CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Focus: A Tour ... (03/04)
<< Previous Column
The BP Broadside: The ... (03/01)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The BP Broadside: Ben ... (03/07)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Fe... (03/07)

March 4, 2011

The BP Broadside

The Most Disappointing Prospects of All Time, Part 3

by Steven Goldman

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

As we continue the rundown of the 50 most disappointing prospects of all time with the next five, two things have become clear: first, between my own research and reader suggestions—everyone has a favorite let-down, it seems—I could easily sail past 50 and perhaps 100. Second, of the current players on the list, no one kicked about Alex Gordon, but Matt Wieters still has many believers.

For this third installment, I’ve added five more players to the pool, and as with previous installments, I will conclude with one active player. Again, the order isn’t important—we’ll attempt a ranking at the end of the series. Finally, a restatement of definitions: we are not looking for over-drafted players, but rather prospects who gave legitimate indications that they had major-league star potential.

Todd Walker, 2B, Twins
Drafted 1994, first round, eighth overall
The LSU star, MVP of the College World Series, was selected in what would prove to be a weak, almost perverse first round, perhaps best symbolized by the great Josh Booty, who went fifth overall, well ahead of Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Konerko, and Jason Varitek, who went off the board in that order with the 12th through 14th picks of the round. Walker preceded them as well, and based on minor-league performance, you can’t argue with the Twins’ choice. The Twins took their time with the college player, partly because they didn’t know if Walker would be developed as a bad second baseman or a bad third baseman, partly because they’re the Twins and that’s what they do. As such, Walker moved one level at a time when he might have been ready to hit in the majors from the get-go. His apprenticeship should have culminated with a .339/.400/.599 season at Triple-A Salt Lake City, but for various reasons, including being blocked by Chuck Knoblauch, his lack of a position, conflicts with Tom Kelly, and extended bouts of hitting well below his apparent capabilities, his major-league career got off to a slow start. When he stumbled out of the gate in 2000, the Twins demoted him, then traded him to the Rockies. He spent the rest of his career wandering from organization to organization. Frequently platooned, he had only two offensive seasons in 12 that were of the quality suggested by his minor-league numbers.  

Andy Cohen, 2B, Giants
Purchased from minors, 1926
As part-owner of the New York Giants, manager John McGraw understood that his financial well-being depended less on winning and losing than on attendance. In the early part of the 20th century, New York was, perhaps more than ever, well aware of its status as America’s melting pot, with so many former immigrants and first-generation Americans walking its streets. This was the era when Abie’s Irish Rose, a sentimental play about the romance between an Irish Catholic woman and a Jewish man, set a record for longevity on Broadway* despite being universally panned by critics. It tapped into the Zeitgeist of the time, with cultures clashing and overlapping. McGraw was attuned to this, and figured that while New York’s Irish and Italian populations were well-supplied with baseball heroes, if he could only find a Jewish star he could really get the turnstiles spinning.

*The great Robert Benchley, then the drama critic for Life, hated the play and, as he had to update the magazine’s theatre guide each week, he filed dozens of capsule reviews over its five-and-a-half-year run, including, “People laugh at this every night, which proves why a democracy can never be a success;” “We refuse to answer on advice of counsel;” “The management sent us some pencils for Christmas, so maybe it isn’t so bad after all;” “Where do the people come from who keep this going? You don’t see them out in daytime;” “There is no letter ‘w’ in the French language;” and, best of all, “See Hebrews 13:8.”

McGraw’s search was long and arduous with much trial and error in the forms of Mose Solomon, Harry Rosenberg and others. When Hank Greenberg, then growing up in the Bronx, came asking for a try-out, McGraw sent word through an intermediary, as Greenberg remembered it in his autobiography, “that [he] had already been scouted by the Giants; he would never be a ballplayer.”

