure of the coronavirus, this will definitely be a continuing story throughout the season. Now, not much. Maybe the team will broadcast loudly over the stadium’s sound system when the Astros are the visitors.
7. How will Astros crash?
Astros led the department with an average of .274 years ago. They have the highest level of walking. They lead in percentage of slugging. They will be fine. Replacing Cole and Wade Miley is of even greater concern because they aim to equal the fourth consecutive 100-win season – which, by the way, has never been done before.
You might remember that there were a lot of home run hits in 2019 – a total record of 6,776, or 1.39 per team match. Fifty-eight players reached at least 30 home runs, destroying the previous 47 high in 2000. In 1998, the year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke the 61 homer Roger Maris record, only 33 players reached 30. So, we will get the same live ball in 2020? 60-game equivalent to 30 home runs will be 11.
9. DH universal
Forget it. It is time. Pitchers reached 0.128 last year. They account for 43.5% of their plate appearance. Then again, they reached 0.115 in 2018, so maybe they got better.
10. New strategy!
No, we won’t suddenly see more pregnancy, but we can see a little more creativity in the way the pitcher is deployed – not just an opening, but maybe something like an initial tag-team starter, with two starters each throwing three innings or so before submitting the game to the bullpen.
The most obvious strategic change during the short season is the aggressive use of the team’s best removers and longer events to cover. Managers don’t need to worry about keeping busting stronger than 162 matches; and with each game having a greater impact on the standings, they will want to concentrate as much innings as possible on the best bullpen arms. For example, there were 1,180 rescues in all majors last year, with 195 of them (16.5%) more than three failing. That percentage has increased (13.8% in 2018), but I think we will see more savings of four and five.
He was 21 years old in the middle of last year’s World Series – a series where he pressed 0.333 / .438 / .741 with three home runs and seven RBI and introduced himself to a wider audience. Unfortunately, a short season will rob him of his chance to become the third player to score 40 home runs at the age of 21. Your 21-year-old leaderboard:
Soto’s 34 home runs in 2019 placed him fourth on the age-20 list, behind Mel Ott, Frank Robinson and Alex Rodriguez. After reaching .282 / .401 / .548 with 108 steps, Soto has proven to be a base-based engine. Only 11 players reached 40 home runs with OBP 0,400 before reaching the age of 24. He will not do it in 2020, but he will not be 24 years old until after the regular season of 2022.
12. Encore Ronald Acuna Jr.
It was a perfect transition for Acuna, who not only reached 41 home runs last year but led the NL with 37 steals and 127 runs and finished fifth in the MVP vote. He is perhaps the most interesting player in the game, and at the age of 22, he can become an MVP candidate. (Reduce the attacks!) However, instead of aiming for the 40/40 season, maybe he can direct his attention on 20/20. The only player to do that in the first 60 matches of the season? Men, myths, legends: Eric Davis, in 1987. The last one going 15/15 was Bobby Abreu in 2005.
If Soto and Acuna became the super slackers last year, this year will be Alonso, out of his rookie-53 home run record, and Alvarez, who hit 27 in 87 matches. Alonso has the charisma to be a star beyond whatever number he enters. Alvarez has the talent – he also scored .313 – to be one of the best batsmen in the game. Listen to my friends.
For the third season in a row, we will not get a full demonstration of what smash brothers can do for more than 162 matches. In 2018, Judges miss 50 matches. Last year, Judge played 102 and Stanton was only 18 – and the Yankees still scored 306 home runs. And maybe we won’t see the two of them healthy together this year, because the Judge is reportedly still struggling against fractures due to stress on his ribs suffered in September.
Contrary to the opinion of a national expert, Harper did not “smell” in his first year with the Phillies. It’s also true that Harper will forever play in the shadows of other world MVP seasons in 2015. However, Phillies has greater concerns than Harper.
16. White Sox and Reds “win” winter. Is it important?
The Reds, meanwhile, sign Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos, Wade Miley and Japanese outside players Shogo Akiyama. They will have Trevor Bauer all season long. I like what the White Sox does more than the Reds, but Cincinnati can be relevant for the first time since 2013.
17. Speaking of Luis Robert, he can be one of the beginners
The 22-year-old Cuban fielder center is a strength / speed threat that is ranked 5th in Kiley McDaniel’s top 100 prospects. Robert hit 0.328 with 32 home runs and 36 steals between Double-A and Triple-A and must be a star, especially if you can improve his approach on a plate (28 walks, 129 strikeouts). My prospective rookie this year:
The key to the White Sox, however, is probably the production of Rodon and Kopech. Rodon underwent surgery in May 2019, but White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper recently said he must be ready after the match resumes. However, there is speculation that Rodon will be issued from the bullpen. The agile Kopech underwent four operations in his major league career in 2018, and he has a positive side to be part of the 1-2 dynamite duo with the 2019 All-Star runaway Lucas Giolito.
19. What about other teams in Chicago?
It was a quiet season for the Cubs, who did not spend more than $ 1 million on free agents. Their biggest story now is that Anthony Rizzo has lost 25 pounds during quarantine. Maybe the Cubs just need a healthier fee in the postgame spread to return to the playoffs.
20. David Ross replaces Joe Maddon; Maddon goes to the Angels
The former Cubs catcher took over for the iconic Cubs captain, who moved to an organization where he was a longtime coach before starting a successful managerial career. In a normal season, the two managers will be under great pressure to improve last year’s results. Does it decrease in the short season? I think so.
The angels originally planned to limit Ohtani’s innings, and if the season had begun on time, we might not see it waltzing until at least May. Maintaining innings won’t be a problem now, but let’s see how often angels start. Will they stick to the plan once a week, as he did in Japan and in 10 starts in 2018, or will they try to make it start more in a short season?
22. Jacob deGrom valid for the third successive Cy Young Award
That has been done before – Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux each won four in a row – but deGrom is also eyeing a third consecutive season with a sub-2.50 ERA. To put that in perspective, only 27 starting pitchers since 1920 have had three seasons in their careers with ERA under 2.50 (Maddux and Juan Marichal have the most, with six each).
23. Mets … LOL or Yes Must Believe?
Mets fans always expect Doomsday Scenarios, and that doesn’t help Noah Syndergaard dropped out after Tommy John’s operation, but the team added Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to go with deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz. The Mets also have a new manager at Luis Rojas, who replaced Carlos Beltran before Beltran managed the game. The Mets went 46-26 in the second round last year, which is often an indicator for the following season. I’m leaning towards Yes Gotta Believe.
It’s not that they want extra time off, but the two pitchers should benefit, given Strasburg’s workload in the 2019 playoffs and Scherzer’s health problems at the end of the World Series. Strasburg opted out of his contract with the Nationals, signing back with a large, seven-year, $ 245 million agreement. I’ve shown this before, but Strasburg and Scherzer through the age of 30:
Strasburg: 112-58, 3.17 ERA, 32.3 WAR Scherzer: 105-62, 3.46 ERA, 30.8 WAR
Strasburg probably entered the best four or five years of his career.
Diamondbacks will have a new uniform for 2020 – missing is the controversial diamond pattern gradient and charcoal gray street jerseys – but who will wear the uniform is the most attractive. Three-time World Series champion Bumgarner left the Giants to sign a $ 85 million five-year contract with Arizona, joining an exciting rotation that included Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly. Will Bumgarner succeed far from pitcher-friendly Oracle Park? He has 5.16 ERA on the road for the past two seasons.
Baker is only 71 years old, having recently managed the Nationals in 2017. That makes him the oldest manager in a job that has gotten younger over the past decade. He was in a one-year contract with a team option for 2021 and was brought in as a stable hand after the dismissal of AJ Hinch due to the stealing-sign scandal. On the one hand, Baker may be more at stake than any other character in the game in 2020. He has 10 90-win seasons and nine playoff appearances, and he is 15th on the all-time winning list. What he doesn’t have is a World Series title. If he gets that, he might have a place in Cooperstown.
The Twins set a major league record with 307 home runs last season, featuring five players who scored at least 31 home runs, and then they added former MVP Donaldson, who scored 37 for Braves in 2019. I would love to see this game come out in more than 162 matches and see if the Twins can challenge 101 wins last year (second in franchise history).
30. By the way, can the Twins, A, and Sinar do it again?
The Twins and A have made back-to-back playoff appearances. The Rays defeated A in the wild-card game last year before pushing Astros into five games in the division series. Yes, all three can do it again – and don’t be surprised if one of them reaches the World Series. My bet is on Sinar, which combines exceptional depth of throw and great defense with what might be an improved offense after they add Japanese slugger Yoshimoto Tsutsugo, a former Cardinals player Jose Martinez and former Padres outfield Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot. That’s a lot of mixing and matching, but it will be fun to see how the Rays maximize their ranks every day.
