Texas Rangers: Matt Purke and 9 Other Terrible Major League Draft Picks

Timothy Howell@@tmurrayhowellCorrespondent IIJune 17, 2011

Texas Rangers: Matt Purke and 9 Other Terrible Major League Draft Picks

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    The 2011 MLB draft has already come and gone. 

    The only thing we know for certain about the players the Texas Rangers drafted just shy of two weeks ago is this:

    Nothing. You just never know what you're going to get, even once you've got it.

    Mitch Moreland was a 17th-round pick in 2007.

    In 1983 the Rangers took Jeff Kunkel 16 picks ahead of Roger Clemens.

    And that was 20-plus years before the Rocket’s furtive fuel was found.  

    You get the idea—the Major League Baseball Draft is nothing if not dangerously speculative. 

    And everyone loves speculation. 

    So in honor of that, I give you the 10 Worst Draft Picks the Texas Rangers have ever made.

No. 10: Matt Purke

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    No. 10: Matt Purke—2009 first round, 14th overall pick 

    The story of Matt Purke is like a jacked-up cautionary tale—that rare instance when college was a bad call.

    Matthew Purke made this list because it was dumb for the Rangers to draft him at all.  They knew he'd be a tough sign. They knew that just as well as they knew they were almost bankrupt.

    You don't gamble when you're flat broke.

    The people are divided on the Purke draft. 

    Some think that Purke was (and still is) an unbelievable egomaniac for not taking the reported $4 million the cash-strapped Rangers offered him back in 2009.

    The other half of the contingency is upset because the Rangers could not pony up the Rick Procello-esque pile of cash that Purke wanted. 

    Both parties are slightly amused that Purke slipped all the way down to the third round and 96th overall pick in the most recent MLB draft. 

    College is great.  I liked it so much I went twice; spanning seven years—and no, I’m not a doctor.  

    I come from a family that places a high value on education, as they should.

    I also was not offered millions of dollars to forgo college and play baseball for a living.

    My parents would disown me—as they should—if I turned down millions and millions of dollars.

    Oh Purke.  You can always go back to school.  You probably will only get one chance to go in the first round of the MLB draft.

No. 9: Kasey Kiker

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    No. 9: Kasey Kiker—2006, first round, 12th overall pick

    There have been some outstanding diminutive pitchers that somehow reached the heights of Major League Baseball stardom. 

    Pedro Martinez (5’10”) comes to mind. 

    Tim Lincecum (listed at 5’11”—yeah, right) is an outstanding recent example. 

    For the old-school baseball fans, Ron Guidry was a fantastic "slinging shorty."

    Thus far, Kasey Kiker (5’10”) is certainly not looking like a future “Freak,” “Gator” or, well, Pedro. 

    Kiker has regressed over the last couple of seasons.

    Currently, he has a 2.38 WHIP at High-A Myrtle Beach. That's unbelievably bad—and it's a a minor league level that he had success against three years ago.

    He's also had some health issues, which might be even worse.

    He's high on the list because he's still very young (24) and still has plenty of opportunity to prove us all wrong.

No. 8: Benji Gil

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    No. 8: Benji Gil—1991, first round, 19th overall pick

    Benji is an outstanding example of why the first round is such a dicey proposition.

    He had a pretty decent Major League career, but one more befitting of a third or fourth rounder.

    Benji’s numbers closely parallel a former eighth-round pick, Tim Bogar.

    That pretty much sums up the man with the professional skateboarder’s name and Mario Mendoza’s plate discipline.

No. 7: Jonathan Johnson

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    No. 7: Jonathan Johnson—1995, first round, seventh overall pick

    Over five big league seasons, Jonathan Johnson’s career statistics are intimidating—especially if large numbers frighten you. And no, he was not a slugger.

    About the only good thing that can be said about a career 6.63 ERA, a 2-4 record and 53 walks over 77 and one-third innings pitched is that at least he spread out his awfulness over three different teams and not just the Rangers.

    If you just ate or if you have a weak stomach, I want to warn you about the information I’m about to reveal—it’s much more unsettling than Joe Theismann's horrific leg injury.

    Nope. I shouldn't tell you.  

    Okay, you asked for it—I need others to share my pain.

    The Texas Rangers—in 1995— took Jonathan Johnson 10 picks ahead of:

    Roy Halladay.

    Yes, that Roy Halladay.

    Mommy, I don't feel so good.

    I hope your laptop has a splash-guard.

