MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 1995 Gulf Coast League

Image credit: Roy Halladay (Photo by Tom DiPace)

The Rookie-level Gulf Coast League is where many high school and international prospects make their first domestic pro appearances. The GCL is where superstars ranging from Sammy Sosa (1986) to Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero (1994) to Clayton Kershaw (2006) to Juan Soto (2016) first gained helium. 

In 1995 the Gulf Coast League featured 10 first-round picks from that year’s draft, including No. 1 prospect Chad Hermansen, No. 2 Andy Yount, No. 5 Roy Halladay and No. 6 Michael Barrett. Halladay developed into a Hall of Famer, while two of the best prospects in the league turned out to be not draft picks but Venezuelan shortstops Alex Gonzalez (No. 3) and Carlos Guillen (No. 4).

1995 Gulf Coast League Top 10 Prospects

No Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
1 Chad Hermansen SS GCL Pirates Pirates 541 -2.5
2 Andy Yount RHP GCL Red Sox Red Sox
3 Alex Gonzalez SS GCL Marlins Marlins 5,528 11.3
4 Carlos Guillen SS GCL Astros Astros 5,277 25.5
5 Roy Halladay RHP GCL Blue Jays Blue Jays 2,749 71.1
6 Michael Barrett SS GCL Expos Expos 3,873 5.9
7 Julio Ramirez OF GCL Marlins Marlins 103 -0.5
8 D’Angelo Jimenez SS GCL Yankees Yankees 2,480 7.7
9 Carlos Beltran OF GCL Royals Royals 11,031 67.9
10 Gary Coffee 1B GCL Royals Royals

Halladay showcased a “93-94 mph fastball” and “above-average curve and slider,” though “nerves got the better of him” in his first few outings before he settled in. He struck out 48 batters and recorded a 3.40 ERA in 50 innings.

Beltran earned a comparison to a young Eric Davis from his own manager, because he had “exceptional speed and throws well.” Beltran hit .278 with five steals in 52 games in his pro debut but did not yet show the power he would later develop.

Guillen missed 1994 with a shoulder injury and did not play the field in 1995 because of an elbow injury. Injuries would continue to plague him throughout his 14-year big league career. In the GCL, Guillen showed “power to all fields,” was an “above-average basestealer” and had a “rifle arm.”

Managers singled out Gonzalez for his “exceptional hands, range, quickness and arm strength,” which were the foundation of his 16-year big league career. 

Gulf Coast 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.

Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
1982 Shawon Dunston SS GCL Cubs Cubs 6,276 7.4
1983 Joel Davis RHP GCL White Sox White Sox 248 1.5
1984 Drew Denson OF GCL Braves Braves 44 0.0
1985 Glen Braxton OF GCL White Sox White Sox
1986 Kevin Dean OF GCL Expos Expos  —
1987 Mark Merchant OF GCL Pirates Pirates  —
1988 Hugh Walker OF GCL Royals Royals  —
1989 Sterling Hitchcock LHP GCL Yankees Yankees 1,286 8.8
Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
1990 Rondell White OF GCL Expos Expos 5,852 23.8
1991 Cliff Floyd 1B GCL Expos Expos 6,063 24.7
1992 Johnny Damon OF GCL Royals Royals 10,917 44.4
1993 Julio Santana RHP GCL Rangers Rangers 479 0.5
1994 Sergio Nunez 2B GCL Royals Royals
1995 Chad Hermansen SS GCL Pirates Pirates 541 -2.5
1996 Luis Rivas SS GCL Twins Twins 2,290 -0.2
1997 Marquis Roberts LHP GCL Rays Rays  —
1998 Juan Rivera OF GCL Yankees Yankees 3,787 6.4
1999 Chip Ambres OF GCL Marlins Marlins 218 -0.4
Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
2000 Tony Blanco 3B GCL Red Sox Red Sox 65 -0.6
2001 Chad Petty LHP GCL Tigers Tigers  —
2002 Hanley Ramirez SS GCL Red Sox Red Sox 7,127 41.5
2003 Eric Duncan 3B GCL Yankees Yankees  —
2004 Luis Soto SS GCL Red Sox Red Sox
2005 Andrew McCutchen OF GCL Pirates Pirates 6,849 49.5
2006 Clayton Kershaw LHP GCL Dodgers Dodgers 2,299 73.6
2007 Michael Burgess OF GCL Nationals Nationals
2008 Aaron Hicks OF GCL Twins Twins 2,570 12.2
2009 Christian Bethancourt C GCL Braves Braves 489 -1.9
Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
2010 Gary Sanchez C GCL Yankees Yankees 1,655 11.6
2011 Dante Bichette Jr. 3B GCL Yankees Yankees  —
2012 Byron Buxton OF GCL Twins Twins 1,440 7.9
2013 Austin Meadows OF GCL Pirates Pirates 847 4.6
2014 Rafael Devers 3B GCL Red Sox Red Sox 1,534 7.4
2015 Anderson Espinoza RHP GCL Red Sox Red Sox
2016 Mickey Moniak OF GCL Phillies Phillies 18 -0.2
2017 Royce Lewis SS GCL Twins Twins
2018 Luis Garcia SS GCL Phillies Phillies
2019 Orelvis Martinez SS/3B GCL Blue Jays Blue Jays

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