Back in 2012, before Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were old enough to drink, prospect experts identified three minor-league players who stood out above all the others: There was Trout, there was Harper and there was Tampa Bay Rays left-handed Matt Moore.

Yeah, one of those doesn’t seem to belong.

If Moore were the consensus No. 3 prospect, behind Trout and Harper, we would have no quibble and this post wouldn’t exist. The lefty was a can’t miss arm coming through the minors, and he has had a respectable career as a roughly average MLB starter, hindered by Tommy John surgery in 2014.

But many analysts took the Moore hype to the next level. At FanGraphs, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB.com and more, prospect gurus looked at Trout and Harper and decided they’d rather have Moore than one or both.

Let’s start with Baseball America, which published its top prospect list in February. Here was the top five:

  1. Bryce Harper
  2. Matt Moore
  3. Mike Trout
  4. Yu Darvish
  5. Julio Teheran

FanGraphs’ list was even worse. Check out this beaut, published in March 2012.

  1. Matt Moore
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Mike Trout
  4. Shelby Miller
  5. Julio Teheran

We can’t find MLB.com’s list from that January, but we’ve got the tweets to show that they also pegged Moore ahead of Harper and Trout.

And then there’s Baseball Prospectus, which issued the same cold take in February 2012, with this top five:

  1. Matt Moore
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Mike Trout
  4. Jurickson Profar
  5. Julio Teheran

Here’s the best part of BP’s errant rankings: They were compiled by prospect expert Kevin Goldstein, who is now the Houston Astros’ director of pro scouting. That means the most important part of his job is evaluating minor-league players.

Not that you need us to tell you this, but Trout and Harper have had much, much more productive careers than Moore (who, again, is a totally fine pitcher and could have been a star if he hadn’t torn his UCL). Here’s how they stack up, based on Baseball-Reference WAR:

Mike Trout – 51.9 WAR
Bryce Harper – 25 WAR
Matt Moore – 5.7 WAR

There was, however, one brave writer who favored neither Trout nor Harper nor even Moore. Jayson Stark was all-in on Brett Lawrie.

Yeah, turns out predicting prospects is hard.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com, the Hartford Courant, Baseball Prospectus, Land of 10 and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.