Tuesday, June 2, 2009


With Major League Baseball's June 9th amateur draft fast approaching, Stephen Strasburg will have a tough test ahead of him. Strasburg has scouts drooling over his 100 mph fastball and he should be the 1st pick in the draft but questions still remain. Can Strasburg buck the odds and become the 1st pitcher to be drafted #1 that actually became a bonifide star in the league? No other pitcher that was drafted with the 1st pick has ever gone on to end his career with an era under 3.90 (David Price of the Rays has an era of 2.35 but his career is far from over). The best pitchers to come from the 1st pick were serviceable but far from star quality: Ben McDonald 1989, Andy Benes 1988, Tim Belcher 1983 and Flyod Bannister 1976. None of these pitchers became household names. Stasberg with his 6'4, 220 LLB frame and live right arm has all the tools to be great but will he pan out?

Position Players have fared far better but still nothing to write home about.

Top 5 Major League Players Chosen With the 1st Pick

1. Ken Griffey Jr, 1987, Seattle Mariners
Griffey has been amazing over his career with 616 home runs, .288 batting average and an OPS over .900. He was a true 5 tool guy, who proved his worth leading the Mariner's division titles in 1995 and 1997.

2. Alex Rodriguez, 1993, Seattle Mariners
Rodriguez's image has been tarnished by the steroid scandal but his numbers show outstanding production over his career. With .305 career batting average and over 500 home runs he set the standard for shortstops. If you can excuse the use steroids he could be the greatest all-time number one pick.

3. Chipper Jones, 1990, Atlanta Braves
Chipper Jones has become one of the all-time greats, by batting over .300 eleven times in his career and hitting over 400 home runs. Jones a 5 time all-star at third base has also led the league in batting and is 138th in stolen bases.

4. Darryl Strawberry, 1980, New York Mets
Strawberry had some high expectations placed on him coming out Crenshaw High School and in many ways he fulfilled them hitting over 300 home runs and 1000 RBIs.

5. Josh Hamilton, 1999, Tampa Bay Rays

In his short Major League career, Josh has already led the league in RBIs but more impressive was his home run derby barrage where he hit 28 in the first round. We will see if he can move up this list.

Honorable Mention: Harold Baines, Bob Horner, Darin Erstad


  1. I'm not saying you were doing this, but comparing draft picks in baseball to NFL or NBA is not fair. I know this dude is unreal, but in general a baseball draft pick has about 1/20 the expectations of a pick in the other 2 sports.
    A 1st round pick in basketball is probably in the starting lineup immediately. Same goes for the NFL. But a 1st round pick in baseball just means you probably get to skip rookie ball and go straight to "short A." That obviously won't happen with Stasberg, but the reason baseball picks don't live up to their hype, if you can even call it that, is that the odds are against them to ever do anything special.
    To answer the question, I think Strasberg will be the 1st #1 pick to actually do something (barring injury). He has the stuff to be successful in the bigs right now. Don;t be surprised if he takes the ball for the Nats (or the M's if Washington can't handle Boras' demands) bu mid August.

  2. Baseball is an interesting sport because it there is such a fine line between success and failure. A .260 hitter is not that worse then a .280 hitter, it is just a bloop here or a Texas Leaguer there. How many times have you seen a hard hit ball caught and then the next batter hit a blooper for a hit. Pitchers on the other hand are dependent on their teammates so much (to play defense, to hit and score runs) that the 1st pick often doesn't have a great shot to succeed because he is drafted by a bad team.

    I would also have to say that the aluminum bat in college changes how position players fare. When a player reaches the show they must generate their own power.

    Lastly, right handed pitchers have an even tougher time succeeding and just because the guy can throw 100 doesn't mean he can get anyone out.