The Top 10 First Overall Picks in MLB Draft History

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA- APRIL 3:  Starting Pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the San Diego State Aztecs throws from the mound against the UC Davis Aggies during their game on April 3, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

With the buzz of this year's MLB draft centered on surefire No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg, I decided to take a look back at previous No. 1 overall picks to see how they fared in the MLB.

From the first draft back in 1965, when the Dodgers selected outfielder Rick Monday out of Arizona State, until later tonight, when the Nationals will no doubt make the flame-throwing Strasburg the top pick, there have been spot-on picks like Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, as well as epic busts like Brien Taylor and Steve Chilcott who never even reached the majors.

I have ranked my top 10 first overall picks, and if the hype is legitimate, Strasburg will find his way onto the list before too long.

No. 10: Jeff Burroughs in 1969 by the Washington Senators

Career Stats: 16 seasons, .261 BA, 240 HR, 882 RBI

Burroughs, the father of failed Padres prospect Sean Burroughs, was a solid major leaguer throughout his career. He had his best season in 1974 when he hit .301, 25, 118 and won the AL MVP.

Three years later, he crushed a career-high 41 home runs in his first season in the NL with the Braves, good for second in the league.

No. 9: Andy Benes in 1988 by the San Diego Padres

Career Stats: 14 seasons, 155-139, 3.97 ERA, 2,000 Ks

Benes never became the top-tier pitcher many thought he would be when he was first drafted, but he still put up solid numbers, notching double-digit wins 10 different times.

He had his best season in 1996 as the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation. He posted an 18-10 record and finished third in the NL Cy Young voting.

No. 8: B.J. Surhoff in 1985 by the Milwaukee Brewers

Career Stats: 19 seasons, .282 BA, 188 HR, 1,153 RBI

Originally drafted as a catcher by the Brewers, Surhoff also spent a few seasons at third base before eventually settling into the outfield.

He was a solid hitter, topping the .300 mark four different times and playing well into his late 30s for the Orioles.

No. 7: Mike Moore in 1981 by the Seattle Mariners

Career Stats: 14 seasons, 161-176, 4.39 ERA, 1,667 Ks

Moore put up double-digit wins eight different times, logging the best season of his career in 1989 for the eventual World Series-winning Oakland A's.

Moore was instrumental in the team's success, going 19-11 during the regular season and continuing the success with a 3-0 mark in the playoffs, including 2-0 in the World Series.

His career record would look better if not for a disastrous 9-19 season for the Mariners in 1987.

No. 6: Darryl Strawberry in 1980 by the New York Mets

Career Stats: 17 seasons, .259 BA, 335 HR, 1,000 RBI

If not for his drug problems, Strawberry would have most likely hit 500-plus home runs in his career, as he already had 280 long balls at the age of 29 when his career fell off.

He was named to eight straight All-Star teams and also won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1983. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times and led the NL in home runs once.

No. 5: Joe Mauer in 2001 by the Minnesota Twins

Career Stats: Six seasons, .322 BA, 56 HR, 336 RBI

I still remember, as a Cubs fan, being thrilled that the Twins passed on what many were hailing as the best college pitcher ever in Mark Prior and took Mauer.

Funny how much things can change in just a matter of years.

Mauer's two batting titles speak for themselves, and as his power continues to develop, he will continue to climb this list.

Easily the best hitting catcher in the game today.

No. 4: Harold Baines in 1977 by the Chicago White Sox

Career Stats: 22 seasons, .289 BA, 384 HR, 1,628 RBI

A six-time All-Star, Baines' longevity is as impressive as his career stat line. His 1,628 RBI rank him 28th all-time, and he is a White Sox legend.

The fact that he went 14 years between his first and last All-Star appearances speak to how consistently good he was.

No. 3: Chipper Jones in 1990 by the Atlanta Braves

Career Stats: 16 seasons, .311 BA, 415 HR, 1,402 RBI

Chipper is hands down the best switch hitter of his generation, and aside from Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle, he might be the best of all time.

With 30-plus HR six times, 100-plus RBI nine times, a .300-plus BA 10 times, and a batting title last year at the age of 36, Chipper continues to pile up the numbers.

No. 2: Alex Rodriguez in 1993 by the Seattle Mariners

Career Stats: 16 seasons, .305 BA, 561 HR, 1,629 RBI

Love him or hate him, Rodriguez may be the best high school player in the last 20 years, and he made an immediate impact for the Mariners.

He, along with guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada, changed the shortstop position forever, and if the Mariners had to do it all over again, there is no doubt they would take Rodriguez first overall again.

No. 1: Ken Griffey Jr. in 1987 by the Seattle Mariners

Career Stats: 21 seasons, .287 BA, 617 HR, 1,788 RBI

Even though injuries cut into Griffey's career pretty significantly, he still has had one hell of a career, and without any steroid suspicions it is all the more impressive.

With 13 All-Star appearances and 10 Gold Gloves, Griffey dominated the 1990s and was the face of Major League Baseball the entire decade.

Truly one of the best to ever play the game.


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