Archive for June 27th, 2008

Startin’ Off In Style: MLB Debuts Of Baseball’s Top Overall Draft Picks

Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the amateur draft earlier this month, made his professional debut last night for Tampa Bay’s Rookie-level team in Princeton, West Virginia, going 1-for-4 with an infield single. 

Beckham is the 44th player taken with the first overall choice since 1965; of those, 39 have made it to the major leagues.  Steve Chilcott (1966) and Brien Taylor (1991) missed their windows, for various reasons; the jury is still out on Matthew Bush (2004), who was drafted as a shortstop, converted to pitcher, and is out for the season with arm trouble (good news: he’s only 22); David Price (2007) could be making an impact in Tampa as soon as August or September; and it’s still way too soon to look that far into Beckham’s future.

So if we can’t look into the future, let’s look into the past.  In honor of Beckham’s first day, here are the results enjoyed by each of his 39 predecessors in their major league debuts.

Position Players
2005: Justin Upton, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
August 2, 2007 – 0-1

2003: Delmon Young, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
August 29, 2006 – 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 RS

2001: Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins
April 5, 2004 – 2-3, 2 BB, 2 RS

2000: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Florida Marlins
April 18, 2004 – 0-3

1999: Josh Hamilton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
April 2, 2007 – 0-1

1998: Pat Burrell, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
May 24, 2000 – 2-5, 3B, 2 RBI

1995: Darin Erstad, OF, Anaheim Angels
June 14, 1996 – 0-4, BB, 3 K

1993: Alex Rodriguez, SS, Seattle Mariners
July 8, 1994 – 0-3

1992: Phil Nevin, 3B, Houston Astros
June 11, 1995 – 1-5, RBI

1990: Chipper Jones, SS, Atlanta Braves
September 11, 1993 – 0-0 (entered game defensively in ninth inning)

1987: Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Seattle Mariners
April 3, 1989 – 1-3, 2B, RS, BB

1986: Jeff King, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
June 2, 1989 – 1-1, 2B (led off the 11th inning with a pinch-hit double and scored the go-ahead run)

1985: B.J. Surhoff, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
April 8, 1987 – 1-4

1984: Shawn Abner, OF, New York Mets
September 8, 1987 – 0-1

1982: Shawon Dunston, SS, Chicago Cubs
April 9, 1985 – 1-4

1980: Darryl Strawberry, OF, New York Mets
May 6, 1983 – 0-4, 2 BB, SB, 3 K (walked and scored game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th)

1979: Al Chambers, OF, Seattle Mariners
July 23, 1983 – 2-4, 4 RBI

1978: Bob Horner, 3B, Atlanta Braves
June 16, 1978 – 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, RS (Horner went directly from Arizona State to the major leagues, which makes it unbelievably impressive that he homered in his third big league at-bat)

1977: Harold Baines, 1B, Chicago White Sox
April 10, 1980 – 0-4

1975, 1971: Danny Goodwin, C, California Angels
September 3, 1975 – 0-1 (the designated hitter, Goodwin was replaced by pinch-hitter Bobby Valentine in the fourth inning, with the Angels down 4-2 and two runners in scoring position)

1974: Bill Almon, SS, San Diego Padres
September 2, 1974 – 0-4

1972: Dave Roberts, 3B, San Diego Padres
June 7, 1972 – 0-3, 2 K (originally entered as a defensive replacement in the 11th inning; the game went 18; Roberts made the second out in the bottom of the 18th; he arrived in the major leagues having never played a day in the minors)

1970: Mike Ivie, C, San Diego Padres
September 4, 1971 – 0-1

1969: Jeff Burroughs, OF, Texas Rangers
July 20, 1970 – 0-3

1968: Tim Foli, SS, New York Mets
September 11, 1970 – 0-0 (entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning)

1967: Ron Blomberg, 1B, New York Yankees
September 10, 1969 – 0-0, BB

1965: Rick Monday, OF, Kansas City Athletics
September 3, 1966 – 0-3, 2 K

Pitchers
2006: Luke Hochevar, RHP, Kansas City Royals
September 8, 2007 – 3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K

2002: Bryan Bullington, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
September 18, 2005 – 1.1 IP, 2 R, , 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K

1997: Matt Anderson, RHP, Detroit Tigers
June 25, 1998 – 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, first major league win

1996: Kris Benson, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
April 9, 1999 – 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K, first major league win

1994: Paul Wilson, RHP, New York Mets
April 4, 1996 – 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K

1989: Ben McDonald, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
September 6, 1989 – 2.2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K

1988: Andy Benes, RHP, San Diego Padres
August 11, 1989 – 6 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 K, first major league loss

1983: Tim Belcher, RHP, Minnesota Twins
September 6, 1987 – 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, first major league win

1981: Mike Moore, RHP, Seattle Mariners
April 11, 1982 – 6.1 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 6 BB, 3 K, first major league loss

1976: Floyd Bannister, LHP, Houston Astros
April 19, 1977 – 1.1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K, first major league loss

1973: David Clyde, LHP, Texas Rangers
June 27, 1973 – 5 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 7 BB, 8 K, first major league win (Clyde went directly from high school to the majors, a move that is said to have ruined his career; his debut performance might have been better than Horner’s, if only because this was an 18-year-old kid shutting down a major league team to the tune of one hit and eight strikeouts over five innings)

Futures Game Rosters Announced

Last year, I watched the Major League Futures game for the first time. Players like Justin Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Chin-Lung Hu had great games, foreshadowing their eventual debuts in the majors. There’s no doubt I intend to watch again this year, as five six current Z-meter residents have been chosen to particpate.

July 13th in Yankee Stadium is this year’s setting for the Futures Game. The premise pits the U.S. against the world, which may one day be an untenable position for Uncle Sam, but for now it seems to work out.

U.S. Roster

World Roster

I’d love to get someone to talk to me about the selection process, because particpants come from all levels of the minor leagues. By my count, AA is the best-represented level, with 28 players taking the field. AAA sends 13, just seven come from A, and a mere five from Advanced-A.

The Z-meter representatives are Andrew McCutchen, LF for the AAA Indianapolis Indians (Pirates), Elvis Andrus, SS of the AA Frisco Roughriders (Rangers), and the Wondermat(t)s – Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta from the Huntsville Stars (Brewers). Reading Phillies Pitcher Antonio Bastardo was selected, but will sit due to injury. *update* I missed Fernando Martinez, who is on a rehab assignment. He will be making his second straight appearance in the Futures Game.

Even if you can’t watch the game live, set your DVR or other recording device and watch it later. It’s a rare chance to see so many of these guys in action.