It was at roughly the same time Greenberg was shooed away that McGraw was falling out of love with his latest Great Hebraic Hope, infielder Cohen. McGraw purchased the then-21-year-old from Waco of the Texas League in 1926 and, as was often his practice with a very young player, treated him as teams treat a Rule 5 pick today, putting him on the bench and playing him infrequently. The purpose was not to satisfy an arcane rule, but to let the kid learn how to be a major leaguer. That done, Cohen was sent to Buffalo of the International League for the 1927 season. He hit .353/.378/.508 in 150 games (OBP is approximate) and helped drive the Bisons to the league pennant.

The Giants’ incumbent second baseman was Rogers Hornsby, who had hit .361/.448/.586. For reasons that are hard to nail down at this late date but probably had a lot to do with Hornsby being impossible to get along with, McGraw the same, and broken promises that the latter would step down and the former become manager, the Rajah was dumped on the Braves, giving the 1928 keystone job to Cohen. This was, at first, a major success. Cohen brought out the crowds that McGraw had anticipated, and the infielder rewarded them with a hot start, going 8-for-15 with a home run in his first four games and finishing April at .310. After four games, Hornsby was hitting .267, and the small sample was enough for fans to boast (not on sports radio—it didn’t yet exist; in order to share inane opinions fans had to string tomato cans together) that the Giants had retained the superior player in choosing Cohen over Hornsby. “It ain’t fair to the kid,” Hornsby said from Boston. “As soon as I get going, I’ll lose him.” Hornsby was as good as his word, finishing at .387/.498/.632, an incredible figure given that Braves Field was an ungodly pitcher’s park—he hit .401 on the road. Cohen hit .274/.318/.403, unimpressive figures in a league that hit .284/.344/.397. Cohen came back to hit .294/.319/.383 in 1929, also losing a month to injuries.

The production was poor in context, and Cohen’s defense and baserunning slipped as well. His popularity was blamed—whenever Cohen was off the field, he was being feted by some Jewish group. As reported in Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience, Dan Daniel of the Sporting News, himself a Jew, wrote that too many “matzoh balls and gefilte fish” ruined Cohen. “The upper Broadway herring-teasers got the big series of banquets under way [and] Cohen couldn’t run around the bases without finishing the last quarter on his hands and knees.” McGraw surprised by sending Cohen back to the minors for 1930, replacing him with defensive specialist Hughie Critz. Cohen would never return and would soon be replaced in Jewish hearts by Greenberg.

Oddibe McDowell, OF, Rangers
Drafted 1984, first round, twelfth overall
A little guy (5’9”) with speed and power, McDowell had won the Golden Spikes award for 1984, hitting .405 and slugging .788 while playing at Arizona State University, and made the 1984 Olympic team. After Oddibe was drafted five times prior to signing (twice in two phases in 1981, the same again in 1982, and once in 1983), Rangers manager Bobby Valentine called him, “the key to our future.” Sent to Triple-A to begin the 1985 season as well as his professional career, he hit a cool .400/.486/.632 with 20 steals (and 12 times caught stealing) in 31 games and was called up. Donning uniform number zero, McDowell struggled in his first month in the show, but over the last four months of the season he hit .249/.319/.455 with 18 home runs (leading all AL rookies) and 23 steals and played an acrobatic center field. In recognition, he placed fourth in the Rookie of the Year balloting, garnering one first-place vote. Bill James wrote that McDowell was the “Greatest athlete to come into the American League since [Kirk] Gibson and [Willie] Wilson in the late seventies.”

McDowell’s sophomore season was a mixed bag. He batted .266/.341/.427, took 65 walks, and set the club record for runs scored with 105. On the other hand, his 18 home runs were less impressive given that they came in 191 more plate appearances than the year before. He was also caught stealing 15 times in 48 attempts. Still, he was just 23 and improving; it wasn’t difficult to imagine him being a fixture for years. Yet, McDowell had already peaked. He began to miss time with minor injuries; in 1987 he suffered a sprained ankle, bruised ribs, a shoulder injury, and a hand laceration when a butter knife got away from him at the team’s welcome home banquet. He hit .241/.324/.428 that year, a step back given the season's rampant offense, though he did go 24-for-26 as a basestealer. Valentine began to platoon him, though as late as that August he was touting his young outfielder, saying, “I think he’s going to be an All-Star. I expect him to hit .300.”

