Cards On The Table: The "Rated Rookies"


Have you ever gone through your old Donruss cards from the late ’80s-early ’90s and taken a look at some of the selections the company made for their “Rated Rookies” cards?

Some of them, they nailed. Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Carter, Mark McGwire, all were “Rated Rookies” by the Donruss company, and for good reason.

Those dudes turned out to be good, even if half of them were on the juice while doing it.

Some were absolute garbage. Guess which direction most of the Phillies’ selections went?

Some were good calls…

Some were not…

Let’s start with the good.

Rolen was obviously a wise choice. The 1997 NL Rookie of the Year has had a borderline Hall of Fame career for the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds, and there is speculation he may be a possible third base target for the Phils this offseason. And while that may be a nice bit of nostalgia, it’s probably not the right move for the franchise at the moment.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards
1996 21 PHI NL 37 146 130 10 33 7 0 4 18 0 2 13 27 .254 .322 .400 .722 90
1997 22 PHI NL 156 657 561 93 159 35 3 21 92 16 6 76 138 .283 .377 .469 .846 121 RoY-1
1998 23 PHI NL 160 711 601 120 174 45 4 31 110 14 7 93 141 .290 .391 .532 .923 139 MVP-20,GG
1999 24 PHI NL 112 497 421 74 113 28 1 26 77 12 2 67 114 .268 .368 .525 .893 120
2000 25 PHI NL 128 541 483 88 144 32 6 26 89 8 1 51 99 .298 .370 .551 .920 129 GG
2001 26 PHI NL 151 653 554 96 160 39 1 25 107 16 5 74 127 .289 .378 .498 .876 127 MVP-24,GG
2002 27 TOT NL 155 667 580 89 154 29 8 31 110 8 4 72 102 .266 .357 .503 .860 129 AS,GG,SS
2002 27 PHI NL 100 438 375 52 97 21 4 17 66 5 2 52 68 .259 .358 .472 .830 123
2002 27 STL NL 55 229 205 37 57 8 4 14 44 3 2 20 34 .278 .354 .561 .915 139
2003 28 STL NL 154 657 559 98 160 49 1 28 104 13 3 82 104 .286 .382 .528 .910 138 AS,GG
2004 29 STL NL 142 593 500 109 157 32 4 34 124 4 3 72 92 .314 .409 .598 1.007 158 AS,MVP-4,GG
2005 30 STL NL 56 223 196 28 46 12 1 5 28 1 2 25 28 .235 .323 .383 .706 84 AS
2006 31 STL NL 142 594 521 94 154 48 1 22 95 7 4 56 69 .296 .369 .518 .887 126 AS,GG
2007 32 STL NL 112 441 392 55 104 24 2 8 58 5 3 37 56 .265 .331 .398 .729 89
2008 33 TOR AL 115 467 408 58 107 30 3 11 50 5 0 46 71 .262 .349 .431 .780 109
2009 34 TOT MLB 128 535 475 76 145 36 1 11 67 5 4 45 62 .305 .368 .455 .823 116
2009 34 TOR AL 88 373 338 52 108 29 0 8 43 4 2 26 42 .320 .370 .476 .846 121
2009 34 CIN NL 40 162 137 24 37 7 1 3 24 1 2 19 20 .270 .364 .401 .766 103
2010 35 CIN NL 133 537 471 66 134 34 3 20 83 1 2 50 82 .285 .358 .497 .854 126 AS,MVP-14,GG
2011 36 CIN NL 65 269 252 31 61 20 2 5 36 1 0 10 36 .242 .279 .397 .676 81 AS
2012 37 CIN NL 92 330 294 26 72 17 2 8 39 2 1 30 62 .245 .318 .398 .716 88
17 Yrs 2038 8518 7398 1211 2077 517 43 316 1287 118 49 899 1410 .281 .364 .490 .855 122
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards
PHI (7 yrs) 844 3643 3125 533 880 207 19 150 559 71 25 426 714 .282 .373 .504 .877 126
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Still, Rolen was one of the few sure-fire slam dunks Donruss had for the Phils back in the late ’80s and early-to-mid ’90s, so it’s good they were able to hit on this one.

Probably the next best Phils prospect to be given “Rated Rookie” status was second baseman Mickey Morandini. That should give you some idea of the direction in which we’re headed here.

