Posts Tagged ‘MLB Draft’

Early Progression Of 2009 First Round Draft Picks

Now that the deadline has passed for 2009 draft picks to sign with their teams, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the first round selections, where they landed, and how they’re doing.

1. Stephen Strasburg, 21, RHP (Washington Nationals) – Expected to make his debut with the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.

2. Dustin Ackley, 21, 1B (Seattle Mariners) – Expected to make his debut with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League

3. Donavan Tate, 18, OF (San Diego Padres) – Expected to make his debut in 2010 due to injury.

4. Tony Sanchez, 21, C (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Hitting .331 with 6 homeruns and 42 RBI in 40 games between State College (A-, New York-Penn League) and West Virginia (A, South Atlantic League); he was named the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Week on August 17.

5. Matt Hobgood, 19, RHP (Baltimore Orioles) – Has compiled a 1-1 record, 5.40 ERA, and 13 strikeouts in 21.2 innings over seven starts for the Bluefield Orioles (R, Appalachian League).

6. Zack Wheeler, 19, RHP (San Francisco Giants) Expected to make his debut in 2010.

7. Mike Minor, 21, LHP (Atlanta Braves) – Has started two games for the Rome Braves (A, South Atlantic League), allowing no runs on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.  He will play for the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

8. Mike Leake, 21, RHP (Cincinnati Reds) – Expected to make his debut in the Arizona Fall League; he was not on the original roster because he signed after rosters were submitted, but the Reds are petitioning to add him.

9. Jacob Turner, 18, RHP (Detroit Tigers) – Appears to be looking at instructional leagues this fall and winter, leading into a 2010 debut.

10. Drew Storen, 22, RHP (Washington Nationals) – Has made stops at Hagerstown (A, South Atlantic League), Potomac (A+, Carolina League), and Harrisburg (AA, Eastern League), compiling a 1-1 record, 2.14 ERA and nine saves in 25 games.  He has struck out 44 batters in 33.2 innings and will pitch for Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League.

11. Tyler Matzek, 18, LHP (Colorado Rockies) – Indicated soon after signing that he was headed to the Pioneer League, but has compiled no stats and does not appear to be slated for the AFL.

12. Aaron Crow, 22, RHP (Kansas City Royals) – One of three first rounders who did not sign prior to the deadline, Crow’s lack of college eligibility actually gives the Royals until just before next year’s draft to sign him.

13. Grant Green, 21, SS (Oakland Athletics) – Doesn’t have any stats yet and I can’t find anything that says where he might be headed.

14. Matt Purke, 19, LHP (Texas Rangers) – Did not sign; will attend Texas Christian University.

15. Alex White, 21, RHP (Cleveland Indians) – Will not pitch this season due to a heavy workload in college; he may make his debut in the AFL.

16. Bobby Borchering, 18, 3B (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Hitting .167 with one homerun and four RBI in eight games for the Missoula Osprey (R, Pioneer League).

17. A.J. Pollock, 21, OF (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Hitting .269 with three homeruns and 22 RBI in 54 games for the South Bend Silver Hawks (A, Midwest League).

18. Chad James, 18, LHP (Florida Marlins) – Doesn’t have any stats yet and I can’t find anything that says where he might be headed.

19. Shelby Miller, 18, RHP (St. Louis Cardinals) – Reportedly assigned to the Quad Cities River Bandits (A, Midwest League), but has not appeared in a game yet.

20. Chad Jenkins, 21, RHP (Toronto Blue Jays) – There’s a Chad Jenkins pitching in the Nationals system, but it’s not the same one, which is weird because Washington was looking at this Chad Jenkins prior to the draft.  I’m not sure where the Blue Jays’ Jenkins has landed.

21. Jiovanni Mier, 19, SS (Houston Astros) – Hitting .277 with six homeruns, 27 RBI, and ten stolen bases for the Greeneville Astros (R, Appalachian League).

22. Kyle Gibson, 21, RHP (Minnesota Twins) – Not sure where he will land; had a stress fracture in his arm that caused him to drop in the first round, not sure how that’s still affecting him.

23. Jared Mitchell, 20, OF (Chicago White Sox) – Hitting .296 with no homeruns and ten RBI in 34 games for the Kannapolis Intimidators (A, South Atlantic League).

24. Randal Grichuk, 18, OF (Los Angeles Angels) – Hitting .329 with seven homeruns (five in the last nine games), 53 RBI, and ten triples in 52 games for the AZL Angels (R, Arizona Summer League).

25. Mike Trout, 18, OF (Los Angeles Angels) – Hitting .369 with one homerun, 25 RBI, and seven triples in 38 games for the AZL Angels (R, Arizona Summer League).

26. Eric Arnett, 21, RHP (Milwaukee Brewers) – Has compiled an 0-3 record with a 4.57 ERA in 11 games (six starts) for the Helena Brewers (R, Pioneer League).

27. Nick Franklin, 18, SS (Seattle Mariners) – Hitting .282 with one homerun and four RBI in nine games for the AZL Mariners (R, Arizona Summer League).

28. Reymond Fuentes, 18, OF (Boston Red Sox) – Hitting .296 with one homerun and 14 RBI in 39 games for the GCL Red Sox (R, Gulf Coast League).

29. Zachary Heathcott, 18, OF (New York Yankees) – Hitting .100 with no homeruns and no RBI in three games for the GCL Yankees (R, Gulf Coast League).

30. LeVon Washington, 18, OF (Tampa Bay Rays) – Did not sign; will attend Chipola College.

31. Brett Jackson, 21, OF (Chicago Cubs) – Hitting .325 with seven homeruns and 35 RBI between stops with the AZL Cubs (R, Arizona Summer League), Boise (A-, Northwest League), and Peoria (A, Midwest League).