31. In fact, will we see Wander Franco?
The game’s main prospects are only 19 and haven’t played above Class A, and there is no clear opening at Tampa Infield, but Juan Soto shouldn’t have arrived a few years ago at 19. As is the case with Soto, a prospect like this makes his timeline himself, and the Rays might have thought it advantageous to give him some major leagues, rather than having him spend an important development year not playing.
32. Did the Red Sox really rebuild?
Just call it readjustment. Under new general manager Chaim Bloom, the team trades Mookie Betts to add some young talents and get future salaries under better control. Sox is also gone Chris Sale for Tommy John’s operation. Without Sale, Price, and Rick Porcello (who signed a contract with the Mets), the Red Sox has lost 49% of their start from 2019, so that would be the best patchwork rotation. Still, don’t count the lineup featuring Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.
33. Will Cody Bellinger repeat as NL MVP?
He will probably do it if he starts like he did in 2019, when he hit 0.376 / 0.462 / 0.733 with 20 home runs in the Dodgers first 60 games. He also started hot as a rookie in 2017, when he reached 24 home runs in his first 60 matches. I’m not sure that’s enough evidence to give him a quick starter label, because he experienced a terrible May in 2018, when he pressed 0.180.
Yelich won in 2018 and even better in 2019, hitting 0.329 / .429 /, 671 with 44 home runs and 30 steals and won his second consecutive title. So much for regression. At the start of the original spring training, Yelich recovered from a broken knee cap that ended the season several weeks early last year. So, yes, at the age of 28, he was at his peak, and he could be the first NL player to win three straight bats since Tony Gwynn won four in a row from 1994 to 1997. (Miguel Cabrera won three in a row in the Navy from 2011 to 2013).
35. Oh, yes, Miguel Cabrera
He is now 37 years old and not yet Miguel Cabrera since 2016, so even though he is in very good shape in March, age and injury mean that a big return is not possible. But you never know. Cabrera is 23 home runs out of 500, so milestones are now out of reach for 2020, but he will pass Adrian Beltre with the next home run to claim sole ownership of 30th place on the list of all time. (Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig next, at 493).
36. Albert Pujols
He had four home runs from tying Willie Mays in 660 for the fifth of all time. He will also pass Alex Rodriguez with 12 RBI to move to third on the list, leaving only Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. It’s almost hard to believe, but he now goes seven seasons in a row without slugging 0.500 – after slugging 0.608 the first 12 seasons of his career.
He is not really clean, friends. He went 16-5 with 3.03 ERA and held a batter of 0.222 batting averages. Yes, the trend is headed in the wrong direction – three years in a row with a higher ERA and a decreased strike-to-walk ratio – but he is still very, very good and aside from your own team, no one you want to see win the World Series ring more than Kershaw (unless you are a Giants fan).
Turner is in the final year of his contract with the Dodgers and in their six seasons with them they have won six division titles. How good is he? Among players with at least 2,000 plate appearances since 2014 he was ranked tied for 11th in OPS + – tied with Donaldson and Yelich. In many ways, he has become the heart and soul of the Dodgers, a player who transformed himself from a utility infielder into an extraordinary player.
Again, some economic uncertainty might make it less likely that these players will be traded – the team will be reluctant to take more money. On the other hand, especially in the case of Lindor, maybe Indian owners will be more desperate to save money and exchange him for 75 cents.
Bo Bichette is a revelation, Cavan Biggio surprise and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. the chosen. The three sons of former major league players – two of whom are Hall of Famers – on one team are already a great story. It will get better when they build a better team around three young people.
The Cardinals’ cards during the 16 regular seasons start: 7-3, 0.93 ERA, 0.139 average strokes allowed, only six home runs in 106 ⅓ rounds. Umm, I’ll say this and you can only nod in agreement: That’s Gibson-esque.
This list may be included Joey Votto, Craig Kimbrel and Edwin Diaz, among others, but the number one man to watch is the Cy Young winner twice Corey Kluber, now with Rangers after offseason trading. He was hit hard at the beginning of the seven season starts before spending the rest of the season with a broken arm after being hit by a drive line and then tilted. He joined Mike Minor and Lance Lynn to potentially give Rangers one of the best starting trios in the department.
46. Hard shortcuts
Garry Templeton won the Silver Slugger for Padres in 1984 – hitting .258 with two home runs. Only one NL shortstop reached more than six home runs that year. Only Cal Ripken Jr. has reached more than 16. Let’s just say it’s a different era and it’s not just because the balls are blended. This game is full of athletic, strong, strong shortstop. Six of them reached at least 30 home runs by 2019 – Gleyber Torres, The Story of Trevor, Marcus Semien, Xander Bogaerts, and Francisco Lindor Paul DeJong. Javier Baez press 29. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Carlos Correa can certainly get there in the regular season. The Anderson team just won the batting title. Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Jorge Polanco, Willy Adames, Dansby Swanson, Nick Ahmed – This is truly a golden age.
47. Oakland Rotation
A won 97 matches and may have 3.5 new starters for 2020. Rookies and Jesus Luzardo A.J. Puk Follow Frankie Montas, which has 2.63 ERA in 16 starts before the PED suspension. And Sean Manaea back at the end of the season and look great. Mike Fiers and Chris Bassitt is a relic. Don’t give Houston the title of Western Navy division first.
48. Will someone hit .400?
Yeah, that’s possible! But, impossible! Only one player since 2000 has reached .400 in his team’s first 60 matches, Chipper Jones, who scored 0.409 for Braves in 2008. In the past 10 years, the highest average through 60 matches is actually the Bellinger 0.376 mark last season.
No team has three top-level pitching prospects that can match the three for the Tiger. Manning is the No. prospect 13 Kiley, Mize are ranked 14th and Skubal 79th – and Skubal outperformed them both in Double-A. Tigers haven’t gone anywhere this season, but it will be interesting to see if they give them major league innings – a good experience for 2021.
51. MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino
Actually, the Padres was there with the Tigers, with Gore (overall prospect No. 8 Kiley) and Patino (No. 11). They are not as advanced as the Detroit pitchers – Gore made five starts in Double-A and Patino two – but without a minor league to throw and an expanded roster, Padres must at least be tempted to use the second minimum in a bullpen and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them get some starters .
Snell is the winner of Cy Young 2018, Morton finished third last year and Glasnow may be better than them. Have I mentioned that I really like Sinar?
53. Which ‘redevelopment’ team can surprise you?
I don’t know, but in the 60 season game, something strange will happen. Hey, Mariners are in first place in the Baseball-Reference simulation season.
54. Which favorite will disappoint?
Cubs is 20 games under 0.500 in a B-R simulation. I am not that bad, despite legitimate concerns about the age / overall health of the initial rotation (combined with the scarcity of the prospect of underage-ready MLB pitching).
55. Who will win the MVP Awards?
I went with Mike Trout (duh) and Juan Soto.
56. Who will win the Cy Young Awards?
I’m going to go out on a limb and go with Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom. But don’t rule out wild cards. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, one group of players who can take advantage of the short season is a pitcher who starts a hot start. Guess who holds the lowest ERA record through 60 team matches in the Live Ball Era (since 1920)? Ubaldo Jimenez, at 11-1 with 0.93 ERA through 60 team matches in 2010.
57. Wait, has the rule changed about starting an extra round with runners in second base really going to happen?
It seems so. Hey, now DH is gone (at least for 2020 and maybe forever), we need a new problem to divide the baseball nation.
58. Empty baseball stadium
Yes, that would be strange. It will calm down. You might be able to hear players spitting sunflower seeds, except spitting sunflower seeds will be banned (can’t wait to see the first player expelled for spitting seeds). On the other hand, it will reduce the garbage that can slam. (I’m kid, Astros fan, I’m kid.)
59. TV rating
Do poor public negotiations alienate fans? There is no good way to find out, but I suspect a lot of attention will be given to local TV ratings.
60. And perhaps the biggest question of all …
As a brewer Brett Anderson tweeted Monday night, “What happens when we all get it?”
Of course we like the prospect of Major League Baseball. Maybe it’s not fair that we pay so much attention and make silly comments like comparing young players with Ken Griffey Jr. or say this kid throws harder than Nolan Ryan, thereby implying that he might be the next Nolan Ryan. But we still do it, forgetting in our lustful eyes that baseball is hard and there is no guarantee of future fame, no matter how pretty it swings or how fast fastball is.
Here are the most hyped prospects for each team, sorted into levels that focus on the time when the player is recruited until he reaches the big league. That’s skewed over the last few decades, mostly because we do know more about prospects than ever before – not suggesting that Mickey Mantle players were ignored on that day – and we can watch videos and read scouting reports and dream about what might happen.
