Ranking the 10 Worst MLB Draft Busts (or Decisions) of the Past 10 Years

Karl BuscheckContributor IIIMay 25, 2014

Ranking the 10 Worst MLB Draft Busts (or Decisions) of the Past 10 Years

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    The draft is one of the best opportunities for MLB clubs to stockpile new talent. Of course, it's also the time of year when teams make certain selections that end up turning out to be epic mistakes.

    With this year's edition slated to begin June 5, let's take a look back over the past 10 years to see which teams made the biggest blunders of all. 

    The following rundown provides a ranking of the 10 worst draft busts or decisions of the last decade.

    Here's the criteria for the infamous list: First, the draft position of a particular player was taken into consideration. Then the amount of production that the player did or did not provide in the major leagues was factored in. Finally, the number of eventual All-Stars, Cy Young Award winners and MVPs that the given team could have opted for instead was also part of the equation. 

10. Cory Spangenberg, 2B, San Diego Padres

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    San Diego Padres select Cory Spangenberg with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    Considering that Cory Spangenberg is still working his way through the San Diego Padres farm system, his selection doesn't qualify as a bust but rather as a regrettable decision. 

    The Houston Astros nabbed outfielder George Springer with the very next pick at No. 11. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins landed starting pitcher Jose Fernandez at No. 14, and the Oakland Athletics grabbed starter Sonny Gray at No. 18. 

9. Christian Colon, 2B, Kansas City Royals

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Kansas City Royals select second baseman Christian Colon with the No. 4 pick in the 2010 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    Christian Colon, who is currently in Triple-A, could still prove to be a useful player for the Kansas City Royals. Nonetheless, the club absolutely could have received better value with the No. 4 overall selection. 

    During the 2010 draft, the New York Mets picked starting pitcher Matt Harvey at No. 7. The division rival Chicago White Sox ended up selecting perennial Cy Young Award contender Chris Sale with the No. 13 pick. 

8. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Kansas City Royals select third baseman Mike Moustakas with the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    Recently optioned to Triple-A, Mike Moustakas has simply never been able to realize his considerable potential. In parts of four seasons with the Kansas City Royals, the light-hitting third baseman owns a .669 OPS. 

    Instead of Moustakas, the Royals could have drafted catcher Matt Wieters (No. 5 to the Baltimore Orioles), starting pitcher Jarrod Parker (No. 9 to the Arizona Diamondbacks), starter Madison Bumgarner (No. 10 to the San Francisco Giants) or outfielder Jason Heyward (No. 14 to the Atlanta Braves). 

7. Brian Matusz, RP, Baltimore Orioles

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Baltimore Orioles select left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz with the No. 4 pick in the 2008 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    With a 2.65 ERA in 2014, Brian Matusz has been a quality contributor out of the bullpen for the Baltimore Orioles. Still, he's no MVP. Right after the Orioles selected Matusz with the No. 4 pick in the 2008 draft, the San Francisco Giants picked up Buster Posey. 

6. Josh Vitters, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Chicago Cubs select third baseman/outfielder Josh Vitters with the No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    The Chicago Cubs' selection of Josh Vitters with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft has definitely not gone according to plan. Currently in his third season in a row at Triple-A, Vitters checks in with a .208 batting average. 

    Instead of opting for Vitters with the No. 3 pick, the Cubs could have landed catcher Matt Wieters (No. 5 to the Baltimore Orioles), starting pitcher Jarrod Parker (No, 9 to the Arizona Diamondbacks), starter Madison Bumgarner (No. 10 to the San Francisco Giants) or outfielder Jason Heyward (No. 14 to the Atlanta Braves). 

5. Tim Beckham, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Tampa Bay Rays select Tim Beckham with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    Tim Beckham has yet to take the field in 2014 as he works his way back from knee surgery after tearing his ACL in December. The 24-year-old shortstop could still eventually become a valuable piece for the Rays, but the club can't be terribly happy with this selection. 

    During the 2008 draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up third baseman Pedro Alvarez at No. 2 and the Royals snagged first baseman Eric Hosmer at No. 3. The worst part for the Rays, though, is that the Giants drafted catcher Buster Posey at No. 5. 

4. Wade Townsend, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

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    DAVID J. PHILLIP/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Tampa Bay Rays select starting pitcher Wade Townsend with the No. 8 pick in the 2005 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    The No. 8 overall selection in the 2005 draft, right-hander Wade Townsend never made it beyond Double-A for the Rays.

    This is definitely a pick that the Rays would like back, as an MVP and an All-Star were picked in subsequent selections. The Pirates scooped up center fielder Andrew McCutchen at No. 11, and the Cincinnati Reds drafted right fielder Jay Bruce at No. 12. 

3. Matt Bush, SS, San Diego Padres

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    San Diego Padres select shortstop Matt Bush with the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft, Matt Bush failed to ever make it the major leagues. However, the shortstop was an even bigger mess off the field. Since the Padres selected him nearly 10 years ago, he has been consistently engulfed in legal problems. 

    Instead of drafting Bush, the Padres could have opted for starting pitcher Justin Verlander (No. 2 to the Detroit Tigers), second baseman Neil Walker (No. 11 to the Pittsburgh Pirates), starter Jered Weaver (No. 12 to the Los Angeles Angels), first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler (No. 14 to the Kansas City Royals) or shortstop Stephen Drew (No. 15 to the Arizona Diamondbacks).

    That's a talented group of players, no doubt. The only reason why Bush remains anchored in the No. 3 spot on the list is that the two players ahead of him came from even more impressive draft classes. 

2. Jeff Clement, C, Seattle Mariners

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    TED S. WARREN/Associated Press

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Seattle Mariners select catcher Jeff Clement with the No. 3 pick in the 2005 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    In parts of four seasons in the big leagues, Jeff Clement never really did much of anything. In 152 games, the left-handed hitter put up a .218 average and a .648 OPS. The list of players that the Mariners could have selected instead of Clement is truly remarkable. 

    Here are some of the standouts that Seattle passed up:

    • 3B Ryan Zimmerman, No. 4, Washington Nationals
    • RF Ryan Braun, No. 5, Milwaukee Brewers
    • SS Troy Tulowitzki, No. 7, Colorado Rockies
    • CF Andrew McCutchen, No. 11, Pittsburgh Pirates
    • RF Jay Bruce, No. 12, Cincinnati Reds

    Every single one of those players has been an All-Star, and two of them (Braun and McCutchen) have won MVP awards.  

1. Greg Reynolds, SP, Colorado Rockies

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    The Bust/Bad Decision

    Colorado Rockies select Greg Reynolds with the No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft

     

    Who They Should Have Picked

    Suffice it to say that the selection of Greg Reynolds with the No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft didn't exactly work out for the Colorado Rockies. In parts of three seasons in the major leagues, the right-hander owns a 7.01 ERA. Currently, he's pitching for the Seibu Lions in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. 

    The 2006 draft was absolutely loaded, and the Rockies just swung and missed. Third baseman Evan Longoria went No. 3 to the Rays, starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was picked at No. 7 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, starter Tim Lincecum was drafted at No. 10 by the Giants and starter Max Scherzer was selected No. 11 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

    A dishonorable mention goes to the Royals, who chose right-hander Luke Hochevar No. 1 overall in that year's draft. 

     

    Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and MILB.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.