32. Tim Wheeler, 21, OF (Colorado Rockies) – Hitting .256 with four homeruns and 31 RBI in 60 games for the Tri-City Dust Devils (A-, Northwest League).


It’s Deadline Day For MLB Draftees – Lots To Do, Lots To Do

As mentioned here the other night, today is the deadline for major league organizations to come to terms with the players they selected in June’s First Year Player Draft.  Call me crazy, but this strikes me as one of the more exciting days of the summer.  According to’s Jonathan Mayo, thirteen first-rounders remained unsigned as of early this afternoon:

Stephen Strasburg (No. 1, Washington); Dustin Ackley (No. 2, Seattle); Donavan Tate (No. 3, San Diego); Zach Wheeler (No. 6, San Francisco); Jacob Turner (No. 9, Detroit); Tyler Matzek (No. 11, Colorado); Aaron Crow (No. 12, Kansas City); Grant Green (No. 13, Oakland); Matt Purke (No. 14, Texas); Alex White (No. 15, Cleveland); Shelby Miller (No. 19, St. Louis); Kyle Gibson (No. 22, Minnesota); LeVon Washington (No. 30, Tampa Bay).

Most of those are likely to agree to terms before midnight, which means that the next seven hours should be very busy for all parties involved and very interesting for casual observers such as myself.  I plan on following along throughout the night (or trying to, at least) and trying to keep Bus Leagues updated as much as possible.

Rumor has it that Baseball America is tracking all unsigned picks in the first ten rounds.  Unfortunately, Firefox does not seem to like Baseball America (or vice versa), so I’ll have to take Alex Pedicini’s word for it.

Update (5:24 PM): Rangers Blog at the Dallas Morning News  web site reports that Matt Purke has been in town for about a week (he’s preparing to attend Texas Christian University if a deal can’t be worked out with the Rangers) and negotiations are ongoing.  Jeff Wilson compared and contrasted Purke’s situation with that of Justin Smoak:

That’s about on par with the Justin Smoak negotiations from last year. That ended well for both sides. Purke, though, seems to have a genuine fondness for TCU, and the Tom Glavine fan has been given No. 47 for next season.

Via the comments section of Nationals Journal at the Washington Post, Baseball America’s Jim Callis is reporting that Donavan Tate has been seen in San Diego and could be close to signing with the Padres.  (How’s that for hearsay?) Tate is a Scott Boras client and outstanding athlete who held a football/baseball scholarship offer from North Carolina as negotiating leverage.

Update (5:41 PM): Saw this somewhere a little bit ago, maybe in that Mayo column linked above, but it also just came to me from CBS Sports via Baseball Musings.  The Tampa Bay Rays do not expect to sign either their first or second round picks.  As David Pinto said in his post, “Losing out on two picks has to hurt.”

Update (5:56 PM): Via Yahoo’s Kendall Rogers on Twitter (@ysportsncaabb) about 45 minutes ago, Shelby Miller passed up Texas A&M to sign with the Cardinals.  Rogers also reports that the Aggies also lost K.C. Hobson, Butch Hobson’s son and Toronto’s sixth-round selection.

Update (6:04 PM): Maury Brown is tracking the remaining draft picks and their bonuses at The Biz of Baseball.  He started with seventeen names, including three supplemental first rounders, and has updated two: New York’s Slade Heathcott ($2.2 million) and St. Louis’s Shelby Miller ($2.875 million).  Both signings are well over the recommended slot for their draft positions.

It is noted in the comments that Heathcott announced his signing on his Facebook page.

Update (6:49 PM): LeVon Washington’s willingness to sign with the Rays has changed greatly from Draft Day to Deadline Day.

Cleveland isn’t getting anywhere with Alex White.

Update (7:22 PM): Kendall Rogers hears good things about Kyle Gibson’s chances of signing, bad things about Alex White’s.

Update (9:38 PM): Jon Heyman says that the Padres are close to close to a deal with Donavan Tate (via MLB Trade Rumors).  Gammons apparently sees that news and raises him: picks two through ten have agreed to terms.  No attribution beyond that, so take it with a grain of salt.

Update (10:47 PM): Alex White WANTS to sign with Cleveland.  The two sides just haven’t been able to agree on a deal.

Supplemental pick Kentrail Davis signed with the Brewers.

Maury Brown has three players signed – Miller, Heathcott, and Davis – and I’ve seen stuff here and there that says Tate has also reached an agreement.  Just outside one hour to go – this will either be one hell of a finish, or an amazing cluster you-know-what for next year’s draft.

Update (10:57 PM): By the way, I forgot to mention that I totally friended Slade Heathcott on Facebook earlier (me and hundreds of others, no doubt).  So now I have a friend named Slade, which is really all anyone should want out of life.

Update (10:59 PM): RumorsandRants on Twitter – “Padres officially just announced signing of No. 3 overall pick Donavan Tate”

Update (11:06 PM): ysportsncaabb – “The Tigers also have signed first-round pick Jacob Turner, who was committed to play at North Carolina.”

Update (11:12 PM): The folks at USS Mariner are offering to sweeten any prospective deal for Dustin Ackley.  The Nationals would like to do the same for Stephen Strasburg, according to Jon Heyman.  One of those “sweeteners” involves actual money.

Update (11:28 PM): Donavan Tate is officially a Padre.

Update (11:41 PM): Twenty minutes, ten first-rounders still unsigned (or at least unannounced).  Maury Brown noted on Twitter earlier this hour that news of Aaron Crow’s failure to sign last year didn’t emerge until after 1 PM EST.

Update (11:46 PM): Seattle has scheduled a teleconference with general manager Jack Zduriencik for 9:15 Pacific time.  Announcing a deal, Mr. Z?  I’m sure he hopes so.

Via Twitter: Will Carroll, Aaron Gleeman, and Kendall Rogers note that Kyle Gibson has signed with the Twins.

