Every MLB Team's Biggest Prospect Bust of All Time
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The annual Major League Baseball Draft has become must-see TV. Ever since 1965, players from the high school and college ranks have worked for most of their young lives for the chance to be drafted by a major league team.
From Rick Monday to Gerrit Cole, the coveted overall number one draft pick each year is debated for months beforehand by baseball pundits, so-called draft experts, newspapers and online media prognosticators. Mock drafts have become a way of life in many homes, and Las Vegas even lays odds on who the potential first round pick will be.
As in anything speculative, draft picks can be a dicey proposition. There have been a number of high draft picks who never played a game at the major league level, and still others who chose to move on to college, greatly disappointing the teams who took a chance.
For instance, pitcher Mike Adamson was selected with the 18th pick by the Philadelphia in the first round of that very first draft in 1965—Adamson chose to attend the University of Southern California instead, and would later be selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1967 MLB Draft.
Millions of dollars are spent by each team scouting players throughout high school and college, so indeed the draft selection process is a big deal.
However, not all of the scouting in the world can predict future success all the time.
Here, then, is a list of each MLB team’s biggest prospect bust of all time.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Corey Myers
In 1999, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected talented high school shortstop Corey Myers with the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft. Myers, a local kid from nearby Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, was thrilled to be drafted by his hometown team.
However, after eight years and three position changes, Myers found himself no closer to the big leagues than when he first started. He eventually ended his quest to make the majors in 2007 after two years in the Los Angeles Angels minor league organization.
Myers now runs the CM Baseball and Softball Academy in Tempe, AZ.
Atlanta Braves: Mike Kelly
When the Atlanta Braves selected outfielder Mike Kelly of Arizona State University with the second overall pick in the 1991 MLB Draft, he was considered to be an outfielder of the future for the Braves.
Kelly made the Braves out of spring training in 1994; however, after being unable to crack the Mendoza line (.200), Kelly was sent back down for more seasoning. Through two more call-ups in July and August, Kelly was able to raise his average to a respectable .273 for the season.
However, in Kelly’s second season in 1995, he showed no improvement at all, ending the year with a .190 average in 97 games. Kelly was traded to the Cincinnati Reds the following January.
Photo courtesy baseballalmanac.com
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Myers
Chris Myers was a highly-touted southpaw pitcher out of Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa, FL when the Baltimore Orioles selected him with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 1987 MLB Draft.
Myers languished in the minors for the Orioles for four seasons before the O’s finally gave up and traded him to the Montreal Expos in 1991 for fellow prospect pitcher Richie Lewis. Myers never made it to the bigs, while Lewis at least got a sniff, pitching in the majors for seven seasons with 217 appearances, mostly as a reliever.
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Boston Red Sox: Noel Jenke
Outfielder Noel Jenke was chosen by the Boston Red Sox with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1969 MLB Draft. Jenke was a two-sport star at the University of Minnesota, excelling in football as well, and is still considered one of the greatest athletes ever to come out of the state of Minnesota.
However, Jenke fizzled in professional baseball. Toiling for three years in the Red Sox farm system, Jenke was a liability in the outfield, with a .917 fielding percentage in 1969, the worst fielding percentage in the International League.
After failing to get the Triple-A level, Jenke gave up on baseball and played for four years in the National Football League with the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.
Photo courtesy fanbase.com
Chicago Cubs: Ryan Harvey
When Ryan Harvey was drafted with the sixth overall pick by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft, he was considered a power hitter who possessed tremendous skills, and for four consecutive years, Harvey was rated as a top ten prospect in the Cubs’ minor league farm system (2004-2007).
However, plate discipline and minor injuries plagued Harvey throughout his brief professional career, often striking out over 100 times per season, and as a result, the Cubs finally released Harvey in March 2009.
Photo courtesy MLB08theshow.com
Chicago White Sox: Larry Monroe
The good news about Larry Monroe is that he is currently in his 38th year with the Chicago White Sox, and has served the team faithfully in a variety of capacities.
