There has been a lot of talk about how great the Jays minor league system is and how many top prospects there are. Naturally we are all getting excited but what have the top Jay prospects done in the past?
At http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/all-time.html you can see the top 100 from Baseball America's P.O.V. from 1990 to 2011. This is as good a source as any to use, especially given they have had a solid reputation the entire time. I'll check up to 2006 as that allows the players to have had time to either succeed (like Halladay) or not (like Eddie Zosky).
3. John Olerud, 1b/lhp, HOVG player in the end, near MVP a couple of times
49. Glenallen Hill, of, solid platoon guy just reached 500 PA once but 1162 games in majors with 112 OPS+
51. Alex Sanchez, rhp, major flop (11 2/3 IP)
75. Derek Bell, of, very talented but major attitude issues was a regular for awhile for other teams
22. Eddie Zosky, ss, flop
25. Mark Whiten, of, hit 4 HR in a game, ML regular for awhile
38. Steve Karsay, rhp, traded for Rickey Henderson in 1993, decent reliever for a while
53. Marcus Moore, rhp, 76 ERA+ in under 100 IP
69. Mike Timlin, rhp, long career, got final out in 1992
92. William Suero, 2b, 34 ML PA
15. Derek Bell, of, returns to top prospect status
46. Nigel Wilson, of, first pick in expansion draft is his one claim to fame
62. Alex Gonzalez, ss, all defensive shortstop - not the A-Gon who was here recently
67. Carlos Delgado, c, we all know him
70. Howard Battle, 3b, 43 ML PA
82. Eddie Zosky, ss, another flop
4. Carlos Delgado, c, Oh yeah
27. Alex Gonzalez, ss, see above
47. Shawn Green, of, all-star
55. Steve Karsay, rhp, this was the year he was traded
75. Jose Pett, rhp, 16 year old hot international prospect who flopped (out of baseball before 25)
4. Alex Gonzalez, ss, ahead of Delgado? What were they on?
5. Carlos Delgado, c, see above
10. Jose Silva, rhp, had some years but never much
28. Shawn Green, of, we know
66. D. J. Boston, 1b, never made it, over 5000 PA in minors
99. Paul Spoljaric, lhp, solid reliever
6. Shawn Green, of, again
8. Alex Gonzalez, ss, again
33. Jose Silva, rhp, again
72. Shannon Stewart, of, all-star OFer
77. Angel Martinez, c, solid backup catcher
100. Chris Carpenter, rhp, Cy Young
40. Marty Janzen, rhp, ugh-now there was a flop
46. Shannon Stewart, of, again
82. Chris Carpenter, rhp, again
93. Jose Pett, rhp, again
23. Roy Halladay, rhp, wow
28. Chris Carpenter, rhp, wow
57. Shannon Stewart, of, all-star
67. Kelvim Escobar, rhp, solid
74. Billy Koch, rhp, closer
38. Roy Halladay, rhp, nuff said
52. Vernon Wells, of, near MVP a couple of times
99. Kevin Witt, 1b, actually had 424 PA in majors
12. Roy Halladay, rhp, after his near no-no
33. Billy Koch, rhp, solid closer for awhile
67. Felipe Lopez, ss, had a few good years
69. Vernon Wells, of, still in minors
4. Vernon Wells, of, boy were we excited at this stage
38. Felipe Lopez, ss, anxious to have him reach
67. Cesar Izturis, ss, actually was in an all-star game & had over 4000 ML PA
12. Vernon Wells, of, wondering why he wasn't getting a shot
32. Felipe Lopez, ss, 3rd year on lists
99. Joe Lawrence, c, 1 season in majors at 2B
36. Josh Phelps, c, cover boy of Baseball Prospectus
70. Jayson Werth, c, $127 million man
75. Gabe Gross, of, solid backup
81. Orlando Hudson, 2b, all star
98. Dustin McGowan, rhp, still here
36. Dustin McGowan, rhp, healthy we hope
94. Jayson Werth, of/c, moved to where he belonged
97. Jason Arnold, rhp, oh yeah, him
6. Alexis Rios of, he was a 2 time all-star
18. Dustin McGowan rhp, still in minors
35. Guillermo Quiroz c, boy did we think he'd be great
72. Gabe Gross of, returns to list
87. Francisco Rosario rhp, 49 ML innings
96. Aaron Hill ss, looked so good at first
64. Aaron Hill, ss, in majors to stay this season
69. Brandon League, rhp, now a solid closer
79. Guillermo Quiroz, c, playing time in 7 seasons despite a 44 OPS+
48. Dustin McGowan, rhp, still a prospect
87. Ricky Romero, lhp, worked out nicely
39. Adam Lind, of, silver slugger in '09
53. Travis Snider, of, sigh
11. Travis Snider of, was looking really good
6. Travis Snider, of, desperate to get him here at this point
43. J.P. Arencibia, c, everyday catcher
72. Brett Cecil, lhp, one solid season so far
2010: all 3 via Halladay trade
25. Kyle Drabek, rhp, much too soon to know
27. Brett Wallace, 3b/1b, likewise
81. Travis d'Arnaud, c, ditto
29. Kyle Drabek, rhp, no longer qualified I think
36. Travis d'Arnaud, c, really good
40. Brett Lawrie, 2b, WOW
95. Deck McGuire, rhp, we'll see
Quite a few guys over the 16 years listed here and I think we know what kind of career all but Dustin McGowan have ended up with (we hope he still becomes a success) for the pre-2007 crowd.