Eleven minutes to the deadline.

Update (11:51 PM): And there goes Zach Wheeler.  Picks three through ten are now official.

Update (12:00 AM): Tracy Ringolsby breaks the news that Tyler Matzek signed with the Rockies.  Supposedly, the Nationals were very close with Strasburg as the deadline approached, still awaiting final word.

Update (12:04 AM): Ackley and Green have signed.  Strasburg might have signed for more than $15 million over four years.  Crow, Purke, White, and Washington are left from the first round.  Of those, Crow has the ability to continue negotiating because he is not eligible to return to college.  Purke will go to TCU, White will either return to North Carolina or hit the independents, and Washington, I believe, was heading to Florida.

Update (12:10 AM): As soon as I wrote that, I flipped back over to Twitter (that’s where all my info is coming from at the moment) and saw that Baseball America’s Jim Callis is reporting that Alex White has signed with the Indians.

Update (12:19 AM): I usually hear nothing but good things about the MLB Network, but what little coverage I’ve seen tonight has dropped the ball.  They “broke” the story of Strasburg’s signing at almost 12:15, nearly ten minutes after I saw repeated mentions of it on Twitter, were very late on the Tyler Matzek signing, and for some reason teased Zach Wheeler’s deal before unveiling it as though it was the biggest signing of the night.

And maybe I’m just biased because I think this whole signing deadline thing is kinda fun, but couldn’t they have devoted more in-studio attention to the deadline as the clock wound down?  Showing the late innings of a meaningless Yankees-A’s game and going to commercial at 11:59?  I expect better.

Update (12:29 PM): Well, that’s all for me.  After seven hours, it’s time to call it a night.  My brain can’t handle all this stress, and I didn’t even do anything – guys like Keith Law and Jon Heyman and the guys from Baseball America, who do this for a living and know everything that’s going on and keep it all straight, they amaze me.

All I know is that everyone that was supposed to sign, did sign.  Matt Purke clearly wanted to attend college (and who can fault him for that?) so Texas was in a tough spot to begin with.  It was obvious early today that LeVon Washington wasn’t going to become a Tampa Bay Ray.  And I’m sure we’ll be hearing from Aaron Crow and the Kansas City Royals before too long.

The Z-Meter: 6/9/2009 – Draft Day Edition

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.


Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Andrew McCutchen: Indianapolis Indians (AAA) to Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)

Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)

Why an edition of the Z-Meter dedicated to the MLB draft? Several reasons.

  1. Most of the guys on this meter came to us from the MLB first-year player draft. The rest were signed out of shady, desparate third-world baseball academies.
  2. I will be leaving for Omaha on Friday, so I’m forced to meet my obligation of posting once per week earlier than usual.
  3. None of these humps has been promoted this week, so we need a “hook”.

The draft will begin at 6pm tonight. I wonder who will go first????????

The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 12 Games – 6W – 3L – 3.18 ERA – 29 BB – 52 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .280 – 38 R – 8 HR – 25 RBI – 50 BB – 0 SB – .505 SLG – .932 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .309 – 45 R – 3 HR – 21 RBI – 13 BB – 22 SB – .436 SLG – .783 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 11 Starts – 1 W – 6 L – 5.14 ERA – 17 BB – 63 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .340 – 31 R – 1 HR – 27 RBI – 22 BB – 11 SB – .453 SLG – .866 OPS

These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .262 AVG – 29 R – 7 HR – 34 RBI – 25 BB – 0 SB – .441 SLG – .788 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 11 Starts – 4 W – 4 L – 3.19 ERA – 22 BB – 52 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .282 AVG – 37 R – 10 HR – 39 RBI – 39 BB – 0 SB – .546 SLG – .957 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B (injured) – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .325 AVG – 28 R – 6 HR – 25 RBI – 32 BB – 0 SB – .503 SLG – .947 OPS
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .348 AVG – 36 R – 10 HR – 60 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .557 SLG – .948 OPS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 5 Games – 4 Starts – 4 W – 0 L – 1.86 ERA – 8 BB – 29 K
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 7 Starts – 4 W – 2 L – 3.20 ERA – 6 BB – 38 K
Yonder Alonso, 1B – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .219 AVG – 3 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 4 BB – o SB – .313 SLG – .618 OPS
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 1 Start – 1 W – 0 L – 0.00 ERA – 3 BB – 4 K

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .252 AVG – 9 R – 9 HR – 24 RBI – 12 BB – 0 SB – .483 SLG – .785 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .273 AVG – 33 R – 7 HR – 36 RBI – 13 BB – 4 SB – .440 SLG – .754 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .240 AVG – 27 R – 10 HR – 42 RBI – 31 BB – 1 SB – .454 SLG – .792 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .215 AVG – 26 R – 1 HR – 17 RBI – 26 BB – 8 SB – .287 SLG – .607 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .338 AVG – 35 R – 13 HR – 36 RBI – 6 BB – 3 SB – .592 SLG – .970 OPS

Shooter Hunt (injured), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .279 AVG – 39 R – 6 HR – 33 RBI – 26 BB – 10 SB – .457 SLG – .827 OPS

Mauricio Robles (injured), P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 10 Starts – 4 W – 3 L – 3.91 ERA – 23 BB – 70 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .297 AVG – 26 R – 3 HR – 31 RBI – 18 BB – 2 SB – .427 SLG – .788 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 11 Games – 10 Starts – 7 W – 2 L – 1 SV – 3.17 ERA – 11 BB – 47 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 26 Games – 0 Starts – 1.04 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 16 SV – 5 BB – 33 K

NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg and the Aztecs were eliminated from postseason play in their regional. Tonight’s draft will give us the first idea of where he’ll start his Z-Meter career as a pro.


