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MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 2000 Midwest League

Through the years the low Class A Midwest League has been the starting point in full-season ball for the likes of Greg Maddux and Rafael Palmeiro (1985), Larry Walker (1986), Alex Rodriguez and Billy Wagner (1994), Miguel Cabrera (2001), Clayton Kershaw (2007) and Mike Trout (2010).

The MWL class of 2017 is shaping up to be historic, too, headed by Fernando Tatis Jr., Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Yordan Alvarez.

But in 2000 the Midwest League was headlined by two future greats—No. 5 prospect Albert Pujols and No. 7 Jake Peavy—whose greatness snuck up on people because they were late-round draft picks.

2000 Midwest League Top 10 Prospects

1Josh BeckettRHPKane CountyMarlins2,05137.2
2Juan CruzRHPLansingCubs6554.4
3Chris SnellingOFWisconsinMariners2730.3
4Austin KearnsOFDaytonReds4,17916.7
5Albert Pujols3BPeoriaCardinals12,38587.8
6Ramon SantiagoSSWest MichiganTigers2,7945.5
7Jake PeavyRHPFort WaynePadres2,37743.7
8Adam DunnOFDaytonReds8,32825.6
9Gerik BaxterRHPFort WaynePadres
10Mike NanniniRHPMichiganAstros

Pujols was drafted in the 13th round in 1999 but signed late and made his pro debut in the 2000 MWL. He hit .324 with 17 homers to win league MVP honors and finished the year with Memphis in the Triple-A World Series. “He has power, he can hit and he’s a really good third baseman,” one manager said. “He has a chance to get to the big leagues quickly.”

Josh Beckett (No. 1) was the second overall pick in 1999 but pitched just 59 innings in the MWL between bouts of shoulder tendinitis. When healthy he threw a “consistent 95-96 mph” and his “hard curveball was an out pitch.”

Peavy came out firing a “fastball in the mid 90s to go with a good breaking ball.” He tied for the MWL lead with 164 strikeouts on his way to a Cy Young Award future in the big leagues.

Dayton teammates Adam Dunn (No. 8) and Austin Kearns (No. 4) were 1998 draft picks who rose through the Reds’ system together. Kearns led the MWL with 27 homers and offered “all five tools,” while Dunn had “prodigious power and a discriminating eye” and would go on to mash 462 big league homers.

Midwest 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.

1981Edwin NunezRHPWausauMariners6521.2
1982Mark GrantRHPClintonGiants6391.0
1983Shawon DunstonSSQuad CitiesCubs6,2767.4
1984Kurt StillwellSSCedar RapidsReds3,4781.2
1985B.J. SurhoffCBeloitBrewers9,10631.4
1986Steve GasserRHPKenoshaTwins
1987Derek ParksCKenoshaTwins125-0.5
1988Tom GordonRHPAppletonRoyals2,10832.8
1989Tom Redington3BBurlingtonBraves
1990Reggie SandersOFCedar RapidsReds7,04339.7
1991Salomon TorresRHPClintonGiants8476.4
1992Dmitri Young3BSpringfieldCardinals5,25312.5
1993Charles JohnsonCKane CountyMarlins4,38625.7
1994Alex RodriguezSSAppletonMariners12,207113.7
1995Javier ValentinCFort WayneTwins1,6632.9
1996Valerio de los SantosLHPBeloitBrewers2560.3
1997Francisco CorderoRHPWest MichiganTigers82516.3
1998Pablo OzunaSSPeoriaCardinals728-1.4
1999Corey PattersonOFLansingCubs4,49910.9
2000Josh BeckettRHPKane CountyMarlins2,05137.2
2001Adrian Gonzalez1BKane CountyMarlins8,04636.4
2002Joe MauerCQuad CityTwins7,96052.5
2003Prince Fielder1BBeloitBrewers6,85327.5
2004Brian Dopirak1BLansingCubs
2005Carlos GonzalezOFSouth BendD-backs5,55125.6
2006Jay BruceOFDaytonReds6,55520.5
2007Clayton KershawLHPGreat LakesDodgers2,29973.6
2008Mike Moustakas3B/SSBurlingtonRoyals4,57116.3
2009Aaron HicksOFBeloitTwins2,57012.2
2010Mike TroutOFCedar RapidsAngels5,37274.4
2011Taijuan WalkerRHPClintonMariners5555.9
2012Javier BaezSSPeoriaCubs2,57014.1
2013Byron BuxtonOFCedar RapidsTwins1,4407.9
2014Alex ReyesRHPPeoriaCardinals562.1
2015Gleyber TorresSSSouth BendCubs1,1795.5
2016Nick Senzel3BDaytonReds4671.0
2017Vladimir Guerrero Jr.3BLansingBlue Jays6110.2
2018Royce LewisSSCedar RapidsTwins
2019Wander FrancoSSBowling GreenRays

Albert Pujols And Yadier Molina (Photo By Sean M. Haffey Getty Images)

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