Draft : : Rankings
Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Look Back at PG's 2002 Top 100 Prospect List

David Rawnsley        
Every once in a while it’s worthwhile to look back at past draft classes, past lists, past showcases, etc.   Especially at this time of the year when there isn’t much new going on in the baseball world, particularly at the high school/college level.
By happy coincidence, a member of the PG staff recently dug up and circulated the Perfect Game Top 100 list that was published before the 2002 draft.  Looking down the list was a fun exercise, especially remembering what those players were like back then as 17-18 year olds and what so many of them are today.
Of those 100 players listed back in 2002, the following has happened (keeping in mind that these numbers will grow significantly over the years).
95 players were eventually drafted
26 were first round picks
16 were second round picks
40 have played in the Major Leagues
10 have played in the Major League All-Star Game
Players have won the following awards:  Cy Young, World Series MVP, NLCS MVP, All-Star Game MVP
Here is a thumb nail on the top 20 players on the Perfect Game Top 100 list in 2002, plus some comments on other players on the list.
1.        LHP Scott Kazmir (1st/NYM):  How Kazmir fell to 15th overall in the draft is still anyone’s guess.  The two-time All-Star has struggled the past two years with consistency but is still 26 years with 66 big league wins under his belt, more than fellow 2002 drafts (see below) Jon Lester (61) Zach Greinke (60) and Cole Hamels (60) have won to this point in their careers.
2.       CF B.J. Upton (1st/TB):  Then shortstop Upton was drafted second overall behind the Pirates RHP Bryan Bullington.  Upton debuted at age 19 and has 67 career home runs and 165 stolen bases.
3.       LHP Adam Loewen (1st/Bal):  Loewen went to Chapola JC for a year before eventually signing.  He reached the big leagues quickly as a pitcher but is now back in the minors seeking to make a Rick Ankiel-type career switch and re-emerge as a power hitting outfielder.
4.       RHP Chris Gruler (1st/Cin):  Scouts still swear that Gruler was worthy of his 3rd slot in the 2002 draft but arm injuries quickly ruined his career, as he threw only 92 innings as a pro, 44 of those in 2002 immediately after signing.
5.       RHP Zach Greinke (1st/KC):  Greinke endured a 5-17 season as a 21 year old to win the 2009 Cy Young Award (16-8, 2.16, 229 IP/242 K’s).
6.       RHP Jason Neighborgall (3rd/2005/Ariz):  Neighborgall could throw 100 mph but his control problems grew worse from high school to college to pro ball to the extent he walked 128 hitters in only 48 minor league innings before calling it quits.
7.       RHP Mark McCormick (1st/2005/StL): McCormick went to Baylor for three years but his pro career was derailed by arm injuries.  He never threw more than 62 innings in any of his four seasons with the Cardinals.
8.       OF Jeff Francoeur (1st/Atl):  Francoeur looked like one of the game’s top young stars in 2006 when he hit .260-29-103 as a 22 year old.
9.       OF Denard Span (1st/Min):  Span can have a very long and productive big league career if he hits like he did in 2009 (.311-8-68/.807 OPS).
10.   SS Sergio Santos (1st/Ariz):  Santos switched to the mound in 2009 and amazingly made the big leagues (2-2, 2.98, 51 IP with the White Sox) after only 28 innings pitching experience in the minor leagues. 
11.   LHP Jon Lester (2nd/Bos):  2010 was the first of what might be many All-Star Game appearances for the Washington native, who was evidently much higher on PG’s list than on many big league teams.
12.   C Jeff Clement (1st/2005/Sea):  Iowa product Clement spent three years at USC before becoming the 3rd pick in the 2005 draft.  Now a first baseman, he has shown flashes of power in the big leagues (14 HR’s in 363 AB’s).
13.   3B Scott Moore (1st/Det):  Moore has developed into a prototypical 4-A player, having spent the last four years in AAA with a number of big league call-ups, including a 86 at-bat trial with the Orioles in 2010 (.209-3-10).
14.   1B James Loney (1st/LA):  Loney has been a dependable and durable (6 missed games in 3 years) first baseman (.267-10-88/.723 OPS in 2010).
15.   3B Matt Whitney (1st comp/Cle):  Whitney suffered a badly broken leg in a freak accident during his first off-season and missed the next 1 ½ years.  He was never really the same player afterwards, although he was still in the minors in 2010.
16.   RHP Micah Owings (3rd/2005/Ariz):  Baseball’s best hitting pitcher (.861 career OPS) first went to Georgia Tech, then to Tulane before signing.  He seems destined for a career as a middle reliever/pinch hitter.
17.   RHP Zach Hammes (2nd/LA):  The hard throwing Hammes spent seven years in the Dodgers system, getting as high as AAA, but never developed the command to take the final step.  He pitched in Hi A for Boston in 2010.
