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MLB's Top 100 prospects - five years on

With the top prospect discussions of late, I thought it might be enlightening to take a look at a list from five years ago, and see how it looks in hindsight.

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The specific list in question was carefully selected after hours of painstaking analysis by a crack team of SnakePit researchers. Ok, I actually Googled "2011 top 100 prospects" and it was the top result, but it's the same thing, really. Thus gave me Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list, from February 2011, and that's what we'll be looking at. For obvious reasons, won't be examining each and every prospect in detail here, just the top ten, and then others outside there of particular interest to Diamondbacks' fans. Tomorrow, I'll take a look at them statistically, re-arranging the list in order of actual major-league production....

  1. Bryce Harper, of, Nationals
  2. Mike Trout, of, Angels
    Yep, the 2015 NL MVP winner and AL runner-up top the list, so clearly these were cases where the prospects lived up to the hype. It didn't take long, Harper having only been drafted the previous June, and he'd repeat his #1 spot the following year before hitting the majors and never looking back. Trout, however, actually dropped in 2012, being replaced by Matt Moore (#15 this time(. With a 101 ERA through age 26, have to call that a miss. But, topic to discuss: if you could have either Harper or Trout, which one would you pick, and why?

    Oh, and obligatory reminder: 24 players were selected before Trout in 2009. Two of 'em will be on the Diamondbacks this year. If we'd signed Mike Leake, it would have been three... Okay, so these top two prove the prospect evaluation system is infallible, right?
  3. Jesus Montero, c, Yankees
    Whoomp! There it is, as a pair of Miami-based philosophers once wrote. I suppose he still has a chance, given Montero won't even reach arbitration until 2018, but at age 26 and still below replacement level by bWAR, time is running out. On-field struggles have been mirrored by off-field ones, including a 50-game suspension for dealing with Biogenesis, and an altercation with a scout.
  4. Domonic Brown, of, Phillies
    Another swing and a miss here, with Brown also below replacement level, almost 500 games into his major-league career, despite having been an All-Star in 2012. The Phillies finally gave up on him last October, dumping Brown, who opted free-agency rather than a minor-league assignment. Might have been a mistake, since with only a week until players report, he's still unemployed.
  5. Julio Teheran, rhp, Braves
    Teheran's subsequent career has been all over the place. By early 2013, he had dropped to #44, but just four months further on, his performance "seemed to herald his arrival as the real deal." It looked confirmed by a great 2014, where he made the All-Star game - then he was mediocre last year with an ERA+ of 93. Just turned 25, so younger than many, but we still don't know who the real Teheran is.
  6. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp, Rays
    For anyone who labored through Hellickson's starts for the D-backs last season, it's probably the biggest shock to discover there was a time when he was a top-rated prospect. Initially, that seemed justified as he won AL Rookie of the Year in 2010, and through the end of 2011, had a 125 ERA+. Since then? Not so much. Injuries haven't helped him - neither has a subsequent ERA+ of 81.
  7. Aroldis Chapman, lhp, Reds
    At this point, there was still a question-mark over whether Chapman was a starter or a reliever; as we all know, the Reds went the latter route, and got one of the most dominant closers of recent times. Hard to complain about that, though you have to wonder about the road less traveled. What might he have done in the rotation, an idea so tempting it was still being seriously floated last year.
  8. Eric Hosmer, 1b, Royals
    Perhaps more solid rather than spectacular, Hosmer has put up nine bWAR over his five major-league seasons, and is a three-time Gold Glover who (just) received MVP mention this year. However, with his 2015 campaign arguably his best, worth 3.6 bWAR and ending in a World Series triumph, he may perhaps finally be achieving the potential envisaged five years ago.
  9. Mike Moustakas, 3b, Royals
    Moose's value has been very close to Hosmer's, at 8.9 bWAR, and again, the last season was his most productive. This perhaps shows the value of persevering with young prospects, as over his first four seasons (and 514 games, so he was largely a full-time player), Moustakas totaled only 4.5 bWAR. He finally had a three-digit OPS last year, and like Hosmer, was key in their run to the WS.
  10. Wil Myers, of/c, Royals
    A longer and more circuitous route to the majors, not making it until June 2013 (by which time the "c" part of his position had evaporated). Traded to the Rays in the James Shields' deal; ended up alongside ji, in San Diego last season. Despite being another Rookie of the Year (AL, 2013), has only been worth a couple of wins to date, and had his share of injuries, though is still pre-arbitration.