Morandini had a nice Major League career, playing 11 seasons with the Phillies, Cubs and Blue Jays, including as a member of the 1993 NL Champions. He was one half of an extremely solid platoon with Mariano Duncan, made an All-Star team in 1995, and finished 24th in the NL MVP voting for the Cubs in 1998.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards
1990 24 PHI NL 25 87 79 9 19 4 0 1 3 3 0 6 19 .241 .294 .329 .623 73
1991 25 PHI NL 98 364 325 38 81 11 4 1 20 13 2 29 45 .249 .313 .317 .630 79
1992 26 PHI NL 127 455 422 47 112 8 8 3 30 8 3 25 64 .265 .305 .344 .649 84
1993 27 PHI NL 120 470 425 57 105 19 9 3 33 13 2 34 73 .247 .309 .355 .664 79
1994 28 PHI NL 87 316 274 40 80 16 5 2 26 10 5 34 33 .292 .378 .409 .787 104
1995 29 PHI NL 127 550 494 65 140 34 7 6 49 9 6 42 80 .283 .350 .417 .767 103 AS
1996 30 PHI NL 140 606 539 64 135 24 6 3 32 26 5 49 87 .250 .321 .334 .655 75
1997 31 PHI NL 150 640 553 83 163 40 2 1 39 16 13 62 91 .295 .371 .380 .751 98
1998 32 CHC NL 154 669 582 93 172 20 4 8 53 13 1 72 84 .296 .380 .385 .765 100 MVP-24
1999 33 CHC NL 144 521 456 60 110 18 5 4 37 6 6 48 61 .241 .319 .329 .648 67
2000 34 TOT MLB 126 457 409 41 105 15 4 0 29 6 2 36 77 .257 .322 .313 .635 62
2000 34 PHI NL 91 341 302 31 76 13 3 0 22 5 2 29 54 .252 .324 .315 .639 63
2000 34 TOR AL 35 116 107 10 29 2 1 0 7 1 0 7 23 .271 .316 .308 .624 58
11 Yrs 1298 5135 4558 597 1222 209 54 32 351 123 45 437 714 .268 .338 .359 .697 85
PHI (9 yrs) 965 3829 3413 434 911 169 44 20 254 103 38 310 546 .267 .334 .360 .694 86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Mickey was a nice player, a good, complimentary piece that helped a couple teams make the playoffs.

Wes Chamberlain, like Morandini, was a vital member of the 1993 Phils, offering more proof that platoons in Major League Baseball can work. Chamberlain shared right field with Jim Eisenreich in ’93, posting an OPS of .813 with 12 HR, 20 2B and 45 RBI in 306 plate appearances.

Wes even finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in ’91 after posting a .700 OPS in 101 games. The folks who finished in front of him are hilarious, by the way…

Voting Results Batting Stats
Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR G AB R H HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Jeff Bagwell HOU 118.0 23.0 98% 4.5 156 554 79 163 15 82 7 75 .294 .387 .437 .824
2 Orlando Merced PIT 53.0 1.0 44% 2.4 120 411 83 113 10 50 8 64 .275 .373 .399 .772
3 Ray Lankford STL 28.0 0.0 23% 1.3 151 566 83 142 9 69 44 41 .251 .301 .392 .693
4 Brian Hunter ATL 7.0 0.0 6% -0.3 97 271 32 68 12 50 0 17 .251 .296 .450 .746
5 Bret Barberie MON 3.0 0.0 2% 1.8 57 136 16 48 2 18 0 20 .353 .435 .515 .949
5 Wes Chamberlain PHI 3.0 0.0 2% 0.1 101 383 51 92 13 50 9 31 .240 .300 .399 .700
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Bagwell is obvious. But that Merced, Lankford, Hunter, Barberie foursome is flat out tremendous.