No. 6: Vincent Sinisi

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    No. 6: Vincent Sinisi—2003, second round, 54th overall pick

    Yes, his last name sounds like a reaction to Texas allergies: "Sorry man, this weather change gives me a case of the "Sinisi's."

    Sinisi is the first second-rounder on the list.  If you look at his pedigree, he seems like a steal. 

    He hit over .400 his first season at a major university.

    And that major university was Rice. 

    If the Rangers did not pounce on him, someone else would have.

    Sadly, Sinisi made the bad list due to two things:

    1. He is no longer playing baseball professionally.
    2. The Texas Rangers gave Sinisi first-round money ($2.025 million).

    Those two things are enough to give anyone a wicked Sinisi-infection.

No. 5: Monty Fariss

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    No. 5: Monty Fariss—1988, first round, sixth overall pick

    Monty Farris made it to the big leagues relatively quick.  

    Fariss was out of the big leagues even more expediently. 

    He played two years with his parent club, and then was picked up by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 MLB expansion draft.

    And that was it.

    Well that plus the fact that the Rangers could have had Brian Jordan, Jim Abbott, Robin Ventura, Charles Nagy… 

    I forgive Fariss, if only for the Robin Ventura thing.  

    If Ventura was a Ranger, he probably never would have been cow-punched by Nolan Ryan—and my childhood desperately needed that.

No. 4: Donald Harris

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    No. 4: Donald Harris—1989, first round, fifth overall pick 

    In 1991, it appeared that Donald Harris was on the fast track to stardom.  As a late-season call up he hit .375 for the Rangers.

    Then his other two seasons happened. 

    He retired with 24 Major League hits—spread out, (mercifully) over three different seasons.

    He retired from Major League Baseball in 1993.

    Some say that he can still be seen playing ball on a dusty diamond in the far-reaching plains of West Texas—dominating pitching and playing a lights-out center field. 

    His dynamic second baseman is an old slugger by the name of Monty Fariss.

    You'd whistle vigorously if you could just catch a glimpse of how far those two can hit a slow-pitch softball…

No. 3: Jeff Kunkel

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    No. 3: Jeff Kunkel—1983, first round, third overall pick.

    Saying bad things about a man named “Kunkel” is no simple task, friends.

    It becomes easier when you look at all of the non-Kunkels that could have been taken by Texas in the '83 draft:

    Matt Stark, Robbie Wine or Darrell Akerfelds…

    And that’s just the players that were not on the Mitchell Report. 

    Okay so 1983 was a fairly weak draft.

    Regardless, in 1983 the Rangers totally got “Kunkeled.”

    You can use that if you want to—it’s like getting a sweet gift (that line) from a crappy party (Jeff Kunkel as your draft pick).

No. 2: Drew Meyer

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    No. 2: Drew Meyer—2002, first round, 10th overall pick

    Drew Meyer did get No. 1 because of the colossal failure that must get the top notch. It's Texas law.

    Meyer could be the head honcho on many other lists—some of them are actually baseball-related.

    Here’s why:

    In the only year that Drew Meyer made it to the big leagues, he struck out eight times in 14 at-bats.

    It gets worse.  Here’s some players the Rangers could have gotten instead:

     Joe Saunders. James Loney. Matt Cain. Not to mention: Cole Hammels.

    Goodness gracious, that’s enough ammunition for a slideshow all its own…

And the Winner Is...

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    No. 1: David Clyde—1973, first round, first overall pick

    If you could somehow take the hype that David Clyde created in 1973, pack it up and carry it with you to 2011, he'd put Bieber-mania to shame.

    Okay maybe not, but the point is he was a big deal. And in 1973 there were pay phones.  And people used them—not as a urinal—to make phone calls.

    Last early-'70s cultural reference: In '73 Tommy John was still just a man, not a medical miracle.

    He was just some dude that pitched. Just like David Clyde.

    Clyde's talent was undeniable. He pitched in the Major Leagues a week after his high school graduation—in front of a sellout crowd at Arlington Stadium!

    I was not around in 1973, but I have been to plenty of Texas Rangers games at Arlington Stadium.

    You won't find me crying in my beer anywhere waxing-nostalgic about Arlington Stadium. It was built to be a minor league park, and most not a good one.

    I once had a scalper give me a ticket that was three rows behind home plate.  A man that sells tickets for a profit, gave me a premium seat, for free. 

    He had to give them away.

    Arlington Stadium is now a parking lot—a darn fine one. 

    Arlington Stadium, like David Clyde, could have used some minor league experience.

    And there you have it.  The 10 Worst Draft Picks in Texas Rangers History.