Valentine was off by 95 points. In 1988, McDowell was hitting .205/.285/.310 in June and was actually sent down for awhile. Perhaps in addition to the slump, this assessment by the Dallas Morning News is indicative of why: “His style of play is so casual that it often looks as if McDowell is not giving 100 percent.” That winter, the Rangers traded McDowell, Jerry Browne, and Pete O’Brien to the Indians for Julio Franco.

McDowell would spend a miserable half-season (.222/.296/.297) with the Indians before being swapped to the Braves for Dion James. There, he briefly flowered, bating .304/.365/.471 in 76 games, though he was caught 10 times in 25 stolen base attempts. He began the 1990 season in a platoon with Ron Gant, but didn’t hit, yielded more and more playing time, and virtually disappeared from the starting lineup after early August. Released during the following spring training, he signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles, didn’t hit, and was released. The pattern repeated itself with the Angels. He would be out of baseball for more than a year before signing a minor-league deal with the Rangers in July, 1993. He hit well and got a chance to play in the majors again in 1994, but his production was unremarkable. A minor-league fling with the Yankees didn’t pan out, and his career was over. Final rates: .253/.323/.395.

Brad Komminsk, OF, Braves
Drafted 1979, first round, fourth overall pick.
As I wrote back in 2006, I once had the opportunity to ask Joe Torre what the heck happened to derail Komminsk, who had put up simply amazing numbers in the minors—.322/.458/.606 with 33 home runs as a 20-year-old at Class-A Durham in 1981; .334/.433/.596 with 24 home runs at Triple-A Richmond as a 22-year-old in 1983. He said:

You know what, he had an asthma problem. He was Henry Aaron's favorite. He was strong. He never really got a chance to play under me like the other guys in the outfield. I remember having to take him out of a game in L.A. because of the smog in the daytime… What I thought I noticed about Brad Komminsk was he had only one swing. But it was more mechanical than anything. He was a good kid. A big, strong kid.

This answer has bugged me ever since, because Torre had Komminsk for, at minimum, spring training 1983, spring training 1984, and 109 games and 375 PAs at the major-league level. It seems like too large a sample for him to disclaim involvement the way he did.

Since I wrote extensively about Komminsk in the item linked above, I’d rather not recapitulate the whole story here when it’s still available there. Suffice it to say that despite showing all the hitting talent in the world and baserunning acumen as well, it just didn’t happen in the major leagues. His most extensive chance came in 1984-1985; over 677 PAs, he hit .215/.295/.321 with 12 home runs, 67 walks, and 148 strikeouts. Traded to the Brewers for Dion James (What were the chances of James popping up twice in one column?), Komminsk began an odyssey that saw him drift on to the Indians, Giants, Orioles, A’s, White Sox, and Tigers organizations and even Winnipeg of the Northern League in a career which lasted through 1997. He hit 230 home runs in the minors, 23 in the bigs, and no reason for his failure more convincing than “asthma” has yet been offered.

Cameron Maybin, OF, Tigers
Drafted 2005, first round, tenth overall pick
Full disclosure: I feel much less confident about including Maybin on this list than I was with Wieters, primarily because the outfielder, now with the Padres, hasn’t been handled very well, having been rushed to the majors, twice traded, and twice winning the opening day center field assignment from the Marlins only to be demoted. A four-time member of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list, he has continued to hit very well in the minors and holds career rates of .325/.401/.477 in 115 games at Triple-A. Yet, making contact in the majors has been a huge problem—he has struck out 172 times in 548 career at-bats, and his strikeout percentage increased over the last two seasons, small sample notwithstanding.  Had he qualified, his strikeout percentage of 28.6 would have ranked fourth in the National League, trailing only those of Mark Reynolds, Adam Dunn, and Drew Stubbs. While it’s not impossible to hit for a good average while swishing that often, it’s difficult, and Maybin’s power production and selectivity might not support a .250 average.

