MLB Draft 2013: Power Ranking the 50 Worst Draft Busts of the Past 25 Years

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2013

MLB Draft 2013: Power Ranking the 50 Worst Draft Busts of the Past 25 Years

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    The 2013 MLB draft kicks off on June 6, with the Houston Astros holding the first pick in the draft for the second consecutive season.

    Scouting in the high school and college ranks has come an infinitely long way since the draft was first implemented in 1965, but it remains an imperfect science, and each season, there are a handful of first-round picks who wind up never making the majors.

    While prospects failing to reach their potential is just part of the process, there have been a handful of picks over the years that have truly haunted teams. 

    Missing on a top-five pick can not only be costly, it can alter the course of a franchise. Whether it's a career being derailed by injury or a player simply not being able to make the necessary adjustments at the pro level, even the "can't miss" draft picks miss sometimes.

    So here is a look at the 50 biggest busts in the past 25 years of the MLB draft—a cautionary tale of sorts to all 30 MLB teams with this year's draft less than two weeks away.

Notable Omissions

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    There are three players who deserve mention on this list, but didn't quite qualify as draft busts due to some odd circumstances.

    1B Travis Lee

    Selected by the Twins with the No. 2 pick in the 1996 draft after he won the Golden Spikes Award during his final season at San Diego State, Lee became a free agent after he was not tendered a contract within 15 days of the end of the draft. 

    He wound up signing a four-year, $10 million contract with the Diamondbacks, where he is best known for being part of the package used to acquire Curt Schilling from the Phillies. He hit .256 with 115 home runs and 488 RBI in nine big league seasons, but he never quite lived up to his top prospect status.

    SP Matt White

    Another selection from the 1996 draft that used the same loophole to become a free agent, White was selected by the Giants with the No. 7 pick, but he wound up signing with the Rays.

    Given a ridiculous $10.2 million signing bonus, he went on to post a 4.64 ERA in 121 minor league starts, never reaching the major leagues before retiring at the age of 24.

    SP Matt Harrington

    A highly touted high schooler after going 11-0 with a 0.54 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 65 innings as a senior, Harrington was selected with the No. 7 pick in the 2000 draft by the Colorado Rockies.

    His agent, Tommy Tanzer, was seeking a $4.95 million signing bonus, and when the Rockies would go no higher than $4 million, he opted to sit out the season and reenter the draft the following year.

    Tanzer was replaced by Scott Boras, and Harrington was taken with the No. 58 pick in the 2001 draft by the Padres. They offered him a $1.2 million signing bonus, roughly half of what he wanted, and he again opted not to sign.

    He was drafted again in 2002, 2003 and 2004, but he failed to come to terms each time and wound up never signing with a major league team in one of the stranger stories in baseball history.

Nos. 50-46

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    No. 50: SP Kasey Kiker, Texas Rangers—(No. 12 in 2006)

    A high school left-hander out of Alabama, Kiker got a $1.6 million signing bonus from the Rangers in 2006. He spent six seasons in the organization, posting a 23-31 record and 4.53 ERA while never advancing past Double-A.


    No. 49: SP Justin Wayne, Montreal Expos—(No. 5 in 2000)

    Following a standout career at Stanford, Wayne was taken by the Expos with the No. 5 pick. He was traded to the Florida in an eight-player deal at the deadline in 2002, and he made five starts for the Marlins that season, going 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA. He made 21 appearances (three starts) over the next two seasons and went 3-5 with a 6.63 ERA, and called it a career at the end of 2005.


    No. 48: SP Kurt Miller, Pittsburgh Pirates—(No. 5 in 1990)

    The first high school pitcher taken in the 1990 draft, Miller was ranked in the Baseball America top 100 four times during his time in the minors, according to He was traded twice before making his debut with the Marlins in 1994, and he made a total of 44 appearances (nine starts) with a 2-7 record and 7.48 ERA over five big league seasons.


    No. 47: SP Steve Soderstrom, San Francisco Giants—(No. 6 pick in 1993)

    Taken ahead of Billy Wagner, Derek Lee, Chris Carpenter and Torii Hunter, among others, Soderstrom was selected following an All-American junior season at Fresno State. He reached the majors for three starts in 1996, but was out of baseball four years later with just three appearances for his career.


    No. 46: SP Ryan Mills, Minnesota Twins—(No. 6 in 1998)

    Mills went 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 90 innings as the ace of the Arizona State team that reached the College World Series in 1998. He spent seven season in the minors, going 17-40 with a 5.79 ERA, and never reached the majors due to control issues (5.8 BB/9).

