Friday 5: Worst Draft Picks Since 2000

I haven’t written a Friday 5 in a while and I kind of stumbled across this idea while on the greatest website ever created (except this one, of course).  While we do love our NFL Draft around here, this one is referring to the Major League Draft and I’m going to throw out some rules before we get into it.  I’m not talking about the Matt Bush’s of the world who flame out before hitting the big leagues or a pitcher whose arm falls off in Class A ball.  Or just for Chappy, a guy who gets drafted in the first round, becomes the subject of a best-selling novel and plays a whopping five Major League Games.  But hey, that’s exactly five more Major League games than all the readers and writers of this site have ever played in.  No, I’m talking about the guys who were taken high and rocketed through the minors only to flame out and be done within three years.

Some of the players may surprise you.  Let’s get started.

5. Adam Johnson – SP – Minnesota Twins – 2nd overall pick in 2000

The 2000 draft may go down as one of the worst in history.  For a while it looked like the first pick, Adrian Gonzalez, was going to be a massive bust, but he’s found a home in San Diego.  Adam Johnson, who went right behind Gonzalez, hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2003.  Let’s check his vitals.  In his career with the Twins he went a grand total of 1-3 with a 10.25 ERA in 9 games.  Helpful.  In his 26.1 inning career he gave up 7 homers.  That’s a lot.  He also gave up 40 hits, 14 walks, hit five batters, and gave up 30 runs.  He had a WHIP of over two.  This was your second overall pick.  Good start.

Johnson gets the nod over Justin Wayne, Joe Borchard and his light tower power, and Phil Dumatrait.  All are bad…none were picked 2nd overall.

The Twins could have had:  Chase Utley (15th overall), Adam Wainwright (29th overall) or Grady Sizemore (75th overall)

4. Delmon Young – OF – Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 1st overall pick in 2003

This one might surprise some folks out there since Young has a career .294 average and will put up around 15 homers and 91 RBIs a year.  But upon closer inspection….he’s a bad fielder and he doesn’t get on base.  He’s got 93 walks in five years.  To put that in perspective, Jim Edmonds walked 93 times in 2001 alone.  Barry Bonds walked 232 times in 2004.  Think about that for a second.  If he took some walks, he’d be useful.  His below average fielding puts him in this category.  He’s also the #1 overall pick which adds some weight here.  I think before long he’ll learn how to be patient and possibly add some power to his repertoire and get himself off this list.  But right now, he’s got a career WAR of -1.3.  That means over the course of his career, a completely average player would have added 1.3 wins to his team over the last five years.  That’s not exactly what you want out of your #1 pick.

3.  Andrew Miller – SP – Detroit Tigers – 6th overall pick 2006

Andrew Miller was a very highly touted pitcher out of the University of North Carolina when the Detroit Tigers made him the 6th overall pick in 2006.  He was so good that he made his Major League debut only 22 days after signing his $5.45 million dollar contract.  Since then he’s got a 14-21 record and a 5.47 ERA in 271.2 innings.  That’s good for an ERA+ of 80 (not good) and a WAR of -2.5 all for a total of around $6.5 million bucks.  All did not turn out bad for the Tigers, Miller was part of the package that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.  I’d be willing to bet they’d make that trade again.

2. John van Benschoten – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates – 8th overall pick in 2001

Ahh, the Pirates.  You knew there was going to be at least one on this list.  John van Benschoten has pitched 90 innings in his career.  In those 90 innings, he’s walked 68 batters.  68!  He’s only struck out 65.  That’s terrible.  Perhaps not surprisingly, he’s earned himself a 2-13 career record while pitching in 26 games (starting 19).  He’s currently toiling in the Yankees minor league system and his numbers there are actually pretty good.  His K/BB ratio in the minors is about 2/1.  Maybe if he could carry that up to the majors he’d raise his WAR from -5.0 which is the worst on this list…and the worst that I found.  Still, I found one player that I would put ahead of him on this list:

1. Dewon Brazelton – SP – Tampa Bay Devil Rays –   3rd overall pick in 2001

Dewon Brazelton was selected out of Middle Tennessee State University after setting all sorts of strikeout records there.  After breezing making it through the minors, he came up to earn a sparkling 8-25 career record with a 6.38 ERA in 271 innings for the Rays and Padres.  How he ever threw that many innings is beyond me.  Like Van Benschoten, Brazelton has walked more batters than he struck out, 151-145.  I love that his top comparables on Baseball-Reference are Ryan Glynn, Cotton Pippen, and  Varney Anderson.  Elite company, to be sure.  By the way, Brazelton’s WAR was a hefty -4.1.  Take out his best season of 2004 and he’s down to 2-17 with an ERA over 7.o0.  Why did people keep throwing him out there every 5th day?  That’s just mean.

2 Responses

  1. Wow, that’s tough to analyze worst draft picks for baseball, there’s like fifty rounds in the draft haha. Looking through the drafts, I agree that 2000 might be one of the worst drafts of all time, other than Gonzalez, Utley, and Wainwright it was ugly in that first round.

    I kinda want to nominate Kahlil Greene in the 2002 draft, but he can play defense, so I guess he wasn’t a complete bust. He falls in the Cliff Pennington category…

    • Haha, yeah I really only looked at the first round. If you take a guy in the 18th round and he sucks…well that’s your own fault for promoting him.

      Khalil Greene’s 2004 and 2007 keep him off this list. He was pretty useful those two years. Otherwise…yeah, he’s not good.

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