By: Noah Wright
Not every single top 100 prospect is going to pan out. Sometimes, they flame out early on in their career. Other times, they become late bloomers and decide to breakout a few years into their career. But regardless, some “busted prospects” still breakout. Here are 5 prospects who were considered busts, but are breaking out in 2019.
- Hunter Dozier:
Back in the mid-2010’s, Hunter Dozier looked like the Royals future at third base. He had shown he had power and a good fielding prowess. Plus, he wasn’t a horrible runner either. But after 2016 when he made his debut, Dozier faced injuries, and wasn’t performing all that well when he was healthy. However, Dozier finally got his chance in 2019. After the departures of Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas, Dozier was facing regular playing time. Through his first 60 PA’s, Dozier has hit an impressive .321/.413/.620 with 9 long balls and 171 wRC+. Defensively, Dozier isn’t the caliber of Matt Chapman, but he’s no Miguel Andujar. He is literally sitting at 0 DRS, 0 dWAR, with a .5 UZR at third base.
- Byron Buxton:
In 2015, Buxton was the future of the Twins. He had speed, could drive the gap, had an amazing glove and arm, and even had shown some power potential. He was the #1 prospect in 2015, and entered 2016 as a top rated prospect. However, aside from a decent 2nd half in 2017, Buxton’s bat has never came around. Although he does have a 4.8 career dWAR and 38 DRS, in center field, and 54 career stolen bases, Buxton batted just .230/.285/.387 between 2015 and 2018. This year however, Byron has busted through with a .279/.338/.484 line, and 115 wRC+ in 133 PA’s, all while having an elite glove in CF.
- Yoan Moncada:
It’s kind of hard to call Moncada a bust, after only 1 full MLB season, but he was borderline entering 2019. Moncada was the #1 prospect after Buxton, and for a good reason. The infielder had shown potential of a 5 tool player. He was such a high ranking prospect, he was the centerpiece that sent Chris Sale to Boston. But Moncada never played super well when given the opportunity. Last season, Moncada’s first full attempt at regular MLB playing time, the second baseman slashed just .235/.315/.400 with 17 home runs and 12 SBS in 650 PA’s. His overall output, both offensively (97 wRC+) and defensively (.1 dWAR), was average. The now third baseman for the Chicago White Sox started the year off strong. Moncada has a .289/.349/.528 slash through 175 PA’s, along with 134 wRC+, and 7 long balls. At third base, Moncada has been average with the glove, having -1 DRS, -3.2 UZR, and 0.0 dWAR.
- Lucas Giolito:
Giolito, like his teammate Moncada, really has had only 1 bad full season in the majors. Regardless, he was pretty much borderline bust entering 2019. Though the former National and White Sox top prospect (centerpiece of Adam Eaton trade) seems to be showing what he can truly do in the MLB. Giolito is off to a strong 38 inning start, having a 3.55 ERA, 3.05 FIP, and 1.184 WHIP. Giolito had struggled with walks in the past, but is now limiting them to just 3.5 per 9. Another thing he is limiting is home runs (.7 per 9). With his increased control number, Giolito’s K/9 has risen to 10.9, a whole 4.1 more K’s per 9 than his previous high.
- Dan Vogelbach:
Although Vogelbach was never a high ranking top 100 guy like some busted prospects were, he was once a top slugger in the Cubs organization. He was the centerpiece in the deal that sent Mike Montgomery to the Cubs, but never got regular at bats because he was always blocked at either first base or DH. Even then, he never did great when he did play. But after the departure of Nelson Cruz, Vogelbach found a way for regular playing time. In 141 plate appearances, Vogelbach has batted a strong .254/.390/.602. He’s blasted 11 home runs, and has a 166 wRC+. Even though he is a big slugger, he’s not a 3 true outcomes guy. He is only striking out 24.1% of the time. Plus, his 18.4% walk % is the third highest in the MLB.
- Christian Walker:
Christian Walker’s success story is pretty similar to Vogelbach. Never a high ranking guy, but always kept up in organizational rankings, but always blocked by somebody. Walker is batting a robust .286/.360/.565 through 164 PA’s. along with 8 long balls and a 138 OPS+. Walker isn’t much of a defender at first base, but he’s been worth 1 DRS this season, so he’s holding his own.