It went bang - I said rap up.
Well I'm aware that the guy must do his work
But the piledriver man drove me berserk.
For a recap of yesterday's game see Spencer Fordin's "Chacin leads Jays to victory". Some hilights from yesterday's game:
The Rangers had a pretty good amature draft in 1996, which isn't surprising given that they had 2 picks in the first round as well as the 32nd overall selection. What is surprising is that it was their later round selections that would provide of the most use to the team. Of their first three selections, only R.A. Dickey has had any real major league success to date.
Their later round selections were an interesting mix of players, including 4th rounder Kelly Dransfeldt, 10th rounder Doug Davis, 19th rounder Mark "Lurch" Hendrickson, 26th rounder Joe Beimel, and 31st rounder Travis Hafner. Most importantly to this story, they selected a left-handed hitting second baseman by the name of Warren Randall Morris in the 5th round.
Fast forward to the 1997 season, when a seemingly washed up former 1st round draft pick is bouncing around professional baseball. Righthanded pitcher Todd Van Poppel was selected off of waivers by Anaheim (from Detroit) in November 1996, released by the Angels in March, signed by the Royals in April, released by the team in June, then signed with the Texas on June 20th. He would spend the remainder of the 1997 season pitching in the minors for the Rangers with little success.
The following season, the Rangers were fighting the Angels for the AL West division flag, but needed help with their rotation as starters John Burkett (5.86 ERA), Darren Oliver (6.53 ERA), and Bobby Witt (7.66 ERA) were doing little to help the club. They ended up coming to an agreement with a Pirates club who was destined for last place in the NL Central. The Pirates with Francisco Cordova, Jason Schmidt, Jon Lieber, and Chris Peters had a pretty strong rotation for a weak team, so they sent their #5 starter Esteban Loaiza to the Rangers. In return the Rangers sent Van Poppel, who had a 3.72 ERA as a starter for AA Tulsa and Morris who was hitting .331 for the same club, to the Pirates.
The deal ended up benefiting both Texas and Pittsburgh. Loaiza did little in 1998, but had a pretty good 1999 campaign, going 9-5 with a 4.56 ERA in 120 innings. In 2000 he would be dealt to the Jays for Darwin Cubillan and Michael Young. We all know how much Young has helped Texas. Cubillan would not prove as useful: He pitched 17 innings for the Rangers and was then sent to the Expos in exchange for Canadian Mike Johnson. Johnson would pitch for AAA Oklahoma for half a season before leaving the Rangers organization as a free agent.
Warren Morris had an excellent 1999 campaign for the Pirates, hitting .288 in 147 games and came in 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Scott Williamson and Preston Wilson and ahead of teammate Kris Benson, Joe McEwing, and Atlanta's Kevin McGlinchy. He would never again match the success he had in the 1999 season and was released by the Pirates in 2001. I believe he's now in the minors somewhere for the Indians, but I haven't been able to confirm this.
Todd Van Poppel threw 47 innings for the 1998 Pirates, sporting an ERA of 5.36. He was unable to make the big league team in 1999 and spent the season in AAA Nashville where he compiled at 10-6 record with an ERA of 4.95. He left the Pirates as a free agent at the end of the season and ended up signing with the Cubs.
The chain of events which lead to Michael Young becoming a Ranger did not start with the Esteban Loaiza deal. Instead their roots go farther back, when the Rangers selected Warren Morris in the 5th round of the 1996 entry draft and took a flier on former first rounder Todd Van Poppel. And now you know the rest of the story.