Interestingly, Chamberlain’s career was much shorter than I remembered.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards
1990 24 PHI NL 18 47 46 9 13 3 0 2 4 4 0 1 9 .283 .298 .478 .776 111
1991 25 PHI NL 101 417 383 51 92 16 3 13 50 9 4 31 73 .240 .300 .399 .700 97 RoY-5
1992 26 PHI NL 76 289 275 26 71 18 0 9 41 4 0 10 55 .258 .285 .422 .707 98
1993 27 PHI NL 96 306 284 34 80 20 2 12 45 2 1 17 51 .282 .320 .493 .813 116
1994 28 TOT MLB 75 248 233 20 61 14 1 6 26 0 2 15 50 .262 .306 .408 .714 81
1994 28 PHI NL 24 72 69 7 19 5 0 2 6 0 0 3 12 .275 .306 .435 .740 89
1994 28 BOS AL 51 176 164 13 42 9 1 4 20 0 2 12 38 .256 .307 .396 .703 77
1995 29 BOS AL 19 45 42 4 5 1 0 1 1 1 0 3 11 .119 .178 .214 .392 1
6 Yrs 385 1352 1263 144 322 72 6 43 167 20 7 77 249 .255 .299 .424 .722 96
PHI (5 yrs) 315 1131 1057 127 275 62 5 38 146 19 5 62 200 .260 .302 .436 .738 103
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Chamberlain was traded to the Red Sox midway through the ’94 season, and ended his career the following season after just six seasons in the Majors.

Chris James is the answer to an interesting trivia question.

Which Phillies player replaced Mike Schmidt the game after he retired in 1989?

You guessed it, one Chris James, the brother of former college football star Craig James, who recently unsuccessfully ran for Congress from Texas. I didn’t realize Chris actually played 10 years in the Majors, for the Phils, Padres, Indians, Giants, Astros, Rangers, Royals and Red Sox.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards
1986 23 PHI NL 16 48 46 5 13 3 0 1 5 0 0 1 13 .283 .298 .413 .711 92
1987 24 PHI NL 115 391 358 48 105 20 6 17 54 3 1 27 67 .293 .344 .525 .869 124 RoY-6
1988 25 PHI NL 150 605 566 57 137 24 1 19 66 7 4 31 73 .242 .283 .389 .671 91
1989 26 TOT NL 132 516 482 55 117 17 2 13 65 5 2 26 68 .243 .281 .367 .648 84
1989 26 PHI NL 45 185 179 14 37 4 0 2 19 3 1 4 23 .207 .223 .263 .485 39
1989 26 SDP NL 87 331 303 41 80 13 2 11 46 2 1 22 45 .264 .314 .429 .743 110
1990 27 CLE AL 140 569 528 62 158 32 4 12 70 4 3 31 71 .299 .341 .443 .784 119
1991 28 CLE AL 115 463 437 31 104 16 2 5 41 3 4 18 61 .238 .273 .318 .591 63
1992 29 SFG NL 111 267 248 25 60 10 4 5 32 2 3 14 45 .242 .285 .375 .660 90
1993 30 TOT MLB 73 182 160 24 44 11 1 9 26 2 0 18 40 .275 .348 .525 .873 136
1993 30 HOU NL 65 148 129 19 33 10 1 6 19 2 0 15 34 .256 .333 .488 .822 122
1993 30 TEX AL 8 34 31 5 11 1 0 3 7 0 0 3 6 .355 .412 .677 1.089 193
1994 31 TEX AL 52 159 133 28 34 8 4 7 19 0 0 20 38 .256 .361 .534 .895 129
1995 32 TOT AL 42 94 82 8 22 4 0 2 8 1 0 7 14 .268 .326 .390 .716 85
1995 32 KCR AL 26 67 58 6 18 3 0 2 7 1 0 6 10 .310 .373 .466 .839 117
1995 32 BOS AL 16 27 24 2 4 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 .167 .200 .208 .408 6
10 Yrs 946 3294 3040 343 794 145 24 90 386 27 17 193 490 .261 .307 .413 .721 99
PHI (4 yrs) 326 1229 1149 124 292 51 7 39 144 13 6 63 176 .254 .294 .413 .706 94
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Homeboy got around.

James actually finished 6th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1987, when he posted an .869 OPS and an OPS+ of 124 in 115 games. Standards were lower back then.