Quoting: “Harper has been compared with Justin Upton, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr., each high school player who is proficient and each is the overall choice of the design. But Harper, said baseball players who are paid to carry out such assessments, have the ability to be second-degree students the trio has as a senior. That is why Harper – with his own agreement – is best compared to [LeBron] James. “- Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated
That’s from SI’s famous cover story that pushed Harper into the national spotlight when he was only 16 years old. The title called him “Baseball’s Chosen One,” and the article compared Harper not only with James, but also with Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Alexander the. Very nice. Harper calls his goal a baseball player: Make the Hall of Fame and “play on the lines.” (Hey, Phillies To do use pinstripes.)
You can make the argument that Strasburg and Harper are the two most popular prospects in the draft era, the number one overall choice in 2009 and 2010, with Strasburg being called the best prospect ever and Harper might be the best prospect position player, or at least the best since Rodriguez or Griffey. When American Baseball published the “Ultimate Draft Book” in 2016 (an invaluable resource for this article), it listed Strasburg as the most hiped draft pick ever and Harper No. 2
Strasburg came out of San Diego State as a generation talent, the pioneer of the best college of all time, perhaps the best throwing prospect of all time, maybe the best prospect all the time. It reaches three digits with a plus-plus, plus plus, splinting ball and the size and shape you want in the jug. His first league debut against the Pirates in 2010 drew unprecedented attention, and he did not disappoint, with 14 strikeouts in seven innings. With Harper, because of that cover story, we have followed him for three years when he debuted with the Nationals on 19 in 2012. I even remember listening to his first minor league match on internet radio. Both are 1 and 1A on the most hyped list, in whatever order you want.
Also considered: Rick Reichardt, Jim Abbott, Mike Trout
Quoting: “Short stretches of baseball are basically inconclusive, but we can now say Ohtani is certainly one of the 50 best pitchers in the world, maybe one of the 30 best, makes sense out of the 10 best, and there are opportunities from the outside, a glimmer the light of hope, the vague possibility he is actually the best pitcher in the world and we are just waiting to find out. And we can almost say the same thing about him as a hitter. “- Sam Miller, ESPN.com
First, a word on Abbott. In my mind, hyped pitching candidates’ debuts are more interesting than for hit candidates. For position players, one match doesn’t tell us anything. Trout goes 0-for-3 and press 0.157 in its first 16 matches. Harper went 15 matches before reaching his first home run. Kris Bryant fanned three times in its debut. Alex Bregman start with five games without consecutive hits and produce 2-for-38. Etc. But with a jug, You know, Good? You can see fastball. You can see the items. You can see the potential and sometimes, like with Strasburg, you see dominance in that first game.
Abbott is not the top pitching prospect in his draft, but he is the main story of human interest in the draft era, and you can argue that Abbott’s debut is as anticipatory as the most praised pitchers on this list. Born without a right hand, he starred at the University of Michigan, defeated Cuba at the Pan American Games before 50,000 fans in Havana and led the US to a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics. The Angel arranged his eighth overall in 1988 and he immediately went to the majors the following April. With 150 media representatives in hand, four Japanese television crew and nearly 47,000 fans in attendance, Abbott’s debut was a celebration that tickled even non-baseball fans. (It didn’t go well, because he let it run six times and didn’t attack a single dough.)
Then, two years ago, we watched Ohtani, trying, unexpectedly, to make him major in two directions. You can argue that he is not really a prospect, because he has become a star in Japan, even though he is only 23 years old for his MLB rookie season. Even as he played his final season in Japan, preparing to come to the U.S., “60 Minutes” performed, calling him Babe Ruth Japan. Considering what we immediately saw, that was no exaggeration. Ohtani was covered in spring training like never before. He made his debut on Opening Day as a hitter. A few days later he debuted as a pitcher and displayed amazing things. Then he plays in his second game. And the third game. And the fourth. Then he makes his second start and attacks 12. Awesome.
Quoting: “Franchise type player; can do everything; complete player type. The greatest pure athlete in America at the moment. Can run, throw and hit with force in all fields. Has an exceptional baseball tool to be used with exceptional body and athletic abilities. ” – Scouting report from Royals scouting, Ken Gonzales
Nobody really expected Bo Jackson to play baseball. He had won the Heisman Cup in 1985 at Auburn University, and the Tampa Bay Bucs chose him first overall in the 1986 draft. He had to quit his senior baseball season when the NCAA decided he was ineligible because the Bucs had flown him to Tampa for physical examination. In addition, Bucs offers a five-year contract, $ 7.5 million, which cannot be matched.
However, Gonzales has been watching Jackson since middle school and getting closer to him and his mother. He knew Jackson was worried about playing for the Buccaneers. He knew the Royals were one of the teams he would consider playing baseball (they were the defending World Series champions). Most importantly, Gonzales likes Jackson’s potential in diamonds: He rates Jackson at 8 (or 80) on power, 8 on speed and 7 on his arm. Gonzales thought the Angels, with six choices in the first two rounds, would roll the dice. They did not do it. The Royals put him in the fourth round, signed him a few weeks later (for three years, $ 1.066 million) and he majored in September.
Is Jackson a great baseball player? Not too. He was too disciplined on the plate and attacked too much. Despite his world-class speed, he is not a great defender. Still, the tools allow for that outrageous athletic display, making one wonder what might have happened if Bo played baseball full time. It should be noted that he got better before he suffered a hip injury while playing football. With the Royals in 1990, he produced 142 OPS + in 111 matches, eighth in the American League. What might happen.
Quoting: “Has all the tools to become a superstar.” – Mariners scouting report, 1987
Griffey or A-Rod? At the level of pure scouting, Rodriguez is usually considered the best amateur prospect in the era of conscription. Sure enough, he was in the department at the age of 18, only 10 months after the Marines compiled it. Griffey, of course, will also be an all-prospect all-time team. Seattle’s scouting reports from his senior season at Moeller High School in Cincinnati gave Griffey future grades of 7 for hitting, 8 for strength, 6 for speed, 6 for arm strength and 7 for range. Mariners took him with the first pick in the draft, passing the wishes of owner George Argyros, who pushed for Cal State Fullerton’s pitcher, Mike Harkey (thanks to the baseball gods).
I believe Griffey defeated A-Rod in the prospect’s hype, however. First, he has a famous name. He signed quickly and hit .313 with 14 home runs in 54 games in the Northwest League, playing against college kids four and five years older than him. In 1988, he scored 0.325 / .415 / .557 with 13 home runs and 36 steals in 75 underage games. He has the perfect swing for pictures. He smiled. He has a Top Deck beginner card that every child has had been have. Twenty years later, Sports Illustrated will call it the last iconic baseball card. The Griffey hype entering 1989 is related to that card.
When Griffey went to spring training that year, still a teenager with only 17 matches on the Class A ball, the Mariners wanted him to feel the big league camp and then return to minors. He hit 0.397 with 15 consecutive hits. He made a club. He is double that of Dave Stewart in his first official role. At the end of April, he has his own candy. He is The Natural.
Quoting: “For pure bats, Vlad Jr. is the best underage prospect. If you can put 80 on any prospect hit tool, it will be his, and he has the plus-plus power to accompany it. Vlad’s hand is electric, and he has showed a feeling of progress for the strike zone since the debut of the prince at the age of 17. “- Keith Law, ESPN.com
Like Griffey three decades before him, Vlad Jr. has a famous name – and a game to go with it (he hit 0.381 underage in 2018 as 19 years old). Like Griffey, he also had a panic that marked it as something special, like his home run-off in the Spring Training Exhibition Games in Montreal in 2018, in front of fans who had cheered for his father.
How much hype entered last season? When MLB.com named it prospect No. 1, the headline asked, “Is Vlad Jr. the best prospect ever?” The consensus was that he did not have the whole game to get that honor, but as Jim Callis wrote, “It’s hard to find people who offer more offensive promises at a younger age.”
Guerrero’s rookie season is solid but not spectacular (.272 / .339 / .433, 106 OPS +), and Juan Soto certainly topped as the best 20-year hitter in the department. He has to get the ball in the air more often to utilize the raw power we witnessed at the Home Run Derby, but he has time. He is only 21 years old.
Quoting: “What the quietest group of 56,365 people saw in the history of the Yankee Stadium on Sunday night was that Jones became the next baseball player. A Ruth or Gehrig, maybe. Or maybe a Mantle, who was the youngest person to ever slam home runs during the World Series until Jones becomes the best at Yankee. “- Terence Moore, the Atlanta Constitution
Jones was 19 when he returned home in 1996 from Andy Pettitte in the first World Series of his career, a two-run explosion to the left field. In his second fight, he returned home, this time a three-time shot to Monument Park, which seemed appropriate for the mythology that Jones was building. The Braves has five Baseball America prospects No. 1. That doesn’t even include Komminsk, the rising star of the 1980s that Hank Aaron once said, “He will do things Dale Murphy had never dreamed of.”
