I may be going just a bit too hard on Jeff Clement here, as he was widely regarded as a future great pro and one of the top prospects available leading up to the 2005 draft. He had hit 75 home runs in high school before going on to the University of Southern California where he starred for three seasons. He played on the U.S. National Team, was a finalist for the 2005 Golden Spikes Award and won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher. He was about as sure a thing as any baseball prospect ever is.
He moved quickly through the Mariners system and hit 20 home runs in Triple-A for the club in 2007 before earning a September call-up. During that brief introduction to the league in '07, Clement clubbed two home runs and a double and walked three times in 19 plate appearances, all but guaranteeing that he would be Seattle's 2008 every day catcher at some point. After the first few months of Triple-A in 2008, Clement was hitting .335/.455/.676, and the Mariners made room for him and called him up.
But Clement was having trouble making contact and throwing out runners, and it seemed that the Mariners were starting to come around to the rest of the scouting world and realizing that Clement just wasn't going to cut it as a catcher. So back to the minors he went in 2009, splitting time catching, at first base and at designated hitter. But despite hitting well again, the Mariners ultimately threw in the towel with Clement when they dealt him and three other minor leaguers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for shortstop Jack Wilson and right-hander Ian Snell.
Catching is a thing of the past for Clement, and it seems that the Mariners made a big mistake with this pick. Some of the players drafted after Jeff Clement in that 2005 draft include Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce and Matt Garza.
For that, Jeff Clement ranks as the worst draft pick in Mariners history.