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2002 Top 100 Prospects

Baseball America's 13th annual Top 100 Prospects list is based on each player's ceiling and the likelihood that he reaches that potential. All players who haven't exceeded the rookie limits of 130 at-bats or 50 innings (with no consideration toward service time) were considered. Editor Allan Simpson, managing editor Will Lingo, executive editor Jim Callis and associate editor Josh Boyd compiled the Top 100 after consulting with general managers, scouting directors, farm directors, scouts, managers and instructors. Callis wrote the summaries.

Lingo writes about how the futures of the players on this lists will pan out using a statistical breakdown of the first eight lists. Also, Callis writes about 10 players who didn't make the list, and could make BA pay for the omissions. Finally, we break down the list by organization, position, nationality.

1 Josh Beckett, rhp, Marlins
Went 16-4, 1.72 with 264 strikeouts in 199 innings in a little over a year in the minors. He's never going back. ETA: 2002

2 Mark Prior, rhp, Cubs
The "best college pitcher ever" tag comes with no guarantees. Just ask Ben McDonald, Paul Wilson and Kris Benson. But Prior will be the Cubs' ace when they finally end their World Series drought. ETA: 2003
3 Hank Blalock, 3b, Rangers
After surpassing Sean Burroughs for the title of the best pure hitter in the minors, should take over in Texas sometime this year. Maybe even by Opening Day. ETA: 2002
4 Sean Burroughs, 3b, Padres
San Diego keeps drafting third basemen, but there's no doubt the hot corner belongs to the sweet-swinging Burroughs. He just needs to learn to hit for power. ETA: 2002
5 Carlos Pena, 1b, Athletics
Prospects like this just don't get traded often. Won't replace Jason Giambi right away but should make sure Oakland doesn't miss him too much. ETA: 2002
6 Juan Cruz, rhp, Cubs
So he's two years older than previously thought. So what? Has tremendous stuff and showed the moxie to pitch well in a pennant race in first taste of the majors. ETA: 2002
7 Joe Mauer, c, Twins
Like fellow Cretin-Derham Hall grad Chris Weinke, Mauer could always play quarterback for Florida State if baseball doesn't work out. That's not going to happen. ETA: 2004
8 Wilson Betemit, ss, Braves
Either Atlanta's shortstop or third baseman of the future. What's more certain is that he'll be in the lineup by midsummer. ETA: 2002
9 Drew Henson, 3b, Yankees
Is baseball his best sport? It's definitely his destiny to don the pinstripes. Hampered by a broken left wrist in 2002, he started to show his Mike Schmidt potential in the Arizona Fall League. ETA: 2003
10 Mark Teixeira, 3b, Rangers
Just what Texas needed, more offense. That's four third basemen in the top 10, if you're counting, though Teixeira likely winds up at first base with Blalock in Arlington. ETA: 2003
11 Austin Kearns, of, Reds
Scouts had mixed opinions on who was better, Kearns or Adam Dunn, before Kearns got hurt and Dunn exploded last year. Now it's Kearns' turn to erupt. ETA: 2002
12 Joe Borchard, of, White Sox
He and Henson could have been the top two picks in the upcoming NFL draft. They'll settle for terrorizing American League pitchers. ETA: 2002
13 Nick Johnson, 1b, Yankees
Started to drive the ball after coming back from mysterious wrist injury. Career .445 OBP in the minors. ETA: 2002
14 Ryan Anderson, lhp, Mariners
Still working his way back from a torn labrum last spring. Still scares hitters with his 6-foot-10 frame and mid-90s heat. ETA: 2003
15 Angel Berroa, ss, Royals
Yes, Kansas City can make a good trade. Berroa is the best pure shortstop in the minors and has a broad base of skills. ETA: 2002
16 Dennis Tankersley, rhp, Padres
Dan Duquette won't include the Tankersley-for-Ed Sprague trade when he updates his resume in the near future. ETA: 2002
17 Nick Neugebauer, rhp, Brewers
Soared to Milwaukee once he learned to take a little off his nuclear fastball so he could find the strike zone more often. ETA: 2002
18 Josh Hamilton, of, Devil Rays
Down 17 spots from last year's No. 1 ranking. We still love his upside but his back condition is more than a little worrisome. ETA: 2003
19 Jerome Williams, rhp, Giants
Overcame personal tragedy in 2001 and continues to draw physical comparisons to a young Dwight Gooden, while escaping the same hype. ETA: 2003
20 Brandon Phillips, ss, Expos
Orlando Cabrera isn't Montreal's only multitalented shortstop. Who plays where--we're talking position and city--when Phillips is ready remains uncertain. ETA: 2003
21 Justin Morneau, 1b, Twins
Combining power with average, Canada's best prospect is poised for a breakthrough this season. ETA: 2004
22 Casey Kotchman, 1b, Angels
Anaheim stole this Rafael Palmeiro clone with the 13th pick last June. He'll develop faster than Palmeiro did. ETA: 2004
23 Jon Rauch, rhp, White Sox
2000 Minor League Player of the Year will get back on track after shoulder surgery derailed him last year. ETA: 2002
24 Carlos Hernandez, lhp, Astros
Began big league career with 17 shutout innings, impressed Houston with everything but his baserunning ability. ETA: 2002
25 Ty Howington, lhp, Reds
Cincinnati needs a lot of pitching help. After a shaky debut and getting his elbow scoped, Howington is a nice place to start. ETA: 2003