Nos. 45-41

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    No. 45: SP Seth Greisinger, Detroit Tigers—(No. 6 in 1996)

    A seventh-round pick out of high school, Greisinger instead chose to attend the University of Virginia. He went 12-2 with a 1.76 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 123 innings as a junior, according to BR Bullpen, before being drafted by the Tigers. He made just 42 major league appearances and posted a 5.51 ERA, though he is still pitching for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan.


    No. 44: SP Jeff Granger, Kansas City Royals—(No. 5 in 1993)

    A two-sport athlete at Texas A&M, where he also spent some time as the team's starting quarterback, Granger moved quickly after signing. After going 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 14.0 K/9 in eight Low-A games he was called up to Kansas City. In the end though, he never developed the secondary stuff to be an impact big leaguer, posting a 9.09 ERA over 27 appearances.


    No. 43: SS Monty Fariss, Texas Rangers—(No. 6 in 1998)

    Fariss hit .397 with 30 home runs and 114 RBI, according to BR Bullpen, as a junior at Oklahoma State before being selected by the Rangers. He reached the majors in 1991 and hit .223 with four home runs and 27 RBI over 197 at-bats in two seasons before being taken by the Marlins in the expansion draft.

    Fariss played just 18 more games in the majors for Florida before his career was over.


    No. 42: RF Ryan Harvey, Chicago Cubs—(No. 6 in 2003)

    The 6'5" and 240-pound Harvey looked the part of a future slugger when he was drafted out of high school and given a $2.4 million signing bonus, per CBS Chicago. However, he hit just .243 in six seasons in the Cubs organization and never advanced above Double-A. He was selected one pick ahead of Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis.


    No. 41: 3B Billy Rowell, Baltimore Orioles—(No. 9 in 2006)

    Taken a pick before Tim Lincecum and two before Max Scherzer, the Orioles made Rowell the first high school position player off the board when the gave him a $2.1 million bonus. He hit just .261/.329/.389 in six minor league seasons, spending three full seasons in High-A.

    Following a 50-game suspension for a second positive marijuana test, the team attempted to convert him to pitcher before releasing him.

Nos. 40-36

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    No. 40: SP Jeff Austin, Kansas City Royals—(No. 4 in 1998)

    The 1998 Collegiate Player of the Year after going 12-4 with a 3.11 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 133 innings of work at Stanford, per, Austin went 10-3 with a 3.93 ERA and reached Double-A in his first pro season. He never quite made it as a big leaguer, though, posting a 6.75 ERA in 38 appearances.


    No. 39: CF Donald Harris, Texas Rangers—(No. 5 in 1989)

    Taken two picks ahead of Frank Thomas, Harris played football and baseball at Texas Tech and entered the league with superior athleticism. He never turned into the impact player the Rangers thought he'd be, but he stuck around in Independent League ball until 2000. In total, he hit just .205/.248/.282 in 117 big league at-bats from 1991-1993.


    No. 38: LF Chris Lubanski, Kansas City Royals—(No. 5 in 2003)

    A highly touted power prospect taken out of high school, Lubanski hit .301/.349/.554 with 28 home runs and 116 RBI as a 20-year-old in 2005 and looked to have a bright future ahead of him. However, he failed to keep that production up following the jump to Double-A the following season and wound up never playing a game at the big league level.


    No. 37: RF Chad Mottola, Cincinnati Reds—No. 5 in 1992)

    The Reds selected Mottola one pick before the Yankees selected Derek Jeter following an All-American junior season at Central Florida. He hit .280 with 21 home runs and 91 RBI in his first full pro season. He made his big league debut in 1996, but never caught on with the Reds. He stuck around in the minors until 2007, putting up some solid minor league numbers for the Blue Jays.


    No. 36: SP Wade Townsend, Tampa Bay Rays—(No. 8 in 2005)

    The Orioles took Townsend with the No. 8 pick in 2004, but he returned to Rice University and went 12-0 with a 1.80 ERA to win WAC Pitcher of the Year before again being taken with the No. 8 pick. Injuries sidetracked his career before it ever really started, though, and he is no retired and playing poker professionally, per 

Nos. 35-31

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    No. 35: SP Jeremy Sowers, Cleveland Indians—(No. 6 in 2004)

    In a draft loaded with college pitching, the Indians took Sowers after he went 10-5 with a 2.64 ERA at Vanderbilt. The decision looked like a great one, as he went 14-4 with a 2.37 ERA and reached Triple-A in his first pro season.

    Sowers made his big league debut the next season and went 7-4 with a 3.57 ERA and a pair of shutouts in 14 starts. But he was never again able to match that success and is currently pitching in the Independent League.


    No. 34: SP Bill Bene, Los Angeles Dodgers—(No. 5 in 1988)

    The Dodgers set themselves up for failure when the drafted Bene, as the right-hander was 10-7 with a 5.62 ERA, according to the Los Angeles Times, in his three seasons at UCLA and was drafted more on potential than results.

