Category Archives: Failed Prospects

Failed Prospect: Danny Rueckel

2005 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror White

For the longest time, I thought I missed out on Danny Rueckel’s time in Washington before I realized that he just never made it, which, oddly enough, was when I covered him as one of the first players I on this blog. At the time, I wasn’t sure how many Rueckel cards were out there, but I stumbled across this one late last summer and never got around to covering it before I took my hiatus. I’m pretty sure he’s out of baseball now, as the last mention I can find of him anywhere is 2007, the same time his stats stop. It’s a bit surprising because he wasn’t a *bad* pitcher, just didn’t have the gaudy numbers of others. I wonder if he got injured?

Either way, even though this card isn’t worth a lot, I still like it. I’m a sucker for the Mirror White parallels and it’s neat to see an instance of those godawful Spring Training uniforms from that first spring. I’ll have to see if I can find some more Nats from this set.

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Failed Prospects: Levale Speigner

2007 Fleer Ultra

Levale Speigner was a 2006 Rule 5 draft selection from the Minnesota Twins at age 26 who broke Spring Training camp with the team in 2007. He spent some time in the bullpen that season, putting up a dismal 48 ERA+ before our friend Jim Bowden made a deal to keep him in the organization (for Darnell McDonald, oddly enough, who has finally gotten a proper shot at the majors this year) and demoted him. He spent the rest of the year at AAA Columbus, putting up a thoroughly unimpressive 4.96 ERA in 49 frames of work. It looked like he might have rebounded in 2008, though, as he put up a 1.82 ERA in 59.1 innings between AA and AAA, earning a recall to the big league club…

Where he promptly flopped, pitching even worse than his last appearance. That was pretty much it for him in the Nats organization. He was granted free agency, and has gone through the Marlins and Mariners organizations. He’s still pitching in Seattle’s farm system, but I doubt he ever tastes the majors again, especially at age 29.

This was one of the cards I received in my trade with The Middle Child, and I dig it, even if Speigner is (was) less than stellar. I have an affinity for most Fleer Ultra sets, and this one was no exception. I also really like the background going on here; it’s different for a baseball card, almost arty, and the colors work well.

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Failed Prospect: Josh Labandeira

2004 Absolute Memorabilia Auto

2004 Absolute Memorabilia Auto

Man, this guy was EVERYWHERE in sets in 2004. It seems to have been based on the strength of a .324/.386/.412 first part of 2003 with High-A Brevard County. But was it meant to be? The guy was a sixth-round pick, after all.

2004 Bazooka

2004 Bazooka

Advanced to AA in 2004, at the age of 25, he went .270/.357/.381 and earned a promotion to the majors.

2004 Bazooka Red

2004 Bazooka Red

In 14 PAs with Montreal, he had no hits and four strikeouts. He returned to AA in 1995 and hit 273/376/355 between AA and AAA. But no callup.

2004 Bowman

2004 Bowman

He never came back to the majors, and seems to be out of baseball now, but there is an interesting twist to this: he seems to have pitched in a few games in 2007 and 2008. He was decent in 2007, but blew it in 2008. Now, it was probably just blowout games, but a tantalizing thought: what if he’d pulled a reverse Ankiel?

2004 Cracker Jack

2004 Cracker Jack

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Failed Prospect: Esteban Beltre

1990 CMC/ProCards

1990 CMC/ProCards

Beltre was a 22-year old playing in AAA when this shot was taken. Not bad, huh? Well, not so fast. I’m honestly a little perplexed as to how he even made it AAA, much less the majors. His high-point BA at this point was .279, in 1988, in A ball. He had little power, and not much of a glove, either, from what I can surmise. Looking at his later stolen base numbers, I can only guess that speed was his asset, though those numbers aren’t out there for earlier in his career.

Anyway, Beltran never made it to the majors as an Expo. He left as a minor league free agent that winter, signed with Milwaukee, and was then dealt to the White Sox, where he made his major league debut in 1991. He never played a full season in the majors, yet somehow would manage to eke out 50 or so games a year until 1996, despite a pathetic bad. I don’t know. Maybe the guy had pictures of his GMs or something.

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Expos Auto: Everett Stull

1996 Best Autographs

1996 Best Autographs

I’ve covered Stull as a failed prospect before, so I just wanted to show his auto here.

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Failed Prospect: Jason Baker

1997 Bowman

1997 Bowman

Baker was never much of a prospect, honestly – it seems he only warranted this card when he had a 9-7 record with a 2.81 ERA at Single-A Delmarva. He also jumped from 72 IP to 160 IP that year, and was awful thereafter. I’m guessing an injury was to blame. Still, he never made the majors. Poor guy. Another victim of overuse.

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Failed Prospect: Josh Girdley

Girdley appears to have been one of those first-round draft picks that just never panned out; he was apparently a signability pick who was further limited by injury. He was out of baseball by 2004, at age 23, leaving with a lousy 7-15 minor league record and 4.10 career ERA, never advancing past High A.

1999 Bowman

1999 Bowman

1999 Topps Traded

1999 Topps Traded

1999 Topps Traded Chrome

1999 Topps Traded Chrome

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Failed Prospect: Josh McKinley

1999 Topps Traded
1999 Topps Traded

We haven’t done one of these in awhile, so why not? 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.

He never made the majors, and was retired by age 24. So, yeah, a wasted pick. Oh, and I also have the chrome version of this card:

McKinley Chrome

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Failed Prospect: Shane Andrews

Okay, so this isn’t the first time I’ve featured Mr. Andrews on this site, but I wanted to go through his cards from my collection:

1992 Upper Deck Minors

1992 Upper Deck Minors

1993 Bowman

1993 Bowman

 

1993 Collectors Choice

1993 Collectors Choice

1996 Pinnacle

1996 Pinnacle

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Failed Prospect #19: Dave Wainhouse

Wainhouse

Dave Wainhouse
1992 Stadium Club #885
Position: P
Bio/Summary:
Wainhouse was one of those weird rookies that showed up in 1989 Bowman and confused the hell out of me (along with Johnny Ard and Royce Clayton, among others). I had no idea what to make of him, as he never really seemed to be a viable prospect, and his time in the majors showed it: he had a career 7.37 ERA with a 2-3 record, 1.819 WHIP, and 66 ERA+. Yiiiick.
How Did I Get It?: Bought a box of Series 3 1992 Stadium Club.
Did You Know?: He was the first Canadian ever selected in the first round.
Rating: 5/10 – 1992 Stadium Club is weird; some of the photography is good, but it all feels so dark. I don’t know if it was the process or what – and of course this is just a Spring Training shot, so it knocks it down a notch.

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