However, the other players did not do two home runs in World Series matches as teenagers. Jones has become the top prospect in the match entering the 1996 season after reaching 0.277 with 25 home runs and 56 bases stolen at the Low-A Macon. Crossing three levels in 1996, he reached 0.339 with 34 home runs, one of the great minor league seasons in the era of conscription, especially given his young age. He still qualified for beginners entering 1997 and topped the prospect list again. The comparison with Mickey Mantle doesn’t seem too ridiculous.
That was not enough, of course, even though Jones had an extraordinary career – 62.7 WAR, 434 home runs, 10 Gold Gloves – which many people consider worthy of the Hall of Fame. But his last good season came when he was 29, so his career was also seen under the lens of disappointment. An old scouting report from his days at Macon did give a potential warning: “If the player decides he wants to give 100%, he has no ceiling!” That effort – or is considered lacking – will persuade Jones throughout his career.
Maybe it’s also a little unfair. Jones does have some shortcomings. He hit too much, which is why he hit .300 only once and finished with a career average of .254 (.267 to age 29). The scouting report also showed that he had holes in swings up and above fastball and that he was a pulling beater who rarely went to the opposite plane. “Can close the gap with anyone,” the report also read, and that part is true. There are some – if any – who play midfielders and young Andruw Jones.
Also considered: Shawon Dunston, Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, Kris Bryant
Quoting: “At least when [Michael] Jordan is being hunted by the public and the media who adore him, he has several NBA seasons under his belt and several million Air Jordans at people’s feet. Prior have already started nine minor leagues [his major league debut]. “- Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune
Bryant topped the Baseball America list in 2015. Prior and Patterson reached No. 2, and Wood is No. 3 (as before Addison Russell). Dunston came before the official top-100 list, but BA did call him the second best prospect in 1984 – ahead of Dwight Gooden. So who should go with? I will submit to Jim Callis, who was recently named Prior to the all-time prospect team: “In my first year as a full-time employee at BA, [Ben] McDonald’s is recognized as the best college pitcher ever, before the tag will finally produce and that [Stephen] Strasburg will later claim and possibly never let go. All three have size, items, polish and are dominant in college and with Team USA. “
Before going 15-1 with ERA 1.69 in his first season at USC, with 202 strikes and only 18 runs. He drove underage at nine starts. He fanned 10 on his highly anticipated debut, with Cubs fans chanting “Pri-or! Pri-or!” throughout the game. “He is as smooth as any young man I have ever seen,” said Cubs catcher Joe Girardi after the match. “The other person I think of who is very polished is Derek Jeter.”
Before going away 18-6 with 2.43 ERA in his first full season, finishing third in the Cy Young election. Then came the wounds. I found a scouting report from his college years, written by Buddy Pritchard for the Premier League Scout Bureau. He hinted at a potential problem with Prior shipping: “Step defects & arm angles problems with self-described slurves.” Pitching mechanics teacher Chris O’Leary would call Prior defects a bad time problem, which results in “flat arm syndrome.”
Several points of collision with the second baseman Braeman Marcus Giles as a turning point in Prior’s career. The only problem with that theory is that the collision occurred in July 2003, in the midst of Prior’s best season. Before leaving the game it was early and missed a few weeks, but when he returned he went 10-1 with 1.52 ERA in his last 11 starts. He also averaged 121 pitch per game in his last 10 games (and 123 in the three playoffs started). More likely, it is the workload in combination with its mechanics that causes its destruction.
Also considered: Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Jose Rijo, Derek Jeter, Ruben Rivera, Joba Chamberlain
Quoting: “Bill Livesey is one of the best scouts of our time. He tells me the best amateur position player he has ever seen is A-Rod. The best amateur thrower he has ever seen is Brien Taylor.” – Yankees GM GM Brian Cashman at the moment
You can certainly make an argument here for DiMaggio or Mantle. DiMaggio set a record in the Pacific Coast League – recorded 61 live matches in 1933, placing him in the national press as a teenager. The Yankees bought it for $ 50,000 after the 1934 season, which was a very large amount at the time, allowing him to play another season in San Francisco before taking him to New York in 1936 with much fanfare. Mantle, too, received a lot of attention during his first major league spring training in 1951.
However, it was a different time, and the hype machine wasn’t the same in 1991. You had a perfect storm with Taylor. The Yankees made their first draft overall, only the second time they chose the first and only the second time a high school pitcher had gone first overall. Taylor’s background, emerging that spring from Beaufort, North Carolina, a small town on the coast, is the kind of story you like to see appearing in drafts. The choice also came at a peak when the baseball card industry included prospects and draft pick cards, so fans followed the unprecedented prospect.
His agent was Scott Boras, who negotiated a record $ 1.55 million bonus, eliminating the previous record of $ 575,000. “I have seen talent now in 35 drafts,” Boras told ESPN.com a few years ago. “Every year I watch, and I’ve never seen anyone like him.”
Taylor threw well underage in 1992 and 1993, attacking 327 null and void in 324 innings, but then tragedy struck. The offseason, Taylor’s brother got into a fight in the bar and Taylor went to protect him, put his arm to fend off the blow. He tore his rotator cuff completely from the bone. He never reached the majors.
Also considered: Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden
Quoting: “When I see Pete Rose on TV and he gets hit, the announcer always says how many hits he has now for his career. I hope he continues to build it, because I will beat that record.” – Jefferies
Strawberry was the number one choice in 1980 and Gooden broke into minors with 300 strikes in 1983, but you can argue that Jefferies spawned a range of modern prospects. In the early years of American Baseball, the first outlet with a deep scope of prospects, Jefferies appeared on the cover five times. He was a minor league player of BA this year in 1986 after reaching 0.353 with 16 home runs and 57 steals at the age of 18 and again in 1987 after reaching 0.367 with 20 home runs in Double-A. He is a successor beater infielder and he is not lacking in confidence. The New York Times called him “arguably the best baseball player not on the premier league list.” He looks like a future All-Star who will win the batting title, especially after reaching 0.321 in 29 cameo games in 1988. “Some players are labeled ‘not to miss,'” Mets manager Davey Johnson said. “He is inevitable.”
His Mets career never took off, as he reached 0.272 in three full seasons with the team. Teammates don’t like it; some are jealous of the hype. During one pregame practice, he was told to return to the clubhouse, where he found one of his bats breaking into pieces. An anonymous teammate called him “hitter designated to play third base.” Jefferies responded by saying, “I am really tired of being slaughtered. I don’t mean to sound like a baby because I have been silent about this for three years. I just want to play baseball. I don’t want to take this anymore.” He then continued WFAN and read the nine paragraph letter, further responding to criticism.
“It doesn’t take long for players to know that Gregg Jefferies is a losing player,” wrote Lenny Dykstra in his 2016 book. “He will spend hours rubbing his bats with a special potion and specifically requesting that they be kept separately from bats. the other team so they don’t chip. “
You do wonder how Jefferies’ career might change with a different organization. The Mets fell apart in the early 1990s. Jefferies landed on St. Louis in 1993, the Cardinals moved him to first base (he was a bad player), and he hit 0.342 and then 0.324 in 1994, making the All-Star team a second year. He signed a contract with the Phillies and hit .300 a few more times, though without much power, and then he was injured. He didn’t break Rose’s record.
One thing about Jefferies: He rarely attacks (he runs more than K in his career and has never made it 50 times in a season). If I have to guess why he didn’t become a big star as projected by his minor league numbers, it’s because of him too good at making contacts. He can play any game, which may cause swings in bad tones and weak contact.
Quoting: “There are some with extraordinary awareness about the attack zone. Others do a very good job at identifying pitches. Some have the ability to control the barrel and cover the entire plate. Franco has all the attributes, plus the ability to move the ball with force.” – Baseball America scouting report
Hamilton, Young and Price are the number one choice. Upton is the second overall pick. Heading into his rookie season, many prospect experts judge Moore in front of Mike Trout. But Franco’s hype surpassed them all. He’s the rare one – maybe the first, at least in the past few years – the prospect of receiving an 80 on his hit device. He reached 0.327 / 0.398 / 0.487 at the age of 18 in Class A last season, with more roads than strikes. Supposedly, at one point he left several weeks without swinging and was lost on the field.
What can be wrong? In some ways, he is very similar to Jefferies, a batter infielder whose height is under 6 feet which rarely attacks. Franco has more power, Jefferies might run a little better. Franco has the opportunity to survive on a shortcut, which Jefferies does not have. Like Jefferies, Franco is no less confident. Hopefully none of his teammates will come back to break his bat.
Quoting: “Geez, how can that kid hit. It wouldn’t surprise me if he became another Babe Ruth. I’ve never seen anything like it. It seems like it makes no difference where you throw it. We give him all sorts of things – high balls, balls low, inside tones, outside tones, fast balls, curved balls and slow balls. He hits them all. “- Manager A Connie Mack, after seeing Williams in three spring training games in his rookie season
Williams was already a big problem when he reported to Sarasota, Florida, for spring training in 1939. The Red Sox had obtained it from San Diego from the Pacific Coast League in December 1937 and took it out to Minneapolis, where he hit .366. with 43 home runs at the age of 19. Williams had camped with the Red Sox in 1938, so the Boston media already knew that impudent young man. After a big season in Minneapolis, more anticipation was built for 1939, and Williams gave many good copies to local writers.