Worse, he’s off to Petco, one of the hardest places in the world for a hitter to establish himself. PECOTA predicts .248/.321/.373, which with good defense will be useful to the Pads, but is far from what was predicted for him, as when we wrote in our 2007 annual, “His physical tools are supreme, and he`s shown an advanced capacity for pitch recognition, even if he sometimes can`t help himself from swinging at the breaking ones. Center fielders with true 30-30 potential are fairly rare in today`s game, but Maybin both looks and plays a little bit like Eric Davis.” At 24, Eric Davis hit .277/.378/.523 with 27 home runs and 80 stolen bases. Maybin isn’t likely to get halfway to those figures. There is still time for him to cut that strikeout rate and up his batting average, but as of now he’s got at least one foot on this list.

That’s 25. We’re halfway through. In the next Broadside I’ll likely break to talk current events before resuming the series with some of the most requested players.

Steven Goldman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Steven's other articles. You can contact Steven by clicking here

54 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

benevento

How about Gary Scott? From Villanova superstar to cubs third baseman to...

Mar 04, 2011 04:08 AM
rating: 2
 
BillJohnson

Disappointment, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but I don't remember Komminsk, McDowell and Walker being hyped to quite the same level as Maybin. (Couldn't say about Cohen, obviously.) Besides, a perusal of #8 draft choices shows Walker's 9.9 career WAR as above average, and McDowell's 9.2 WAR as similarly above average at #12. Yes, Komminsk (1.4) should have been better at #4, but there are plenty of other #4 guys who also disappointed. To me this particular part of the list is saying more about hype than about the players.

Mar 04, 2011 06:20 AM
rating: 1
 
Schere

You have to adjust for the different eras of prospect hype. Using raw "data," I'd say that nobody from the 80s was hyped as much as anyone on this year's top 100 lists.

Mar 04, 2011 08:57 AM
rating: 2
 
BillJohnson

How quickly we forget. I'd say Shawn Abner, Brien Taylor (90s), David Clyde (70s), Ken Griffey Jr. (just because you're ridiculously hyped doesn't mean you can't turn out to live up to the hype and be really good...), Alex Rodriguez (same comment as Junior), etc., were hyped at least as vigorously as Bryce Harper and company are today. The hype for at least Komminsk and Walker wasn't in that class, and I really don't remember McDowell being hyped at that level either.

Mar 04, 2011 16:59 PM
rating: -2
 
Drew Miller

I totally remember Oddibe's hype. It was insane. People were buying his Topps rookie cards en masse.

Mar 04, 2011 12:24 PM
rating: 5
 
IvanGrushenko

I request Hector Cruz

Mar 04, 2011 06:38 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Steve, are you putting more emphasis on years on the Baseball America's Top 100 rather than highest ranking towards you selection criteria? From your comments and selections, it appears that way. Surely, the hype volume is proportional to the ranking. A truly superb prospect will rocket through the minors so fast he won't be down long enough to repeat making the Top 100, while a much lesser prospect can sneak into the Top 100 and just stay there, while his progress slows.

Overall though, this is thoroughly enjoyable, thanks. If you fudged your rankings to get the best mix of stories rather than precisely the most disappointing prospects (as if that were remotely possible), that is fine with me.

Mar 04, 2011 07:09 AM
rating: 0
 
billm21

I watched Jeremy Hermida in a spring training game this week, and was thinking that he will surely show up somewhere on Steven's future lists.