26 Marlon Byrd, of, Phillies
Name one good reason he shouldn't wrest Philadelphia's center-field job from Doug Glanville. Just one. ETA: 2002
27 Michael Cuddyer, 3b/of, Twins
Needed to repeat Double-A last year, but passed that test and should be Minnesota's right fielder this season. ETA: 2002
28 Jake Peavy, rhp, Padres
His stuff is merely good. His results as a pro (31-15, 2.51, 455 strikeouts in 352 innings) are overwhelming. ETA: 2003
29 Boof Bonser, rhp, Giants
Laugh at his name. Now try to hit his fastball. Or his curveball. No one could last year. ETA: 2004
30 Rafael Soriano, rhp, Mariners
No doubt moving from the outfield to the mound was the best thing that could have happened to his career. ETA: 2003
31 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b, Marlins
You have to admire a guy who doesn't look silly after publicly stating his goal to hit .420. ETA: 2004
32 Corwin Malone, lhp, White Sox
As if Chicago needed more pitching help from its amazing 1999 draft (see Jon Rauch, Danny Wright et al). ETA: 2003
33 Brett Myers, rhp, Phillies
Getting pushed aggressively to Double-A did nothing to temper his stuff or his cockiness. ETA: 2003
34 Jose Reyes, ss, Mets
The Mets may have fewer position player prospects than anyone, but they have a blue-chipper in Reyes. ETA: 2004
35 Kazuhisa Ishii, lhp, Dodgers
The Randy Johnson hyperbole is a bit much. But he can pitch. Mark him down for 15 wins as a "rookie." ETA: 2002
36 Josh Phelps, c, Blue Jays
Toronto says his game-calling and his hands are his best skills. Those 31 homers in Double-A aren't too shabby. ETA: 2002
37 Brandon Claussen, lhp, Yankees
Why go after free agents when the 2001 minor league strikeout leader is nearly ready? Because you're the Yankees. ETA: 2003
38 Miguel Cabrera, ss, Marlins
Owns records for signing bonus for Venezuelan amateur ($1.9 million) and youngest player in Futures Game (18). ETA: 2004
39 Xavier Nady, 1b, Padres
Making teams regret letting him last until the second round in 2000. Elbow problems have limited his defensive versatility. ETA: 2003
40 Hee Seop Choi, 1b, Cubs
Chicago wouldn't have needed Fred McGriff if Choi hadn't injured his hand last summer. ETA: 2003
41 J.R. House, c, Pirates
Got the football bug out of his system. Now he needs to polish his defense and start hitting again. ETA: 2003
42 Adam Wainwright, rhp, Braves
Oozes projectability and already had an uncanny feel for pitching as a teenager. ETA: 2004
43 John Buck, c, Astros
There's power in his bat and his arm. And Houston loves the way he takes charge of a pitching staff. ETA: 2004
44 Jimmy Journell, rhp, Cardinals
Provides inspiration for the long list of St. Louis prospects coming back from Tommy John surgery. ETA: 2003
45 David Kelton, 3b, Cubs
His hitting skills are unquestioned, but the Moises Alou signing means Kelton will have to solve third base. ETA: 2003
46 Chris Snelling, of, Mariners
Lenny Dykstra from Down Under, with an affinity for Yoda rather than chewing tobacco. ETA: 2004
47 Kelly Johnson, ss, Braves
Starting to earn Chipper Jones comparisons with his bat. Like Jones, third base likely is in his future. ETA: 2004
48 Bobby Hill, 2b, Cubs
His leadoff skills don't give Chicago any reason to say, "That boy ain't right." ETA: 2003
49 Mario Ramos, lhp, Rangers
Gets outs by changing speeds, convincingly enough that Texas traded Carlos Pena to get him. ETA: 2002
50 Jimmy Gobble, lhp, Royals
Slightly better stuff, and slightly more advanced than Chris George at the same stage. ETA: 2004
51 Chris Burke, ss, Astros
Don't compare him to Craig Biggio because he has put questions about his shortstop ability to rest. ETA: 2003
52 Antonio Perez, ss, Mariners
Think the Reds wish they had included untouchable Pokey Reese rather than Perez in the Ken Griffey trade? ETA: 2003
53 Jason Lane, of, Astros
No one beats Houston at finding talent among college seniors. Ready to step in if Daryle Ward can't handle left field. ETA: 2002
54 Mark Phillips, lhp, Padres
Despite being 20 and making just 24 pro starts, he's not that far from San Diego. Few lefties have better arms. ETA: 2004
55 Nate Cornejo, rhp, Tigers
First Tiger with 20 wins in a season since Bill Gullickson in 1991, even if 16 came in the minors. ETA: 2002
56 Gavin Floyd, rhp, Phillies
Best of an amazing deep crop of high school righthanders in the 2001 draft. ETA: 2005
57 Dewon Brazelton, rhp, Devil Rays
Outpitched Mark Prior on Team USA in 2000, went one spot behind him in the draft in 2001. ETA: 2003
58 Kurt Ainsworth, rhp, Giants
Fourth starter on 2000 U.S. Olympic staff behind Ben Sheets, Roy Oswalt, Jon Rauch. ETA: 2002
59 Carl Crawford, of, Devil Rays
Could have played basketball or football in college, but made good decision to stick with baseball. ETA: 2003
60 Seung Song, rhp, Red Sox
Most promising product of Boston's Far East efforts finished second in minors to Josh Beckett with 1.90 ERA last year. ETA: 2003
61 Chin-Hui Tsao, rhp, Rockies
Had a chance to become the first Taiwanese player to reach majors before Tommy John surgery last summer. ETA: 2004
62 Brad Wilkerson, of, Expos
Someone please explain why a prospect of this caliber got sent down in favor of Tim Raines--Senior. ETA: 2002
63 Mike Restovich, of, Twins
Part of the power surge (Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer) moving toward Minnesota. ETA: 2003