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

The First Overall Pick in the MLB Draft: Pitchers vs. Position Players

Two years ago, I wrote the following introduction to a post on pitchers who were selected with the first overall pick in the draft:

If you are a major league general manager with the first overall pick in the draft and you’re thinking about selecting a starting pitcher to serve as the ace of your staff for the next ten years, let me give you some advice: don’t do it. History is not on your side.

Let the record show that exactly 24 months and three days have passed since those words were typed on my keyboard, yet if I were advising the Washington Nationals, I would wholeheartedly recommend that they take Stephen Strasburg with the first overall selection.  Funny how a little excess hype can get in the way of good old fashioned evidence.

Thirteen pitchers were taken with the first overall pick between 1973 (David Clyde) and 2007 (David Price), nine of whom played at least five seasons in the major leagues (Brien Taylor injured his shoulder in an off-field incident in the minors and was never the same pitcher; Bryan Bullington has appeared in 13 games spread over four seasons; and it hasn’t even been five years since Hochevar and Price were drafted). Four of those nine played more than ten seasons and won more than 100 games, including Mike Moore (161), Andy Benes (155), Tim Belcher (146), and Floyd Bannister (134); Moore (176) and Bannister (143) each had losing records.

So what are you getting if you take a pitcher in the top spot?  If this was the 1970s or 1980s, there would be a good chance you’d have some value coming your way, but the last guy to last more than nine years in the majors was Andy Benes, valedictorian of the Draft Class of 1988.  At least four of the last eight have experienced major arm trouble (and I’m not sure about McDonald), with Luke Hochevar and David Price hoping to stop the trend.

Year Player Team Yrs W-L SO ERA
2007 David Price Tampa Bay 2 1-0 32 2.20
2006 Luke Hochevar* Kansas City 3 7-15 83 5.51
2002 Bryan Bullington* Pittsburgh 1 0-5 25 5.08
1997 Matt Anderson Detroit 7 15-7 224 5.19
1996 Kris Benson* Pittsburgh 7 69-74 798 4.41
1994 Paul Wilson New York (N) 7 40-58 619 4.86
1991 Brien Taylor New York (A) DNP
1989 Ben McDonald Baltimore 9 78-70 894 3.91
1988 Andy Benes San Diego 14 155-139 2000 3.97
1983 Tim Belcher Minnesota 14 146-140 1519 4.16
1981 Mike Moore Seattle 14 161-176 1667 4.39
1976 Floyd Bannister Houston 15 134-143 1723 4.06
1973 David Clyde Texas 5 18-33 228 4.63

Given a chance to do it all over again, I’m not sure any team would take any of these pitchers with the first overall pick in the draft. Taylor and his unrealized potential might be an option (just keep him out of bar fights – or teach him to swing with his right hand), but who else stands out? Benes? Hochevar? Moore (terrible numbers early in his career with Seattle, averaged 16-17 wins a year in four seasons with good Oakland teams)?  Maybe Price, depending on how the next couple years go.  Most of the time, though, you’re better off taking a position player first and picking up pitching later.


Contrary to the performances turned in by the pitchers, position players drafted in the top spot are often solid and occasionally spectacular. A full 17 out of 31 played in the major leagues for more than ten seasons (plus several more who were chosen within the past ten years), including future Hall of Famers Ken Griffey, Jr., Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez (three out of the four position players selected between 1987 and 1993; the other was Phil Nevin).

Not everyone had a career as great as the three mentioned above, but many had at least one moment of fame during their playing days:

  • Rick Monday (1965), in addition to being the first ever draft pick, was best known for stopping two young men from burning the American flag on the field in 1975.
  • Steve Chilcott (1966) was the only position player selected first overall who never reached the major leagues (2004’s Matthew Bush became a pitcher – and thus slips through on a technicality – and 2008’s Tim Beckham doesn’t count just yet)
  • Ron Blomberg (1967) was the first designated hitter.
  • Jeff Burroughs (1969) won an MVP award and fathered Little League World Series hero Sean Burroughs.
  • Danny Goodwin (1971, 1975) is the only player taken first overall in two different drafts.
  • Dave Roberts (1972) and Bob Horner (1978) went directly from the draft to the major leagues. Horner later became one of the few men to hit four homeruns in one game.
  • Josh Hamilton (1999) was out of baseball before overcoming drug addiction, returning to the game and making his big league debut in 2007, and leading the American League in RBIs in 2008.
  • Delmon Young (2003) and Justin Upton (2005) are both the younger brother of a top five pick. Dmitri Young was taken fourth overall in 1991, while B.J. Upton went second in 2002.  Tim Beckham’s (2008) older brother Jeremy was drafted by the Rays in the 17th round of the same draft.
    Year Player Team Yrs HR RBI OPS
    2008 Tim Beckham Tampa Bay DNP
    2005 Justin Upton* Arizona 3 28 87 .831
    2004 Matthew Bush* San Diego DNP
    2003 Delmon Young * Tampa Bay 4 27 186 .723
    2001 Joe Mauer* Minnesota 6 56 336 .881
    2000 Adrian Gonzalez* Florida 6 119 368 .862
    1999 Josh Hamilton * Tampa Bay 3 57 201 .889
    1998 Pat Burrell * Philadelphia 10 252 844 .848
    1995 Darin Erstad* California 14 122 691 .743
    1993 Alex Rodriguez* Seattle 16 561 1629 .967
    1992 Phil Nevin Houston 12 208 743 .815
    1990 Chipper Jones* Atlanta 16 415 1402 .956
    1987 Ken Griffey, Jr.* Seattle 21 617 1788 .916
    1986 Jeff King Pittsburgh 11 154 709 .749
    1985 B.J. Surhoff Milwaukee 19 188 1153 .745
    1984 Shawn Abner New York (N) 6 11 71 .592
    1982 Shawon Dunston Chicago (N) 18 150 668 .712
    1980 Darryl Strawberry New York (N) 17 335 1000 .862
    1979 Al Chambers Seattle 3 2 11 .618
    1978 Bob Horner Atlanta 10 218 685 .839
    1977 Harold Baines Chicago (A) 22 384 1628 .821
    1975 Danny Goodwin California 7 13 81 .674
    1974 Bill Almon San Diego 15 36 296 .648
    1972 Dave Roberts San Diego 10 7 208 .643
    1971 Danny Goodwin Chicago (A) 7 13 81 .674
    1970 Mike Ivie San Diego 11 81 411 .745
    1969 Jeff Burroughs Washington 16 240 882 .794
    1968 Tim Foli New York (N) 16 25 501 .592
    1967 Ron Blomberg New York (A) 8 52 224 .833
    1966 Steve Chilcott New York (N) DNP
    1965 Rick Monday Kansas City A 19 241 775 .804