A writer asked Williams: “You think you will hit here?”
Williams’s response: “Who will stop me?”
The team hasn’t even started the exhibition season yet.
Mack was not the only one who compared the young snail with Ruth. “TED WILLIAMS REPLICA OF RUTH,” one of the main headlines reads. Williams broke her first major league home run in her fourth match, 430 feet away to the right middle bench at Fenway Park. The Boston Herald called it “a hard blow to the drive line as people have been sent to the sector, including Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx who are always there.”
Quoting: “This is my 28th year around this game, and at the moment, he’s better than that [Roger] Clemens, [Frank] Viola, Greg Swindell, one of them. None of these people have control over this person. He also handles difficulties. If he lights up and 11 minicams come, he can handle it. He knows the way of the world. “- LSU Coach Skip Bertman
A big old boy from Louisiana, McDonald began his athletic career at LSU as a two-sport player but gave up basketball after his first year when he developed into one of the best pitching prospects in the country. After starring in the Olympic team in 1988, McDonald became No. 1 clear for the 1989 draft, throwing 45 consecutive goalless rounds at one point. The other team finally stops stalking him, knowing the Orioles will take him.
The two sides held prolonged contract negotiations, with Scott Boras threatening to bring McDonald’s to the new baseball league which is rumored to start in 1990, supported by New York businessman Donald Trump. They finally agreed to an unprecedented three-year premier league contract, $ 800,000, and McDonald made six relief appearances for the Orioles in September.
One controversy, even at the time, was Bertman’s use of McDonald’s at LSU. Five times McDonald made a complete game and then closed the game the next day. During the 18 month period between his second year and junior season, including his time with Team USA, McDonald threw 352 rounds.
“I’ve been asked this a million times,” McDonald told The Athletic last year. “‘Did you throw too many notes to LSU? Did you throw too many notes in high school?’ The answer might be yes; we don’t know what we know now and how to care for the arms. So I am a product of my time. I am a competitor. I am only one of those children if the Coach says, ‘Can you?’ I would say, ‘Yessir. You give me a chance and I will do it.’ “
McDonald threw a four-hit shutout at the start of his first major league and finished the rookie season in 1990 with 2.43 ERA, but he finished with a career record of 78-70, 3.91 ERA and 20.8 WAR. He retired at the age of 29 after tearing his rotator cuff.
Mengutip: “Melakukan semuanya dengan baik. Kecepatan kelelawar yang hebat dan kontak dengan semua jenis kekuatan menjulang di lapangan. Pendekatan mental yang luar biasa untuk memukul. Dapat benar-benar menggerakkan bola. Ditambah kecepatan dan menyebabkan kekacauan di pangkalan – dapat mencuri lari. Terbaik yang pernah saya lihat di bermain line drive ke CF. Tangan yang bagus, jangkauan yang bagus, lompatan dan rute. Pemain agresif, berbahaya yang menarik untuk ditonton dan membuat sesuatu terjadi. ” – Laporan kepanduan White Sox selama tahun draft Drew
Semua yang ingin dilakukan Jend. Drew ingin membela haknya. Dia menjadi paria karena baseball, dihina oleh penggemar di seluruh negeri. Drew adalah pemain 30-30 pertama bisbol perguruan tinggi di Florida State pada tahun 1997, mencapai 0,455 dengan 31 home run dan 32 steal. Dia menetapkan nilainya pada $ 10 juta, yang merupakan apa yang diterima pitcher SMA Matt White pada tahun 1996, setelah teknis dalam rancangan peraturan membuatnya menjadi agen bebas. Drew, bagaimanapun, bisa bernegosiasi dengan hanya satu tim. Dia punya beberapa pilihan. Macan memotongnya dengan pick pertama. Phillies membawanya dengan pick kedua dan menawarkan $ 2 juta. Negosiasi dengan agen Scott Boras berubah buruk. Drew tidak menandatangani.
Drew masuk kembali rancangan pada tahun 1998 dan Kardinal membawanya dengan memilih kelima (Drew menetap dengan jaminan $ 7 juta). Dia masuk jurusan pada bulan September. Drew memiliki karir liga utama 14 tahun yang sangat sukses, dengan 44,9 WAR, meskipun ia hanya membuat satu tim All-Star dan menerima suara MVP hanya satu kali (ia finis di urutan keenam pada tahun 2004). Ia bermain tanpa emosi, dan banyak – penulis, penggemar, bahkan rekan satu tim – memandangnya lembut karena ia kehilangan banyak waktu karena cedera. Dia bermain di banyak tim bagus, namun, melakukan delapan perjalanan ke postseason. Jika ada, persepsi Drew kembali ke laporan kepanduan dan daya pikat – dan peringatan – hype prospek: Dia adalah pemain amatir terbaik di negara ini selama dua tahun, menciptakan harapan yang sangat tinggi. Ketika dia tidak mencapai itu, dia dipanggil berlebihan. Pada akhirnya, ia diremehkan.
Mengutip: “Meskipun dia hanya mencetak sembilan home run dalam tiga musim liga kecil, dia menunjukkan kekuatan yang lebih besar di Minnesota, membangun kepercayaan si Kembar bahwa dia bisa mencapai sebanyak 35-40 homer secara tahunan.” – Bisbol Amerika
Si Kembar punya pilihan yang sulit dengan pilihan pertama pada draft 2001. Mark Prior adalah talenta top konsensus, tetapi ia akan memerintahkan bonus penandatanganan besar. Mauer tumbuh 10 menit dari pengintai Metrodome dan Twins yang melihat dia bermain lebih dari 100 pertandingan sebagai seorang amatir, tetapi dia juga menjadi pemain sepak bola sekolah menengah nasional terbaik pada tahun 2000 dan berkomitmen untuk bermain quarterback di Florida State, jadi dia tidak akan menjadi pertanda mudah juga.
Si Kembar pergi dengan anak lokal, mengklaim bahwa ia adalah pick No. 1 yang sah. “Saya tahu sejumlah tim berpikir dia mungkin orang terbaik dalam wajib militer,” kata direktur kepanduan Twins, Mike Radcliff. Mauer menandatangani bonus $ 5,15 juta. Cubs menandatangani Sebelum dengan kontrak liga utama senilai $ 10,5 juta – yang diadakan sebagai yang tertinggi hingga kesepakatan Strasburg dengan Nationals delapan tahun kemudian.
Si Kembar mungkin telah menghemat uang, tetapi mereka juga berakhir dengan pemain yang tepat. Mauer ranked seventh on BA’s prospect list in 2002, fourth in 2003 and then first in 2004 and again in 2005 (he remained eligible since injuries limited him to just 35 games in the majors in 2004). That allowed the hype to build even more as he remained a prospect for an extra season. BA gave him 80-grade tools for his hit, arm and defense — with the belief he would eventually tap into more power.
That never happened other than the 28-homer season when he won the MVP award, but he won three batting titles, including in 2009, when he hit .365. He finished with a .306 career average and goes down as perhaps the greatest player in Twins history (only Rod Carew has more WAR, 63.8 to 55.3).
Mengutip: “He’s one of the best high school pitchers I’ve ever seen and I’ve been scouting 30 years. He has a good curveball, he’s 6-foot-5, he throws hard — he just pitches. I scouted Nolan Ryan in high school and I never saw Nolan throw as hard as this kid.” — Cardinals scouting director Fred McAlister
Van Poppel was a hard-throwing kid from Arlington, Texas — and thus the comparisons to fellow Texans Ryan and Roger Clemens were inevitable. He was the top talent in the 1990 draft but also firmly committed to the University of Texas, saying he wanted to go to school and pitch in the 1992 Olympics. The Braves passed on him with the top pick, settling instead for Chipper Jones (thank the baseball gods). Van Poppel fell to the A’s with the 14th pick and they signed him to a record $1.2 million major league contract that also put him on the fast track to the majors. He was Baseball America’s top prospect in 1991.
It didn’t work out. Van Poppel threw hard, but his fastball was straight. His control was wobbly — he had walked 90 in 132⅓ innings in Double-A in 1991 — but the A’s had to rush him to the majors because of the major league contract. It didn’t help that he came up in the heart of the offense-happy steroid era. In his rookie season in 1993, he walked 62 and struck out just 47 in 84 innings. In 1994, he led the AL in walks. In August 1996, still just 24 years old, the A’s waived him.
