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MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 2015 International League

No minor league has seen its alumni produce more WAR in the big leagues or accumulate more plate appearances or innings than the Triple-A International League. While the league counts 14 members today, it was an eight- or 10-team league in the 1980s and ’90s until the dissolution of the American Association after the 1997 season.

Cal Ripken Jr. ranked as the IL’s first ever No. 1 prospect for BA in 1981. Following him as IL top 10 prospects were fellow Hall of Famers John Smoltz (1988), Mike Mussina (1991), Chipper Jones and Jim Thome (1993), Derek Jeter (1995) and Roy Halladay (1997 and ’98).

Francisco Lindor (No. 1) headlined the IL class of 2015 and could one day join the others in the Hall of Fame. The IL that season also featured future impact big leaguers Trea Turner (No. 4) and Aaron Judge (No. 10), along with power arms Luis Severino (No. 2), Eduardo Rodriguez (No. 5) and Jose Berrios (No. 9), who are still building toward their peak years.

2015 International League Top 10 Prospects

1Francisco LindorSSColumbusIndians3,49328.9
2Luis SeverinoRHPScranton/WBYankees53012.1
3Maikel Franco3BLehigh ValleyPhillies2,7674.6
4Trea TurnerSSSyracuseNationals2,36616.9
5Eduardo RodriguezLHPPawtucketRed Sox69913.5
6Greg Bird1BScranton/WBYankees7000.8
7Daniel NorrisLHPBuffaloBlue Jays4525.3
8Henry OwensLHPPawtucketRed Sox270.5
9Jose BerriosRHPRochesterTwins65510.4
10Aaron JudgeOFScranton/WBYankees1,81718.6

The Indians assigned Lindor to Columbus to “limit his defensive lapses” and “impact the ball better from the left side.” Mission accomplished. He is a generational shortstop who has won two Gold Gloves and has topped 30 homers three times in his young career.

Turner faced questions about his impact potential in terms of power and arm strength but has satisfactorily answered them. He was projected to develop power as he “fills out a still-lanky frame,” but his “blazing speed” marked him as a “threat on the basepaths and to beat out infield hits.”

Judge used a “gap-to-gap approach with bat speed and natural strength to drive the ball,” which is the perfect approach for a righthanded slugger at Yankee Stadium. He earned comps with future Yankees teammate Giancarlo Stanton for his power to all fields.

International 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.

1981Cal Ripken Jr.3BRochesterOrioles12,88392.5
1982Steve Balboni (tie)1BColumbusYankees3,4402.8
1982Tony Fernandez (tie)SSSyracuseBlue Jays8,79343.5
1983Gerald Perry1BRichmondBraves3,5270.5
1984Scott BradleyCColumbusYankees1,801-1.5
1985Dan PasquaOFColumbusYankees3,00011.7
1986Randy MyersLHPTidewaterMets88518.2
1987Kevin ElsterSSTidewaterMets3,2256.1
1988John SmoltzRHPRichmondBraves3,47379.6
1989Glenallen HillOFSyracuseBlue Jays4,03310.6
1990Mark WhitenOFSyracuseBlue Jays3,52313.1
1991Derek BellOFSyracuseBlue Jays5,06813.0
1992Sam MilitelloRHPColumbusYankees691.0
1993Jim Thome3BCharlotteIndians10,31369.1
1994Shawn GreenOFSyracuseBlue Jays7,96329.9
1995Paul WilsonRHPNorfolkMets9425.2
1996Nomar GarciaparraSSPawtucketRed Sox6,11641.5
1997Carl PavanoRHPPawtucketRed Sox1,78919.1
1998Alex GonzalezSSCharlotteMarlins5,52811.3
1999Vernon WellsOFSyracuseBlue Jays7,21225.1
2000Jon GarlandRHPCharlotteWhite Sox2,15126.8
2001Adam DunnOFLouisvilleReds8,32825.6
2002Carl CrawfordOFDurhamRays7,17841.5
2003Jose ReyesSSNorfolkMets8,24043.8
2004B.J. UptonSSDurhamRays5,85824.4
2005Delmon YoungOFDurhamRays4,371-1.3
2006Delmon YoungOFDurhamRays4,371-1.3
2007Jay BruceOFLouisvilleReds6,55520.5
2008Jay BruceOFLouisvilleReds6,55520.5
2009Matt WietersCNorfolkOrioles4,40017.2
2010Carlos SantanaCColumbusIndians6,25521.4
2011Matt MooreLHPDurhamRays8956.4
2012Matt HarveyRHPBuffaloMets83011.2
2013Xander BogaertsSSPawtucketRed Sox4,02525.2
2014Gregory PolancoOFIndianapolisPirates2,7137.3
2015Francisco LindorSSColumbusIndians3,35527.4
2016Trea TurnerSSSyracuseNationals2,22014.5
2017Ronald Acuna Jr.OFGwinnettBraves1,2809.9
2018Eloy JimenezOFCharlotteWhite Sox6002.4
2019Luis RobertOFCharlotteWhite Sox951.0
Yankees (1)

MLB Memorial Day Podcast: Taking Stock At The Quarter Mark Of The Season

Kyle Glaser and Geoff Pontes break down where things stand in MLB on Memorial Day, including what to make of the hot starts for the Yankees, Mets and Dodgers.

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