64 Chin-Feng Chen, of, Dodgers
Chin-Hui Tsao's elbow injury now has Chen in line to be the first Taiwanese big leaguer. ETA: 2003
65 Wily Mo Pena, of, Reds
Outperformed Ken Griffey in a batting-practice power display before a Class A Dayton game last summer. ETA: 2004
66 Brett Evert, rhp, Braves
The stealth pitching prospect in the Atlanta system. You'll hear much more about him in 2002. ETA: 2004
67 Juan Rivera, of, Yankees
Why go after free agents when this five-tool right fielder is nearly ready? Because you're the Yankees. ETA: 2003
68 Nic Jackson, of, Cubs
Blossomed in 2001, adding another highly skilled prospect to what already was the game's best system. ETA: 2004
69 Ricardo Rodriguez, rhp, Dodgers
After he proved his Rookie-level Pioneer League numbers were no fluke, his development will accelerate. ETA: 2003
70 Jayson Werth, c, Blue Jays
Would be the Orioles' top prospect if they hadn't traded him for . . . John Bale. ETA: 2003
71 Alex Escobar, of, Indians
The Mets got tired of waiting for him, so including him in the Roberto Alomar deal was a no-brainer. ETA: 2002
72 Clint Nageotte, rhp, Mariners
Minor league hitters haven't touched his slider yet. Also offers a plus fastball. ETA: 2004
73 Corey Smith, 3b, Indians
Still working on cutting down strikeouts and errors, but his power is obvious. ETA: 2004
74 Bobby Jenks, rhp, Angels
Touched 100 mph in the Arizona Fall League and has a hammer curve. So his 5-14, 6.01 career record is mystifying. ETA: 2004
75 Gabe Gross, of, Blue Jays
Served notice he's not far from Toronto by homering three times in 11 Double-A games in his pro debut. ETA: 2003
76 John-Ford Griffin, of, Yankees
Florida State coaches insist he's a better pure hitter than fellow Seminoles alum J.D. Drew, albeit with less power. ETA: 2004
77 Jake Gautreau, 2b, Padres
The only question about Jake the Rake was his glove, but San Diego believes he can move from third base to second. ETA: 2004
78 Aaron Heilman, rhp, Mets
Another reason for Twins fans to hate Carl Pohlad; Heilman didn't sign as a Minnesota first-rounder in 2000. ETA: 2003
79 Kenny Baugh, rhp, Tigers
Reached Double-A in his first pro summer, though he was shut down then and again this spring with a sore shoulder. ETA: 2003
80 Carlos Zambrano, rhp, Cubs
His radar-gun readings (mid-90s to 99 mph) are a little easier to believe than his age (20). ETA: 2002
81 Orlando Hudson, 2b, Blue Jays
Breakout season continued as he moved from Double-A to Triple-A to Arizona Fall League to World Cup. Next stop: Skydome. ETA: 2002
82 Colby Lewis, rhp, Rangers
Yes, Texas does have some pitching. It's just that almost none of it has made it to Arlington yet. ETA: 2003
83 Tony Torcato, of, Giants
Keeps hurting his shoulder, keeps coming back, keeps spraying line drives all over the ballpark. ETA: 2003
84 Mike Jones, rhp, Brewers
Could be the next in Milwaukee's pitching pipeline (Ben Sheets, Nick Neugebauer), though Jones needs time. ETA: 2005
85 Adam Johnson, rhp, Twins
Went from No. 2 overall pick in June 2000 to big leaguer in July 2001. Whether he'll start or close has yet to be finalized. ETA: 2002
86 Chris Narveson, lhp, Cardinals
In the mold of St. Louis lefties, closer to Bud Smith than (the good) Rick Ankiel. Recuperating from Tommy John surgery. ETA: 2004
87 Denny Bautista, rhp, Marlins
Getting taken under the wing of a family friend really pays off when that friend is Pedro Martinez. ETA: 2004
88 J.D. Martin, rhp, Indians
In his debut, dominated pro hitters as much as he had high schoolers. Exquisite command, intriguing potential. ETA: 2005
89 Jon VanBenschoten, rhp, Pirates
Most teams preferred him as a prototypical right fielder, while Pittsburgh thinks it has a frontline power arm. ETA: 2004
90 Erik Bedard, lhp, Orioles
Baltimore becomes the 29th of the 30 teams to get a prospect on this list; Arizona is the lone exception. ETA: 2004
91 Eric Byrnes, of, Athletics
MVP in Dominican this winter may have willed himself into becoming the leadoff man Oakland is looking for. ETA: 2002
92 Ramon Vazquez, ss, Padres
San Diego hasn't had a solid shortstop in a decade, prompting the offseason trade for the steady Vazquez. ETA: 2002
93 Tony Blanco, 3b, Red Sox
His bat and arm excite scouts, though he needs a healthy shoulder plus a few years to develop. ETA: 2004
94 Joe Crede, 3b, White Sox
Two-time minor league MVP quietly gets the job done, finally should earn a big league job this spring. ETA: 2002
95 Omar Infante, ss, Tigers
Detroit has a wealth of middle-infield talent, none better than this silky-smooth defender. ETA: 2003
96 Matt Belisle, rhp, Braves
He missed all of 2001 after rupturing a disk in his back, but it's hard to forget his fine control of three nice pitches. ETA: 2003
97 Victor Martinez, c, Indians
Carolina League MVP and batting champ has career .305 average, plus well-rounded defensive package. ETA: 2003
98 Dustin McGowan, rhp, Blue Jays
Just beginning to learn how to translate pure arm strength into success on the mound. ETA: 2004
99 Ryan Dittfurth, rhp, Rangers
Won Texas' Nolan Ryan award last year, appropriate because meeting Ryan persuaded him to turn pro. ETA: 2004
100 Jack Cust, of, Rockies
Seems destined for the Athletics, who love sluggers who walk and don't care if they're hazardous with a glove. ETA: 2002

