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MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 2001 Appalachian League



The Rookie-level Appalachian League seldom receives the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but it happened twice in three years from 1999 to 2001, when Josh Hamilton and Joe Mauer (No. 1) graced the league.

The Appy League class of 1999 featured Carl Crawford in addition to Hamilton, but the 2001 group outshines the Rays duo with Mauer and David Wright (No. 10), who both developed into franchise icons who remained with their drafting teams until retiring after the 2018 season.

2001 Appalachian League Top 10 Prospects

No.PlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
1Joe MauerCElizabethtonTwins7,96052.5
2Dan DenhamRHPBurlingtonIndians
3Jason Bourgeois2BPulaskiRangers7610.3
4J.D. MartinRHPBurlingtonIndians1250.6
5Bryan DigbyRHPDanvilleBraves
6Kris HonelRHPBristolWhite Sox
7Manny TejadaRHPElizabethtonTwins
8Rashad EldridgeOFBurlingtonIndians
9David Wright3BKingsportMets6,87252
10Jonny GomesOFPrincetonRays4,0097.3

Mauer hit .400 in his pro debut with Elizabethton, using an “effortless swing that sprays line drives up the middle and to the opposite field.” He showed an ability to “stay inside of the ball” and had an “excellent eye.” Mauer hit .306 in the big leagues and won three American League batting titles plus the 2009 MVP award. One manager summarized Mauer’s work behind the plate: “Defensively, everything is there.”

Wright hit .300 with four homers in 36 games in his pro debut, showing good “mobility” at third base, “above-average power” and an “outstanding work ethic.” One manager said of Wright: “He has a very good approach at the plate, especially with pitch recognition.” Wright delivered on his potential by compiling a 133 OPS+ in the big leagues that ranks eighth among third basemen since 1947.

Other great prospect years in Appalachian League history were 1982 (Dwight Gooden, Kirby Puckett and Stan Javier), 1984 (Greg Maddux, Jay Bell and Jeff Blauser), 1990 (Jim Thome, Mike Lieberthal and Tony Clark) and 1998 (CC Sabathia and Rafael Furcal).

Appalachian 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
1982Stan JavierOFJohnson CityCardinals5,75519.4
1983Glenn BraggsOFPaintsvilleBrewers2,6096.3
1984Shawn AbnerOFKingsportMets902-1.3
1985Gregg JefferiesSSKingsportMets6,07220.2
1986Derek ParksCElizabethtonTwins125-0.5
1987Willie BanksRHPElizabethtonTwins6101.6
1988Steve AveryLHPPulaskiBraves1,55518.4
1989Manny AlexanderSSBluefieldOrioles1,387-3.0
YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
1990Jim Thome3BBurlingtonIndians10,31369.1
1991Manny RamirezOFBurlingtonIndians9,77466.4
1992Al ShirleyOFKingsportMets
1993Damon HollinsOFDanvilleBraves762-0.5
1994Glenn WilliamsSSDanvilleBraves430.3
1995Chris FussellRHPBluefieldOrioles136-1.2
1996Kevin McGlinchyRHPDanvilleBraves791.7
1997Luis RiveraRHPDanvilleBraves70.5
1998Rafael Furcal2BDanvilleBraves7,23733.1
1999Josh HamiltonOFPrincetonRays4,35027.9
YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
2000Adam WainwrightRHPDanvilleBraves2,12241.4
2001Joe MauerCElizabethtonTwins7,96052.5
2002Jeff FrancoeurOFDanvilleBraves5,6615.8
2003Adam MillerRHPBurlingtonIndians
2004Mitch EinertsonOFGreenevilleAstros
2005Brandon SnyderC/3BBluefieldOrioles2110.2
2006Travis SniderOFPulaskiBlue Jays1,9713.3
2007Cole RohrboughLHPDanvilleBraves
2008Tim BeckhamSSPrincetonRays1,7514.3
2009Julio TeheranRHPDanvilleBraves1,37322.1
YearPlayerPosTeamOrgPA/IPWAR
2010Carlos PerezLHPDanvilleBraves8237.1
2011Miguel Sano3B/SSElizabethtonTwins2,1328.7
2012Byron BuxtonOFElizabethtonTwins1,4407.9
2013Amed RosarioSSKingsportMets1,4974.3
2014Ozzie AlbiesSSDanvilleBraves1,6769.9
2015Kyle TuckerOFGreenevilleAstros2410.1
2016Vladimir Guerrero Jr.3BBluefieldBlue Jays6110.2
2017Kevin MaitanSSDanvilleBraves
2018Wander FrancoSSPrincetonRays
2019Francisco AlvarezCKingsportMets
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