One general note on the draft: Tampa Bay selected first overall four times – Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young, David Price, and Tim Beckham. Only one of those players, Price, actually had anything to do with the team that went to the World Series last year (although Young was traded for Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza).

MLB Draftees From Army, Navy, and Air Force

Some people get Memorial Day off and use it as an opportunity to get outside, go to barbecues, see their families.  I decided to use it as an opportunity to sit on the couch and look up information about players who have been drafted out of the major United States military academies.

This list is almost certainly not complete.  If you want to point out someone that is missing or even just mention someone you know who is serving in the armed forces, please feel free to do so in the comments below.

United States Naval Academy (Annapolis)
Mitch Harris, RHP (2007, 24th round, Atlanta; 2008, 13th round, St. Louis)

Harris emerged as a standout starter in his sophomore year at Navy, finishing 10-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 82.2 innings.  His sophomore-junior year totals: 18-8, 1.95 ERA, 171 innings, 232 strikeouts.  Not too shabby.  Down side: the Navy is requiring him to fulfill his five-year service commitment before joining the Cardinals organization.  Up side: he still gets to play a little ball:

Harris will pitch on a team of military personnel organized for the U.S. Southern Command Baseball Partnership Tour. The club will play exhibition games around South America and the Caribbean, and they will also do humanitarian work and hold baseball clinics for youths. The stops in the monthlong tour include games in Panama, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Chile and elsewhere. In the Dominican Republic, they will play at a major-league campus — the San Diego Padres’. The traveling team’s schedule also calls for a youth baseball clinic at the Padres facility.

Oliver Drake, RHP (2008, 43rd round, Baltimore)

Loopholes are awesome, man:

Drake, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 43rd round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft in June, withdrew from the academy in Annapolis this week after signing a contract with the Orioles that included a $100,000 signing bonus.

Drake had the option of leaving school early without penalty because midshipmen don’t make their military commitment until the first day of their junior year. Harris had to honor his five-year military commitment because he graduated in May.

Drake has performed well in Baltimore’s minor league system since being drafted, with an ERA under 1.00 out of the bullpen in Rookie and Low A ball last year.  Working primarily as a starter for A-level Delmarva, he has a 1-2 record and 2.82 ERA in eight games.

Jonathan Johnston, C (2007, 42nd round, Oakland)

Extra P profiled Johnston last season when he was told he had to leave his team in Kane County, where he had a .228 batting average in 36 games, to report to his post aboard the USS Peleliu.  Unlike Mitch Harris, he has been unable to consistently keep his skills sharp while continuing to serve his country.

One fascinating thing about Johnston, however, comes from the beginning of a story Yahoo’s Jeff Passan wrote about him last November:

A man speaking broken English cried through the radio. Something about an attack. Shots fired. Grenades launched. Pirates.

Aboard the U.S.S. Peleliu, the officers in charge expected such distress calls. On that day, Aug. 8, the ship was stationed in the Gulf of Aden, a strip of water between Yemen and Somalia known among seafarers as Pirate Alley. The hijacking was 10 miles from the Peleliu, close enough for the ship to send out rescue teams.

Steering one vessel was Jonathan Johnston, a 24-year-old Navy lieutenant junior grade. He maneuvered toward the Gem of Kilakarai, the cargo ship from Singapore under attack by two boats full of Somali pirates. Within minutes, the pirates caved to threats from Johnston’s team and skulked off, toward the horizon. Johnston had commanded a mission that thwarted the attack, an achievement that would earn him the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. As much as he wanted to rejoice, to remind himself that being an officer in the Navy is about protecting people and saving lives, Johnston couldn’t.

After the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama last month, I found this amazing.  Johnston was, for a time, in the sort of position where he might find himself charged with facing down the same sort of people who carried out that attack.  I wish he could find some peace or pride in the fact that he is able to do a job that very, very few people would be willing to even attempt.  Dude’s a hero.

And here’s the interesting thing, to me: whether Johnston should be talking to the press about his situation or not, whether he should be proud of the work he’s doing or not, the fact remains that he is unhappy and willing to express it.  The Navy’s unwillingness to bend in certain situations, instead applying a unilateral solution to anyone in Johnston’s relatively unique case, is going to bring on more negative publicity than good.  A story on former Army player Nick Hill mentions NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson:

Basketball star David Robinson graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 and served two years on active duty. Then the Navy set him free three years early to join the NBA on a height-restriction technicality. Robinson being called the “Admiral” throughout his basketball career was a far bigger coup for the Navy than having a 7-foot lieutenant on a ship.

Matthew Foster, LHP (2003, 13th round, Toronto)

Foster played parts of three seasons for the Blue Jays, all at Rookie-level Pulaski, before being released after the 2006 season.  Not entirely sure why the team gave up on him so soon, although the facts that he was a 24-year-old playing Rookie ball and could be wild (12 walks in 22.2 career innings) might have had something to do with it.

