DH/1B Josh Phelps
Chosen in the tenth round by the Jays in the 1996 MLB Draft, Josh Phelps was always known for his potent bat coming up from their minor league system. With respect to his offensive potential, he profiled close to a 30 homer, 100 RBI power hitter while hitting for a solid average at the same time. As a result, Phelps ended up taking the world by storm when he finally made his mark in the majors during the 2002 MLB season.
Called up to the big league team midway through the season to serve as the team’s primary designated hitter, Phelps would make sure he wasn’t going back down to the minors any time soon. In just 74 games played, he compiled an astonishing .309 batting average, .925 OPS, 41 runs scored, 20 doubles, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. If projected over a full 162-game schedule, that meant he was going at a 90 runs scored, 44 doubles, 33 home runs, 127 RBI pace. He ended up finishing sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2002, but may have had a legitimate shot at winning the award had he been up with the ballclub all season.
However, Phelps was never able to produce at the pace he set during his rookie season with the Jays in his ensuing years in the big leagues. His did show some glimpses of his dominant form when he garnered some playing time with other teams in the league. Nevertheless, he was usually unable to sustain it as he failed to maintain a starting gig with any of them in the process. By the end of the 2008 season, Phelps found himself out of MLB altogether despite being only 30-years old, as another one of the Jays’ once-promising prospects flaming out in the end.