The bad news was that he was a complete bust as a pitcher.
Monroe was taken by the White Sox with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft, and appeared in eight games for the White Sox in 1976, two of them starts.
However Monroe was unable to get back to the majors, ending his quest with the Double-A Knoxville Sox in 1979. Fortunately, the White Sox have kept Monroe gainfully employed in the front office ever since.
Photo courtesy checkoutmycards.com
Cincinnati Reds: Pat Pacillo
A terrific pitcher out of Seton Hall, Pat Pacillo was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1984 MLB Draft. Pacillo also played on the 1984 US Olympic Baseball team along with future MLB greats Will Clark, Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, B. J. Surhoff, Bill Swift, and Bobby Witt.
However, Pacillo never approached the major league success achieved by his Olympic teammates. Pacillo appeared in just 18 games for the Reds in 1987 and 1988, posting a 5.90 ERA.
Photo courtesy amazon.com
Cleveland Indians: Steve Dunning
The biggest highlight of pitcher Steve Dunning’s career was that he hit a grand slam home run off Oakland A’s pitcher Diego Segui in May 1971, the last pitcher to achieve the feat until 2008. Other than that, his career was fairly forgettable.
Dunning was selected by the Cleveland Indians with the second overall pick in the 1970 MLB Draft out of Stanford University, and became only the second player in history to go straight to the majors without spending any time in the minor leagues.
However, in retrospect, that may not have been the best decision the Indians ever made. Dunning ended up with a career record of 18-29 with a 4.37 ERA for the Tribe before being dealt to the Texas Rangers in May 1973.
Photo courtesy ootpdevelopments.com
Colorado Rockies: Matt Harrington
Sometimes, kids are just too smart for their own damn good.
Such was the case with right-handed high school pitcher Matt Harrington. Harrington, whose senior year at Palmdale High School in Palmdale, CA was so good he won Baseball America's High School Player of the Year Award in 2000, and was 11-0 with an 0.54 ERA. His senior season included a no-hitter and 125 strikeouts in just 65 innings.
Harrington was drafted by the Colorado Rockies with the seventh overall pick in the 2000 MLB Draft; however, his demands for bonus money was excessive, and the Rockies were unable to agree to terms with Harrington.
The following year, Harrington was again drafted high, this time in the second round by the San Diego Padres. But again, Harrington was unable to agree on a signing bonus, and off he went to an independent league.
By the time all was said and done, Harrington had been drafted five times by five different teams, each time failing to sign. He finally signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs in October 2006, however he was released by the Cubs in March 2007.
The last anyone heard, Harrington was working at a local Costco store in the tire department.
After Harrington fired his first agent after not signing with the Rockies, anyone care to guess who he hired as his second agent? That's right, you guessed it—Scott Boras.
Photo courtesy deadspin.com
Detroit Tigers: Matt Anderson
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Right-handed pitcher Matt Anderson was a first-team college All-American out of Rice University when he was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the first overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft.
Anderson quickly rose through the minor league ranks and was called up by the Tigers in 1998, posting a very respectable 5-1 record with a 3.27 ERA in his first season, all in relief.
However, that was as good as it would get for Anderson. He was given the opportunity to close games for the Tigers in 2001, and while he posted 22 saves, he had a 4.82 ERA. The following year, Anderson tore a muscle in the armpit of this throwing arm, and his signature fastball, which regularly touched over 100 MPH, was gone. Anderson could barely throw 90 MPH after the injury, and the Tigers finally parted ways with him after being unable to crack their lineup in 2004.
Florida Marlins: Josh Booty
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Josh Booty was a special athlete in high school. He attended Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana, and was named to the All-Time National High School All-American team by Dick Butkus, Joe Namath, and John Elway.
Booty was equally as good in baseball, where as a shortstop Booty batted .429 with 20 intentional walks, 25 stolen bases, and 12 home runs in 70 at bats. He was the starting shortstop for the U.S. Junior Olympic National Team that won the silver medal. Booty was selected by the Florida Marlins with the fifth overall pick in the 1994 MLB Draft.