United States Military Academy (West Point)
Drew Clothier, RHP (2008, 37th round, Florida)

Clothier appeared in ten games for Jamestown last season, striking out 24 batters in 20 innings.  As of February, he was in basic officer training.

Chris Simmons, C (2008, 41st round, Pittsburgh)

Like Drew Clothier and Cole White, Simmons was drafted and assigned to a team before being called back for active duty.

All West Point cadets are required to serve two years of active duty upon graduation, but 2005’s Alternative Service Option allowed professional athletes to delay this obligation until the conclusion of their playing careers. Earlier this month, however, the Army changed this policy so that cadets interested in pursuing a professional sports career must serve two years of active duty before applying for a release.

Simmons was hitting .257 in nine games when his season ended in July.

Cole White, OF (2008, 42nd round, Pittsburgh)

Simmons’ teammate at State College in the New York-Penn League, White hit .338 in 21 games.  At least he’s taking a positive approach to the situation:

“Two years is a while to be out of the game, but I’m looking at that as a motivator,” said White, who is now 23. “I want to get bigger, stronger and faster, and still be a force when I return. It’s definitely a challenge, and it’s not going to be easy to stay focused, but I plan on sticking with this.”

Nick Hill, LHP (2006, 47th round, Boston; 2007, 7th round, Seattle)

1st. Lt. Nick Hill puts together recruiting packets in the athletic department.

His West Point classmates are searching for roadside bombs and watching for mortar attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The 24-year-old engineer officer is one of the few troops with the skills of a professional athlete. An Army policy aimed at balancing the needs of the individual soldier with the military’s overall goals is allowing him to pursue a baseball career — despite the ongoing conflicts.

For the left-hander with a decent fastball and Double-A experience, it’s both a blessing and a burden.

“To be honest, it’s something I think about every day,” Hill said by telephone after another afternoon workout at West Point in preparation for the 2009 baseball season.

In the mornings, Hill assembles recruiting material for prospective cadet-athletes in his administrative job at the U.S. Military Academy, biding time until he can be a minor league pitcher again for the Seattle Mariners.

He doesn’t need to be reminded that last August, while he was on special leave finishing his second season of professional baseball, his West Point class of 2007 had its first combat casualty. 2nd Lt. Michael Girdano died in Afghanistan one month into his first deployment. He was the 66th and most recent West Point graduate to die in combat since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“It weighs on me every day,” Hill said.

That’s a long section to quote, but I thought it worth the space to show that these guys aren’t just trying to skip out on their required service.  They want the opportunity to pursue baseball as a profession, sure, but the knowledge that guys they went through school with and knew personally are dying in combat is a reality that they hold close.

Hill’s two-year active duty commitment ended this month.  He has appeared in 18 games for West Tennessee, Seattle’s AA affiliate in the Southern League.  He also played there at the end of last season, appearing in nine games with a 10.13 ERA.  This year’s results are slightly better: 3.18 ERA, 25 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.

Milan Dinga, RHP (2007, 10th round, Los Angeles Angels)

Dinga was the first former Army player to reach the AAA level.  He appeared in one game there, pitching one inning.  Dinga’s on-field progress was impeded first by shoulder trouble, then the Army itself, as he was one of the players told to return to active duty for two years in 2008.

Schuyler Williamson, C (2005, 26th round, Detroit)

Williamson originally took advantage of the opportunity to play professional baseball right out of college, but left the game after a year when he decided he could do more by serving elsewhere:

“I talked to my younger brother, who was in Fallujah [Iraq],” says Williamson. “He just told me some bad stories about leadership and how they failed them. To put it straight up, they weren’t taking care of their men, to the point where they didn’t even go out. They just told them their mission and sent them out there. And that hit home for me. He was my mom and dad’s kid, but he could be any kid – your kid out there fighting. At the very least, I care.”

So he spent 15 months in Baghdad, a platoon leader in charge of 28 men. “I chose the fighting Army over the baseball Army because I wanted to do my part,” says Williamson. “I felt I was needed somewhere else to accomplish a different mission.”

Mike Scioletti, 3B (1998, 43rd round, Chicago White Sox)

As far as I can tell, Scioletti never played professionally after being drafted – under the rules at that time, he would have owed five years of active duty – and there isn’t a whole lot of info out there on his whereabouts since.  If he’s the Mike Scioletti in this story, he’s a captain now, in charge of “Company A, 325th Special Troops Battalion, a unit of the 82nd Airborne Division.”

Air Force Academy
Karl Bolt, 1B (2007, 15th round, Philadelphia)

Bolt started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and moved up to Single-A Lakewood last season.  He has not accumulated any statistics for 2009.

Mike Thiessen, OF (2001, 42nd round, Arizona)

According to some sources, Thiessen was the first Air Force player taken in the draft (Baseball-Reference Bullpen has him as the third).

From The Playgrounds To The Pros In Three Months Or Less

Major League Baseball’s 2009 season is set to begin in less than a week, yet one of the biggest stories of the spring has been the future of San Diego State righthander Stephen Strasburg, widely considered one of the greatest pitching prospects in major league history. Were there no draft system in place (a possibility that undoubtedly fills the dreams of his agent, Scott Boras, every night), his courtship would likely resemble that of former Indians phenom Herb Score, who was pursued by almost every major league team out of high school before signing with Cleveland.

In Strasburg’s case, it is a foregone conclusion that he will be selected in the first round of the June draft; if he falls, it will only be because teams are unwilling to engage Boras in contract negotiations that are sure to extend above and beyond anything we’ve ever seen regarding an amateur player (with that said, there is no way Strasburg falls farther than third. Even if Washington and Seattle get silly and convince themselves that he’s not worth the hassle and huge money, the hometown Padres won’t let him slip away).

