When we here at TYA started discussing our nightly trivia questions and sources from which we could pull questions. I mentioned in an e-mail that I had Baseball America’s 2000 Almanac. As a time killer, I thumbed through each team’s page to see their respective Major and Minor League players of the year from 1999 just to see which guys are still in baseball. Most of them weren’t, but that was likely considering how old this book is. In reviewing the book, I had a lot of head scratching moments. “Who? I’ve never heard of him!” or “Damn, whatever happened to that guy?” So here they are, the 1999 MiL Players of the Year from each of the 30 MLB teams.
Anaheim Angels: Ramon Ortiz. We lead off with a guy who’s had a long career. He even pitched a bit in 2010 (30 IP of 62 ERA+ ball) after not pitching since 2007. Career bWAR: 3.3.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Jack Cust. Cust appeared in just three games for the D-Backs amassing a grand total of three plate appearances. In fact, he didn’t get consistent playing time until 2007 with the A’s. He’s come to the plate at least 425 times in each year since then. He’s now in camp with the Mariners. Career bWAR: 8.1.
Atlanta Braves: Rafael Furcal. So far, we’ve had three players who have had at least some success in the Majors. Furcal is easily the best of the bunch, having totaled 31.9 bWAR in 11 seasons, splitting time between the Braves and the Dodgers.
Baltimore Orioles: Matt Riley. I don’t remember ever hearing of this guy at all, and that’s for good reason. Despite being ranked the #20 prospect in baseball after the 1999 season, Riley never made anything of himself in the Majors. He threw just 97 innings with a 78 ERA+. Career bWAR: -0.1
Boston Red Sox: Tomo Ohka. Like Cust, Ohka had limited time with his original organization. He pitched in just 33 games for the Red Sox, but stuck around until 2009 (minus 2008). He had a few solid years for the Expos/Nationals, but never wowed all that much. Career bWAR: 10.7.
Chicago White Sox: Kip Wells. Wells pitched in 11 Major League seasons, most of them with the Pirates (5 years, 752.1 IP, 103 ERA+). Career bWAR: 5.5.
Chicago Cubs: Corey Patterson. Ranked the #3 prospect pre-2000 and #2 prospect pre-2001, Patterson has just never hit in the Majors. He had a 114 OPS+ in a partial season (83 G, 347 PA) in 2003, but otherwise, his OPS+ has been at 95 or below. He spent last year with the Orioles. Career bWAR: 5.6.
Cincinnati Reds: Travis Dawkins. A middle-infielder ranked the #21 prospect before the 2000 season, Dawkins played in just 55 Major League games. He’s stuck around in the minors, though, and spent 2010 in the Marlins’ system hitting .268/.332/.479 for the AAA affiliate in New Orleans. Career bWAR: -1.0.
Cleveland Indians: Tim Drew. J.D’s brother did not have nearly as successful a career as his brother has had (and is still having). His career ERA in 84.2 career innings was a ghastly 7.02. Career bWAR: -2.5.
Colorado Rockies: Ben Petrick. Petrick had 764 career PAs between the Rockies and Tigers. He showed a decent bat–.257/.336/.448, 88 OPS+–but never had more than 282 PAs in a single season. He was forced out of the game by Parkinson’s Disease in 2004. Career bWAR: 0.5.
Detroit Tigers: Francisco Cordero. Cordero’s had a successful career as a relief pitcher and has pitched with the Reds for the last three seasons. However, he pitched in just 20 G/19 IP with the Tigers. Career bWAR: 19.1.
Florida Marlins: Julio Ramirez. Career OPS of .445 in 103 PAs between the Marlins, White Sox, Angels, and Giants. Career bWAR: -0.7.
Houston Astros: Aaron McNeal. McNeal never made it to the Majors. He last played baseball in 2005 for the Rockies’ AA affiliate. His minor league line: .271/.323/.441/.765.
Kansas City Royals: Dee Brown. Brown stuck with the Royals for 874 PAs across 8 seasons to the tune of a 57 OPS+. Career bWAR: -2.8.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Chin-Feng Chen. Chen was ranked #17 before the 2000 season, but never played much in the Majors: 19 G, 25 PA for the Dodgers (.291 OPS). Career bWAR: -0.2.
Milwaukee Brewers: Kevin Barker. 323 uneventful PAs (.683 OPS) with the Brewers, Padres, Blue Jays, and Reds (2009). Career bWAR: -0.7.
Minnesota Twins: Matt LeCroy. Most of us remember this dude ’cause of his giant melon, but he was a decent enough hitter–98 OPS+ in 1539 PAs with the Twins and Nationals. Career bWAR: -0.2.
Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals: Andy Tracy. Tracy had a good showing with the Expos in 2000: a 103 OPS+ in 218 PAs. After that, though, he was nothing special. Career bWAR: -0.8.
New York Yankees: Nick Johnson. We all know this story: supreme on-base skills, piss-poor health skills. Career bWAR: 14.5.
New York Mets: Dicky Gonzalez. 16 G (59 IP) with the Mets in 2001, 4 G (7.1 IP) with the Rays in 2004. Career bWAR: -0.1.
Oakland Athletics: Adam Piatt. Good cup of coffee in 2000 (.883 OPS in 182 PA), but nothing substantial after that. Career bWAR: 0.5.
Philadelphia Phillies: Pat the Bat!. Still playing ball, Burrell’s been on two World Series winning teams in the last three seasons (’08 Phillies, ’10 Giants). He’s put up a 116 OPS+ in 6,301 PAs. Career bWAR: 17.8.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Chad Hermansen. .584 OPS in 541 PAs with the Pirates, Cubs, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. Career bWAR: -3.4.
St. Louis Cardinals: Rick Ankiel. Successful pitcher who lost it mentally, Ankiel is now an outfielder. Career bWAR (hitting): 5.3 in 1393 PA. Career bWAR (pitching): 2.8 in 242 IP.
San Diego Padres: Sean Burroughs. The #7 prospect before 2000, Burroughs just never hit for extended periods in the Majors. He had a decent two year run in 2003-2004 (99 OPS+ in 1142 PA), but was out of the Majors after 2006. Career bWAR: 1.8.
San Francisco Giants: Calvin Murray. 719 PAs: 71 OPS+. Career bWAR: 1.4.
Seattle Mariners: Bo Robinson. Robinson never made it to the Majors despite some awesome seasons in the Mariners’ system.
Tampa Bay Rays: Steve Cox. Cox got 1399 PAs, all with the Rays, from 1999-2002. He hit to a 99 OPS+. Career bWAR: 1.0.
Texas Rangers: Jason Romano. Romano racked up just 205 ML PAs across 4 seasons with the Rangers, Rockies, Dodgers, Rays, and Reds. He OPS’d just .535. Career bWAR: -1.2.
Toronto Blue Jays: Vernon Wells. Now with the Angels thanks to a relatively lol-tastic trade, Wells is still a solid player. His contract may suck, but he’s had a good career and has the second most bWAR of any player on this list: 25.6.
So there you have it. The 30 MiL PsOTY for each organization from a long time ago. The reasons why a lot of these guys didn’t turn out as well as they should (could) have are as varied as the careers themselves. We should, of course, keep this list in the back of our minds as we watch our favorite prospects progress through the minors. Not everyone makes it and you know what? That’s baseball.
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