So, what does the above show us? Well, a bit of a mixed bag, to put it mildly. Two legitimate superstars, two complete busts, and the rest covering just about the entire spectrum in between. Interesting to note that even though these were the top prospects at the time, 40% of the players are not with the teams who had them at the point of the list. I wonder if that will hold out for the list as a whole? Tune in tomorrow and find out... On the other hand, interesting to note the Royals success this year, which was certainly helped by Hosmer and Moustakas.

Who else is there of interest, further down the list?

  • 13. Shelby Miller, rhp, Cardinals
    You know I said we will have two players who were drafted before Trout? Miller's one of them, picked at #19, two spots after A.J. Pollock. Miller continued to climb, first to #8 then peaking at #6 in 2013. The results in the majors have been good, with a 115 ERA+ over three-plus seasons. But considering what the D-backs gave up for him, they'll be hoping the best is yet to come.
  • 33. Jarrod Parker, rhp, Diamondbacks
    It has now been over 28 months since Parker last threw in the majors: Oct 7, 2013, for Oakland, winning Game 3 of the ALDS. Since then, he first had Tommy John surgery (his second), and on his way back from that, fractured his elbow with a pitch. That's worse than even Daniel Hudson: will Parker make it back? The A's still talk of him as a starter, but given that injury history, seems very, very risky.
  • 35. Randall Delgado, rhp, Braves
    Another name I didn't expect, having quite forgotten how highly he was regarded at one point. He'd barely just turned 21 too, and would debut for Atlanta later that season. In August, John Sickels wrote Randall's "s stuff is good enough for him to be a number two or strong number three starter in the medium and long runs, provided he stays healthy and makes further progress with his command." Ah, so close...
  • 57. Jean Segura, 2b, Angels
    Perhaps some kind of omen, that we find Segura listed on the other side of the middle-infield? He has been worth a total of 4.8 bWAR so far, which is more than most of those ranked in the fifties; the problem is, the great majority of that came in the 2013 season. I'm just hoping he doesn't displace Nick Ahmed, because a middle-infield of Segura and Owings seems like the worst of both worlds.
  • 82. Tyler Skaggs, lhp, Diamondbacks
    Now back with the team that originally drafted him - we got him in the Dan Haren deal, then sent him back for Mark Trumbo. Another one bitten by the Tommy John epidemic, his last major-league start was July 2014. 24-years-old at this point - for comparison, that's only nine days older than Jake Barrett - so there is still some upside, although proving he's healthy is the first thing he needs to do.
  • 90. Rubby de la Rosa, rhp, Dodgers
    O HAI! We weren't the first, or even the second team, to take a shot at spinning the Wheel O' De La Rosa, Los Angeles having originally drafted him, then sending him to Boston as one of the PTBNL in the mega-Gonzalez deal (along with future ex-Diamondback, Allen Webster). The Red Sox then shipped them both to us for Wade Miley. Still the epitome of "potential": 2016 will be crucial.
  • 99. Matt Davidson, 3b, Diamondbacks
    No offense, but I'd have been mightily peeved had Davidson developed into anything, considering we shipped him to the White Sox for Addison Reed in December 2013; Matt had moved up to #72 on this list by that point, having been anointed our "third baseman of the future". But this looks like a true lose-lose trade, Davidson having batted .201 in over a thousand AAA at-bats since.