    He never reached the majors and later found himself in trouble with the law for running a counterfeit karaoke business, per Yahoo!, which apparently is a real thing.


    No. 33: SP Geoff Goetz, New York Mets—(No. 6 in 1997)

    Drafted by the Mets, Goetz was shipped to the Marlins as the "player to be named" in the trade that brought Mike Piazza to New York. The stuff was there, but he was never able to advance beyond Double-A as a result of his suspect control (5.0 BB/9). He pitched in the Independent League in 2005 and 2006 before his pro career ended at the age of 27.


    No. 32: SS Matt Brunson, Detroit Tigers—(No. 9 in 1993)

    An athlete before he was a baseball player, Brunson was the third position player taken in the 1993 draft, but he was incredibly over-matched in pro ball, as he hit .212, .178 and .205 in his three minor league seasons. Released by the Marlins in 1996, he enrolled at the University of Colorado to play football before popping up again in the Independent League in 2005.


    No. 31: RF Paul Coleman, St. Louis Cardinals—(No. 6 in 1989)

    Taken one pick before Frank Thomas, Coleman was a highly touted two-sport star at Frankston High School in Texas when the Cardinals drafted him hoping they'd found the next Bo Jackson. He was far from it, though, as he hit .233, .209 and .185 in his first three seasons and was released by the end of the 1993 season.

Nos. 30-26

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    No. 30: CF B.J. Garbe, Minnesota Twins—(No. 5 in 1999)

    The Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 1999, Garbe was one of five high school players taken in the first six picks of the 1999 draft and was signed for a $2.75 million bonus. He failed to cash in on his potential, though, and after failing to hit over .250 in any of his full seasons in the organizations, the Twins released him in 2004. 


    No. 29: SP Mike Stodolka, Kansas City Royals—(No. 4 in 2000)

    Stodolka went 11-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 68 innings as a high school senior, according to BR Bullpen, and that earned him a $2.5 million signing bonus and made him the first high school pitcher off the board in 2000.

    After going 20-39 with a 4.93 ERA in six minor league seasons, he moved to first base and hit .287/.394/.444 with 28 home runs over three season. But he never reached the majors at either position.


    No. 28: CF Jeff Jackson, Philadelphia Phillies—(No. 4 in 1989)

    The highest-drafted of three players on this list who were taken ahead of Frank Thomas, Jackson hit .504 with 16 home runs, 72 RBI and 46 steals in 119 at-bats as a high school senior, per BR Bullpen.

    He was in over his head in the pro game, though, failing to hit over .240 in any of his six minor league seasons and never reaching the majors.

    Fun fact: He went to Simeon High School in Chicago, the same high school attended by Bulls star Derrick Rose.


    No. 27: SP B.J. Wallace, Montreal Expos—(No. 3 in 1992)

    An Olympian in 1992, Wallace was selected after a college career at Mississippi State that saw him go 21-9 with 271 strikeouts in 265 innings in three seasons, according to BR Bullpen.

    He went 11-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 8.3 K/9 in his first pro season at High-A, but shoulder issues derailed him from there, as he made just 23 more appearances and was retired by the end of 1996. He was selected three picks before Derek Jeter.


    No. 26: SP Chris Gruler, Cincinnati Reds—(No. 3 in 2002)

    The second-highest draft pick in Reds history, Gruler was a $2.5 million signing bonus out of high school, and he entered the 2003 season as the team's No. 1 rated prospect, according to Baseball America.

    However, shoulder problems derailed his promising career. After just 27 minor league appearances and three shoulder surgeries, his career was over at the age of 22.

    He was selected ahead of Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain in one of the better drafts in recent memory.

25. SS Luis Montanez, Chicago Cubs

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    Drafted: 2000 (No. 3 Overall)


    Career Summary

    Expected to be a future star at shortstop when he was drafted out of high school and given a $2.75 million signing bonus, Luis Montanez became another in a line of disappointing high school position players in the Cubs' system.

    He hit .242 over six seasons in the Cubs' system before signing with the Orioles as a free agent. After a decent season in 2007, he hit .335 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI in 451 at-bats in Double-A to earn a late-season call-up.

    All told, Montanez hit .223/.258/.328 in 305 at-bats over parts of four big league seasons, returning to the Cubs in 2011. He is currently playing for the Somerset Patriots of the Independent League and has an .897 OPS as a 31-year-old.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    CF Rocco Baldelli (No. 6), 2B Chase Utley (No. 15), SP Adam Wainwright (No. 29) and 2B Kelly Johnson (No. 38)

24. SS Mark Farris, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Drafted: 1994 (No. 11 Overall)


    Career Summary

    A shortstop from Angleton High School in Texas, Mark Farris was a two-sport star in high school. He signed a letter of intent to play football at Texas A&M before being selected by the Pirates and receiving an $820,000 signing bonus.