However, in retrospect, Booty chose the wrong sport.
He never got on track with the Marlins. In fact, Booty set the all-time strikeout record for the Kane County Cougars and the entire Midwest League by whiffing a whopping 195 times in 1996.
Booty did hit .269 in very limited time with the Marlins, but he just couldn't figure out curveballs, so Booty eventually went back to football, deciding to play for LSU on a scholarship in 1999.
Houston Astros: Alex Barrett
In the very first amateur draft ever held in baseball, the Houston Astros held the fourth overall pick, and they used it to select highly-touted third baseman Alex Barrett out of Atwater High School in Atwater, CA.
However, Barrett toiled in the minors for seven seasons before the Astros finally realized that Barrett wasn't anywhere near major league material. In his time in the minors, Barrett hit a not-so-lofty .209 with 20 HR in 563 games before finally being let go.
Photo courtesy sportslogos.net
Kansas City Royals: Roy Branch
In 1971, the Kansas City Royals used the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 1971 MLB Draft to select Roy Branch, who had just finished an outstanding high school career in St. Louis.
Branch featured a blazing fastball, but not much else. He was never able to harness his command, toiling in the minors for seven years before the Seattle Mariners purchased his contract from the Royals in January 1978.
Branch did appear in two games for the Mariners in 1979; however, after two starts and a 7.94 ERA, Branch was never to be seen in the majors again.
Photo courtesy kcroyalshistory.com
California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels: Danny Goodwin
He was the only man in the major league ever to be drafted first overall on two separate occasions, yet for first baseman/designated hitter Danny Goodwin, his career never amounted to a hill of beans.
Originally selected first overall by the Chicago White Sox, Goodwin chose to attend Southern University and A&M college, and after a stellar four-year college baseball career, Goodwin was again chosen first overall in 1975, this time by the California Angels.
Goodwin’s career never took off however, and after the Angels gave up on Goodwin, trading him to the Minnesota Twins in December 1978, Goodwin served as a utility player over the next three years, eventually ending his career in 1982 with the Oakland Athletics.
For his career, Goodwin hit just .236, and to this day is considered one of the biggest first-round draft busts in MLB history.
Photo courtesy cox.net
Los Angeles Dodgers: Bill Bene
Since the creation of the amateur draft in 1965, the Los Angeles Dodgers have only had a selection in the top five picks three times. The first two, Bobby Valentine in 1968 and Darren Dreifort in 1993, went on to have pretty decent careers. With the third pick, however, the Dodgers weren't quite so lucky.
In 1988, the Dodgers used the fifth overall selection in the draft to select right-handed pitcher Bill Bene out of Cal State-LA.
Bene was certainly a strange pick by the Dodgers. While he was considered to have a lively arm, Bene has absolutely ZERO command of the strike zone, walking 133 batters in 147.1 innings during his collegiate career.
Those numbers never got better at the professional level. In nine minor league seasons, Bene walked OVER a batter per inning, with 543 free passes in 515 total innings pitched.
The Dodgers finally said good-bye to Bene in 1994.
Photo courtesy baseball-reference.com
Milwaukee Brewers: Tommy Bianco
The highlight of Tommy Bianco's career was that he once pinch-hit for the all-time home run king, Henry Aaron.
That would prove to be the only highlight to his career.
After being selected with the third overall pick in the 1971 MLB Draft, Bianco, who was a switch-hitting shortstop/third baseman, toiled in the minors for five years before getting called up to the Brewers in 1975. Appearing in 18 games, Bianco hit just .176 in 34 at-bats, and he was never to be seen from again—at least in the majors.
Minnesota Twins: Bryan Oelkers
When the Minnesota Twins drafted pitcher Bryan Oelkers with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1982 MLB Draft, he had the distinction of becoming the first player who was born in Spain ever to be drafted.
