A "First" Draft Team, Literally

Saturday, December 27 2008 @ 02:52 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

On another slow, nearly-baseball-free December's day. I found myself wandering the greatness of BaseballReference.com and landed on this page, which outlines the 43 men who have been the first overall picks in the June Amateur Draft.

Of course, this led me to the standard Hall of Names question ... what kind of roster would this group of names comprise?

A pretty good one, actually -- but maybe not quite as good as we might expect from a roster made up entirely of players once judged to be the very best in their entire draft class.

Sure, there are All-Stars at nearly every position in the starting lineup -- everywhere but 2B, actually, but then we had to really stretch to find someone who'd spent a good deal of time at the keystone in our list of options.

Which raises another point ... many of these players were drafted at positions where they did not spend significant time in the majors -- Mike Ivie was a disaster, defensively, as a catcher, for instance, and can you really picture Harold Baines at 1B?

There isn't a single Hall of Famer on the list, though that seems exceedingly likely to change once Messers. Griffey, Jones and Rodriguez hang 'em up. The pitching is ... well, erratic, with a very right-leaning rotation and a bullpen that includes the most famous draft bust of all time (David Clyde) as well as a young lefty who right now has more career post-season wins than regular-season decisions.

Be that as it may, it's 'round about time that ...

** Hall of Famers (none yet)


C Joe Mauer, Twins '01
1B Adrian Gonzalez, Marlins '00
2B Jeff King, Pirates '86 (mostly 3B; drafted as SS)
SS Alex Rodriguez, Mariners' 93
3B Chipper Jones, Braves '90
LF Josh Hamilton, Rays '99
CF Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners 87
RF Darryl Strawberry, Mets '80
DH Harold Baines, '77 White Sox (drafted as 1B)

C/UTIL B.J. Surhoff, '85 Brewers (drafted as SS)
UTIL Phil Nevin, '92 Astros (drafted as 3B)
IF Tim Foli, '68 Mets (drafted as SS)
IF Shawon Dunston, Cubs '82 (drafted as SS)
OF Jeff Burroughs, Senators/Rangers '69
OF Rick Monday, A's '65

RHSP Andy Benes, Padres '88
LHSP Floyd Bannister, Astros '76
RHSP Ben McDonald, Orioles '89
RHSP Kris Benson, '96 Pirates
RHSP Paul Wilson, '94 Mets

RHP Matt Anderson, Tigers '97
LHP David Price, Rays '07
RHP Luke Hochevar, Royals '06
LHP David Clyde, Rangers '73
RHP Mike Moore, Mariners '81

RHP Bryan Bullington, Pirates '02
DH Ron Blomberg, Yankees '67(drafted as 1B)
OF Justin Upton, D-backs '05 (drafted as SS)
3B/OF Pat Burrell, Phillies '98
3B Dave Roberts, '72 Padres
1B Mike Ivie, Padres '70 (drafted as C)
IF Bill Almon, Padres '74
OF Shawn Abner, Mets '84
1B Danny Goodwin, White Sox '71; Angels '75
3B Bob Horner, Braves '78
OF Al Chambers, Mariners '79

Never/Have Not Yet Reached Majors
SS Tim Beckham, '08 Rays
SS Matt Bush, '04 Padres
LHSP Brien Taylor, Yankees '91
C Steve Chilcott , Mets '66

DRAFT NOTES ... It's really not fair to put Beckham on a list with Taylor, the Yankee bust and Chilcott, the origicnal first-overall bust by the Mets four decades ago -- the kid Beckham isn't even 19 yet (that comes late next month), and though he didn't hit much in Rookie Ball last year (.243), he has certainly outperformed Bush, who had a career batting mark of .219 in his first four pro seasons, none above Class A ...

The 11 guys who didn't even make the roster include some pretty big names, like Bob Horner, Pat Burrell and a still-coming, maybe-he'll-make-this-roster-someday Justin Upton ... That list also includes the name of Danny Goodwin, the only man chosen first overall twice, only to compile a career OPS+ of just 84 over seven largely unproductive seasons in the 1970s and early 1980s before exiting MLB for good at age 28 ... And what, the very first designated hitter ever, Ron Blomberg, doesn't make the roster? Well, no -- he had a nice career, but Harold Baines, another first overall a few years later, is at least arguably the greatest DH ever to play the game, for what that's worth ... To close things out (literally), Matt Anderson is the only primarily relief pitcher ever selected first overall -- and he racked up a grand total of 26 career big league saves ...

We'll be back later in the week with a look at the #2 overall selections -- an even more uneven group, but possibly better overall. In the meantime, how can the above squad be rejiggered to be better?

The industrious among you are invited to find the best overall draft position historically (again, BaseballReference.com makes this easy to do) ... what's the luckiest number?

And our final standard question ... how many games does this team win in the 2009 AL East?