May 10, 2010, 3:46 PM EST
Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis has an interesting article today ranking the 20 best draft prospects since he joined the magazine in 1989.
He has Stephen Strasburg as the best at-the-time-of-the-draft prospect during that span, with previous “best college pitcher of all time” Mark Prior at No. 2 and “the Strasburg of the pre-internet era” Ben McDonald at No. 3. That those two guys combined for just 120 career wins says a lot about the nature of pitching prospects and why Strasburg should probably wait a bit before writing his Hall of Fame speech.
According to Callis, the top position players since 1989 are Justin Upton, who was the No. 1 pick in 2005, and Alex Rodriguez, who was the No. 1 pick in 1993. In looking over Callis’ entire top 20, what’s most striking is that there are no fewer than a half-dozen pitchers who can be classified as busts, yet not a single position players really fits that description. Or at least not yet.
Callis ranks this year’s presumed top pick, Bryce Harper, as the 15th-best draft prospect since 1989. For all the questions surrounding Harper’s makeup, he’s a decent bet to have at least a solid career simply by virtue of not being a pitcher. If you’re into prospects and looking forward to next month’s draft, Callis’ whole list and his comments are definitely worth checking out.