18.   RHP Mike Pelfrey (1st/2006/NYM):  Pelfrey attended Wichita State and after being the 9th pick in the 2006 draft has settled down as a solid big league starter (15-9, 3.66 in 2010)
19.   LHP Cole Hamels (1st/Phil):  The 2008 World Series MVP is now part of what is being called one of the best starting rotations in history. 
20.   2B Micah Schilling (1st comp/Cle):  Schilling, whose best tool in high school was his left handed bat as a middle infielder, failed to hit in six minor league seasons (.248 average with 13 career HR’s) and is now out of the game.
Other notable players from the Top 100 list include:
24.  C Brian McCann (2nd/Atl):  Does anyone really realize how good Brian McCann really is??  He’s 27 years old and has been a big league regular for five years.  He’s been named to five (5!) All-Star teams and has averaged .287-21-88 as a solid defensive catcher for those five years.  If you take Joe Mauer’s career numbers (1 more season) and take them over a 162 game schedule, they are .327-16-91/.888 OPS.  McCann’s are .289-24-100/.849 OPS.  Aside from Mauer’s freakish ability to line singles into left centerfield, is there really any difference between them offensively?
34.  RHP Jonathan Broxton (2nd/LA):  A two-time All-Star, Broxton was used as a starter in the minor leagues before being switched to the bullpen shortly before his big league debut in 2005 as a 21 year old.
43.  RHP Evan Meek (11th/Min):  2010’s most unlikely All-Star survived a 2-year stretch in the minor leagues where he walked 76 hitters in 46 innings and blossomed once moved to the bullpen with the Pirates, his third organization.
44.  RHP Josh Johnson (4th/FL):  The only thing keeping Johnson from being acknowledged as one of the top pitchers in baseball is injuries and pitching for the Marlins.  He’s 26-11 and has been named to the NL All-Star Team the past two seasons.
47.  1B Prince Fielder (1st/Mil):  Perfect Game consistently had Fielder underrated, but most observers were still a bit surprised when the Brewers picked him 7th overall.  Two All-Star Game appearances and 192 home runs by age 26 point to the wisdom of that decision.
51.  RHP Joel Zumaya (11th/Det):  Zumaya lasted until the 11th round but cruised through the minors as quickly, in relative terms, as his 100+ fastball gets to home plate.  He hasn’t been fully healthy since 2006, though.
61.  1B Gaby Sanchez (4th/2005/FL):  Sanchez’s 2010 season got him into the NL Rookie of the Year conversation.  Setting a career professional high in home runs (.273-19-83/.788 OPS) in his first ML season means that there might be more power there, too.
79.  SS Cliff Pennington (1st/2005/Oak):  Three years at Texas A&M made him a first round pick.
96.  3B Alex Gordon (1st/2005/KC):  Gordon’s career path after going to Nebraska and being drafted 2nd overall  started fast and has been slowed by injuries.
100.  RHP Matt Cain (1st/SF):  PG was the only list to recognize Cain, but the Giants knew more than anyone on this pick, as Cain has averaged more than 200 innings a season since 2006, has a World Series ring and a $15M contract for 2012 before potentially becoming a free agent at age 28.
2002 Perfect Game National Player Rankings
Rank Name Pos Hometown State Highest Level Draft Awards All Stars
1 Scott Kazmir LHP 1B,OF Houston TX MLB 1st   x
2 Melvin (BJ) Upton SS Chesapeake VA MLB 1st    
3 Adam Loewen LHP Surrey BC MLB 1st    
4 Christopher Gruler RHP Brentwood CA A 1st    
5 Zack Greinke RHP IF Apopka FL MLB 1st Cy Young X
6 Jason Neighborgall RHP Hillsborough NC A 3rd    
7 Mark McCormick RHP Clear Lake Shore TX AA 1st    
8 Jeff Francoeur OF Lilburn GA MLB 1st    
9 Denard Span CF OF Tampa FL MLB 1st    
10 Sergio Santos SS 2B Hacienda Heights CA MLB 1st    
11 Jon Lester LHP Puyallup WA MLB 2nd   x
12 Jeff Clement C 3B,P Marshalltown IA MLB 1st    
13 Scott Moore SS 2B,OF,P Long Beach CA MLB 1st    