Mar 04, 2011 07:28 AM
rating: 2
 
mamul21

Todd Walker seems a bit unfair - the guy batted .289 with a .783 OPS in ~1300 career mlb games. Hall of famer? No. But a decent regular? Absolutely.

Mar 04, 2011 07:41 AM
rating: 11
 
Alex Canzoneri

Have to agree; there are legions of failed prospects who would have killed to have Todd Walker's career.

Granted, I do get his inclusion, since a cromulent player can still be a disappointment.

Mar 04, 2011 08:27 AM
rating: 4
 
eighteen

Cromulent????

Mar 04, 2011 13:55 PM
rating: 1
 
mrdannyg

Embiggoning word choice, no?

Mar 04, 2011 17:12 PM
rating: 6
 
BurrRutledge

It enbiggens us all.

Mar 04, 2011 17:47 PM
rating: 5
 
escapingNihilism

any chance of a Ryan Anderson reference? ranked in BA's top ten in three consecutive years.

Mar 04, 2011 07:58 AM
rating: 0
 
SC

I don't understand how you're more confident of Wieters on this list than Maybin. Maybin has been completely inept at the major league level, while Wieters is providing above-average production at catcher. Was Wieters more hyped? Perhaps, but a hall of fame career is still within the range of possible outcomes for Wieters, hall of fame eligibility seems unlikely for Maybin.

Mar 04, 2011 07:58 AM
rating: 4
 
Brian Kopec

If the Padres called the Orioles and asked about a Maybin for Wieters swap, wouldn't the Orioles laugh them off the phone?

Doesn't that indicate something? Or maybe I'm wrong about that.

Mar 04, 2011 13:23 PM
rating: 9
 
Karl Barth

Give some thought to Travis Lee. Scouts loved him, he crushed the minors, he had a gorgeous swing. He never did much in the bigs. He certainly got chances.

Mar 04, 2011 08:03 AM
rating: 3
 
Alex Canzoneri

Waaaay too early to be putting Maybin on this list. PECOTA projects him as a 2 win player with under 500 PA this year, and he will be just 24 this year. Thus far, I'd say his path has been pretty typical for a guy of the "raw with super tools" skillset.

Mar 04, 2011 08:25 AM
rating: 3
 
Gotribe31

Wonder if poor Adam Miller will make the second half of this list.

Mar 04, 2011 09:36 AM
rating: 4
 
cordially
(917)

Yeah, gotta say it's a bit disingenuous for BP to put Wieters on a failed-to-live-up-to-his-hype list, when it was BP's PECOTA glitch that generated the hype to begin with. Sure, scouts definitely liked Wieters after '08, but it wasn't until PECOTA said he would absolutely mash did the type machine really blow up.

Mar 04, 2011 09:59 AM
rating: 8
 
leites

Agreed. When I think "Wieters", I don't think "over-hyped prospect." Rather, I think "BP screwed up the Davenport translations in that year's version of PECOTA."

Mar 04, 2011 13:03 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Regardless of our translation, a minor league line of .343/.438/.576 speaks for itself. Unless he compiled those numbers in a hitting environment more generous than Denver relocated to the moon, no translation was going to wash all of that way.

Mar 04, 2011 13:28 PM
 
evo34
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Do you really think Wieters is a top 50 failure, or are you just reaching for attention? (I'm not sure which would be more damaging to your credibility).

Mar 04, 2011 14:04 PM
rating: -4
 
leites

"No translation was going to wash all of that way" - that's true. But correct translations would have washed enough of it away, so that Wieters would not have seemed like a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. (If he has only made his 10th percentile PECOTA projection for his rookie year, he'd be on track for being the best hitting catcher ever.)

The way I remember it, the reason that Wieters got so much hype was because PECOTA projected him to be a unique, historic talent, not just an outstanding prospect.