    In four minor league seasons, he hit .244/.312/.327 and reached Double-A in his final season before deciding to leave baseball and enroll at Texas A&M.

    He served as the team's starting quarterback as a sophomore (208-of-347, 2,551 yards, 10 TD) and junior (203-of-347, 2,094 yards, 8 TD) before being benched after struggling as a senior. He ended his career with a 17-9 record.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SS Nomar Garciaparra (No. 12), 1B Paul Konerko (No. 13) and C Jason Varitek (No. 14)

23. SP Clint Everts, Montreal Expos

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    Drafted: 2002 (No. 5 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The Cypress Falls High School team had a dynamic one-two punch at the top of their rotation in 2002, with right-hander Clint Everts and Scott Kazmir both going in the top 15 picks of the draft.

    Kazmir was an All-Star and staff ace before flaming out, but Everts never even reached that level of success in his pro career after receiving a $2.5 million signing bonus.

    He's still toiling in the minors as a 28-year-old in the Blue Jays' system. In 341 career minor league appearances, he has a 4.10 ERA and 8.8 K/9 pitching mostly out of the bullpen. With an 8.04 ERA this season between Double-A and Triple-A, it doesn't look like a call-up will happen anytime soon.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Zack Greinke (No. 6), 1B Prince Fielder (No. 7), SP Jeff Francis (No. 9), SP Scott Kazmir (No. 15), RF Nick Swisher (No. 16), SP Cole Hamels (No. 17) and SP Matt Cain (No. 25)

22. SP Roger Salkeld, Seattle Mariners

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    Drafted: 1989 (No. 3 Overall)


    Career Summary

    A can't-miss high school pitcher out of Saugus High School in California, Roger Salkeld took full advantage of his stock and received a $225,000 signing bonus, higher than the $160,000 bonus No. 1 overall pick Ken Griffey Jr. had received two years prior, according to the L.A. Times.

    The left-hander was 13-1 with a 0.57 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 108.2 innings of work as a senior, and he was expected to be a future staff ace.

    Ranked as the No. 5 prospect in 1991 and No. 3 prospect in 1992, according to Baseball America, Salkeld did reach the majors as a 22-year-old in 1993. However, he never stuck and wound up 10-10 with a 5.61 ERA in in 45 games (34 starts).


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    1B Frank Thomas (No. 7), 1B Mo Vaughn (No. 23), 2B Chuck Knoblauch (No. 25) and RP Todd Jones (No. 27)

21. 3B Antone Williamson, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Drafted: 1994 (No. 4 Overall)


    Career Summary

    A first-team All-American in 1993 and 1994, Antone Williamson was expected to move quickly through the Brewers' system after being taken with the No. 4 pick in 1994.

    He entered the 1995 season ranked as the No. 64 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America. Williamson hit .309/.383/.469 with seven home runs and 90 RBI in a full season at Double-A that year and still looked the part of a future impact player.

    It was all downhill from there, though, as he would never again hit over .300. He finished with a combined .271/.356/.408 line over six seasons in the Brewers' system and one in the Independent League. His only taste of the big leagues was a 24-game stint in 1997, when he hit .204 with six RBI in 54 at-bats.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    2B Todd Walker (No. 8), SS Nomar Garciaparra (No. 12), 1B Paul Konerko (No. 13) and C Jason Varitek (No. 14)

20. SP Ariel Prieto, Oakland Athletics

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    Drafted: 1995 (No. 5 Overall)


    Career Summary

    When Cuban-born right-hander Ariel Prieto defected to the United States as opposed to another country, he became subject to the draft process, and the A's took the then-25-year-old with the No. 5 pick in the draft.

    Given a $1.2 million signing bonus, Prieto went straight to the majors after signing and was 2-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 14 games (nine starts) down the stretch.

    He made 43 starts over the next two seasons, going 12-15 with a 4.60 ERA, but injuries set in after that, and he only made 13 more appearances at the major league level. Expected to be a difference-maker at the top of the A's rotation, he was instead just another middling minor leaguer before retiring in 2005.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    1B Todd Helton (No. 8), RF Geoff Jenkins (No. 9), SP Matt Morris (No. 12) and SP Roy Halladay (No. 17)

19. SP Andrew Brackman, New York Yankees

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    Drafted: 2007 (No. 30 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The 6'10" Andrew Brackman served as a two-sport athlete during his first two seasons at NC State, playing center for the basketball team and averaging 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman and 7.6 points and 3.5 rebounds as a sophomore, before deciding to focus on baseball.