14 James Loney 1B LHP Missouri City TX MLB 1st    
15 Matt Whitney 3B Palm Beach Gardens FL AAA 1st    
16 Micah Owings RHP IF Gainesville GA MLB 2nd    
17 Zach Hammes RHP IF Iowa City IA AAA 2nd    
18 Mike Pelfrey RHP Wichita KS MLB 1st    
19 Cole Hamels LHP San Diego CA MLB 1st WS MVP, NLCS MVP x
20 Micah Schilling SS 2B Clinton LA A 1st    
21 Kevin Jepsen RHP 1B Sparks NV MLB 2nd    
22 Christian Madson 1B RHP Valrico FL College 14th    
23 John Jr. Mayberry 1B 3B Overland Park KS MLB 1st    
24 Brian McCann C Duluth GA MLB 2nd All Star MVP x
25 Wardell Starling OF RHP Missouri City TX AA 4th    
26 Jason Pridie OF Prescott AZ MLB 2nd    
27 Brent Clevlen OF Cedar Park TX MLB 2nd    
28 Jake Blalock 3B San Diego CA AA 5th    
29 Ryan Doherty RHP Toms River NJ A      
31 Clinton Everts RHP SS Cypress TX AAA 1st    
32 Thomas Wilhelmsen RHP 1B Tucson AZ A 7th    
33 Adam Donachie C 3B Orlando FL AAA 2nd    
34 Jonathan Broxton RHP Augusta GA MLB 2nd   x
35 Mark Rosen LHP 1B,OF Randolph MA AA 5th    
36 Mark Romanczuk LHP Newark DE A 4th    
37 Alex Merricks LHP Oxnard CA A 4th    
38 Steven Doetsch OF St. Petersburg FL A 14th    
39 Hayden Penn RHP Santee CA MLB 5th    
41 Kevin Harvey RHP Catawba NC        
42 Blair Johnson RHP Topeka KS AA 2nd    
43 Evan Meek RHP Bothell WA MLB 11th   x
44 Josh Johnson RHP Tulsa OK MLB 4th   x
45 Jarrad Page OF SS San Leandro CA College 7th    
46 Friedel Pinkston RHP Hartwell GA A 18th    
47 Prince Fielder 1B Melbourne FL MLB 1st   x
48 Romelio Lopez RHP Conroe TX A 18th    
49 James Guerrero SS Fontana CA A 6th    
50 Conor Lalor RHP Germantown TN College 44th    
51 Joel Zumaya RHP Chula Vista CA MLB 11th    
52 Clay Dirks LHP Hernando MS College 42nd    
53 Jesse English LHP Vista CA MLB 6th    
54 Jake Baker RHP Wetumpka AL College      
55 Zach Segovia RHP Forney TX MLB 2nd    
56 Christopher Lewis SS OF,UT Irvine CA A 32nd    
57 Greg Miller LHP Yorba Linda CA AAA 1st    
58 Justin Gee RHP Sarasota FL College 25th    
59 Wes Bankston OF Plano TX MLB 4th    
60 Steven Kahn RHP Anaheim CA AA 5th    
61 Gabriel Sanchez SS Miami FL MLB 4th    
62 Shawn Scobee OF Rio Linda CA A 14th    
63 Nicholas Starnes RHP SS,UT Haw River NC Ind 9th    
64 Jensen Lewis RHP OF Cincinnati OH MLB 3rd    
65 Eduardo Martinez-Esteve OF 3B Miami FL AAA 2nd    
66 Robert Andino SS RHP Miami FL MLB 2nd    
67 Corey Shafer 1B OF,P Choctaw OK A 2nd    
68 Billy Mohl RHP Sugar Land TX College 25th    
69 Taylor Teagarden C Carrolltown TX MLB 3rd    
70 Jordan Swayden C La Verne CA A 30th    
71 Tyler Greene SS Plantation FL MLB 1st    
72 Brian Dopirak 1B OF Crystal Beach FL AAA 2nd    
73 Daniel Forrer LHP Montgomery AL A 37th    
74 Mark Sauls RHP 3B Panama City FL A 3rd    
75 Craig Pearson LHP Downington PA        
76 Elijah Dukes OF Tampa FL MLB 3rd    
77 Brett McMillan 1B 3B Shingle Springs CA A 14th    
78 Garrett White LHP Round Rock TX A 24th    
79 Clifton Pennington SS RHP Corpus Christi TX MLB 1st    
80 Hector Ambriz RHP Valencia CA MLB 5th    
81 Randy Braun OF Belton MO A 17th    
82 Fernando Pacheco 1B San Ysidro CA A 4th    
83 Clarence Flowers OF Chicago IL A 5th    
85 Jeremy Burchett OF P Coto De Caza CA A 9th    
86 Cesar Carrillo RHP SS Hammond IN MLB 1st    
87 J. Brent Cox RHP Bay City TX AAA 2nd    
88 Warner Jones SS RHP Nashville TN College 17th    
89 Andy Putnel RHP OF Lake Alfred FL College      
90 Kendall Bergdall LHP Layhoma OK A 5th    
91 Patrick Clayton RHP Marietta GA A 7th    
92 Billy Hogan SS Carrolltown TX A 5th    
93 Ryan Rodriguez LHP OF Keller TX AAA 4th    
94 Justin Tordi 3B Orlando FL AA 41st    
95 Travis Buck SS Richland WA MLB 1st    
96 Alex Gordon 3B SS Lincoln NE MLB 1st    
97 Nicholas Tisone 3B C,OF,SS Covington LA A 19th    
98 Craig Cooper OF Mineola NY AAA 7th    
99 Javier Socorro OF Miami FL College      


Matt Cain RHP Collierville TN MLB 1st   x 
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