Bill James wrote a piece the other day about the possible difference between pitching and hitting prospects … and it reminded me of this project I've wanted to do for some time. I wanted to go back through Baseball America's excellent prospect handbooks and see how the best prospects turned out. How often do they succeed? How often do they fail? What is the biggest reason for failure? (I'd guess injury). What is the most promising sign for success? How often do "toolsy" players make it? How about "skilled" players?
Well, I haven't had time to dive into that the way I would like. But I did try something. I have all the Baseball America Prospect Handbooks going back to 2003 (with 2001 and 2002 on order). I picked a year at random -- I chose 2006 -- and decided to look at BA's top prospects for each team, who in retrospect was the team's best prospect, what BA said about the player and, finally, what happened.