    A stress fracture in his hip during his sophomore season and elbow injury at the end of his junior season hurt his draft stock in the 2007 MLB draft, and he fell to the Yankees at the end of the first round.

    He agreed to a six-year, $4.5 million deal that could have been worth up to $13 million with option years and became part of the Yankees' "Killer B's" alongside Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. However, he went just 17-35 with a 5.36 ERA in four minor league seasons and is no longer pitching after spending 2012 in the Reds organization.

18. SP Adam Loewen, Baltimore Orioles

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    Drafted: 2002 (No. 4 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The Orioles made Adam Loewen the highest Canadian-born draft pick (since passed by Jameson Taillon) when they took him with the fourth pick in the 2002 draft, giving him a $4.02 million signing bonus in the process.

    He made a name for himself when he shut down Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in 2006 with 3.2 scoreless innings, then earned a call-up to Baltimore later that season, where he went 6-6 with a 5.37 ERA in 22 games (19 starts) as a rookie.

    Injuries derailed him from there, though, and he wound up converting to the outfield in the Blue Jays organization starting in 2009. He returned to the big leagues as a position player in 2011, going 6-for-32 with a home run in 14 games, and he's currently playing for Toronto's Double-A affiliate.

    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Zack Greinke (No. 6), 1B Prince Fielder (No. 7), SP Jeff Francis (No. 9), SP Scott Kazmir (No. 15), RF Nick Swisher (No. 16), SP Cole Hamels (No. 17) and SP Matt Cain (No. 25)

17. SP Kyle Sleeth, Detroit Tigers

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    Drafted: 2003 (No. 3 Overall)


    Career Summary

    Taken in the 18th round out of high school, Kyle Sleeth instead opted to go to Wake Forest, where he managed to significantly improve his draft stock. He wound up getting a $3.35 million signing bonus from the Tigers.

    After an up-and-down freshman season, he went 14-0 with a 2.97 ERA and 113 strikeouts as a sophomore to earn second-team All-American honors. His junior year was not quite as impressive, but he had established himself as a future star pitching for Team USA and was the first pitcher off the board in the 2003 draft.

    Sleeth was 9-8 with a 4.93 ERA in his first pro season, advancing to Double-A and appearing in the Futures Game. However, he missed the entire 2005 season with Tommy John surgery and was never the same upon returning. He was 2-4 with an 8.03 ERA in 2006 and 1-9 with an 8.11 ERA in 2007 before retiring at the age of 25.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    RF Nick Markakis (No. 7), SP Paul Maholm (No. 8), SP John Danks (No. 9), 2B Aaron Hill (No. 13), SP Chad Billingsley (No. 24), RF Carlos Quentin (No. 29) and CF Adam Jones (No. 37)

16. SS Corey Myers, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Drafted: 1999 (No. 4 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The Arizona High School Player of the Year in 1999, Corey Myers put up absolutely ridiculous numbers during his senior season with a .560 average, 22 home runs, 14 doubles and 81 RBI.

    After struggling during his first two pro seasons, Myers hit .307 with eight home runs and 69 RBI while reaching High-A in 2001. He continued to put up respectable offensive numbers the next few seasons, but was never able to find a position.

    He spent time at first, third, shortstop and catcher and eventually wound up in the Angels organization, but he never reached the big leagues in nine minor league seasons. He finished his pro career with a .272/.335/.406 line in nine seasons.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Barry Zito (No. 9), SP Ben Sheets (No. 10), SP Brett Myers (No. 12), RF Alex Rios (No. 19) and 2B Brian Roberts (No. 50)

15. CF Mike Kelly, Atlanta Braves

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    Drafted: 1991 (No. 2 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The 1991 Golden Spikes award winner, Mike Kelly finished off a three-year career at Arizona State with a career line of .350 BA, 46 HR, 194 RBI, according to Sun Devil Athletics, placing him among the best to ever play at the prestigious baseball school.

    A three-time All-American, Kelly was expected to move quickly, starting his full pro season in Double-A in 1992. Though he hit just .229 that season, there were plenty of reasons for optimism, as he had 25 home runs and 22 stolen bases.

    The batting average never really improved, though, and while he went on to play 327 big league games over the course of six seasons, he hit just .241/.300/.421 with 22 home runs and 30 steals in 684 career at-bats and fell well short of the lofty expectations he entered the league with. 


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    OF Manny Ramirez (No. 13), OF Cliff Floyd (No. 14), OF Shawn Green (No. 16), SP Aaron Sele (No. 23)

14. 3B Drew Henson, New York Yankees

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    Drafted: 1998 (No. 97 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The lowest pick of anyone on this list, Drew Henson lasted until the third round in the 1998 draft due to signability concerns, as he was a legitimate NFL draft prospect after quarterbacking the football team at the University of Michigan.

