As Eric pointed out in his post last night in regards to the 2003 Eastern League All Star Game’s South Division roster, not many of the players went on to great – or even average – careers.
As I did with my post yesterday regarding the North Division roster, I am going to take a quick look at a few of the players who basically fell off the map after their All-Star appearances.
Scott Ackerman (Expos) was a defensive-minded catcher who found out pretty quickly that he could not hit pitching above Single-A baseball. Oddly, be made the All-Star team in his one and only season above A-ball despite hitting just .223/.263/.360 on the year with 17 walks in 292 at-bats.
Josh McKinley (Expos) was considered a bit of a reach as the 11th overall pick out of a Pennsylvania high school in the 1998 draft. He had just one OK offensive season in the minors (2003 with a line of .288/.367/.467 ). McKinley tried to extend his playing career by playing a multitude of positions but he spent just one more season in the minors – at Double-A split between the Montreal and Texas organizations – before hanging it up for good due to injury.
Juan Richardson (Phillies) was once considered a promising, “toolsy” prospect, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic. The third baseman never fully embraced the “patient approach” and was mostly an all-or-nothing type player who came up with nothing.
Jeff Inglin (Phillies) was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round of the 1996 draft out of USC. Oddly, he put up solid power, patience, speed numbers, with decent batting averages, for seven seasons with the Chicago organization but did not sniff the Majors. He drove in 100 runs or more twice, stole 30 bases once and hit 24 homers with 72 walks in Double-A at the age of 23. He signed with the Phillies organization as a minor league free agent and made the Double-A All-Star team at the age of 27 after spending parts of three seasons in Triple-A. Inglin hung around Double-A for two more seasons with two other organizations and then walked away from his playing career.
Jeremy Ware (Expos) was a former Canadian Olympian who was never able to hit for a high average in the minor leagues, due in part to a lack of patience at the plate. He eventually found his way to independent league baseball. His Double-A All-Star appearance came in his fifth season of Double-A at the age of 27.
Josh Karp (Expos)… Are you noticing a theme here? No. 1, there were a lot of Expos prospects in this All-Star game; and No. 2, a lot of them turned out to be failed prospects. Karp was the sixth overall selection of the 2001 draft out of UCLA but had his pro career ruined by injuries. It also did not help that he was over-hyped coming out of his junior season of college.
Homero Rivera (Tigers) was another selection to the All-Star squad that left you wondering: “What were they thinking?” The Dominican southpaw had a K/9 rate of just 6.65 in his career as a middle reliever. In 2003, his last full season in the minors, Rivera vultured 13 wins in 72.2 innings but allowed 76 hits and posted a K/9 rate of just 4.46.
We all know predicting the next great player is no easy task for fans, writers and analysts, and it certainly is not any easier for the baseball minds that select minor league All-Star teams.
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