Looking Back At Previous Trios

Generally two of three make it, one falters




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This isn't the first time we've had a trio of prospects who all could make a great case for the top spot on the Top 100. A look back shows that when you have three "can't miss" prospects, there's a decent chance that one of them will miss. Here are some other notable trios from previous lists:

2005
1. Joe Mauer, c, Twins
2. Felix Hernandez, rhp, Mariners
3. Delmon Young, of, Rays
In spite of a disappointing 2011 season, Mauer has already had an impressive career, with an MVP, four all-star appearances and three Gold Gloves to his credit. Yet Hernandez may end up with the better career. He has one Cy Young Award and a runner-up finish already. Hernandez didn't take long to get comfortable in the majors as a 19-year-old, and his durability is also notable. Young is clearly third on this list, and while he's still young (26), he has had only one strong season (2010) and already is on his third organization.

2003
1. Mark Teixeira, 3b, Rangers
2. Rocco Baldelli, of, Devil Rays
3. Jose Reyes, ss, Mets
He didn't stick at third base, but otherwise Teixeira has been what you hope for in a No. 1 prospect: multiple Gold Gloves, all-star appearances and plenty of MVP votes. Reyes has been nearly as good as an offensive force who also displays a plus glove at shortstop. Baldelli is a reminder that position players aren't immune to health problems. A metabolic disorder forced him to retire while still in his 20s.

2001
1. Josh Hamilton, of, Devil Rays
2. Corey Patterson, of, Cubs
3. Josh Beckett, rhp, Marlins
For six years, it looked like Hamilton would be considered the biggest bust in No. 1 prospect history. Since then, he has made four all-star appearances, won an MVP award and led the Rangers to two World Series appearances. Speaking of World Series heroics, Beckett has saved his best work for October with a pair of dominating performances that led his teams to titles. In the regular season, Beckett hasn't been a picture of consistency, but his highs are quite high. The same can't be said for Patterson. He has a lot of major league service time but hasn't become a consistent regular despite good defense. His career .252/.290/.400 line explains why.

1998
1. Ben Grieve, of, Athletics
2. Paul Konerko, 1b/3b, Dodgers
3. Adrian Beltre, 3b, Dodgers
A couple of years after this ranking was published, Grieve looked to be the pick of the trio. But the 1998 Rookie of the Year was finished as a big league regular by age 27. While Grieve flamed out quickly, Konerko and Beltre are still productive middle-of-the-order players nearly 15 years later.

1997
1. Andruw Jones, of, Braves
2. Vladimir Guerrero, of, Expos
3. Kerry Wood, rhp, Cubs
As he plays through the decline of his career, it's easy to forget how good Jones was at his peak. With 10 Gold Gloves, four all-star appearances and 420 career home runs, he was exceptional. Guerrero was never Jones' equal in the outfield, but he was more productive at the plate. Wood's 20-strikeout game in his fifth career start is one of the most dominant outings in big league history, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. He has carved out a long career as a reliever, but ultimately you're left thinking about what might have been.

1995
1. Alex Rodriguez, ss, Mariners
2. Ruben Rivera, of, Yankees
3. Chipper Jones, ss, Braves
Just one tweak and this would be the best 1-2-3 of all time. Rodriguez and Jones have had Hall of Fame careers, and A-Rod still has a chance at topping Barry Bonds' career home run record. But we picked the wrong Yankee, as Derek Jeter was No. 4 on this list and Rivera went down as one of the biggest prospect busts in baseball history.

1993
1. Chipper Jones, ss, Braves
2. Brien Taylor, lhp, Yankees
3. Cliff Floyd, of, Expos
Chipper Jones (Photo by Morris Fostoff)
As mentioned above, Jones has turned out great. Floyd had a solid career, but injuries kept him from being a star, and Taylor was also felled by injury. He also ranked No. 1 in 1992 and is the only No. 1 overall draft pick who never reached the big leagues. Sitting just off stage at No. 4, Carlos Delgado would have made this group look better.