Thursday, October 17, 2013

Top Prospects from 15 Years Ago

Was going through old minor league programs and found these interesting gems. The program was 1998 Midland Angels team who was at the time LAA Angels Double-A affiliate. They previewed teams of Texas League with small profile of club affiliate no. 1 prospect. The teams and affiliates at the time were this:

Midland Angels = LAA Angels
El Paso Diablos =  Milwaukee Brewers
San Antonio Missions = LA Dodgers
Jackson Generals = Houston Astros
Arkansas Travelers = St. Louis Cardinals
Shreveport Captains = SF Giants
Tulsa Drillers = Texas Rangers
Wichita Wranglers = KC Royals

The top prospects featured:

Eli Marerro - bounced back from cancer scare playing 10 years in majors. Spent 1997-2003 with Cardinals. He bounced through various teams in 2004-2006. Came full circle playing for Cardinals Triple-A team in 2007 his final year of playing. Currently manager of Reds Single-A affiliate team.

Valerio de los Santos -  spent 9 years in the majors with little success in journeyman career as he was turned from starter to reliever. Forever known as the pitcher who beaned Adam Greenberg in his first MLB at-bat.

Richard Hidalgo - had up and down career as he would have one good year then one off year like a see-saw. Had monster 2000 season with 44 homeruns, 122 RBIs, and .314 batting average looking like an All-Star.  He follow it up with 19 HR, 80 RBI, and batting .275 in 2001 with another low in 2002. Bounced back up in 2003 with 28 HR, 88 RBI, and batting .309. Astros cut their loss sending to the Mets in 2004. He played for Rangers in 2005, his last year in the majors. He made a comeback in 2008 and 2009.

Paul Konerko - 17 years in the league and still going strong with 6 All-Star selections. This turned out one of bad trades for TWO teams. In 1997 Dodgers shipped him along with Dennys Reyes to Cincinnati Reds for Jeff Shaw. In the offseason Reds traded him to Chicago White Sox for Mike Cameron. He found a home as member of White Sox becoming All-Star caliber player helping team break a drought winning World Series in 2005. Could 2013 be his final season?

Dante Powell - flamed out playing total of 70 games in 4 years. Last played in 2002.
Ruben Mateo - 6 year journeyman career last playing the majors in 2004. Made a return in 2007 playing minor league ball til 2009. Made another comeback last year in Mexican League.

Mike Sweeney - Played 16 seasons and four teams becoming five-time All-Star. All his All-Star selections came as member of the Royals.

As for Angels top prospect?
He became four-time All-Star and MVP of 2002 World Series. Seven of the players on top 10 went to the majors. Norm Hutchins who never made it last played in 2012.

For changes:
- Jackson Generals became Round Rock Express. Express later became Triple-A team (after buying Edmonton team) and Corpus Christi Hooks took its place. Still Astros affiliate to this day. This Generals team was located in Mississippi, not the current incarnation in Tennessee.

- Shreveport Captains changed their names to Swamp Dragons then relocated becoming Frisco Roughriders who are now Rangers Double-A affiliate. They went back to Captains name being independent team before getting sold in 2011 and moving to Laredo.

- El Paso Diablos became Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate and played til 2004 as it got sold and moved to Springfield, Missouri becoming Springfield Cardinals, a Cardinals affiliate. Diablos soldiered on with another team playing independent ball til this year. Next year El Paso gets a Triple-A team.

- Wichita Wranglers still Royal affiliate to this day, but relocated to Springdale, Arkansas calling themselves Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Wichita got independent team now called Wingnuts.

- Arkansas Travelers became Angels affiliate.

- San Antonio Missions changed affiliates to Mariners then Padres who now their current affiliate.

- Midland became A's affiliate the following year changing the name to Rockhounds.

- Tulsa Drillers changed affiliates to Rockies.

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