Mar 04, 2011 22:17 PM
rating: 2
 
leites

Here would be one way to resolve this: using the current version of PECOTA, run Wieter's projections for his rookie year again. Then let's discuss whether a prospect with those more realistic projections would have gotten all the hype that Wieters did after the erroneous projections were published.

Mar 04, 2011 22:28 PM
rating: 8
 
leites

Here's another way to look at it. The Davenport translations for Wieters were off by about 1.5 levels -- in other words, they treated A-ball performance as if it were AA/AAA performance. So let's do a thought experiment: what if Mike Trout produced his 2011 statistics, at the same age as he was this year, but in AA/AAA, rather than A-ball? Don't you think that would escalate the hype around him to astronomical levels?

Mar 04, 2011 22:43 PM
rating: 0
 
leites

Trout's 2010 performance, I meant.

Mar 04, 2011 23:01 PM
rating: 0
 
fawcettb

Sheesh. All you guys defend PECOTA the way medieval bishops defended the flat earth theory. I'm a longtime subscriber and I find the site useful, but I don't use PECOTA anymore. It hasn't been the same since Nate Silver left, and won't be until you stop defending it and fix its bugs. The comps scandal this year is typical.

Mar 07, 2011 05:29 AM
rating: 4
 
Joe D.

"Yeah, gotta say it's a bit disingenuous for BP to put Wieters on a failed-to-live-up-to-his-hype list, when it was BP's PECOTA glitch that generated the hype to begin with."

I could be wrong, but I strongly recall Wieters being hyped well before that year's PECOTAs ever came out.

He was drafted fifth overall, and was Baseball America's #1 prospect at catcher before he played a single game in the minor leagues. After his crazy 1053 OPS in 2008 (reminder: as a catcher), Baseball America named him the Minor League Player of the Year.

BA named Wieters their #1 prospect for 2009. So did BP. And Keith Law and John Sickels and Project Prospect.

So, we have a witch-hitting catcher who was drafted top five, went completely bonkers in his first professional season with power and more walks than strikeouts, and was the practically unanimous #1 prospect entering 2009.

To say "scouts definitely liked Wieters after '08" would seem to be one hell of an understatement. That's not all the love he was getting. Wieters PECOTA came after **all of the above**.

Sorry, I can't buy what you're selling here...

Mar 04, 2011 15:29 PM
rating: 16
 
Joe D.

Ahem, should be ---> *"switch-hitting catcher"

I would think a prospect should be downgraded if he was smacking witches around.

Mar 04, 2011 15:36 PM
rating: 6
 
Llarry

In some societies, that would be seen as a positive, unless it was detracting from the more important tasks of drowning or burning them...

Mar 04, 2011 16:06 PM
rating: 4
 
tbwhite
(361)

Is it any wonder he's failed to live up to expectations if he's been running around hitting witches ? Think of the curses he's had to overcome just to be an average catcher.
I'm surprised PECOTA doesn't factor witch-hitting into it's projections.

Mar 04, 2011 18:16 PM
rating: 4
 
ObviouslyRob

Must be saving Lastings Milledge for last.

Mar 04, 2011 10:16 AM
rating: 4
 
John Carter

Didn't James, CHONE, and Zims think Wieters would mash, too? Who didn't? (Then again, he still might - as so many catchers blossom late.)

Mar 04, 2011 10:16 AM
rating: -1
 
mdangelfan

CHONE had Wieters at 274/352/439 before the 2009 season.

Mar 04, 2011 12:19 PM
rating: 2
 
leites

Which was far below the 10th percentile PECOTA projection, as I recall.

Mar 04, 2011 22:21 PM
rating: 0
 
Brian Cartwright

Oliver, published 2009 at FanGraphs had Wieters at 294/373/487 - looking back with the current engine 285/365/472

Mar 05, 2011 11:50 AM
rating: 0
 
flyingdutchman

Maybin struck out about twice as often as he walked in the minor leagues, and this is the sort of thing that is not given enough emphasis while everyone drools over "tools" and rushes to compare prospects to great major leaguers of the past, like Eric Davis, who incidentally, aside from his age-20 season in A Ball, struck out only a little more often than he walked.