    The Yankees signed him to a six-year, $17 million deal to assure he would focus on baseball, and he was immediately tabbed as their third baseman of the future. 

    He showed great power in his first pro season, hitting .280 with 13 home runs in 254 at-bats at High-A, but he never got any better from there. After hitting .240 and .234 in consecutive seasons at Triple-A in 2002 and 2003, Henson retired and went back to football, having gone 1-for-9 in eight career big league games.

13. C Jeff Clement, Seattle Mariners

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    Drafted: 2005 (No. 3 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The 2005 draft goes down as one of the deepest in baseball history, and Jeff Clement is without question the biggest bust of that draft after getting a $3.4 million signing bonus from Seattle.

    After a fantastic career at USC, he was viewed as a franchise catcher who could help almost immediately in Seattle. And he moved quickly, making his big league debut by going 6-for-16 with two home runs in nine games down the stretch in 2007.

    Clement got an extended look the following season, but he hit just .227 with five home runs over 203 at-bats, and at the deadline in 2009, he was shipped to Pittsburgh in a trade for Jack Wilson. The Pirates moved him to first base, and he opened 2010 as the everyday starter. But he was back in the minors after hitting just .189 through June 6, and he's never really gotten another chance. 

    He's currently hitting .197 for the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, and the 29-year-old may not get another chance at the big leagues at this point.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    3B Ryan Zimmerman (No. 4), LF Ryan Braun (No. 5), SS Troy Tulowitzki (No. 7), CF Andrew McCutchen (No. 11), RF Jay Bruce (No. 12), CF Jacoby Ellsbury (No. 23), SP Matt Garza (No. 25) and SP Clay Buchholz (No. 42)

12. SS Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Drafted: 2008 (No. 1 Overall)


    Career Summary

    Tim Beckham may wind up higher up on this list before all is said and done, but there is still a chance at this point that the 23-year-old makes an impact at the big league level.

    A tremendous athlete, Beckham was given a $6.15 million signing bonus entered the 2009 season as the No. 28 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America.

    He reached Triple-A as a 21-year-old in 2011, earning a trip to the Futures Game that season, but his career has stalled since. A second positive drug test limited him to 72 games in 2012, and he hit just .256 with a .686 OPS when he was on the field. So far in 2013, he's hitting .276 with a .719 OPS, but he still looks to be a long way from making any sort of impact in Tampa Bay.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    1B Eric Hosmer (No. 3), C Buster Posey (No. 5), 1B Yonder Alonso (No. 7), Brett Lawrie (No. 16), SP Lance Lynn (No. 39) and SP Wade Miley (No. 43)

11. SP Bryan Bullington, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Drafted: 2002 (No. 1 Overall)


    Player Summary

    While high school shortstop B.J. Upton was the consensus top player in the 2002 draft, the Pirates passed on his high price tag and instead took Ball State right-hander Bryan Bullington, giving him a $4 million signing bonus (compared to $4.6 million that Upton got at the No. 2 pick).

    He was 11-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 139 K's to just 18 BB in 104.2 innings as a junior, according to BR Bullpen, and that was enough for the Pirates to take him first, despite him playing against lesser competition in the MAC.

    Bullington went 13-3 with a 2.52 ERA and reached High-A in his first pro season, then made his big league debut in 2005. But he spent the bulk of the next three seasons in the minors before being designated for assignment in July of 2008. He bounced around from there, last pitching for the Royals in 2010, where he went 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in 13 games (five starts).

    The one win that season would be the only one of his big league career. It was a glimmer of what could have been, as he threw eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball against a very good Yankees team before again disappearing into obscurity.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Zack Greinke (No. 6), 1B Prince Fielder (No. 7), SP Jeff Francis (No. 9), SP Scott Kazmir (No. 15), RF Nick Swisher (No. 16), SP Cole Hamels (No. 17) and SP Matt Cain (No. 25)

10. RP Matt Anderson, Detroit Tigers

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    Drafted: 1997 (No. 1 Overall)


    Career Summary

    Armed with a fastball that regularly hit triple digits, Matt Anderson made a name for himself at Rice University as the nation's top closer and hardest thrower.

    The top prospect in the Cape Cod League in 1996, Anderson got a $2.5 million signing bonus from the Tigers. He was a part of the Tigers bullpen by 1998, when he had a 3.27 ERA and 9.0 K/9 over 42 appearances.

    He remained in middle relief until 2001, when he took over as closer, converting 22-of-24 save chances with a 4.82 ERA and 8.4 K/9. He tore a muscle in his right armpit the following season, and when he returned, he struggled to hit 90 with his fastball, essentially ending his career.

