I picked off this idea from the ORG during a post where Rojo pointed out that many thought O'Neill, Daniels, Larkin, Jones & Stillwell were all going to work out. Or, at least, at the time there were opinions favoring each player strongly.
That got me wondering, what was your impression of those players at the time?
To start, in retrospect, for me, I have trouble fully understanding 2 things:
1) How was it clear that Stillwell was inferior to Larkin?
Stillwell - #2 overall pick in 1983 - rose quickly (perhaps rushed) through the minors and at 20 was hitting .264 in AAA Denver. In 1987 he OPS'd .690 in Cincinnati, then was traded to KC where he reached his pinnacle - the 1988 ASG. From there his career faded, never showing any offensive promise.
Larkin - #4 overall pick in 1985 out of U of M - batted .329 and slugged .525 in AAA in 1986, then by 1987 he was OPSing .678 with Cincinnati. About the same as Stillwell to that point. Larkin appears to have had better speed. The rest, of course, is Reds history.
I'm guessing this was a no-brainer, just watch the two play and you'd be able to see the superior athlete, but for someone who only has stats now to go from, it's interesting to see how "close" it may have been. Any stories about the two playing together during that 1987 season? What was the talk? Was there tension? Why did Stillwell make the ASG in '88 anyway?
Down the road, perhaps a similar scenario may come about between Alonso and Grandal, two similar players drafted two years apart with similar skills at the plate...
2) What happened to Kal Daniels?
I hear some things off hand about his hustle, desire, mentality, but I don't hear enough about his ability. He was a pretty good hitter, and some years that was putting it lightly.
Picked 7th overall in 1982, he smoked through the minors, hitting .310 and slugging .507, and ended up in Cincinnati in 1986 at 22. In half a year in 1986 he put up 2.1 WAR. In 1987 - 4.3 WAR. In 1988 - 5.1 WAR.
In 1989 he looks to have been injured, then traded to LA for a Tim Leary rental and Mariano Duncan, who's minors #'s were not impressive. I know Duncan was a key player in 1990's Championship team, but what couldn't Daniels have done that year? Was this a smart trade?
In 1990, Daniels was a 4.8 WAR player. Then, at 27 and 28, almost inexplicably, he hit the skids and retired. Wha? He must have been Albert Belle's cousin if the end was welcomed so quickly by all parties. Strange.
What were your opinions at the time of Daniels?
Other than that, Tracy Jones was a bust, eh? Plain as day? That's what I thought.
Thoughts on O'Neill? His career arc in the minors was measured and slow, kind of like Votto, but how frustrating was he early on? He never hit for much average as a Red.
At the time, I was learning how to read with 1986 Topps series cards, I think I had every one of these Reds players, so I'd love to hear from those who were following the Reds what impressions this batch of prospects left them. Perhaps we can gleen some sage wisdom for our current situation, another gaggle of prospects. Thanks in advance.