The Top 10 MLB First Overall Draft Picks - 1998 to 2007
Over the years, there have been some huge stars taken with the first overall pick in the MLB draft...and some huge busts too.
As with all sports drafts, sometimes the greats come from nowhere and the big names at the top of the draft board are flunks. Well, lets take a look at the last ten years of that prestigious first overall pick and rank them from worst to best. Enjoy!
10. Matt Bush—2004—San Diego Padres
After a hugely successful high school career, Bush flopped in true San Diego style (can anyone say Ryan Leaf?) batting just .192 in his first year in the minors and .221 in his second.
A series of legal incidents including drunken assault and then a broken ankle finally saw him traded to the Blue Jays in 2009. He was released less than two months later for violation of team behavioral policy. He never made it to the majors.
9. Bryan Bullington—2002—Pittsburgh Pirates
He was the first player from the Mid-American Conference to be selected with the first pick in a major sport's draft and enjoyed a very successful first year in the minors going 13-5 with a 2.52 ERA.
However, to date Bullington has only pitched 18 1/3 innings in the majors, sporting a poor record of 0-5 with a 5.08 ERA. He now plays for the Las Vegas 51s, the triple-A associate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
8. Luke Hochevar—2006—Kansas City Royals
On his controversial third entry into the MLB draft, Hochevar was drafted by the Royals and finally signed after a two-month holdout.
He has a superb minor league career with an ERA of just 1.13 and made his debut against the Yankees on Sept. 8, 2007. He has struggled to settle into MLB life and has a career record of 11-15 with a 5.25 ERA.
7. Delmon Young—2003—Tampa Bay Rays
A huge prospect coming out of high school, Delmon flourished in his first minor league stint, batting .336 with 20 homers in double-A. He won the 2005 Minor League player of the year award.
His long awaited debut came on August 28, 2006 against the White Sox. He was HBP in his infamous first at-bat by Freddy Garcia, stuck out in his second, and hit a huge 412-foot home run in his third. In November 2007 Young was traded to the Twins and now serves as their everyday centerfielder. He is hitting .288 with 30 homers in his career.
6. David Price—2007—Tampa Bay Rays
A September call up during the 2008 Rays pennant run saw Price perform superbly with an ERA under 2.00 through 14 innings of work and go 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA during the postseason. 2009 saw him enter the Rays rotation and now he sports a fairly respectable 5-4 record with a 4.91 ERA. An excellent prospect for the future for the Rays.
5. Justin Upton—2005—Arizona Diamondbacks
His rookie year in 2007 was something of a disappointment for Upton as he batted just .221 through 43 games. However 2008 saw a marked improvement and 2009 he is currently batting .301 with 20 HRs and 66 RBI. This year has also seen his base stealing improve, with 16 steals on the year.
4. Josh Hamilton—1999—Tampa Bay Rays
After a very long and highly publicized battle with drinking and drug use, Hamilton finally turned his life into an advert for overcoming adversity as he exploded for the Texas Rangers in 2008, hitting over .300 with 32 homers and 130 driven in. He also gave a truely memorable and inspired performance in the 2008 All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
3. Pat Burrell—1998—Phillidelphia Phillies
Burrell has never been a true superstar, but with six seasons of at least 25 homers and 80 RBI, he has been a constantly efficient and productive player.
His career years came in 2002 and 2005 when he cleared 35 long balls and 115 batted in. He also played a highly influential role in the 2008 Phillies World Series run. The dominating 6'4'', 240 lb. Burrell will continue to be a power threat for years to come.
2. Adrian Gonzalez—2000—Florida Marlins
After a slow and rather quiet beginning to his career in Texas, Gonzalez burst onto the big scene in 2006 with San Diego with a breakout season that saw him bat over .300 with 24 HRs and 82 RBI. He followed up with at least 30 and 100 the next two years and is well on course for 40/100 in 2009. He is a two-time All-Star and a Gold Glove first baseman.
1. Joe Mauer—2001—Minnesota Twins
By far and away the best of the No. 1 picks.
In 2006, Mauer became the first ever catcher to win the AL Batting title. He went on to win it for a second time in 2008, along with a Gold Glove. He is a career .324 hitter and is widely considered to be one of the best catchers in the game.
It is no doubt Mauer will go on to be one of the games all-time greats.
Hall of Fame legend Cal Ripken Jr. once said, "He has the best swing in the game."
What more can you say.