The Annual Baseball Prospect Timeline

This is a comprehensive list of the hottest prospects in baseball from 1981-2018. The list includes a yearly breakdown of when the stated players had the most rookie-era impact on the sport and hobby, which may have been before, during, or after their MLB debuts.

For example, Mike Piazza is listed in 1993 but his rookie cards come from 1992. Another example is Bryce Harper in 2011 when his rookie year was the following year, 2012. You'll notice this sorta thing with a good block of players listed here.

This isn't a list of rookie card years but a list of years when hobby hype was at its peak for the associated player's rookie-era year. The list is subjective but I think you'll agree with a lot of what's here. Have a look.


  • 2018: Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna, Gleyber Torres, Nick Senzel, Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Walker Buehler, Scott Kingery, Rafael Devers, Luis Severino
  • 2017: Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Alex Bregman, Andrew Benintendi, Rhys Hoskins
  • 2016: Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Kyle Schwarber
  • 2015: Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson, Stephen Piscotty
  • 2014: Jose Abreu, Masahiro Tanaka, Xander Bogaerts
  • 2013: Yasiel Puig, Wil Myers, Jose Fernandez, Jackie Bradley Jr.
  • 2012: Mike Trout, Oscar Taveras, Yu Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes
  • 2011: Bryce Harper, Hank Conger, Dee Gordon, Mark Trumbo, Michael Pineda, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley, Craig Kimbrel
  • 2010: Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Brennan Boesch, Aroldis Chapman, Dustin Ackley, Felix Doubront, Thomas Neal, Giancarlo Stanton, Austin Jackson, Madison Bumgarner, Starlin Castro, Taijuan Walker, Mike Leake
Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP1 Superfractor /1

Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP1 Superfractor /1

  • 2009: David Price, Rick Porcello, Tommy Hanson, Buster Posey, Logan Morrison, Carlos Santana, Freddie Freeman
  • 2008: Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce, Clay Buchholz, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Moustakas, Johnny Cueto, Max Scherzer, Dexter Fowler, Kosuke Fukudome
  • 2007: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Phil Hughes, Homer Bailey, Cameron Maybin, Tim Lincecum, Billy Butler, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Joey Votto, Ubaldo Jimenez, Joba Chamberlain, Fernando Martinez, Kei Igawa
Fernando Martinez 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BC221 Red Refractor /5

Fernando Martinez 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BC221 Red Refractor /5

  • 2006: Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Brandon Wood, Stephen Drew, Francisco Liriano, Chad Billingsley, Justin Verlander, Lastings Milledge, Matt Cain, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Jon Lester, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Jered Weaver, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Johnson, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Howie Kendrick, Chris Iannetta, James Shields, Kendry Morales
  • 2005: Felix Hernandez, Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson, Hanley Ramirez, Nick Swisher, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson, Nick Markakis, Russell Martin, Jonathan Papelbon, Huston Street
  • 2004: Joe Mauer, B.J. Upton, Rickie Weeks, Kazuo Matsui, Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels, Ervin Santana, Matt Bush
Kazuo Matsui 2004 Bowman Chrome #286 Gold Refractor /50

Kazuo Matsui 2004 Bowman Chrome #286 Gold Refractor /50

  • 2003: Hideki Matsui, Rocco Baldelli, Jose Reyes, Jose Contreras, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, James Loney, Dontrelle Willis, Travis Hafner, Zack Greinke, David Wright, Chase Utley, Chien-Ming Wang, Kevin Youkilis
  • 2002: Mark Prior, Hank Blalock, Carlos Pena, Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau
  • 2001: Ichiro, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Josh Beckett, Ben Sheets, CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy, Michael Cuddyer, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Adam Wainwright
  • 2000: Pat Burrell, Vernon Wells, Nick Johnson, Sean Burroughs, Rafael Furcal, A.J. Burnett, Barry Zito, Adam Dunn, Jimmy Rollins, Johan Santana
Pat Burrell 1999 Fleer Brilliants #140TG 24-Karat Gold /24

