This is an idea that’s been kicking around in the back of my head for awhile, and, as I’ve now reached the 500th post, I thought it was time to do something special.
My plan is to separate the two eras, as it wasn’t fair to either team to lump them together. Entry 1 is the Expos; Entry 2 the Nationals; Entry 3 a Battle Royale determining who is the “better” (worse) failed prospect. When that’s done, I’m going to try to acquire some of these key rookie cards that I don’t already have.
The guidelines for this battle:
- Player must have either been a hyped player or selected in the first three rounds.
- Not going for a full 25-man staff. Five starting pitchers, but max three relievers. They’re already kind of failed prospects in some respect as most are converted starters.
- I don’t have to own the key cards (yet). In fact, some may not be available. But I will make an effort to obtain them.
Without further ado…
- 1B: Thomas Pittman – A Supplemental first rounder in 1997, Pittman was a high school first baseman who started with a .152/.264/.196 line in rookie ball and never progressed past High A. His career ended in 2001 with a .244/.301/.373 line. Yuck. Key Card: 1996 Roox Prep Stars. I was unable to find a picture of Pittman, so here’s a sample Roox Prep Star card.
- 2B: Henry Mateo – He was seen as the heir apparent at 2B in Montreal behind Jose Vidro. I don’t think he was ever seen as a phenom or anything like that, but the thought was that he would be a serviceable middle infield guy, and it didn’t pan out. Not a giant disappointment like some of these other guys, just a mild blip. Key Card: 2004 Upper Deck pro Sigs auto
- SS: Hiram Bocachica – Boy, did this guy have high hopes behind him. I’ve already covered him. Key Card: 1997 Bowman Chrome.
- 3B: Boi Rodriguez – My description of Rodriguez when I reviewed 1990 Best: “Boi Rodriguez was someone who could do a convincing impersonation of a prospect, but never really hit enough to get a cup of coffee in the majors. It also didn’t help that as a corner infielder he never slugged above .446 in full-time action.” Key Card: going with the 1990 Best card here.
- C: Nelson Santovenia – Hard to believe, but this guy was a touted prospect at one point. I always thought of him as a guy who took up space in my junk wax packs, but he was a highly drafted catcher that just never lived up to the space Gary Carter left. Key Card: 1991 Topps Desert Shield
- OF: Glenn Murray – Another guy I’ve already talked about. Key Card: 1995 Signature Rookies Auto
- OF: Chris Schwab – Chris was the very first failed prospect covered on NatsTown! You can view his story here. Key Card: 1994 Bowman
- OF: Josh McKinley – Another one I’ve already covered: “McKinley was the Expos’ first choice in the 1998 draft, so big things were expected of the guy. It seems he was a pretty well-regarded amateur player who played with Austin Kearns and Michael Cuddyer in the 1997 World Junior Championships. Unfortunately, it seems that he couldn’t hit in the minors. At all. His highest OPS was a SLG-heavy .834 in 2003.” Key Card: 2004-05 USA Baseball National Team Alumni Sig
- SP: Clint Everts –Everts was picked in the 2002 draft ahead of Prince Fielder, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Zack Grienke, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain, just to name a few. To this day he has not made the major leagues. He’s still 25, so I’m sure it will happen eventually, but he amply demonstrates the risks of picking a high school pitcher so high. Key Card – 2003 Topps Blue Chips Autographs
- SP: Tavo Alvarez – Already covered him as Failed Prospect #6. Key card- Tough choice. Nothing really stands out; ended up going with his 1993 Fleer Ultra.
- SP: BJ Wallace – Failed Prospect #17. Not sure if he was a bad choice or bad luck. Key Card- 1993 Bowman
- SP: Josh Girdley – The failed prospect so nice, I’ve featured him twice, once as a Failed Prospect, and once as an autograph. Key Card – 1999 Topps Traded Autograph
- RP: Don Levinski – I never even realized Don was an Expos prospect; I remember him as an Orioles relief prospect in 2004, but sure enough, he was a 2001 second-rounder who got dealt first to the Marlins, then the Orioles. I only ever had one card of him, but I saw him pitch for Frederick in 2004 during what would be the beginning of the end of his career. Key Card – 2004 Bowman’s Best auto
- RP: Nate Minchey – Failed Prospect #11. He did at least make the majors for awhile, I suppose. Key card – 1988 O-Pee-Chee Draft
- 1B – Thomas Pittman (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- 2B- Henry Mateo (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: -0.7
- SS- Hiram Bocachica (Made majors as Dodger) Career WAR: -1.1
- 3B – Boi Rodriguez (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- C – Nelson Santovenia (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: 0.8
- OF – Glenn Murray (Made majors as Phillie) Career WAR: -0.6
- OF – Chris Schwab (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- OF – Josh McKinley (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- SP – Clint Everts (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- SP – Tavo Alvarez (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: -0.3
- SP – BJ Wallace (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- SP – Josh Girdley (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- RP – Don Levinski (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
- RP – Nate Minchey (Made majors as Red Sox) Career WAR: -1.0
That’s right, Nelson Santovenia is the MVP of this sad squad. We’ll look at the Nationals soon.