Just because someone is an outstanding baseball player doesn’t necessarily mean that they get the opportunity to play Major League Baseball.
There are, at times, obstacles to overcome which block that path. The two most prevalent examples of that have been racial segregation and top prospects not panning out.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1957, although many Negro Leagues players never got the chance to take a MLB field.
Meanwhile, since the MLB First-Year Player Draft was implemented in 1965, many No. 1 draft picks have failed to play well through the minors and some never even got the call to the big leagues.
There are plenty of players who could be on this list, but I’ve selected five who really stand out in my mind. For those who didn’t make the cut—pun intended—please place their names in the comments section below for a discussion.
Let’s take a look at who did make the cut, for the purpose of this article at least.
*All statistics in this article were obtained via Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise stated. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts. All injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.