Pat Burrell 1999 Fleer Brilliants #140TG 24-Karat Gold /24

  • 1999: J.D. Drew, Rick Ankiel, Eric Chavez, Brad Penny, Mark Mulder, Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Jayson Werth, Jeremy Giambi, Austin Kearns, Corey Patterson, Gabe Kapler
  • 1998: Ben Grieve, Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, Troy Glaus, Sean Casey, Roy Halladay, Magglio Ordonez, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz
  • 1997: Travis Lee, Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada, Todd Walker, Nomar Garciaparra, Mark Kotsay, Torii Hunter, Jose Cruz Jr.
Travis Lee 1997 Bowman's Best #187 Atomic Refractor

Travis Lee 1997 Bowman's Best #187 Atomic Refractor

  • 1996: Todd Hollandsworth, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Darin Erstad, Livan Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero, Karim Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Jermaine Dye, Todd Helton, Edgar Renteria, Richie Sexson, Jason Varitek, Matt Morris
  • 1995: Hideo Nomo, Paul Konerko, Shawn Green, Charles Johnson, Ruben Rivera, Johnny Damon, Brian Hunter, Ryan Klesko, Billy Wagner, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Schmidt, Scott Rolen, Andy Pettitte, Bob Abreu, Derrek Lee, Carl Everett, Chris Carpenter, Garret Anderson
Hideo Nomo 1995 Select Certified #98 Mirror Gold

Hideo Nomo 1995 Select Certified #98 Mirror Gold

  • 1994: Raul Mondesi, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Delgado, Jeffrey Hammonds, James Baldwin, Rondell White, Chan Ho Park, Javy Lopez, Jorge Posada, Bob Hamelin
  • 1993: Mike Piazza, Tim Salmon, Chipper Jones, Jim Edmonds, Manny Ramirez
  • 1992: Eric Karros, Cliff Floyd, Kenny Lofton, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Kent, Tim Wakefield, Juan Guzman, Pat Listach, Brien Taylor
  • 1991: Chuck Knoblauch, Phil Plantier, Todd Van Poppel, Jeff Bagwell, Mo Vaughn, Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Mussina, Jim Thome
  • 1990: David Justice, Carlos Baerga, Frank Thomas, John Olerud, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Bernie Williams, Juan Gonzalez, Kevin Maas, Delino DeShields, Moises Alou, Jose Offerman, Ben McDonald, Deion Sanders
Frank Thomas 1990 Leaf #300

Frank Thomas 1990 Leaf #300

  • 1989: Jerome Walton, Ken Griffey Jr., Tino Martinez, Robin Ventura, Jim Abbott, Gregg Olson, Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Ramon Martinez, Gregg Jefferies, Sandy Alomar Jr.
  • 1988: Roberto Alomar, Walt Weiss, Ron Gant, Jay Buhner, Mark Grace, Tom Glavine, Matt Williams, Ken Caminiti
  • 1987: Mark McGwire, Greg Maddux, Will Clark, Bo Jackson, Terry Steinbach, Devon White, Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin, Ruben Sierra
  • 1986: Jose Canseco, Fred McGriff, Mickey Tettleton, Cecil Fielder, Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, Danny Tartabull, Billy Beane
Jose Canseco 1986 Donruss #39

Jose Canseco 1986 Donruss #39

  • 1985: Vince Coleman, Corey Snyder, Roger Clemens, Kirby Puckett, Mark Langston, Orel Hershiser, Shawon Dunston, Bret Saberhagen, Eric Davis
  • 1984: Dwight Gooden, Tony Fernandez, Joe Carter, Kevin McReynolds, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry
  • 1983: Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg, Howard Johnson
  • 1982: Cal Ripken Jr., George Bell, Dave Stewart, Lee Smith
  • 1981: Fernando Valenzuela, Harold Baines, Tim Raines, Mookie Wilson, Kirk Gibson

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