In 1982, the New York Mets drafted a 6’2”, 190-pound kid out of Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla., who went by the name of Dwight Gooden.
Back then, it was a common practice for the Mets to draft kids straight out of high school. In fact, only three of the team’s previous 18 first-round picks went to college.
Still, just two years after drafting Darryl Strawberry, the Mets hit the draft jackpot yet again, landing arguably the greatest pitching prospect of his generation.
Gooden was the poster child of draft hype six years before Stephen Strasburg was even born.
The 17-year-old Gooden ripped through rookie and low-A ball like a hot knife through butter, and after going 19-4 for the Lynchburg Mets in the Carolina League in 1983, the Mets decided to skip the formalities of AA and AAA and put Gooden on a fast track to the Major Leagues.
Doc won the 1984 Rookie of the Year honors with a 17-9 record and stunning 276 strikeouts in 218 innings, and he followed up his first year with a sophomore season for the ages.
The 20-year-old won 24 games with a 1.53 ERA and 16 complete games, taking the Cy Young award in a unanimous landslide. St. Louis’ Willie McGee may have won the MVP, but Gooden was the real star of the show.
Today, teams gather in Secaucus, N.J., for the first day of the 2010 MLB draft, considered by many to be a pitcher-heavy class with fine arms scattered throughout.
Let's not kid ourselves here: there is no Dwight Gooden or Stephen Strasburg in this class. But you'd be a fool to think there isn't some serious talent that can and will make a splash sooner rather than later.
Bleacher Report looks at the top 10 pitchers most likely to make a quick and successful leap to the Majors.