Looking Back at the Future

March 30, 2002 — Alfredo Amezaga asked me to take a photo of him with Adam Kennedy when he was at Angel Stadium to receive an award before an exhibition game.

November is the time of year when I write the annual FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects list. This year’s report should be on-line by the end of the month, unless the Angels do something foolish like trade Brandon Wood and Nick Adenhart to Florida in a deal for Miguel Cabrera, in which case I start from scratch …

While you’re waiting for the report (or for your nails to dry), I thought you might like to look at past years’ reports:

I think the lists for the most part have withstood the test of time, when you take context into consideration. As I wrote every year, the reports were only a snapshot in time. No one can foresee an unpredictable injury, or series of injuries. Brian Specht, for example, was considered a top prospect but injuries slowly robbed him of his talent. Dallas McPherson’s back injuries haven’t finished him yet, but how many of us would go through all he’s suffered to keep chasing that dream?

It’s also important to realize that a list of prospects is not a list of future major leaguers; an organization thin in prospects may not have any real future big leaguers, but the list just projects who are the ten best talents. So my reports in the early years, written when the organization’s talent depth was rather thin, may list guys who never amounted to anything.

I once asked Tom Kotchman how long it would take to judge a draft. He said you start to get an idea after three years, but you may have to go out as far as five or seven years, if not longer. Looking at these reports, you realize the jury is still out on decisions made long ago. We’re still waiting to see whether Jeff Mathis fulfills his potential, and he was drafted in June 2001.

And then there are guys you’ve forgotten long ago who are still playing professionally. I had infielder Alfredo Amezaga #10 on the 2001 list, projecting him as a utility player. Alfredo is now an infelder/outfielder for the Florida Marlins, sorta their version of Chone Figgins, although his AVG/OBP/SLG in 2007 of .263/.324/.358 won’t make anyone forget A-Rod.

Anyway, enjoy a romp through the past, and I’ll get to work on the future.

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