    All told, Anderson made 257 big league appearances with a 5.19 ERA and 26 saves in 37 chances. A decent career compared to many guys on this list, but hardly what you want from a No. 1 overall pick.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    3B Troy Glaus (No. 3), CF Vernon Wells (No. 5), RF Michael Cuddyer (No. 9), SP Jon Garland (No. 10) and 1B Lance Berkman (No. 15)

9. SP Todd Van Poppel, Oakland Athletics

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    Drafted: 1990 (No. 14 Overall)


    Career Summary

    Todd Van Poppel was the consensus top player in the 1990 draft, but with Scott Boras as his adviser and a scholarship offer from the University of Texas in place, he fell due to obvious signability concerns.

    After going 11-3 with a 0.97 ERA and 170 strikeouts as a high school senior, the A's wound up signing him to a then-record three-year, $1.2 million major league deal, according to Sports Illustrated.

    Van Poppel's vast potential was never realized though, and in five seasons with Oakland, he went 18-29 with a 5.75 ERA before bouncing around from there.

    His best season came in 2001, when he posted a 2.52 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in 59 appearances out of the Chicago Cubs bullpen. He finished his big league career 40-52 with a 5.58 ERA in 359 games (98 starts) over 11 seasons.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    RF Jeromy Burnitz (No. 17), SP Mike Mussina (No. 20) and OF Rondell White (No. 24)

8. SP Adam Johnson, Minnesota Twins

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    Drafted: 2000 (No. 2 Overall)


    Career Summary

    A Cal State Fullerton product, Adam Johnson made his pro debut at High Single-A after signing and impressed with a 2.47 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 62.1 innings, as he seemed to be on the fast track to the big leagues.

    He made his big league debut the following season, going 1-2 with an 8.28 ERA in seven games (four starts). Things went south from there, as he posted a 5.47 ERA in a full season at Triple-A the following year. Johnson never again had an ERA below 5.00 and was released by the Twins prior to the 2005 season.

    He spent a couple years in the A's organization, and kicked around the Independent League until 2009, but he never reached the majors after 2003, finishing his big league career 1-3 with a 10.25 ERA in nine games (four starts).  


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    CF Rocco Baldelli (No. 6), 2B Chase Utley (No. 15), SP Adam Wainwright (No. 29) and 2B Kelly Johnson (No. 38)

7. SP Greg Reynolds, Colorado Rockies

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    Drafted: 2006 (No. 2 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The ace of the Stanford staff in 2006, Greg Reynolds went 7-6 with a 3.31 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 127.2 innings of work as a junior before being taken No. 2 overall by the Rockies and receiving a $3.25 million signing bonus.

    He went 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 11 starts at High-A after signing, then went 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA in eight Double-A starts the following season before being shelved with a shoulder injury.

    Despite the injury, Reynolds still managed to make his big league debut the next season, though he was over-matched, going 2-8 with an 8.13 ERA in 14 games (13 starts). The injuries started to pile up from there, and he was traded to the Rangers for Chad Tracy (different Chad Tracy) prior to the 2012 season.

    He's currently pitching for the Reds Triple-A affiliate, where he's 4-0 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.181 WHIP over 10 games (nine starts), as a return to the big leagues is not out of the realm of possibility.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    3B Evan Longoria (No. 3), SP Clayton Kershaw (No. 7), SP Tim Lincecum (No. 10) SP Max Scherzer (No. 11) and SP Ian Kennedy (No. 21)

6. SP Dewon Brazelton, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Drafted: 2001 (No. 3 Overall)


    Career Summary

    After playing football and baseball at Middle Tennessee State, the Rays took Dewon Brazelton with the No. 3 overall pick. As a junior, the right-hander was 13-2 with a 1.42 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 127 innings and was widely-regarded as one of the drafts safer picks.

    He signed late and made his pro debut the following season, reaching the majors for a pair of adequate starts before all was said and done. 

    Brazelton was part of the Rays rotation the following season, but he went just 1-6 with a 6.89 ERA, and he didn't get much better from there. In four seasons with Tampa Bay, he was 8-23 with a 5.98 ERA before being traded to the Padres for another failed prospect in Sean Burroughs.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Gavin Floyd (No. 4), 1B Mark Teixeira (No. 5) and 3B David Wright (No. 38)

5. CF Joe Borchard, Chicago White Sox

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    Drafted: 2000 (No. 11 Overall)


    Career Summary

    A two-sport athlete at Stanford University, it took a then-MLB and still-team-record $5.3 million signing bonus for the White Sox to pull Joe Borchard away from being the team's starting quarterback during his junior season.

