Posts Tagged ‘Alibay Barkley’

Baseball’s Mr. Irrelevants

Every year, the last player chosen in the NFL draft is lauded as Mr. Irrelevant. Sometimes he makes the roster out of training camp, sometimes he doesn’t, but for awhile, at least, he enjoys some measure of semi-celebrity status.

The baseball equivalent, however, has never been as celebrated. This clearly has a lot to do with the fact that Major League Baseball’s draft is nowhere near the event that the NFL draft is – Mel Kiper has been a household name for twenty years, while baseball only started televising the event within the past two or three years.

There is also the problem of visibility. There have been 45 Mr. Irrelevants in major league history. Of those, only two have played in the major leagues, and only then after they went back to school and were selected higher in a later year. Don Wakamatsu, currently the manager of the Seattle Mariners, got into 18 games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991 (both and list Wakamatsu as having been drafted by the Reds in the 11th round in 1985; no mention is made 1984, when he was the last pick, except in the year-by-year databases. Some articles have mentioned his Mr. Irrelevant status).

In 1989, the Houston Astros spent the draft’s 1,490th pick on Desi Wilson, a first baseman from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Wilson’s draft odyssey was interesting to say the least: he was a fifteenth round selection by the Red Sox in 1987, but failed to sign. The Astros took him in the 87th round in 1989 – understandably, he again refused to sign. Finally, the Rangers nabbed him in the 30th round in 1991. He wisely signed. Though his major league career only lasted 41 games, he enjoyed a seventeen year career in professional baseball.

Thirty-two Mr. Irrelevants didn’t even play in the minor leagues, according to the two Web sites referenced above. Between 1985 and 1995, only Wilson had any statistics available. For seven of those years (1989-95), the last pick was made by either the Houston Astros or the Florida Marlins.

At least two of these players are still active. Boston’s Kyle Stroup did not play after being drafted last year but is listed as a member of the Gulf Coast League Red Sox this season, and Los Angeles’ Alibay Barkley was chosen out New York’s George Washington High School just last week. According to the New York Times, he is still undecided between signing a contract immediately or attending junior college for a year and re-entering the draft in 2010.

Major and Minor League Experience

Year Round Pick Team Player Position Years

High Level
1984 51 839 New York Yankees Don Wakamatsu C 12

1989 87 1490 Houston Astros Desi Wilson 1B 17


Minor League Experience

Year Round Pick Team Player Position Years High Level
1977 42 775 St. Louis Cardinals Deron Thomas INF 4 AA
1980 44 832 Cleveland Indians Shanie Dugas SS 10 AAA
1981 44 853 San Francisco Giants Mark Winters LHP 4 High A
1982 47 832 New York Yankees Robert Woodcock 2B 1 Low A
1983 50 827 Texas Rangers Brad Hill OF 4 AA
1996 100 1740 New York Yankees Aron Amundson 3B 2 Independent
1997 92 1607 Tampa Bay Rays Andy Baxter SS 2 Low A
2000 50 1452 Atlanta Braves Drew Jackson OF 5 Rookie
2002 50 1482 St. Louis Cardinals John Powell RHP 2 Rookie
2004 50 1498 Atlanta Braves Eric Gonzalez RHP 2 A
2007 50 1453 New York Yankees Larry Day C 2 A

No Stats Available


Round Pick Team Player Position
1965 72 824 Houston Astros Reginald Thomas OF
1966 63 833 New York Yankees Matt Galante INF
1967 77 975 New York Yankees Donald Van Deusen SS
1968 71 913 Los Angeles Dodgers Carl Amendola C
1969 90 1044 Kansas City Royals James Beal 2B
1970 60 929 Pittsburgh Pirates Anthony Buckley RHP
1971 48 803 Los Angeles Dodgers Don Stackpole C
1972 46 791 San Francisco Giants Carl Wesley OF
1973 52 747 St. Louis Cardinals Bert Francks RHP
1974 41 690 Baltimore Orioles Ron DeGrande OF
1975 37 679 Minnesota Twins Al Arthur RHP
1976 40 713 San Francisco Giants Sammy Bickham RHP
1978 48 779 Cleveland Indians Delbert Stacey RHP
1979 44 870 Pittsburgh Pirates Paul Cox LHP
1985 39 832 Cleveland Indians Clay Parrach 1B
1986 49 891 Baltimore Orioles Daniel Johnston 2B
1987 74 1263 Kansas City Royals Stewart Anthony SS
1988 75 1433 New York Yankees Robert LeFebre OF
1990 99 1489 Houston Astros Jeff Caldwell OF
1991 96 1600 Houston Astros Brian Hudson RHP
1992 50 1412 Florida Marlins James Woods OF
1993 91 1721 Florida Marlins Shawn Summers OF
1994 98 1707 Houston Astros Cameron Saska LHP
1995 87 1666 Florida Marlins Brian Haught SS
1998 50 1446 Arizona Diamondbacks Lucas Gruner C
1999 50 1474 Atlanta Braves Scott Leitz LHP
2001 50 1485 San Francisco Giants P.J. McGinnis RHP
2003 50 1480 Atlanta Braves John Scaglione RHP
2005 50 1501 New York Yankees Blake Heym C
2006 50 1502 St. Louis Cardinals Charles Matthews RHP
2008 50 1504 Boston Red Sox Kyle Stroup RHP
2009 50 1521 Los Angeles Angels Alibay Barkley 1B

