There was a very good reason that Baseball Prospectus championed the idea that There's No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. But is that an outdated idea?
At the time, I bet it seemed outlandish that David Nied was left unprotected in the 1992 expansion draft. Nied had put up a 2.84 ERA in Triple-A the previous season, his third straight year with a sub-3.00 mark in the minors, and in a late-season promotion to Atlanta he had a 1.17 ERA in 23 innings. Both expansion teams wanted him badly, and the Rockies snatched him up. After the draft, Sports Illustrated quoted a scouting director who called Nied "the one slam-dunk guy in the draft." Later, SI said “he's a can't-miss prospect who will probably be Colorado’s starter on Opening Day. More than one (scout) has wondered what the Braves were thinking when they left him unprotected.” He was the 23rd-best prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.
That was November 1992. Five years later Nied was the subject of a postmortem by Jerry Crasnick. Nied pitched 218 not-very-good innings as a big leaguer after that expansion draft, hurt his elbow, and retired young. When Crasnick found him, he was “working 10-hour days as a sales representative for Cylinder Heads International, the Grand Prairie, Texas, business owned and operated by his father, Glen.” Five years!
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June 10, 2004 12:00 am
Troy Percival hits the disabled list for the Angels. The White Sox lose Magglio Ordonez for a couple weeks. Eric Chavez breaks his hand, forcing the rest of the A's offense to pick up the slack. Mark Prior makes his long-awaited return to Chicago's north side. Milton Bradley gets a four-game suspension for another temper tantrum. And Dos Molinas suddenly becomes Tres Molinas, with the addition of Yadir to the MLB family. All this and much more news from around the league in your Thursday edition of Transaction Analysis.