    Borchard had fantastic power, hitting 19 home runs with 76 RBI and a .333 batting average in his final college season, according to He was expected to be a dynamic middle-of-the-order bat for the White Sox.

    The power was never the issue, evidenced by his stadium-record 504-foot home run in 2004, per But strikeouts were, as he was never able to make consistent-enough contact to stick at the big league level. He finished his career with a .205/.284/.352 line and 26 home runs in 716 at-bats, striking out 222 times in the process.

    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    2B Chase Utley (No. 15), SP Adam Wainwright (No. 29) and 2B Kelly Johnson (No. 38)

4. SS Matt Bush, San Diego Padres

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    Drafted: 2004 (No.1 Overall)


    Career Summary

    With a bumper crop of college talent led by Jered Weaver, Stephen Drew and Jeff Niemann, there was no shortage of good choices for the Padres, who held the first pick in the 2004 draft.

    However, not wanting to pay the hefty bonuses that those players would seek as the top pick, according to, the Padres reached down the draft board and selected high school shortstop Matt Bush, giving him a $3.15 million signing bonus.

    Things were a disaster from the start. Bush hit .192 in his first pro season and .221 the following year. Those struggles on the field were compounded by off-field issues, culminating in a DUI hit-and-run arrest in March of 2012, via, while playing in the Rays' system.

    He finished his pro career with a .219/.294/.276 line at the plate and 4.14 ERA in 53 games on the mound after attempting to make the switch.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Justin Verlander (No. 2), SP Jered Weaver (No. 12) and DH Billy Butler (No. 14)

3. CF Donavan Tate, San Diego Padres

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    Drafted: 2009 (No. 3 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The Padres bucked trend when they took highly touted high school outfielder Donavan Tate with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft and gave him a whopping $6.25 million signing bonus.

    For them, it was a chance worth taking, though, as Tate had all the tools to be a dynamic power/speed threat at the big league level. The tools didn't translate to success on the diamond, however, as he hit just .241/.358/.320 over three minor league seasons while battling injury and serving a pair of drug-related suspensions.

    Tate did not report to camp at the beginning of this season, likely marking the end of his pro career. While a comeback is not out of the question for the 22-year-old, it looks as though he'll go down as one of the biggest, and most expensive, busts of all time.

    Padres vice president Randy Smith said the following after he failed to report, via the San Diego Union-Tribune: “There’s Donavan the ball player and Donavan the person. He needs to work on one before he can work on the other … Right now, he’s not ready to be here to work out the baseball part of it."


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    SP Zack Wheeler (No. 6), SP Mike Minor (No. 7), SP Shelby Miller (No. 19) and CF Mike Trout (No. 25)

2. 3B Josh Booty, Florida Marlins

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    Drafted: 1994 (No. 5 Overall)


    Career Summary

    Josh Booty was one of the best high school football players in the nation in 1994, but he was an equally good baseball player, and the Marlins gave him a then-record $1.6 million signing bonus, according to, to leave football behind.

    However, he hit just .198/.256/.356 in five minor league seasons and went 7-for-30 with four RBI in 13 games over parts of three major league seasons.

    He retired from baseball in 1998 and enrolled at LSU, where he spent two seasons as the team's quarterback before being taken in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL draft. Booty never took a snap in the NFL, though.

    Recently, he returned to the diamond when he won The Next Knuckler reality show and earned an invite to Diamondbacks spring training, though he failed to make the team, per


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    2B Todd Walker (No. 8), SS Nomar Garciaparra (No. 12), 1B Paul Konerko (No. 13) and C Jason Varitek (No. 14)

1: SP Brien Taylor, New York Yankees

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    Drafted: 1991 (No. 1 Overall)


    Career Summary

    The story of Brien Taylor is a sad one, as he injured his prized left arm protecting his brother in a bar fight, per ESPN, and was never the same afterwards. Sad as that story is, it does not keep Taylor from being my pick for the biggest bust in draft history.

    He began his career at High Single-A and posted a 2.57 ERA and 10.4 K/9 mark in his first pro season. Moving right up the ladder, Taylor went 13-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 150 K's the following season at Double-A and looked to be on his way to the big leagues in 1994.

    However, in 1993, he suffered a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum in his throwing arm in the aforementioned bar fight. When he returned, he had lost eight mph off his fastball and could no longer locate his breaking ball. He was never the same again.

    Taylor goes down as one of the biggest "what ifs" in baseball history, as he could have been an absolute superstar pitching atop the Yankees rotations in the late-1990s.


    Notable First-Round Picks Taken After Him

    OF Manny Ramirez (No. 13), OF Cliff Floyd (No. 14), OF Shawn Green (No. 16), SP Aaron Sele (No. 23)