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MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 1983 Carolina League

Dwight_Gooden_RichPillingGetty.jpg

Some of the most accomplished hitters of the 1990s and early 2000s passed through the high Class A Carolina League on their way to the majors, including Barry Bonds in 1985 and Chipper Jones and Manny Ramirez in 1992. But the Carolina League class of 1983 stands out for its breadth of talent, with five players who accumulated 10 or more WAR in the big leagues.

1983 Carolina League Top 10 Prospects

NoPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
1Dwight GoodenRHPLynchburgMets2,80150.3
2Mike MeshSSWinston-SalemRed Sox
3Bobby BonillaOFAlexandriaPirates8,25732.7
4Lenny DykstraOFLynchburgMets5,28240.3
5Fred McGriff1BKinstonBlue Jays10,17456.9
6Duane WardRHPDurhamBraves66610.8
7Jim Opie3BAlexandriaPirates
8Dave Cochrane3BLynchburgMets562-1.1
9Rick Schu3BPeninsulaPhillies1,7290.8
10Mike RochfordLHPWinston-SalemRed Sox10-0.5

Lynchburg teammates Dwight Gooden (No. 1) and Lenny Dykstra (No. 4) dominated the Carolina League on their way to becoming core pieces of the Mets’ 1986 World Series champions. In 27 starts for Lynchburg, Gooden used his “outstanding curveball” and “90-95 mph fastball” to go 19-4, 2.50 with a mind-bending 300 strikeouts in 191 innings. He is the last minor leaguer to top 300. Dykstra, an “all-around” center fielder with range, an “above-average arm” and “occasional power,” won the Carolina League batting title (.358) and set a league record with 105 stolen bases.

Scouts accurately pegged No. 3 prospect Bobby Bonilla as a dangerous hitter from both sides of the plate who would be a defensive liability. No. 5 prospect Fred McGriff, a “steal” of an acquisition from the Yankees, was lauded for his power and “sweet swing,” undercut by his “woefully weak” fielding ability.

Duane Ward (No. 5) would become a durable high-leverage reliever for the Blue Jays, but he worked as a starter in the Braves’ system. He went 11-13, 4.29 for Durham, on the strength of his “outstanding fastball that moves,” though command of his curveball and slider proved elusive in the rotation.

Carolina League All-Time BA No. 1 Prospects

Players listed with career major league plate appearances/innings and FanGraphs WAR. Stats for active players current through mid August.

YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
1981Brad KomminskOFDurhamBraves1,1191.4
1982Juan Samuel2BPeninsulaPhillies6,66415.1
1983Dwight GoodenRHPLynchburgMets2,80150.3
1984Randy MyersLHPLynchburgMets88518.2
1985Shawn AbnerOFLynchburgMets902-1.3
1986Gregg JefferiesSSLynchburgMets6,07220.2
1987Hensley Meulens3BPrince WilliamYankees549-1.8
1988Bernie WilliamsOFPrince WilliamYankees9,05343.9
1989Steve AveryLHPDurhamBraves1,55518.4
YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
1990Greg BlosserOFLynchburgRed Sox45-0.4
1991Jeff McNeelyOFLynchburgRed Sox440.2
1992Chipper JonesSSDurhamBraves10,61484.6
1993Curtis GoodwinOFFrederickOrioles1,138-0.8
1994Johnny DamonOFWilmingtonRoyals10,91744.4
1995Bartolo ColonRHPKinstonIndians3,46252.4
1996Andruw JonesOFDurhamBraves8,66467.0
1997Russell Branyan3BKinstonIndians3,39812.1
1998Rick AnkielLHPPrince WilliamCardinals2424.3
1999Kip WellsRHPWinston-SalemWhite Sox1,3388.0
YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
2000CC SabathiaLHPKinstonIndians3,57768.7
2001Wilson BetemitSSMyrtle BeachBraves2,3353.0
2002Sean BurnettLHPLynchburgPirates3785.7
2003Zack GreinkeRHPWilmingtonRoyals2,90167.9
2004Jeff FrancoeurOFMyrtle BeachBraves5,6615.8
2005Jarrod SaltalamacchiaCMyrtle BeachBraves3,1915.1
2006Chuck LofgrenLHPKinstonIndians
2007Jordan SchaferOFMyrtle BeachBraves1,472-0.1
2008Matt WietersCFrederickOrioles4,40017.2
2009Jason HeywardOFMyrtle BeachBraves5,64931.5
YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
2010Julio TeheranRHPMyrtle BeachBraves1,37322.1
2011Manny MachadoSSFrederickOrioles4,85433.8
2012Dylan BundyRHPFrederickOrioles6477.1
2013Francisco LindorSSCarolinaIndians3,35527.4
2014Joey Gallo3BMyrtle BeachRangers1,6559.5
2015Lucas GiolitoRHPPotomacNationals4515.6
2016Yoan Moncada2BSalemRed Sox1,56810.1
2017Eloy JimenezOFWinston-SalemWhite Sox6002.4
2018Dylan CeaseRHPWinston-SalemWhite Sox990.2
2019D.L. HallLHPFrederickOrioles
Bobby Bonilla Barry Bonds(Focusonsport)

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