Random Thoughts on the Amateur Draft

Just for giggles, I decided to go through the list of players drafted over the last three days and see what came of it.  Lots of interesting names, people, and relationships in there.

1. Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State – If not the most talented amateur player ever, then certainly the most hyped.  For me, however, he’s the most elusive.  I’m going on a road trip later this month with my brother and a couple friends, and it seems that every stop on our trip is someplace that Strasburg could be, at some point – Washington, Harrisburg, Troy (when they play Vermont, Washington’s New York-Penn League affiliate).  Unfortunately for us, he won’t be in any of those places when we are.

12. Kansas City Royals – Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth Cats – The Luke Hochevar Experiment is working out so well that the Royals decided to try it again.  Offhand, I can’t think of very many situations where a player went to the independents for a year and had it work out in the long run.  J.D. Drew is the highest profile name that comes to mind.

45. Arizona Diamondbacks – Mike Belfiore, RHP, Boston College – Austin Wood got most of the publicity, good and bad, from the epic BC-Texas game a couple weeks ago, but Belfiore might have risked more, throwing 129 pitches in an effort to get his team the win.

150. Detroit Tigers – Austin Wood, LHP, Texas – The arm is still attached after throwing 199 pitches in twenty-four hours against Boston College, so that’s a good thing.  He’ll be an interesting one to watch in the future, in part because he clearly needs a manager who will know when to draw the line between guts and craziness.

168. Boston Red Sox – Seth Schwindenhammer, OF, Limestone Community HS (IL) – His name is Schwindenhammer.  The Red Sox should promote him right now.  I can’t wait to do an All-Name Team for this draft.

184. Texas Rangers – Ruben Sierra, OF, San Juan Educational School (PR) – I suspected when I saw this last night that this youngster was related to THE Ruben Sierra, and this impressive article confirmed it.  The sheer number of names included in that piece highlights the nice part about the Amateur Draft: because it is so darn long and so many players are selected, teams can afford to take a flyer on a player for personal reasons (see Mike Piazza for an instance where this worked out quite well for both sides).

306. Arizona Diamondbacks – Tyson Van Winkle, C, Gonzaga – I love it when a player comes with a ready-made nickname.  It just makes our work so much easier.  Welcome, Rip.

318. Boston Red Sox – Brandon Jacobs, OF, Parkville HS (GA) – Another name list that needs to be done: the “Hey, somebody famous already has that name!” list.  We should follow the rules of the Screen Actors Guild: if a pro athlete is already “registered” with a name, no one else can use it.  This young man would probably become Don Jacobs, unless he has a middle initial.

412. Washington Nationals – Naoya Washiya, OF, College of the Desert – College of the Desert?  That sounds badass, and apparently they turn out some decent players.  Washiya has an interesting name and story, as well.

630. Detroit Tigers – Giovanni Soto, LHP, no school (PR) – Same theory as Brandon Jacobs, although Soto probably gets a pass because his name is spelled different than the Cubs catcher.  Still, how cool would it be to see a Soto-on-Soto matchup at some point?

850. Toronto Blue Jays – Zachary Outman, RHP, Saint Louis – This makes me think of the commercials I used to see for “American Pie: Band Camp” where Eugene Levy increduously exclaims, “Another Stiffler?!”  Josh Outman already had one of the best names for a pitcher in major league history; now that there’s two of them, they cannot be stopped.

1098. Boston Red Sox – Michael Yastrzemski, OF, St. John’s Prep HS (MA) – We’ll have to see if this is a favor to a local legend or if Yaz The Younger can hold his own on the ballfield.

1442. Kansas City Royals – Kevin Kuntz, SS, Union HS (OK) – The greatest name in baseball history lives on.

1521. Los Angeles Angels – Alibay Barkley, 1B, George Washington HS (NY) – Mr. Irrelevant, MLB Draft-style.