Mengutip: “I think I’m the best. That goes along with being arrogant out there. You’ve got to think you’re the best. I bet if you ask Roger Clemens if he thinks he’s the best he’d say yes. Randy Johnson would say the same thing.” — Josh Beckett as a high school senior
No high school right-hander has ever been selected first overall in the draft, but Beckett probably came closest, when the Marlins took him second overall in 1999, with the Rays deciding at the last juncture to take Josh Hamilton with the first pick. Many scouts called him the best high school pitcher they had ever seen — and like Van Poppel before him, he was compared to fellow Texans Ryan, Clemens and now Kerry Wood. Beckett signed a four-year, $7 million major league contract with the Marlins and declared that he wanted to be an All-Star in two years.
That didn’t quite happen, but perhaps only because a sore shoulder limited him in his first pro season in 2000. In 2001, he had one of the most dominant minor league seasons of the draft era, going 14-1 with 1.54 ERA across Class A and Double-A, with 203 strikeouts, 34 walks and just 82 hits in 140 innings. He debuted with the Marlins that September, posting a 1.50 ERA in four starts, and entered 2002 as the top prospect in baseball. In the fall of 2003, he pitched the Marlins to the World Series title with a five-hit shutout of the Yankees in the clinching Game 6.
Also considered: Bobby Witt, Juan Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Jurickson Profar
Mengutip: “At 18, he was as good as any kid I ever saw, including Nolan Ryan, Gary Gentry, Jon Matlack and Tug McGraw. He had a good fastball, a great curveball, a great delivery, poise and control. Boy, that kid had an arm on him in high school. Some of those kids went up to the plate shaking when he was pitching.” — Whitey Herzog, Rangers manager in 1973
In a sense, David Clyde never had a chance to be a prospect. The Rangers selected Clyde first overall in the 1973 draft, a hard-throwing lefty out of Houston’s Westchester High School, where he had gone 18-0 with a 0.18 ERA and 328 strikeouts in 148 innings as a senior. In five Texas 5-A playoff games, he threw five shutouts, including three no-hitters. Some scouts compared him to Sandy Koufax. Clyde wore No. 32, same as Koufax, his idol.
Nineteen days after completing his storied high school career, Wright was asked to make his pro debut in the majors with the Rangers. The team was in its second season in Arlington, and Rangers owner Bob Short saw Clyde as a financial windfall. The team had finished last in 1972, averaging just 8,840 fans per game. The Rangers were last again in 1973 and averaging even fewer fans per game when Clyde debuted on June 27. There were two bands on hand, Polynesian dancers, two lion cubs and a papier-mâché giraffe on wheels. It was the first sellout in Rangers history.
Clyde pitched five innings, allowed one hit (a two-run home run) and won the game. He fanned eight. He also walked seven and threw 112 pitches. When it was announced over the PA system in the top of the fifth inning that it would be Clyde’s final inning, the crowd gave him a minutes-long standing ovation when he emerged from the dugout.
You may know the rest of the story. Clyde struggled for a couple of seasons, finally went down to the minors in 1975, developing a drinking problem, went to Cleveland, got hurt. He won 18 games in the majors. What might have happened, we’ll never know. Before that first game, Herzog had told reporters: “I’ve got nothing to do with it, but if I was the director of player personnel here, as I was with the Mets, I tell you I’d be raising hell about this. A young pitcher in his first year should be out where he can dominate.”
Mengutip: “He is a tremendously gifted player, both in terms of his athletic ability and his baseball ability. He has a maturity about him that is unbelievable for a player who is 17.” — Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr.
Scouts had eyed Upton since he was a 14-year-old freshman at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Va. He showed up uninvited to the Area Code Games in California and impressed scouts with his tools and athletic ability. He starred on various U.S. national teams and was the easy No. 1 selection, still just 17 years old on draft day. He played 2006 in the Midwest League and then tore up High-A and Double-A in 2007, earning a promotion to the big leagues while still a teenager. He’s still hanging around, having made four All-Star team and sitting on 298 career home runs and 34.4 career WAR.
Also considered: Bobby Valentine, Mike Marshall, Darren Dreifort, Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Clayton Kershaw, Gavin Lux
Mengutip: “Seager is the game’s best prospect, a superlative hitter who projects to do everything at the plate. [He] has electric hands at the plate and does everything very easily — his swing, hip rotation and power look effortless — but it’s his approach that makes him the best prospect in baseball. Seager’s pitch recognition is advanced way beyond his years, and you’ll see him make adjustments within at-bats that even veterans don’t make. … He has MVP upside even if he moves to third and would be even more valuable if he beats my expectations and hangs around at short.” — Keith Law, ESPN.com
I didn’t know exactly where to go with the Dodgers. I mean, if you go all the way back to the Brooklyn Dodgers, you have to go Jackie Robinson. Hard to top him. Sandy Koufax was a bonus baby who under the rules of the time had to go straight to the big leagues. Fernandomania didn’t really start until after Fernando Valenzuela started his dominant run out of the gate as a rookie in 1981.
So let’s default to Seager, the Dodgers’ only No. 1 overall prospect in the Baseball America era. Seager was a first-round pick in 2012, 18th overall, the younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager — although taller and leaner than his older brother. Corey busted out in the minors in 2014, hitting .349 with 50 doubles and 20 home runs, and then hit .278 at Triple-A in 2015. What is it right got everyone excited, however, was his September call-up that year with the Dodgers: In 27 games, he hit .337/.425/.561 with four home runs and an impressive 14 walks against 19 strikeouts. That earned him top-prospect status heading into 2016.
Seager didn’t disappoint, winning Rookie of the Year honors and finishing third in the MVP voting. Tommy John surgery in 2018 created a bump along his path, and his return in 2019 was a little uneven, although he did lead the NL with 44 doubles. He’s also proved that he can remain at shortstop, despite the doubts related to his size that he could stick there. It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward, as his rookie season remains his best year, when he looked like he would become an annual MVP candidate and a player who could hit .300 with 30 home runs. His hard-hit rate is actually only middle of the pack and he’s become more fly-ball-happy, but that hasn’t translated into more home runs.
Mengutip: “In my 13 years in the big leagues, this is the only guy I’ve seen who really is worth the hype. The first one. The real deal. And the reason I say that is not just the stuff. That’s obvious to everybody. But it’s the fact that he’s a great kid who is smart, who is willing to learn and who respects the game. I really mean that. He’s an easy kid to root for, and I don’t say that just because he’s my teammate. He’s going to be great for this game.” — Giants infielder Rich Aurilia
Teams didn’t know what to do with Lincecum in the 2006 draft. He was arguably the best pitcher in college baseball, striking out 199 in 125⅓ innings for the University of Washington, and he threw 98 mph with a knee-buckling curveball. He was also 5-foot-10, 165 pounds or so, with an unorthodox delivery. Some saw him as a reliever. Some saw a pitcher who would break down because of his size and mechanics.
While pre-draft reports suggested Lincecum could go first overall, the Royals instead selected Luke Hochevar. Six of the first seven players selected were pitchers. One was Clayton Kershaw, but Greg Reynolds? Brad Lincoln? Even the hometown Mariners bypassed Lincecum for Brandon Morrow. The Giants took him with the 10th pick.
He needed just 13 starts to reach the majors. In five starts in Triple-A in 2007, he allowed one run and 12 hits in 31 innings. His major league debut in May became must-watch TV. Who was this little guy with the huge fastball? Lincecum did eventually break down, but not before he won two Cy Young Awards, made four All-Star teams, won 110 games and helped the Giants win three World Series.
Also considered: Mike Ivie, Dave Winfield, Kevin McReynolds, Andy Benes, Sandy Alomar Jr., Sean Burroughs
Mengutip: “Tatis looks like a younger Manny Machado, but he is stronger than Machado was at the same age, and there are similarities between their games across the board. Tatis has crazy strength for his age and has shown an advanced approach at the plate, leading the Midwest League in walks as an 18-year-old in 2017.” — Keith Law, ESPN.com
The Padres have had, shall we say, an interesting prospect history. Ivie was a power-hitting catcher, the first player selected in 1970, but he developed the yips and had to move to first base. Winfield went straight to the majors after he was drafted fourth overall in 1973. McReynolds, the first cover subject in Baseball America history (when he was at Arkansas), hit .377/.424/.735 at Triple-A Las Vegas in 1983. Benes was the first pick in 1988 and a very big deal. Alomar was traded to the Indians. Burroughs ranked as high as fourth on BA’s annual top 100 but never developed any power.
I’ll go with Tatis. While every other outlet had Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the top prospect entering 2019, Keith had Tatis as his top player, with the obvious positional advantage and athleticism edge over Guerrero. He played so well in spring training that the Padres skipped him past Triple-A and onto the Opening Day roster, and he responded with a remarkable rookie season, hitting .317/.379/.590 in 84 games before his season ended early with a back injury. He also missed time during his Double-A season, so health appears to be the only thing preventing him from becoming a franchise cornerstone.