Meanwhile, Maybin demonstrates for all to see, over and over again, that he's never going to be a particularly good baseball player. Why isn't he compared to Manny Martinez, who actually was a similar player?

Mar 04, 2011 10:41 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian Cartwright

Maybin has not matched expectations, but maybe the expectations were incorrect. He is good enough to be a regular MLB CF'er.

He's hit 246/318/380 so far in MLB, 250/318/409 in 2009.
My MLEs for him the past four years


wOBA BA OB SA FR
2007 20 .318 .244 .315 .413 +3
2008 21 .320 .258 .326 .403 +4
2009 22 .329 .272 .338 .410 +5
2010 23 .316 .258 .320 .398 +10


Actually very consistent. If we realize his top comps are guys like Chris Young, Drew Stubbs, Franklin Gutierrez, BJ Upton, Andres Torres...he can be a 2-3 WAR CF. Just don't expect him to hit .300 with 25 HRs

Mar 04, 2011 15:43 PM
rating: 1
 
dianagram

The only thing Elijah Dukes has hit lately is his pregnant ex-GF. :-(

(jerk!)

Mar 04, 2011 11:18 AM
rating: 4
 
Drew Miller

Steven, has anyone ever asked Komminsk what he thinks as far as why he couldn't get it done?

Mar 04, 2011 12:25 PM
rating: 3
 
Richard Bergstrom

I'd nominate Toe Nash for the list.

Mar 04, 2011 12:48 PM
rating: 1
 
antoine6

The original Gammons story from ESPN about Toe Nash is a classic. An amazing story.

Mar 04, 2011 21:07 PM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

flying dutchman and all:

I did a study several years ago using all the full-time 22 year old Major Leaguers up from 1986 to 2001. I look specifically to see if there was a correlation between BB:K and future success. I'm sure there are many at BP who could apply the proper formula to measure it, but just by looking at the list you would have to agree that if there is a correlation, it is a slight one. Billy Ripken, Jerry Browne, Gregg Jefferies each had excellent BB:K. Ben Greive, Phil Plantier, and Dave Martinez were pretty good in that department. They were all disappointments. Meanwhile, Juan Gonzalez, Travis Fryman, Jose Guillen did well with very poor BB:K in their early years.

The list reminds me of some more popped prospect hype machines: Wil Cordero, Mark Lewis, and Wilton Guerrero. Luis Rivas and Andre Thomas were a regulars at a young age and were given 4 1/2 years to get good, but it never happened.

From the Scoresheetwiz Analysis Archives (http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id77.html) see Young Stars and their Improvement Parts I and II.

Mar 04, 2011 13:25 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Along these lines, hotstatrat, an interesting corrolary to the "Most Disappointing Prospects of All Time" would be a series on how evaluating prospects has changed. I remember the "BB:K was king" days and now, when I read about BB:K rate in something like the BP Annual, I see the caveats about age compared to level, swing/miss percentage etc.

It might be interesting to take a decade by decade look to see how player evaluation has changed, perhaps highlighting some key successes and failures that changed the point of view. How a Cal Ripken breaks the mold for shortstops, etc.

Mar 04, 2011 13:30 PM
rating: 0
 
jonjacoby

As a Yankees fan who subscribed to Baseball America in high school I eagerly await the Brien Taylor entry, even Mike Kelly who went #2 that year could make the list.

Other players I'd like to see: Tyler Houston, Andy Marte, Brooks Kieschnick, and maybe Jeffrey Hammonds. I thought he was going to be a breakout star.

Mar 04, 2011 13:42 PM
rating: -1
 
eighteen

Marte was in Part 1.

Mar 04, 2011 14:01 PM
rating: 1
 
entpcat

McDowell was perhaps best known for the tag that Chris Berman put on him. A classic. Oddibe "Young Again" McDowell.

