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All this idiotic talk about trading Mookie Betts for “prospects” to rebuild the farm system or whatever made we wonder about this: Is there are Red Sox prospect you were sure was going to be a star that ended up flopping? For me it was Phil Plantier. I was sure he had home run titles in his future. Turned out to be a journeyman and a strikeout machine. Who was it for you? – Rich A.
First, glad to hear you agree with me on Mookie. I’ve written 3-4 columns about how absurd it is to trade him, but the fans really need to push back on this. It can have an effect. Don’t let the Sox trade one of the most well-rounded players they’ve ever developed because they gave out some lousy contracts to pitchers.
But to actually answer the question, Plantier would be up there for me. I suppose we should have had some suspicion that he’d have a hole in his swing given that pronounced crouch he had at the plate … but man, did he look like a monster when he hit 11 homers in 148 at-bats in ’91. Plantier and Mo Vaughn were going to be the heart of the Red Sox order for a decade. That was the plan. Instead, he was a San Diego Padre by ’93, having been traded for middle reliever Jose Melendez. He did hit 34 homers for the Padres in ’93, but he hit just .240, and he was done as big leaguer in ’97.
(Quick Plantier story, as told to me by Nick Cafardo years ago. When Plantier came up, he was taken aback by the arrogance of some Red Sox veterans. He told Nick, ‘’If I ever act like these guys, give me a kick in the [hindquarters]. Well, Plantier’s attitude apparently changed for the worse pretty quick, and a little while down the road Nick reminded him of what he once said. Plantier’s response was two words.)
A couple of others: Mike Brown, a righthanded pitcher who lit up the lower levels of the Sox farm system in the early ‘80s. His feats earned frequent mention in Peter Gammons’s notes columns back then. He was a bust with the Sox, and went to the Mariners in ’86 in the deal that brought Spike Owen and Dave Henderson to Boston.
Also, I was sure Wilton Veras was going to be a star, though looking at his minor league track record there was about a half-season that suggested he might be a big-leaguer.
What does everyone else think? Who was the Red Sox prospect you were sure would make it but didn’t? I’ll hear you in the comments.
Also, don’t trade Mookie for lottery tickets. C’mon now.