MLB Draft 2011: The Worst No. 1 Overall Picks in Baseball History

Lewie PollisSenior Analyst IIIJune 9, 2011

MLB Draft 2011: The Worst No. 1 Overall Picks in Baseball History

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    OMAHA, NE - JUNE 28:  Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole #12 of the UCLA Bruins pitches against the South Carolina Gamecocks during game 1 of the men's 2010 NCAA College Baseball World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Gameco
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    When right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole became the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 MLB amateur draft Monday night, it seemed there was no doubt in anyone's mind that he will become a star.

    Choosing the best amateur player in the country isn't an easy task, but Cole is a special player and the Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn't have wasted their top pick on a guy they didn't believe in.

    Unfortunately for the Pirates, history suggests Cole might not turn out the way they think he will.

    Since the draft's inception in 1966, there have been plenty of teams who have been disappointed and promising prospects who have busted.

    In this slideshow are the 15 worst No. 1 overall picks in the history of the MLB draft, as well as a piece of useless trivia about each.

    May your favorite team never make a pick as bad as these.

No. 15: Ron Blomberg, Yankees (1967)

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    The first DH in baseball history, Blomberg was a popular player, but not a very good one—he had four decent partial seasons with the Yankees before hitting a decline at age 26.

    Useless Trivia: Blomberg is now the manager of the Belt Shemesh Blue Sox of the Israel Baseball League.


    Picture courtesy of

No. 14: Mike Ivie, Padres (1970)

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    Ivie played all over the diamond in 11 seasons in the big leagues, but he never reached 3.0 WAR in a season and twice was below replacement value.

    Useless Trivia: He hit four grand slams in the 1978 season, two of them as a pinch-hitter.


    Picture courtesy of

No. 13: Luke Hochevar, Royals (2006)

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 4:  Starting pitcher Luke Hochevar #44 of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium on June 4, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
    G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

    It's too early to call Hochevar a complete bust, but he'll be 28 this season and he has a career 5.53 ERA. The Royals probably were expecting a little bit more from him.

    Useless Trivia: He was prom king in high school, and Wikipedia editors don't think that's interesting.

No. 12: David Clyde, Rangers (1973)

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    Arm troubles and being rushed to the majors are to blame for Clyde's burn-out career; he made his last start for the Rangers before he was old enough to drink.

    Useless Trivia: His 11 wild pitches in 1978 were fourth-most in the American League.


    Picture courtesy of

No. 11: Bill Almon, Padres (1974)

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    With the exception of pitcher, Almon played every single position on the diamond for seven different teams over the course of his 15-year career and ended up with a grand total of 4.6 WAR.

    Useless Trivia: Almon and I share an alma mater. Ever True!


    Picture courtesy of

No. 10: Dave Roberts, Padres (1972)

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    PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 3:  Dave Roberts #10 of the San Diego Padres runs to first base against the Seattle Mariners during a spring training game on March 3, 2005 at Peoria Stadium in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Another poorly picked Padre, Roberts was a career .239 hitter who amassed 2.4 WAR in more than four seasons worth of games.

    Useless Trivia: Three David Robertses have played for the Padres. One of the other two was the outfielder who won Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS (shown here).

No. 9: Matt Anderson, Tigers (1997)

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    LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 29:  Matt Anderson #14 of the Detriot Tigers poses for portrait on February 29, 2004 at the Tigers spring training complex in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Tigers rushed Anderson to the majors and were rewarded with underwhelming results; he has a 5.19 ERA in 256.2 MLB innings.

    Useless Trivia: On his Wikipedia page, there is a discussion about the necessity of mentioning where his ex-wife and kids live.

No. 8: Bryan Bullington, Pirates (2002)

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    HOUSTON - JULY 11:  Bryan Bullington of the USA team throws a pitch against the World team during the Major League Baseball Futures Game at Minute Maid Park on July 11, 2004 in Houston, Texas. The U.S. team defeated the World team 4-3.  (Photo by Brian Ba
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    By 2008—after just 18.1 innings pitched—Bullington had worn out his welcome in Pittsburgh. After posting a 5.62 ERA in 26 career appearances, he's now playing in Japan.

    Useless Trivia: The Pirates' selection of Bullington is immortalized in Michael Lewis' account of the 2002 draft in Moneyball.

No. 7: Shawn Abner, Mets (1984)

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    They didn't actually draft him, but the Padres' bad luck with top picks continued as Abner—one of only three No. 1 overall picks to finish with negative career WAR—spent most of his career in San Diego.

    Useless Trivia: Abner's brother Ben was also taken in the 1984 draft.

No. 6: Al Chambers, Mariners (1979)

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    Chambers showed a pretty good batting eye (14.9-percent walk rate) in his brief 57-game career, but it wasn't enough to stop him from being below replacement value in each of the three MLB seasons he appeared in.

    Useless Trivia: His Wikipedia page is only 54 words long.


    Picture courtesy of

Nos. 4 and 5: Danny Goodwin, White Sox (1971) and Angels (1975)

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    The White Sox dodged a bullet when Goodwin, whose -0.9 WAR makes him the least valuable No. 1 pick in MLB history, decided to go to college instead of signing out of high school.

    Useless Trivia: Goodwin is the only player ever to be the No. 1 overall pick twice.


    Picture courtesy of

No. 3: Matt Bush, Padres (2004)

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    PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Matt Bush poses for a portrait during the San Diego Padres Photo Day at Peoria Stadium on February 26, 2006 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    It's not too late for Bush to avoid becoming the third No. 1 pick in MLB history who never reached the majors, but as a 25-year-old playing in Double-A for the first time things aren't looking good.

    Useless Trivia: Bush got suspended before he got his first taste of pro ball.

No. 2: Brien Taylor, Yankees (1991)

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    Taylor looked like a good choice when he posted a 2.57 ERA in his first pro season and came in at No. 1 on Baseball America's 1992 top prospects list.

    Then, after the 1993 season, he dislocated his shoulder in a fistfight. He flamed out in the minors and never reached the majors.

    Useless Trivia: Fifteen years after the draft, Scott Boras (never one for hyperbole) called Taylor "the best high school pitcher I've seen in my life."


    Picture courtesy of

No. 1: Steve Chilcott, Mets (1966)

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    1987:  Reggie Jackson #44 of the Oakland Athletics bats during a game in the 1987 season. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Chilcott, the first pick in the second-ever MLB amateur draft, struggled from the get-go, hitting .176 in his first pro season. He made it to Triple-A in 1970 but had fallen back to Single-A by the time he retired in 1972.

    Useless Trivia: The man picked right after Chilcott was Reggie Jackson.


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