Mar 04, 2011 14:24 PM
rating: 0
 
greenfrog

Made all the more poignant by his inclusion on this list.

Mar 04, 2011 16:55 PM
rating: 1
 
entpcat

Anybody else old enough to remember the Indians phenom in the 50's - third baseman Rudy Regalado. Was hyped as the next Al Rosen...they even moved Rosen to 1B to make room for him. Burned up AAA and burned up Spring Training. Hit between .316 and .325 every year between 1953-1956 at Indianapolis. Hit .447 with 11 home runs in 1954 Spring Training. But was a total bust every time they brought him up. Ended up with MLB career 2/31/.249 with OPS of .631.

Mar 04, 2011 14:37 PM
rating: 1
 
BillJohnson

While we're talking about the 50s, I hope the late, lamented Walt Dropo makes this list.

Mar 04, 2011 19:55 PM
rating: 0
 
McDosey

Pulsipher, Wilson & Izzy probably deserve a slot in here somewhere as a group induction. Izzy ended up as a good closer, but the mega-hyped starting trio never materialized.

Mar 04, 2011 17:40 PM
rating: 3
 
Juris

Steve --
Growing up in L.A., I had occasion to see a lot of would be, eventually were, and has been major leaguers playing in the old PCL for the Hollywood Stars (Pittsburgh AAA affiliate) and L.A. Angels (Chicago Cubs AAA affiliate). Few were ballyhooed more than Dick Stuart, who came to the Stars after having hit (IIRC) 66 homeruns in A ball in the Western League.

What we saw in Hollywood was that he certainly knew how to get UNDER the ball and he hit the highest damn flyball outs anybody ever saw at Gilmore Field. I know he went on to the majors and showed some power, no doubt helped by his "Fingers of Stone." But really he was a disappointment, and is perhaps worthy of consideration on your list.

Mar 05, 2011 17:03 PM
rating: 0
 
brucegilsen
(999)

Oddibe looks like he was on the Mike Cameron career path before he faltered.

Mar 11, 2011 16:51 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Fantasy Focus: A Tour ... (03/04)
<< Previous Column
The BP Broadside: The ... (03/01)
Next Column >>
Premium Article The BP Broadside: Ben ... (03/07)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Fe... (03/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Expert League Auction Recap: CBS AL-Only
Fantasy Article State of the Position: Relief Pitcher
Fantasy Article The Quinton: Market Corrections and Underval...
The Week in Quotes: February 23-March 1, 201...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: You Can't Predict Padres
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: It's the Latest Johan ...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Target: Relief Pitchers

MORE FROM MARCH 4, 2011
Prospect Profile: Brett Jackson
Premium Article On the Beat: Rays of Sunshine
Premium Article Collateral Damage: Missing the Meniscus
Divide and Conquer, NL Central: Wait Till Th...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Value Picks in the Rotation
Baseball ProGUESTus: The Impact of World Ser...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Some Love for E5

MORE BY STEVEN GOLDMAN
2011-03-09 - Baseball Prospectus Book News: BP 2011 Tour:...
2011-03-07 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: Ben Francisco, Open Your G...
2011-03-07 - Baseball Prospectus Book News: Ben, Jay, Kev...
2011-03-04 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...
2011-03-02 - Baseball Prospectus Book News: BP 2011 Tour:...
2011-03-01 - The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...
2011-02-28 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...
More...

MORE THE BP BROADSIDE
2011-03-14 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: Mitchell Page's Unfinished...
2011-03-10 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: Premature Harpergasm
2011-03-07 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: Ben Francisco, Open Your G...
2011-03-04 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...
2011-03-01 - The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...
2011-02-28 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...
2011-02-23 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: Genius + Zobrist = Maddon
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2011-06-07 - The BP Broadside: The Most Disappointing Pro...