Darrin Fletcher was a guy who actually had a very productive Major League career, playing 14 years for the Phils, Expos and Blue Jays, and was the starting catcher for that ’94 Montreal team that had the best record in baseball before the strike hit.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Awards
1989 22 LAD NL 5 9 8 1 4 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 .500 .556 .875 1.431 306
1990 23 TOT NL 11 24 23 3 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 .130 .167 .174 .341 -5
1990 23 LAD NL 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100
1990 23 PHI NL 9 23 22 3 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 .136 .174 .182 .356 -1
1991 24 PHI NL 46 142 136 5 31 8 0 1 12 0 1 5 15 .228 .255 .309 .564 59
1992 25 MON NL 83 244 222 13 54 10 2 2 26 0 2 14 28 .243 .289 .333 .623 77
1993 26 MON NL 133 445 396 33 101 20 1 9 60 0 0 34 40 .255 .320 .379 .699 84
1994 27 MON NL 94 325 285 28 74 18 1 10 57 0 0 25 23 .260 .314 .435 .749 92 AS
1995 28 MON NL 110 389 350 42 100 21 1 11 45 0 1 32 23 .286 .351 .446 .796 106
1996 29 MON NL 127 432 394 41 105 22 0 12 57 0 0 27 42 .266 .321 .414 .735 91
1997 30 MON NL 96 334 310 39 86 20 1 17 55 1 1 17 35 .277 .323 .513 .836 116
1998 31 TOR AL 124 446 407 37 115 23 1 9 52 0 0 25 39 .283 .328 .410 .738 92
1999 32 TOR AL 115 448 412 48 120 26 0 18 80 0 0 26 47 .291 .339 .485 .825 108
2000 33 TOR AL 122 445 416 43 133 19 1 20 58 1 0 20 45 .320 .355 .514 .869 115
2001 34 TOR AL 134 453 416 36 94 20 0 11 56 0 1 24 43 .226 .274 .353 .628 63
2002 35 TOR AL 45 135 127 8 28 6 0 3 22 0 0 4 13 .220 .239 .339 .577 49
14 Yrs 1245 4271 3902 377 1048 214 8 124 583 2 6 255 399 .269 .318 .423 .740 92
PHI (2 yrs) 55 165 158 8 34 9 0 1 13 0 1 6 20 .215 .244 .291 .535 51
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Fletcher actually made the All-Star team in ’94, but never did anything with the Phils, playing in 55 games for the team before being traded to Montreal after the ’91 season.

Now, we’re really getting into the dregs. We’re not going to spend a lot of time here.

There was minor league bust Eric Valent, who will always be linked to the disastrous J.D. Drew fiasco as the compensatory pick awarded to the Phils for failing to sign Drew.

Wow, someone actually took the time to have an Eric Valent card, SIGNED? Reminds me of the time I stood in line at the Tri State Mall in Delaware to get Shane Rawley’s autograph.

A wasted youth.

There was Pat Combs, one of a series of young starters to come from the minor league system in the early ’90s that showed brief glimpses of promise, only to emerge as a complete waste of space once the league found them out.

Sweet fancy Moses those red 1990 Donruss cards were awful!

And Ron Jones (card at the top of the post) was a player who appeared to actually have a little game. But playing on the Veterans Stadium turf proved to be too much for Jones’ knees, which short-circuited the young outfielder’s career before it could ever really get going.

And finally, there is the immortal David Shipanoff.

Yes, THAT Dave Shipanoff.

And, here is David Shipanoff’s career in a nutshell.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
1985 25 PHI NL 1 2 .333 3.22 26 0 12 0 0 3 36.1 33 15 13 3 16 3 26 1 1 0 162 116 1.349 8.2 0.7 4.0 6.4 1.63
1 Yr 1 2 .333 3.22 26 0 12 0 0 3 36.1 33 15 13 3 16 3 26 1 1 0 162 116 1.349 8.2 0.7 4.0 6.4 1.63
162 Game Avg. 3 5 .333 3.22 68 0 31 0 0 8 95 86 39 34 8 42 8 68 3 3 0 424 116 1.349 8.2 0.7 4.0 6.4 1.63
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2012.

Of course, when your career is that short, it kind of HAS to be in a nutshell.

It’s fair to ask who was more derelict in their duties here. The Donruss corporation for their misguided labeling of mediocre Phils prospects, or the Phillies for producing so much mediocrity from their minor league system for so many years.

And, not for nothin’, if Donruss cards weren’t the ugliest friggin’ cards on the planet… geez.

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