Listed multiple times...
4: Alex Gonzalez, Vernon Wells, Dustin McGowan
3: Carlos Delgado, Chris Carpenter, Felipe Lopez, Roy Halladay, Shannon Stewart, Shawn Green
2: Aaron Hill, Billy Koch, Derek Bell, Eddie Zosky, Gabe Gross, Guillermo Quiroz, Jayson Werth, Jose Pett, Jose Silva, Steve Karsay
No question the 3 & 4 timers all had a lot of success. McGowan is the only one of that crew not to get to an all-star game (yet). The 2 timers had 4 unqualified successes (Hill, Koch, Bell, Werth), 2 solid role players (Gross, Karsay) and 4 cup of coffee guys at best (Zosky, Quiroz, Pett, Silva).
The singletons (24 of them) saw a range from 9 who were all-stars or very solid careers (Alexis Rios, Brandon League, Cesar Izturis, John Olerud, Kelvim Escobar, Mark Whiten, Mike Timlin, Orlando Hudson and Ricky Romero) to 4 very useful ML'ers (Angel/Sandy Martinez, Glenallen Hill, Josh Phelps, Paul Spoljaric) to the 11 who never did anything in the majors.
Thus 43 made the B-A top 100 over 17 years. Of those 43 21 were no doubt successes (all-stars or very long careers), another 7 had solid careers leaving 15 who didn't do much of anything.
What about guys who made the top 20? There aren't too many of them here, just 15 cases involving 11 players. Jose Silva is the only 'flop' in the group with Snider and McGowan the next worst but both still have lots of hope. The remaining 8 are all all-stars with one potential HOF'er (Halladay) two very near ones (Olerud & Delgado) and a guy who got the Jays only $100+ million contract (Wells).
Just 4 ranked in the bottom 20 pre-2007 - Orlando Hudson, Eddie Zosky, Chris Carpenter, and Ricky Romero - three all-stars and Zosky.
No question, making that top 100 does skyrocket your odds of success. Nearly 1/2 the Jays on it over that long stretch have made the all-star team or had long careers or both. Still, 35% had no success at all. So the Baseball America list does live up to the rep - guys there either flame out (Zosky, Pett, etc.) or are stars (Halladay, Carpenter, etc.).
For comparison to this year, the record is 6 Jays in the top 100. They did this in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, and 2004. Certainly seems Gillick didn't leave a stripped down system for Ash does it? Of course, pre-98 it was easier as there were fewer teams (just 26 in 91/92 - in 93 the Rockies and Marlins had minor league teams but not a ML one, then 28 up until 1997 when you see the Rays and Diamondbacks appear on the lists). Average of 3.1 prospects per year under JPR (02-09), 4.0 under Ash (95-01), and 5.4 under Gillick (90-94). Just 3.5 so far over 10/11 for AA but this year should up that average - 5 would tie him with Ash, but it would take 9 to come close to Gillick's average. Of course, AA should have a few more years to build that average.
So last years list with 4 guys should see 1-2 flop and 2 all-stars. Lawrie I suspect is one of the all-stars and most betting at home would go for d'Arnaud at this point but McGuire is certainly looking promising. Drabek has the early lead on who will flop.