MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 2002 New York-Penn League

While a number of excellent players have made stops in the short-season New York-Penn League over the years, it being situated between Rookie ball and Class A means that it misses most premium high school draft picks in their debut years and even some of the top college players who quickly head to low Class A.

Some of the notable NYPL prospect classes include Marquis Grissom, Luis Gonzalez and Woody Williams in 1988; and Ben Zobrist and Anibal Sanchez in 2004. Carlos Delgado played in the league in 1990 and Chase Utley in 2000.

The 2002 edition featured future multi-time all-stars in tooled-up shortstop Hanley Ramirez (No. 1) and slugging outfielder Curtis Granderson (No. 10).

2002 New York-Penn League Top 10 Prospects

No Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
1 Hanley Ramirez SS Lowell Red Sox 7,127 41.5
2 Brandon League RHP Auburn Blue Jays 532 3.0
3 Mike Hinckley LHP Vermont Nationals 23 0.8
4 Bronson Sardinha OF Staten Island Yankees 12 -0.1
5 Russ Adams SS Auburn Blue Jays 993 -0.7
6 Chien-Ming Wang RHP Staten Island Yankees 846 11.6
7 D.J. Hanson RHP Auburn Blue Jays
8 Alfredo Simon RHP Batavia Phillies 775 2.7
9 Alex Hart RHP Williamsport Pirates
10 Curtis Granderson OF Oneonta Tigers 8,306 47.6

Ramirez showed all the attributes of a franchise shortstop at an early age, including “tremendous bat speed,” “five-tool ability” and “natural athleticism.” His manager said it best: “He’s got a feel for the game you can’t teach.”

Granderson appeared to be a future fourth outfielder in his pro debut with Oneonta, but he far outpaced that with 344 big league home runs. “He has a great feel for the strike zone and he puts the ball in play. He’s not afraid to hit deep in counts,” one manager noted.

Chien-Ming Wang (No. 6) remains the standard bearer among Taiwanese players signed as amateurs. As a 22-year-old in the NYPL he was already showing “90-95 mph” heat, with his manager saying that “he’s holding his velocity, and the sharpness of the breaking ball and splitter are there.”

New York-Penn 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 John Elway OF Oneonta Yankees
1983 Stan Jefferson OF Little Falls Mets 920 -0.5
1984 Jay Buhner OF Watertown Pirates 5,927 22.3
1985 Bobby Thigpen RHP Niagara Falls White Sox 569 9.9
1986 Luis Alicea 2B Erie Cardinals 4,614 9.6
1987 Alex Sanchez RHP St. Catharines Blue Jays 12 -0.4
1988 Marquis Grissom OF Jamestown Expos 8,959 26.4
1989 Sherman Obando OF Oneonta Yankees 394 -0.8
Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
1990 Robert Eenhoorn SS Oneonta Yankees 74 0.0
1991 Frankie Rodriguez SS Elmira Red Sox 654 1.0
1992 Mike Gulan 3B Hamilton Cardinals 18 -0.3
1993 Ruben Rivera OF Oneonta Yankees 1,818 4.9
1994 Jay Payton OF Pittsfield Mets 4,490 12.0
1995 Chad Hermansen SS Erie Pirates 541 -2.5
1996 Aramis Ramirez 3B Erie Pirates 8,986 38.4
1997 Matt White RHP Hudson Valley Rays 10 -0.8
1998 Carlos Duncan 3B Batavia Phillies  —
1999 Alex Graman LHP Staten Island Yankees 6 -0.7
Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
2000 Wilson Betemit SS Jamestown Braves 2,335 3.0
2001 John Van Benschoten RHP Williamsport Pirates 90 -3.3
2002 Hanley Ramirez SS Lowell Red Sox 7,127 41.5
2003 Nick Markakis OF Aberdeen Orioles 9,218 29.5
2004 Ambiorix Concepcion OF Brooklyn Mets  —
2005 Nolan Reimold OF Aberdeen Orioles 1,556 1.6
2006 Jeremy Hellickson RHP Hudson Valley Rays 1,269 15.4
2007 Brett Cecil LHP Auburn Blue Jays 756 6.6
2008 Jason Castro C Tri-City Astros 3,067 15.0
2009 Ryan Westmoreland OF Lowell Red Sox  —
Year Player Pos Team Org PA/IP WAR
2010 Carlos Perez C Auburn Blue Jays 670 -0.5
2011 Mason Williams OF Staten Island Yankees 234 0.0
2012 Taylor Guerrieri RHP Hudson Valley Rays 36 -0.2
2013 Harold Ramirez OF Jamestown Pirates 454 0.3
2014 Marcos Molina RHP Brooklyn Mets  —
2015 Andrew Benintendi OF Lowell Red Sox 2,104 8.5
2016 A.J. Puk LHP Vermont Athletics 11 0.3
2017 Brendan McKay LHP/1B Hudson Valley Rays 49 0.0
2018 Gilberto Celestino OF Tri-City Astros  —
2019 Adley Rutschman C Aberdeen Orioles  —

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