Player Breakdown
BY ORGANIZATION
7 Cubs, Padres; 6 Mariners; 5 Blue Jays, Braves, Rangers, Twins, Yankees; 4 Astros, Giants, Indians, Marlins, White Sox; 3 Devil Rays, Dodgers, Phillies, Reds, Tigers; 2 Angels, Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Expos, Mets, Pirates, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals; 1 Orioles

BY ORIGINAL ORGANIZATION
7 Cubs; 6 Padres, Yankees; 5 Braves, Rangers, Twins; 4 Astros, Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, White Sox; 3 Athletics, Devil Rays, Dodgers, Indians, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, Reds, Tigers; 2 Angels, Brewers, Cardinals, Expos, Orioles, Pirates; 1 Diamondbacks, Rockies, Royals

BY NATION
73 United States; 13 Dominican Republic; 5 Venezuela; 2 Canada, Korea, Taiwan; 1 Australia, Japan, Puerto Rico

BY POSITION
35 Righthanders (highest, Josh Beckett, No. 1); 19 Outfielders (highest, Austin Kearns, No. 11); 11 Lefthanders (highest, Ryan Anderson, No. 14); 10 Shortstops (highest, Wilson Betemit, No. 8); 9 Third Basemen (highest, Hank Blalock, No. 3); 7 First Basemen (highest, Carlos Pena, No. 5); 6 Catchers (highest, Joe Mauer, No. 7); 3 Second Basemen (highest, Bobby Hill, No. 48)

BY WHERE THEY CAME FROM
48 high school draft picks; 23 college draft picks; 22 international free agents; 6 junior college draft picks; 1 purchased from Japanese club

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