However that is where the good distinctions end.
Oelker was called up by the Twins in 1983, and in 10 appearances, eight of them starts, Oelker was 0-5 with an 8.65 ERA.
The Twins gave up on him following the 1985 season.
New York Mets: Steve Chilcott
In 1966, catcher Steve Chilcott became the second ever first overall pick in the amateur draft, this time by the New York Mets.
Chilcott never sniffed the majors, and the Mets will forever be vilified for passing on the second overall pick of that particular draft, Arizona State University slugger and eventual Hall of Fame outfielder Reggie Jackson.
Photo courtesy sportsillustrated.cnn.com
New York Yankees: Brien Taylor
In the history of the baseball amateur draft, the New York Yankees have only had the first overall pick on two occasions: in 1967 when they selected Ron Blomberg, who would become the first designated hitter in the history of the American League, and in 1991, they selected rocket-armed Brien Taylor.
Taylor could regularly hit the high 90s with his fastball. In the winter of 1993, the Yankees asked Taylor to spend time in winter ball to refine his mechanics and continue his development. Taylor refused, saying he wanted to take the winter to rest from the stress of the season before.
It turned to be a bad choice. Taylor got involved in a fight trying to defend his brother, and tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder in the process. Taylor was never the same again and was finally released by the Yankees at the end of the 1998 season.
Oakland Athletics: Stan Hilton
In 1983, the Oakland Athletics used the fifth pick in the first round of the MLB Draft to select Baylor University pitching standout Stan Hilton.
Hilton never made it higher than Double-A ball with Oakland, and after six minor league seasons and a 4.89 ERA, Hilton finally gave up.
Philadelphia Phillies: J.D. Drew
While outfielder J.D. Drew has enjoyed a 14-year career in the major leagues, it certainly wasn't with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Drew was an outstanding player for Florida State University and won college baseball's Golden Spikes Award in 1997. The Phillies used the second overall pick in the draft that year to select Drew.
However, Drew and his agent, Scott Boras, decided that they would not sign for anything less than $10 million, so after a period of negotiations, the Phillies were unable to sign Drew, being totally unwilling to sign a player of unproven talent for that amount of money.
Drew went back into the draft the following year, where he was selected fifth overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. To this day, Drew is loudly booed in Philly every time he makes an appearance.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Bullington
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Ball State University pitcher Bryan Bullington was highly coveted in 2002, and when the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the clock with the first overall selection in the 2002 MLB Draft, they wasted no time in calling Bullington's name.
However, that would be the highlight of Bullington's career with Pittsburgh. His career never blossomed, pitching just six times for the Pirates before finally being designated for assignment in 2008.
Bullington is now pitching in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp.
San Diego Padres: Jay Franklin
During the first ten years that the San Diego Padres participated in the MLB Draft, they had the first or second overall pick five times.
In 1971, they used the second overall pick to select Jay Franklin, a right-handed pitcher out of James Madison High School in Vienna, VA.
Franklin had a 29-1 record for his high school career, and in his senior year struck out an amazing 202 batters in 100 innings, including one game in which he struck out 29 batters over 14 innings.
However, after appearing in three games for the Padres in 1971, injuries to his throwing shoulder robbed Franklin of his velocity, and he had trouble hitting 85 MPH on the radar gun after that. The Padres finally released Franklin in 1976.
Photo courtesy bjknova.blogspot.com
San Francisco Giants: Steve Soderstrom
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In 1993, the San Francisco Giants used the sixth overall pick in the MLB Draft to select Steve Soderstrom, a standout right-handed pitcher from Fresno State.
Soderstrom was given a quick look by the Giants during a September call-up in 1996, going 2-0 in three starts with a 5.27 ERA. However, that was the last time Soderstrom would be seen or heard from again in the majors, and the Giants were done with him following the 1999 season.