Regardless of where he ends up, Strasburg appears likely to at least make a cameo appearance in the majors before the end of the season. (He could end up with a clause in his contract guaranteeing a September call-up, as Andrew Miller did in 2006.) If he does, he will become the 38th first-round selection since the advent of the draft in 1965 to play in the major leagues in the same year he is drafted. This happened most often in the 1970s (17 times), fell largely out of practice in the 1980s and 1990s (11 times total), and has made a slight comeback in the 2000s (8 times). Ironically, the team with the first pick in this draft, Washington, is responsible for three of the most recent examples: Chad Cordero (when the franchise was still located in Montreal), Ryan Zimmerman, and Ross Detwiler.

No team, however, has ever pushed it’s first round draft picks into the limelight like the San Diego Padres of the 1970s. Starting with Jay Franklin in 1971, six of the team’s seven first-round selections appeared in the majors the same year in which they were drafted. It worked out exactly once, in 1973, when a big kid from the University of Minnesota named Dave Winfield had the first 141 at-bats of a Hall of Fame career. None of the other five distinguished themselves, though. Dave Roberts is best-known for not being THAT Dave Roberts, Bill Almon was the last player drafted out of Brown University, and Bob Owchinko has a cool name. And Brian Greer and Jay Franklin drank their proverbial cups of coffee before sliding from the limelight.

Only six of the 37 players (see the full list below) were drafted out of high school: Joe Coleman, Jay Franklin, David Clyde, Brian Greer, Tim Conroy, and Mike Morgan. Three of those – Clyde, Conroy, and Morgan – made their debuts in June, almost literally walking off the high school field and onto the major league diamond. And they were impressive at times. Morgan threw a complete game in his first outing; Clyde struck out eight, walked seven, and allowed just one hit in his debut.

It’ll be fun to look back in a few years, the more the better, and see where Strasburg falls in relation to these names. Will he be Kevin Brown, and 200-game winner who with a few more breaks and a few less injuries could have been a Hall of Famer? Or will he be Jim Gideon, the 21-year-old righthander from Taylor, Texas who started a game for the Rangers on September 14, 1975, pitched 5 2/3 innings, and never appeared in the majors again? Or will the team that drafts him keep him safely in the minors until 2010 or 2011 in a quest to protect that golden right arm? Only time will tell.

Conor Gillaspie, San Francisco Giants

Drafted: 2008, 37th, Wichita State
2008: 8 G, 5 AB, .200/.429/.200
Career: 8 G, 5 AB, .200/.429/.200

Ross Detwiler, Washington Nationals

Drafted: 2007, 6th, Missouri State
2007: 1 G, 1 IP, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
Career: 1 G, 1 IP, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA

Andrew Miller, Detroit Tigers

Drafted: 2006, 6th, University of North Carolina
2006: 0-1, 8 G, 10.3 IP, 6 SO, 10 BB, 6.10 ERA
Career: 11-16, 50 G, 33 GS, 181.7 IP, 151 SO, 105 BB, 5.80 ERA

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
Drafted: 2005, 4th, University of Virginia
2005: 20 G, 0 HR, 6 RBI, .397/.419/.569
Career: 445 G, 58 HR, 258 RBI, .282/.341/.462

Craig Hansen, Boston Red Sox
Drafted: 2005, 26th, St. John’s
2005: 4 G, 3 IP, 3 SO, 6.00 ERA
Career: 4-9, 90 G, 87.3 IP, 6.39 ERA

Joey Devine, Atlanta Braves
Drafted: 2005, 27th, North Carolina State
2005: 0-1, 5 G, 5 IP, 12.60 ERA
Career: 7-2, 67 G, 65.3 IP, 2.48 ERA

Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
Drafted: 2003, 2nd, Southern University and A&M College
2003: 7 G, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .167/.286/.250
Career: 445 G, 51 HR, 158 RBI, .245/.352/.406

Ryan Wagner, Cincinnati Reds
Drafted: 2003, 14th, University of Houston
2003: 2-0, 17 G, 21.7 IP, 1.66 ERA
Career: 11-9, 148 G, 165.3 IP, 4.79 ERA

Chad Cordero, Montreal Expos
Drafted: 2003, 20th, Cal State-Fullerton
2003: 1-0, 1 SV, 12 G, 11 IP, 1.64 ERA
Career: 20-14, 128 SV, 305 G, 320.7 IP, 2.78 ERA

J.D. Drew, St. Louis Cardinals
Drafted: 1998, 5th, Florida State
1998: 14 G, 5 HR, 13 RBI, .417/.463/.972
Career: 1209 G, 192 HR, 637 RBI, .284/.392/.502

Ariel Prieto, Oakland Athletics
Drafted: 1995, 5th, Cuba
1995: 2-6, 14 G, 9 GS, 58 IP, 4.97 ERA
Career: 15-24, 70 G, 60 GS, 352.3 IP, 4.85 ERA

Brian Anderson, California Angels
Drafted: 1993, 3rd, Wright State
1993: 4 G, 1 GS, 11.3 IP, 3.97 ERA
Career: 82-83, 291 G, 245 GS, 1547 IP, 4.74 ERA

Jeff Granger, Kansas City Royals
Drafted: 1993, 5th, Texas A&M
1993: 1 G, 1 IP, 27.00 ERA
Career: 0-1, 27 G, 2 GS, 31.7 IP, 9.09 ERA

Alex Fernandez, Chicago White Sox
Drafted: 1990, 4th, University of Miami
1990: 5-5, 13 GS, 87.7 IP, 3.80 ERA
Career: 107-87, 263 G, 261 GS, 1760.3 IP, 3.74 ERA

Lance Dickson, Chicago Cubs

Drafted: 1990, 23rd, University of Arizona
1990: 0-3, 3 GS, 13.7 IP, 7.24 ERA
Career: 0-3, 3 GS, 13.7 IP, 7.24 ERA