Mengutip: “Gary Sheffield has a chance to become a major league superstar. He can be the most exciting offensive player in the history of the organization.” — Dan Duquette, Brewers coordinator of scouting
Beyond the left-field fence of Kindrick Legion Field in Helena, Montana, there used to be a house with a giant bull’s-eye target painted on the roof. Or, I should say, there used to be a bull’s-eye. I think the house is still there, but the bull’s-eye is not. A new roof or something. Somebody had painted the bull’s-eye to commemorate the landing spot of a long home run Sheffield had hit back in the summer of 1986.
Sheffield, 17, hit .364/.413/.640 with 15 home runs and 71 RBIs in 57 games for the Helena Gold Sox that summer. He struck out just 14 times. He had been the sixth pick in the draft, the nephew of Dwight Gooden, then perhaps the biggest name in the sport. The bat speed was incredible, the sky the limit. During the winter of 1986, Gooden, Sheffield and a couple of friends were arrested after a fight with Tampa police officers.
With that in mind, Duquette also alluded to something else in that story from February 1987: “Now we have to get him to develop the habits of a professional athlete.”
That didn’t happen in Milwaukee. Sheffield reached the majors in 1988, still just 19 years old. His fielding at shortstop was shaky. Sent back down to the minors in 1989 because of “indifferent fielding,” Sheffield said he had an injured foot; the Brewers didn’t believe him. Back in the minors, it was revealed that Sheffield did indeed have a fractured foot. He had lost all trust in his organization. Called back up, he moved to third base for Bill Spiers and claimed the decision was racially motivated. He later claimed he made errors on purpose in his frustration, although he later retracted that statement.
In the end, he did become a superstar, finishing with 509 home runs, more than 1,600 RBIs, a .292 career average, more walks than strikeouts and nine All-Star appearances. Mentioned in the Mitchell report, however, he still waits for a spot in Cooperstown.
Also considered: J.R. Richard, Floyd Bannister, Eric Anthony
Mengutip: “Always younger and more advanced than his competition, Correa has baseball instincts and abilities that come naturally. His tremendous athletic ability results in smooth, seemingly effortless movements. His desire and passion are evident in his no-nonsense demeanor. His current strength and power are merely hints at what we may expect in the future.” — MLB.com scouting report on Correa as a minor leaguer
J.R. Richard fanned 15 batters in his major league debut in 1971, Bannister was the first pick in 1976 out of Arizona State and Anthony was Baseball America’s No. 8 prospect in 1990 after bashing 31 home runs in the minors in 1989, but I give the nod to Correa, another No. 1 overall pick, in 2012.
Unlike many other first picks, Correa wasn’t the slam-dunk top choice. He wasn’t sold as the next Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter. He was actually a compromise pick of sorts. Heading into the draft, the Astros were expected to take Mark Appel or Byron Buxton. Instead, the Astros went with Correa — making him the first No. 1 overall pick from Puerto Rico — and signed him to a below-slot deal of $4.8 million (less than the $6 million Buxton received as the second pick), which allowed them to also draft and sign Lance McCullers Jr.
Correa quickly proved he merited the choice, hitting .320 in the minors in 2013 and .325 in 2014. He was the No. 4 prospect entering 2015, tore through Double-A and Triple-A early in 2015 and reached the majors, hitting 22 home runs in 99 games to win Rookie of the Year honors.
Mengutip: “Last year was Hamilton’s explosion, the season during which his status became ubiquitous and his speed became folklore. In 132 minor-league games, Hamilton stole an insane 155 bases, creating must-see moments in every game and pushing himself into the top tier of prospects in the minors.” — Baseball Prospectus
Bruce was Baseball America’s top prospect in 2008 and drew comparisons to Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds and Ken Griffey Jr. Chapman’s fastball was already legendary when the Reds called him up. Hamilton had obvious holes in his game, but few minor leaguers in recent years have received as much attention as Hamilton. Could somebody really steal 155 bases? Exactly how fast was this kid? He wasn’t the best prospect in the minors — he peaked at No. 20 in 2013 and MLB.com had him No. 11 that year — but he was absolutely the most fascinating.
Hamilton had followed his 155-steal season in 2012 with 75 steals in Triple-A and 13 more in 14 attempts in a September cameo with the Reds. When was the last time you tuned in to watch a pinch-running specialist? You could dream on Hamilton becoming the majors’ first 100-steal player since Vince Coleman in 1987 — if the bat came around. It did not. He has posted an OBP over .300 just once in his career, limiting his opportunities for thievery, and while he had four 50-steal seasons, he’s never led the league. His defense and speed made him a good player for a few seasons, but now he’s fighting to remain in the majors.
Also considered: Paul Pettit, Bob Bailey, Barry Bonds, Jeff King, Gerrit Cole
Mengutip: “Kris hits his spots so well, you could catch him with a Styrofoam cup.” — James Beavers, Benson’s summer league coach in high school
No obvious top guy here for the Pirates. Pettit was baseball’s first $100,000 bonus baby when the Pirates signed him in 1950 (he got hurt and won just one game in the majors). Bonds was a heralded prospect coming out of Arizona State and reached the majors in less than a year. King and Cole were No. 1 overall picks, although Cole had hardly dominated in his junior season at UCLA with a 6-8 record and a 3.31 ERA.
Benson was also the No. 1 overall pick coming out of Clemson, and he did look like an absolute lock to become a star. He had Strasburg- and Prior-like stats, going 14-2 with a 2.02 ERA with 204 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 156 innings. He threw 93-96 mph and touched 98 with plus command. The Pirates zeroed in on him early as the top player in the draft. He was Baseball America’s No. 7 prospect in both 1997 and 1998, although he slid all the way down to 59 in 1999 after a rough go in Triple-A.
He had more success in the majors, posting 2.4 WAR as a rookie in 1999 and then 5.1 as a sophomore in 2000. Then came Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2001, and when he returned he threw 90 instead of 95. He was traded to the Mets (Jose Bautista was in that deal) and then to the Orioles and got injured again. He finished 70-75 in his career.
Mengutip: “He has five-tool ability, with his bat getting the most attention. Brown creates incredible bat speed with his whip-like, uppercut swing and has eliminated previous questions about his power.” — Baseball America scouting report
The Phillies didn’t have an obvious guy either, so I asked Phillies fan Eric Karabell and he suggested Brown. Brown reached peak prospect hype after a breakout season in the minors in 2010, when he hit .327/.391/.589 across Double-A and Triple-A and was the consensus No. 4 prospect entering 2011.
I remember watching Brown early in his big league career and the first thing that stood out was that he was a terrible outfielder. Even though scouts described him as a five-tool player, his routes and instincts in the outfield were bad and awkward. Maybe I just saw a few bad plays, but he looked so clumsy out there that it seemed clear to me that while he had athletic tools, he lacked the natural base instincts that great players possess.
There may have been a couple of other issues. For some reason, the Phillies messed with his swing in spring training in 2011, having him lower his hands (he later abandoned that idea). He also had several hand injuries along the way. He had the monster first half in 2013, when he hit 23 home runs and made the All-Star team, but his last season in the majors came just two years later.
Also considered: Bob Feller, Von Hayes, Mark Lewis, Manny Ramirez, Francisco Lindor
Mengutip: “A sure thing? No way, not in baseball. But if Sandy Alomar Jr. isn’t a superstar waiting for the big bang to happen, it will be the most disappointing event in Cleveland Indians’ history since Joe Charboneau dyed his hair orange and pink.” — Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal
Alomar is surprisingly the only Cleveland player to make the top five of Baseball America’s top-100 lists. Ramirez was certainly highly regarded but topped out at No. 7. Lindor climbed no higher than No. 9, as nobody foresaw the kind of power he would develop. You can certainly make a case for either of them or, going way back, for Feller.
A quick word on Feller. The Indians brought him to the majors in 1936 at age 17 right off the Iowa farm, without any professional experience, and he soon made headlines when he struck out eight Cardinals over three innings in an exhibition game. After a few relief appearances, he struck out 15 in his first start, falling one short of Rube Waddell’s then-American League record of 16. That earned him headlines in every paper across the country, and a few starts later he fanned 17 to set the new mark. That made him one of the most famous players in the country — and he hadn’t even graduated from high school yet. In fact, when he finished up high school that winter, NBC Radio covered his graduation.
Anyway, back to Alomar. He had been The Sporting News’ minor league player of the year in both 1988 and 1989 and Baseball America’s minor league player of the year in 1989. Blocked in San Diego by Benito Santiago, however, the Padres traded Alomar (and Carlos Baerga) for Joe Carter. I never quite understood the Alomar hype. He had hit .306 with 13 home runs for Las Vegas in 1989 and was certainly already an excellent defender. Still, he wasn’t your typical flashy prospect with huge upside. But fans loved him (or bought into the hype). He was voted to start the All-Star Game as a rookie (he would go on to win Rookie of the Year), again in 1991 (even though he had four RBIs at the break) and again in 1992 (even though he was hitting .241 with two home runs). He would go on to have a long major league career, although he played 100 games just four times due to a string of injuries early on.