Seattle Mariners: Al Chambers
Left fielder Al Chambers was another of the promising players that debuted for the Mariners in 1983, along with Harold Reynolds, Jim Presley and Phil Bradley. Chambers was selected by the Mariners with the first overall pick of the 1979 MLB Draft.
However, Chambers was a major disappointment, hitting just .208 in parts of three seasons with the Mariners. Chambers was out of baseball by the end of 1985 at the age of 24.
Photo courtesy baseball-reference.com
St. Louis Cardinals: Paul Coleman
When the St. Louis Cardinals selected outfielder Paul Coleman out of Frankston High School in Frankston, TX with the sixth overall pick of the 1989 MLB Draft, he was considered to be a five-tool player who could potentially develop into a corner outfielder for the Cards in the future.
However, Coleman never developed at all, and plate discipline was a major factor. Playing for the Springfield Cardinals in 1991, Coleman hit only .185 and struck out 49 times while drawing only one walk in 45 games. He was out of the Cardinals system by the end of 1993.
Tampa Bay Rays: Josh Hamilton
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Outfielder Josh Hamilton may have become a star in the majors, winning the American League's Most Valuable Player Award with the Texas Rangers in 2010, but for the Tampa Bay Rays, Hamilton was a major disappointment.
Selected by the Rays with the first overall pick in 1999, and after accepting a $4 million bonus, reported to the Rays' farm system. Just two years later, Hamilton was involved in a severe car accident, and during his rehab developed a serious drug addiction.
That addiction would derail Hamilton's career for years, and although he finally got clean, the Rays left him off their 40-man roster, allowing the Chicago Cubs to select him in the Rule 5 Draft in 2006.
Texas Rangers: David Clyde
Could a team possibly screw up the career of anyone as much as the Texas Rangers ruined the career of David Clyde?
Clyde, a southpaw pitcher, attended Westchester High School in Houston where he finished with a record of 18-0 as a senior and only three earned runs in 148 innings pitched. The Rangers used their first overall pick in the 1973 MLB Draft to select Clyde.
Rangers' owner Bob Short wanted Clyde to start in the majors right away, as his team was floundering and attendance for the Rangers was horrible.
So, Clyde went straight to the bigs, starting 18 games for the Rangers in 1973 and posting a 4-8 record with a 5.01 ERA.
Clyde stayed with the Rangers in 1974, but the numbers never got any better. In 28 appearances, 21 of them starts, Clyde was 3-9 with a 4.38 ERA. The following year, Clyde made only one appearance for the Rangers before developing arm troubles and being sent to the minors.
Clyde would never pitch for the Rangers again, toiling in the minors until the Rangers traded Clyde to the Cleveland Indians in 1978.
Photo courtesy ESPN.com
Toronto Blue Jays: Augie Schmidt
Shortstop Augie Schmidt was originally drafted out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds in 1979, however he opted to go onto college at University of New Orleans, where he won college baseball's Golden Spikes Award in 1982.
The Toronto Blue Jays then selected Schmidt with the second overall pick in the MLB Draft that year. However, Schmidt never made it past the Triple-A level with the Blue Jays, and he was out of baseball by 1986.
Schmidt is now the baseball coach at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, where he followed his father's footsteps, having been the coach there for 18 years himself.
Photo courtesy redmenbaseball.blogspot.com
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos: B.J. Wallace
In 1992, left-handed pitcher B.J. Wallace set a school record at Mississippi State University, striking out 145 batters, 9 more than Jeff Brantley's mark in 1985. His three year record in college ball was 21-9 with 271 strikeouts in 265 innings.
The Montreal Expos were so impressed that they used the third overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft to select Wallace. The choice seemed to be working out, as Wallace's first year in professional ball was impressive, compiling a record of 11-8, 3.28 with 126 strikeouts in 137 innings for the West Palm Beach Expos of the Florida State League.
However, that would be the highlight of Wallace's pro career. In 1994, he suffered from tendinitis and then eventually had shoulder surgery, from which Wallace would never recover. His baseball career was over after 1996.
Photo courtesy natscards.com