MAJOR STARS WE NEVER SAW COMING
Baseball America|October 2020
MAJOR STARS WE NEVER SAW COMING
Major league stars who never ranked as Minor League Top 10 Prospects
MATT EDDY
Baseball America has ranked the top 10 prospects in every minor league from our first year in print. Each fall from 1981 to 2019, BA presented rankings of the most talented prospects in each minor league—a total of 626 individual leagues over 39 seasons.

We think we’re good at identifying and ranking future talent. We trust our sources, in this case managers, coaches and scouts. We trust our instincts. We trust our process. But we’re not clairvoyant—as the following examples indicate.

One can build a formidable major league all-star team of players who never appeared in a Minor League Top 10 Prospects ranking.

JORGE POSADA, C, YANKEES

Posada is one of the hardest-hitting catchers since integration—his 121 OPS+ ranks seventh at the position—even though he entered pro ball as a shortstop. He tended to be overlooked as a prospect because of his rough edges behind the plate and subtle offensive contributions. Posada hit just .258 in the minors but with plus power and patience for a catcher.

BEST TOP 10 CASE: 1996 International League

MATT OLSON, 1B, ATHLETICS

Oakland’s power-hitting, Gold Glove winning first baseman appeared on four league top 20s but never ranked among the top 10 prospects in his league—not even in 2014 when he led the California League with 37 homers as a 20-year-old. A high strikeout rate (24%) and low batting average (.249 career) obscured Olson’s carrying tools of power, patience and defense.

BEST TOP 10 CASE: 2014 California League

ROBINSON CANO, 2B, YANKEES

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October 2020