Mengutip: Borchard has “the best power from a college player since Mark McGwire.” — White Sox scouting director Duane Shaffer
I wasn’t sure where to go with the White Sox. It’s easy to default to Thomas, but my recollection is that the hype for him didn’t really kick into high gear until he was called up and hit .330 in 60 games as a rookie in 1990. Maybe it’s one of the recent guys, as you could easily make the case for Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez or Luis Robert. I asked longtime White Sox fan Jonathan Hood, host of ESPN1000 in Chicago, and he suggested Borchard.
Borchard was a Stanford outfielder the White Sox selected 12th overall in 2000. Borchard was also the Stanford quarterback, with a chance to be a first-round pick in the 2001 NFL draft. The White Sox gave him a record $5.3 million to secure his full-time commitment to baseball. By comparison, Adrian Gonzalez, the first pick in the draft, received a $3 million bonus. Sandy Alderson, MLB’s VP of operations, was critical of the signing. “In my judgment, it isn’t a good signing,” he said. “It’s unfortunate when clubs that are usually at the forefront of industry criticism end up adopting the same practices themselves.”
Borchard hit .295 with 27 home runs at Double-A in 2001 and then .272 with 20 home runs at Triple-A in 2002, so the power was there. So were the strikeouts. He struck out 158 times in 2001 and 139 times in 2002. His only chance at regular playing time for the White Sox was after a midseason call-up in 2004, when he played the final three months. He hit .174. He was back in the minors in 2005 and traded to Seattle in 2006. His major league career would consist of just 800 plate appearances.
Mengutip: “We felt Matt had the best arm in the draft. He has a terrific arm and terrific makeup.” — Tigers general manager Randy Smith
The Tigers are the only team without a single player ranked in Baseball America’s top five overall prospects since those lists debuted in 1990. Maybin reached No. 6 in 2007 and Miller No. 10 the same year (both were later traded for Miguel Cabrera). Gibson was an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State when the Tigers drafted him in the first round and a ballyhooed prospect. Verlander, despite a 1.29 ERA in the minors in 2005, was just the No. 8 prospect in 2006.
Anderson was ranked 24th on the list in his one year of eligibility, but he was the first overall pick in 1997, a right-hander from Rice who clocked triple digits on the radar gun. The twist: He was a relief pitcher. Yes, an odd choice for the first pick, made in part because the Tigers perceived that Anderson would be easier to sign.
He actually didn’t sign until December but reached the majors quickly. He struggled with his control, however, walking 111 in 156⅓ innings in his first three seasons. A White Sox scouting report from his draft year helps explain his control problems: “Max effort delivery. Little bit of a long armer in back. Flies with frontside and spins off with lower half. Location of pitches will be a problem with this delivery. Needs to have a second or third pitch. Even with his arm strength the hitters take their cuts.” Anderson did have a bit of a breakthrough in 2001, when he saved 22 games in 24 opportunities (although with a 4.82 ERA). That got him a three-year, $9.3 million contract from Detroit, but he hurt his arm in 2002 and pitched just 44 more innings in the majors.
Mengutip: “Farm director Bill Geivett wanted Stewart to finish 2004 where he began, just as Vladimir Guerrero spent all of 1995 in the SAL when Geivett was the farm director with the Expos. Geivett likens Stewart’s hitting ability to that of Guerrero, who finished his next season in the majors.” — Baseball America
Stewart is the only Rockies prospect to crack the overall top five of Baseball America’s top-100 lists, when he was ranked fourth heading into 2005. Helton was 11th in 1998 and Tulowitzki 15th in 2007. Arenado, for the curious, peaked at No. 42 in 2012 (although was higher on other lists). The Rockies had drafted Stewart 10th overall in 2003 and he had a big season at Low-A Asheville in 2004, hitting .319/.398/.594 with 30 home runs and vaulting into top-prospect status.
Stewart never hit as well in the upper levels of the minors — Asheville’s hitter-friendly environment certainly helped boost his numbers, although he did slug .568 on the road one season — and he would end up appearing on five Baseball America top-100 lists before the Rockies finally gave him a regular job in 2009. Actually, he still platooned that season and never batted 500 times in a major league season, finishing with a .229 career average.
Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that can enable them to start the season as early as May and have the support of high federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid a coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN.
Although the plan has a number of potential stumbling blocks, it has emerged above other options as the most likely to work and has been embraced by the leadership of the MLB and MLB Players Association, supported by the possibility of baseball returning and the support of federal officials, sources said.
The plan, said the source, would be to determine that all 30 teams played in a fanless stadium in the greater Phoenix area, including Arizona Diamondbacks‘Chase Field, 10 spring training facilities and possibly other nearby fields. Players, coaching staff and other key personnel will be exiled at local hotels, where they will stay in relative isolation and travel only to and from the stadium, sources said. Federal officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the National Institute of Health have supported plans that will adhere to strict isolation, promote social distance and allow MLB to become the first professional sport to return.
The May return date depends on a number of concerns that are being ruled out, and some officials believe that the opening day of June could be more realistic, sources said. Most important is a significant increase in coronavirus tests that are available with fast turnaround times, according to sources familiar with the plan, which will occur in early May and allow MLB testing to not reduce access to the general public.
While health officials see MLB players as low-risk candidates for problems related to COVID-19 because of their age and health, putting protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of older managers, coaches, referees and other personnel will be crucial to the work plan, said source.
The logistics of carrying out such a plan would be huge and complicated on the league side and require purchases from players, whose sources hope to separate from their families for an unlimited time – maybe for 4½ months, if the inability to stem the coronavirus outbreak prevents the team plays in their home stadium in 2020.
However, there is hope between leadership on both sides that the combination of receiving a salary for playing and the return of baseball provides a respite for countries affected by the destruction of COVID-19 will convince the players to agree to the plan, said the source.
For weeks, high-ranking federal health officials and baseball officials have discussed the feasibility of the plan, said the source. On Saturday, top officials with MLBPA spoke with health officials who offered the plan as the clearest way for baseball to start over, according to sources. The league and unions began discussing the plan in several telephone calls on Monday, sources said. With uncertainty as to how long the coronavirus pandemic will affect the United States, the isolation option jumped to the forefront of the league’s possibility, the source said.
Obstacles go far beyond testing and fearing players to separate from their families. MLB and MLBPA, sources said, hope to discuss this week about the economics of the plan, in which the league will forget the gate of revenue which accounts for the largest proportion of its annual income that exceeds $ 10 billion. The league can make extra money by adding games to its national television portfolio, with networks that are likely to jump on live programming because other sports remain closed because of coronaviruses, sources said.
If the league and union agree an agreement, sources say, it will greatly increase the likelihood that the team descends in the Phoenix area in May, provided logistical problems – securing strong corona virus testing, lodging, security, transportation and various other things – can be solved. After a training camp of two to three weeks, as long as the protocol will be tested and repeated, MLB can consider starting its regular season, sources said.
While the possibility of a player or staff member conducting a positive test for the corona virus exists, even in a safe setting, officials do not believe that a positive test alone will quarantine the entire team or close the season, sources said. The plan could include teams that carry significantly expanded rosters to take into account the possibility of players testing positive despite being isolated, also to ward off heat in Phoenix, which can be a problem during the summer, sources said. The allure of more players potentially receiving major league salaries and service times will be very attractive to the union, according to sources.
Both sides recognize the uniqueness of the season will not be limited to stadium location or list size. Among the possibilities that have been discussed between people from both sides, although not in talks on Monday, according to sources:
• Apply electronic attack zones to allow plate referees to maintain adequate distance from the catcher and the batter
• There are no mound visits from the catcher or throwing trainer
• Seven-inning double breeders, with a start date earlier than expected can allow baseball to approach the full season of 162 matches
• Regular use of the microphone on the ground by the player, as an added bonus for TV viewers
• Sitting in an empty space 6 feet apart – recommended social space – not in the break room
Each option, although far from certain, will likely be bound in the coming days because the feasibility of the plan for everyone involved is formed.
Money discussion is not only between the league and players but also between teams. Because local television contracts vary significantly by market – more than $ 100 million per year separating top and bottom local TV deals – those who depend on gate revenues can seek a one-year change to revenue sharing plans among 30 teams.
The two parties also need to determine how many people will stay in the sports bubble mentioned along with field and medical personnel, and whether it will include front office officials, scouts, video and media personnel, among others, sources said.
As a consequence and complicated possibility of some challenges that may occur, sources say the league and unions are motivated to make the plan work because they realize the alternative might be worse for both parties: there are no balls at all in 2020.