Baseball America released it's top 20 Appy League prospects today. There are three 2010 Greeneville Astros in the top 11 on the list. Delino DeShields Jr is at #5, Mike Foltynewicz is at #7 and Vincent Velasquez is at #11. These list create a great deal of excitement when they come out. The question is how true a predictor are they? Let's look at Astros who have made the list since 2004. I have linked to each year's list below.
2004- Four Greeneville players made the list. This group was led by Mitch Einertson at #1. Mitch never made it past AA and is now out of baseball after continued issues with drugs.
Next on the list was #10 Troy Patton. Patton has spent a little bit of time in the majors and is probably looking to spend much more time there next year. An injury slowed his quick path to the top.
Juan Gutierrez was #12 on the list. He like Patton made his debut with the Astros in the bigs but was then traded. This year, Gutierrez has become the closer for the D-Backs. Since the all star break, he has 10 saves, and an ERA of 2.86.
Jordan Parraz was #13 on the list. Parraz is the third member of this group to be traded. He is in the Royals organization now and has made it as far as AAA. He has been a solid fielder but not consistent with the bat.
Big name on the list is A's pitcher Gio Gonzalez at #5.
Misses & Snubbs (a pitcher & fielder who have already seen significant MLB time and weren't on the list): Wade Davis (Rays) Carlos Gomez (Twins)
2005 - Another year with 4 prospects making the list. The top rated G-Stro was Josh Flores at #8. Flores was moving up well until he blew out both knees. During his return from that, he had another knee injury. He could never quiet return after missing that much time. He was released last season.
Eli Iorg was #14 on the list in 2005. He was released after making it to AAA. He is out of baseball.
Next was #16 Koby Clemens. He has blossomed as a hitter but has yet to find a comfortable position. Though it looks like he had a pretty good year at first in AA this year.
Finally we have Ryan Mitchell at #19. This promising RHP was released after the next season and has been toiling in independent ball since then.
Big name on the list is #2 Colby Rasmus.
Misses & Snubbs: Brian Duensing (Twins), Chris Carter (A's)
2006 - Only two players made the list in 2006. Ronald Ramirez was listed at #17. He suffered an arm injury the next season and never was the same after. The middle infielder made it to high A ball in 2009 but that is where his career ended.
Sergio Severino was at #20 and made it as far as high A ball. At that point, he struggled to get batters out and ended up being released.
Not on the list but mentioned as those who just missed the cut that year was Polin Trinidad. He has made it as far as AAA but was sent back down to AA at the end of this season.
Big name on the list is Tommy Hanson at #4.
Misses & Snubbs: No pitcher , Danny Valencia (Twins)
2007 - The G-Stros had just two representatives again this year and again, they were toward the bottom of the list. Ebert Rosario was the #17 rated prospect as a 3rd baseman. This year, he was sent back to the GCL to become a pitcher.
Kyle Greenwalt was the #20 selection. He just finished a descent year in Lancaster and is slated to pitch in the Arizona Fall League (AFL). He should be in AA next season.
Big name on the list is Neftali Feliz at #4
Misses & Snubbs - Fernando Abad (Astros), (no fielder)
2008 - The G-Stros had a much better showing on the list than the two prior years. Leading the way was Jordan Lyles at #7. He has made it up to AAA and is expected to be in the majors next season at some point in time. He is the current #1 prospect for the Astros.
Jay Austin checked in at #12. The raw & toolsy center fielder has climbed his way through high A ball as a teenager. He is going to spend some time in the AFL as well this fall.
Frederico Hernandez rounded out the Astros on the list at #18. The catcher has already put in some time at AA.
Missed & Snubbed: Henry Villar (Astros), (No fielder)
2009 -The G-Stros placed three on the list again in 2009. Jio Mier started things off at #2 on the list. He has struggled in his first full season but is still very young. But expectations are high.
Juri (Yuri) Perez came in at #10. Unfortunately he injured his elbow in his last start of 09 and was just starting rehab starts in the GCL at the end of 2010. Keep an eye on him to see what happens. He has a great change up and a good fastball.
Jonathon Meyer was at #18 on the list. He also had a less than stellar season at Lexington but better than Miers so he hasn't caught as much flack.
Biggest mover on the list is #1 Julio Teheran who has already made seven starts at AA for the Braves.
What does this tell us? Not too much. I enjoy these list and I am glad BA puts them out. However, I think this proves Baseball America doesn't have a crystal ball. Not that they ever said they did. It proves that injuries can derail a players career. If shows that players personal issues can get in the way of development. It shows that what looks good in short season ball doesn't always project down the road. It proves that there are some very good players who come through the Appy Leagues.
What does all this tell you?