Category Archives: Dodgers Prospects
I remember Henry Rodriguez being a fairly heralded Dodgers prospect back in the day; I know I was excited to see what he would do. In 1990, he had hit 28 home runs with a .291 average and .541 slugging at AA. Kind of odd, then, that he fell off in AAA in the PCL in 1991, slugging only .410. I think that kept him out of the majors until 1992, when he came up and had a 66 OPS+ in 53 games. In fact, he never really did much with the Dodgers at all. Of course, he was eventually dealt to the Expos for Joey Eischen and Roberto Kelly, the latter of whom I don’t remember on the Expos or the Dodgers. Rodriguez finally started living up to his potential in Montreal, and I have covered him on my Natstown blog.
I realize this is a fairly weak shot for a Gold Leaf card, but I give it a pass due to some first-base action, which doesn’t get enough play on cards in my opinion (former first baseman talking here). Funny that they list Rodriguez as an OF and show him as a 1B. Only three gold leaf cards to go!
Oh, the ballad of Darren Dreifort. It’s one I’m sure Dodgers fans would rather forget. Darren was one of those rare players who jumped straight to the majors, and looked pretty awful doing it at first. He sucked in 1994, then got injured and missed a lot of time before coming back as the Dodgers setup man. I was only vaguely aware of this at the time, as I was pretty much out of being a baseball fan at that point. I remember Dreifort as a highly-regarded college prospect, but “THE CONTRACT” is what I, and I imagine most baseball fans, remember him for. From Wikipedia:
A free agent after the 2000 season, Dreifort re-signed with the team, and received a five-year, $55 million contract in 2001, a large contract in spite of the fact that he had had a career record of 39-45, and a history of arm trouble. But, in 2001, with a limited free-agent pitching market, Dreifort’s agent Scott Boras sold the Dodgers on the right-hander’s future potential, hinting he might sign with a National League West rival. The Dodgers responded with the big contract.
Dreifort went on to get injured:
Dreifort’s health shut him down during the very first season of the deal; he was finished in early July when he was forced to undergo elbow reconstruction surgery that kept him out until the end of 2002. With continuing arm and shoulder trouble, plus additional knee and hip trouble, Dreifort actually pitched in only three of the five years on the deal, also missing the entire 2005 season and parts of two other seasons during the life of the deal.
What a life, huh?
This is the first in a hopefully ongoing series of autographs from the prospects of days old. I’ve collected a handful of such autos over the years, which is thankfully fairly easy since so few of these guys became huge stars.
Tom was a big prospect for the Dodgers back in the day; he was one of those storied 1990 Score draft pick cards, in fact. I never expected a huge amount from him, but he did seem like a decent burner on the bases, so I thought his cards might be worth a look. I particularly liked his 1991 Final Edition card, shown here:
I’m happy for Tom that he had a fruitful career, and I’m happy to have an auto from somewhere in that career. Hall of Famer? No way. Hall of Very Gooder? Nah. But a fun player to watch in his prime.
Early on prospectors knew that Billy Ashley was going to be a Dave Kingman/Mark McGwire type (this was pre-record McGwire, mind you), so when I got this card, I was excited, but a little reserved because I questioned whether he had the chops to stick at the Major League level. Oh, I had no doubt the guy would hit 30+ homers a year, but I expected Incaviglia-esque strikeout totals and batting averages. I hung on to the card for a bit, but wanted to play a wait-and-see on getting anything else for him.
Well, he surprised me. 30 homers a year? Yeah, he didn’t even manage 30 career homers. As predicted, his career BA was .233 with an absymal .307 OBP. 307! Yikes. I was reserved in my enthusiasm for the guy and he managed to underwhelm even those expectations. Good job, Billy!
Believe it or not, this was one of the key cards of the 1990 Upper Deck issue for me. I had been reading about Offerman for a couple of years at this point and never seen so much as a picture of him. To see this, this ethereal shot of him where his face was only partially visible…well, it was like something out of a dream. I had visions of this card being the next Griffey card, with Offerman having so much potential.
Of course, we know how it turned out. He was merely okay, and probably the capper to his career was his infamous attack on a minor league umpire. But I’ll always have the teenage memories of Offerman’s 1990 Upper Deck.