Ben McDonald, Baltimore Orioles
Drafted: 1989, 1st, Louisiana State University
1989: 1-0, 6 G, 7.3 IP, 8.59 ERA
Career: 78-70, 211 G, 198 GS, 1291.3 IP, 3.91 ERA

Gregg Olson, Baltimore Orioles

Drafted: 1988, 4th, Auburn University
1988: 1-1, 10 G, 11 IP, 3.27 ERA
Career: 40-39, 217 SV, 622 G, 672 IP, 3.46 ERA

Jack McDowell, Chicago White Sox

Drafted: 1987, 5th, Stanford University
1987: 3-0, 4 GS, 28 IP, 1.93 ERA
Career: 127-87, 277 G, 275 GS, 1889 IP, 3.85 ERA

Greg Swindell, Cleveland Indians
Drafted: 1986: 2nd, University of Texas
1986: 5-2, 9 GS, 61.7 IP, 4.23 ERA
Career: 123-122, 664 G, 269 GS, 2233.3 IP, 3.86 ERA

Kevin Brown, Texas Rangers

Drafted: 1986: 4th, Georgia Tech
1986: 1-0, 1 GS, 5 IP, 3.60 ERA
Career: 211-144, 486 G, 476 GS, 3256.3 IP, 3.28 ERA

Jerry Don Gleaton, Texas Rangers

Drafted: 1979, 17th, University of Texas
1979: 0-1, 5 G, 2 GS, 9.7 IP, 6.52 ERA
Career: 15-23, 307 G, 16 GS, 447.3 IP, 4.25 ERA

Bob Horner, Atlanta Braves

Drafted: 1978, 1st, Arizona State
1978: 89 G, 23 HR, 63 RBI, .266/.313/.539, NL Rookie of the Year
Career: 1020 G, 218 HR, 685 RBI, .277/.340/.499

Mike Morgan, Oakland Athletics
Drafted: 1978, 4th, Valley HS (Las Vegas, NV)
1978: 0-3, 3 GS, 12.3 IP, 7.30 ERA
Career: 141-186, 597 G, 411 GS, 2772.3 IP, 4.23 ERA

Tim Conroy, Oakland Athletics

Drafted: 1978, 20th, Gateway Senior HS (Monroeville, PA)
1978: 2 GS, 4.7 IP, 7.71 ERA
Career: 18-32, 135 G, 71 GS, 466.7 IP, 4.71 ERA

Brian Greer, San Diego Padres

Drafted: 1977, 8th, Sonora HS (Brea, CA)
1977: 1 G, 1 AB, 1 SO
Career: 5 G, 4 AB, 2 SO

Bob Owchinko, San Diego Padres
Drafted: 1976, 5th, Eastern Michigan University
1976: 0-2, 2 GS, 4.3 IP, 16.62 ERA
Career: 37-60, 275 G, 104 GS, 890.7 IP, 4.28 ERA

Danny Goodwin, California Angels

Drafted: 1975, 1st, Southern University and A&M College
1975: 4 G, 10 AB, .100/.100/.100
Career: 252 G, 13 HR, 81 RBI, .236/.301/.373

Rick Cerone, Cleveland Indians

Drafted: 1975, 7th, Seton Hall
1975: 7 G, 12 AB, .250/.308/.333
Career: 1329 G, 59 HR, 436 RBI, .245/.301/.343

Chris Knapp, Chicago White Sox

Drafted: 1975, 11th, Central Michigan University
1975: 2 G, 2 IP, 4.50 ERA
Career: 36-32, 122 G, 99 GS, 604.3 IP, 4.99 ERA

Jim Gideon, Texas Rangers

Drafted: 1975, 17th, University of Texas
1975: 1 GS, 5.7 IP, 7.94 ERA
Career: 1 GS, 5.7 IP, 7.94 ERA

Bill Almon, San Diego Padres

Drafted: 1974, 1st, Brown University
1974: 16 G, 38 AB, 3 RBI, .316/.350/.342
Career: 1236 G, 36 HR, 296 RBI, .254/.305/.343

David Clyde, Texas Rangers

Drafted: 1973, 1st, Westchester HS (Houston, TX)
1973: 4-8, 18 GS, 93.3 IP, 5.01 ERA
Career: 18-33, 84 G, 73 GS, 416.3 IP, 4.63 ERA

Dave Winfield, San Diego Padres

Drafted: 1973, 4th, University of Minnesota
1973: 56 G, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .277/.331/.383
Career: 2973 G, 3110 H, 465 HR, 1833 RBI, .283/.353/.475

Eddie Bane, Minnesota Twins

Drafted: 1973, 11th, Arizona State
1973: 0-5, 23 G, 6 GS, 60.3 IP, 4.92 ERA
Career: 7-13, 44 G, 25 GS, 168 IP, 4.66 ERA

Dave Roberts, San Diego Padres

Drafted: 1972, 1st, University of Oregon
1972: 100 G, 5 HR, 33 RBI, .244/.275/.321
Career: 709 G, 49 HR, 208 RBI, .239/.286/.357

Jay Franklin, San Diego Padres

Drafted: 1971, 2nd, James Madison HS (Vienna, VA)
1971: 0-1, 3 G, 1 GS, 5.7 IP, 6.35 ERA
Career: 0-1, 3 G, 1 GS, 5.7 IP, 6.35 ERA

Steve Dunning, Cleveland Indians

Drafted: 1970, 2nd, Stanford
1970: 4-9, 19 G, 17 GS, 94.3 IP, 4.96 ERA
Career: 23-41, 136 G, 84 GS, 613.7 IP, 4.56 ERA

Joe Coleman, Washington Senators

Drafted: 1965, 3rd, Natick HS (Braintree, MA)
1965: 2-0, 2 GS, 18 IP, 1.50 ERA
Career: 142-135, 484 G, 340 GS, 2569.3 IP, 3.70 ERA

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

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)