Wednesday, June 10, 2015

All-Flop Team

I like following amateur baseball and spend plenty of time checking in on college baseball.  Having a few big colleges and the USA Baseball complex near my house certainly helps out the efforts.  I had thought long and hard about making a draft post about some of the players selected this year, but I am going to wait a little bit longer to finish up that post.  Certainly a lot of opinions are forming, but I still need to do a little bit more reading on a few players.  Especially a few of those Cardinals draft picks....I was loaded to do some blogging about college pitchers.  I guess not.

Anyway, just to show a little bit of the uncertainty around the Major League Draft I took a little bit of time to make an All-Flop team.  Don't worry, there is All-Draft team list coming out tomorrow night. So, here is what I did to make my list.  I am fielding a player at each position, with a starting pitcher, and a relief pitcher.  All of these players were selected in the first five picks of the MLB Draft within the last 30 years, but accomplished little to justify their high selection.

C- Eric Munson

Munson was originally drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 1996 draft, but decided to go play at USC for a few years.  He was a great college player for the Trojans earning Freshman All-American honors and helped the team win the College World Series in 1998.  He was selected twice to play for the USA College All-Star team and was an All-American his senior year.  Munson is still in the top 5 of most important offensive categories at USC.  The Tigers drafted the catcher third overall in 1999 passing on Barry Zito, Ben Sheets, Alex Rios, and Brian Roberts.  Munson played in 361 Major League games over 9 years with a career line of .214/.289/.394.  His two best seasons were for the 2003 and 2004 Tigers when he hit 37 home runs over two years and posted an OPS+ of 102 in 2003.  His only number north of the average player rating of 100 during his career.  

1B- Dave McCarty

I am going to start off my blurb about David McCarty by giving him a tip of the cap for effort (I call it grit).  He was the National College Baseball Player of the Year at Stanford in 1991 and was drafted by the Twins 3rd overall that summer.  The guy had some good years in the minors.  There was a partial season in Triple A where he hit .385/.477/.629 and another full season when he went .353/.419/.590.  McCarty never developed the pop that people that he would have when he turned pro, that's still the knock against Stanford players right?, and his .242/.305/.371 Major League suggests he hit almost nothing there.  He only hit 36 career home runs in almost 1,500 at bats.  McCarty reinvented himself as a pitcher and reappeared in the Majors with the Red Sox for a few games during the 2004 season.  

2B- Dustin Ackley 

I am willing to take Dustin off this list, but he's doing more and more by the day to earn his spot here.  Honestly, this guy is one of the best college players I have ever seen with my own eyes.  The Mariners took the UNC second baseman with the second overall pick in the 2009 draft.  A few years later he's not even the best player the Mariners drafted out of UNC that year (Kyle Seager).  Currently Ackley is somehow occupying a roster spot with a line of .197/.252/.331.  That's a .583 OPS.  How is he not been released or sent to Triple A?  His career line in almost 2000 plate appearances is .242/.306/.364.  Ouch.  

3B- Josh Booty 

The Marlins drafted the two sport star fifth overall in the 1994 draft and paid him a (then) record of 1.6 million dollars to sign with the team and not play football.  Booty hit home runs, but there were a lot of contact issues in the Minors.  His career line is .198/.356/.356, but he did have two season with more than 20 home runs.  He also had two season with more than 150 strikeouts, including a 195 K effort in 1996 when he played in just 128 games.  The Marlins did call Booty up to the Majors for a cup of coffee a few times in the late 1990s and he was voted a World Series ring in 1997.  However, he went back to football in 1999 when he decided to play for Nick Saban at LSU.  

SS- Matt Bush 

Bush was a hometown kid the Padres used the first overall selection on in the 2004 draft.  From the start it screamed flop when Bush was arrested a few days after he was picked.  He was arrested a few more times over the next decade while posting a .219/.294/.276 line for the Padres as a hitter.  Bush later signed with the Rays and tried his hand at pitching, but ended up in jail again after striking someone with a car with a BAC of 0.18.  He was released and is serving out some jail time somewhere in Florida.  He will be just the third number one overall pick not to reach the Majors.

OF- Donovan Tate

The Padres selected Tate 3rd overall in the 2009 Major League Draft.  Tate was also a top football prospect at the time and the Friars ended up paying him almost 7 million dollars to skip out on college football.  Tate has had some problems with injuries and also had a stint in rehab after failing a few drug tests (not for steroids).  In five years in the Minors the once highly touted prospect has only progressed to the Padres High A Ball team where he is batting .228/.308/.337 for the 2015 season.  His career line is not much better.  Again, I am willing to take him off the list at some point if I revisit, but he is going to have to start hitting soon.

OF - Mark Merchant

Who was picked first in the 1987 MLB Draft?  Ken Griffey Jr.  Who was picked second?  This guy.  If you want to know why the Pirates were bad for a huge chunk of the 1990s you need to check out some of their drafts starting in the late 1980s.  I am sure that Merchant was doing something good as a high school baseball player in Florida, but the Pirates passed up Craig Biggio, Travis Fryman, Jack McDowell, Kevin Appier, and Delino DeShields for this guy.  The corner outfielder spent a chunk of time with the Pirates before ending up with the Mariners after being traded for Rey Quinones.  From what I can tell it seems like he had quite a few injuries, but still seemed to be a .260 hitter with doubles power when he was healthy.

OF- Jeff Jackson

The Phillies took Jackson with the 4th pick in the 1989 draft.  They passed on Frank Thomas, Mo Vaughn, Chuck Knoblauch, and Charles Johnson just to name a few.  Jackson never reached the Majors and spent nine seasons with the Phillies, Cubs, and Pirates organizations posting a .234/.311/.354 line.  Jackson never developed any pop in his bat, but did have a few 20+ steal seasons in the Minors.

SP- Brien Taylor 

Taylor is one of the most legendary figures of the MLB Draft.  The Yankees took the Eastern North Carolina high school baseball player with the first overall draft pick in 1991.  He started out with two great seasons in the Minors before tearing his shoulder up in a fight at home during the off season.  Taylor never regained his stuff and his career was ruined.  He, along with Matt Bush and Steve Chillcot, are the only players drafted first overall to have never played in a Major League game.  

RP- Matt Anderson

The Tigers used the first overall pick on the Rice relief pitcher in the 1997 MLB Draft.  Anderson could throw 100 MPH, but I am not sure he could ever really throw strikes.  He played six season with the Tigers, and actually had a winning record, but posted an ERA above 5 and never had an ERA+ above 100 outside of his rookie season of 1998.  He bounced around in the minors for awhile with the Rockies, Giants, and White Sox, but never got more than one brief appearance with the Rockies after his time with the Tigers ended.  

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