The Five Best Players Picked No. 1 in the MLB Draft Since 1984

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IJune 11, 2009

The Washington Nationals selected San Diego State University pitching sensation Stephen Strasburg (13-1, 1.32 ERA), 20, with the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball Draft Tuesday at the MLB Network Studios in Seacaucus, N.J.

In recognition of the draft, I decided to rank the five most accomplished players selected first overall in the past quarter century.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr.

After Griffey, 39, completed his stellar high school career at Archbishop Moeller High School in Ohio where he was named his league’s Player of the Year in both the 1986 and 1987 seasons, “The Kid” was selected by the Seattle Mariners with the first overall pick in the 1987 amateur draft.

Griffey, a 13-time All-Star who won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1990-1999, is one of the game’s most celebrated players and he will certainly be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in the future.

Moreover, “Junior,” the 1997 AL MVP who ranks fifth all-time with 617 home runs, likely achieved his feats without utilizing performance enhancing drugs.

In the rogue steroid era, legitimate achievements at the plate are as questionable as Bernie Madoff’s business practices.

“The Kid” is nothing less than a legend on the baseball diamond.

2. Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez, 33, had a spectacular career as a star shortstop at Miami’s Westminster Christian High where he won a national championship as a junior and was named USA Baseball Junior Player of the Year as a senior.

Rodriguez initially signed a letter of intent to play baseball and possibly football at the University of Miami. However, he eventually reneged on his word and he chose to sign with the Seattle Mariners instead with the first overall pick in the 1993 draft.

Since he made his debut with the Mariners, Rodriguez’s surreal professional feats have been overshadowed only by his polarizing antics on and off of the baseball field.

Largely due to his controversial nature, A-Rod has attained more nicknames, albeit unflattering ones, than Apollo Creed.

“Bitch tits,” a 12-time All-Star who was nominated for 10 Silver Slugger Awards, is widely considered one of the greatest players in the annals of baseball.

“A-Fraud” has also won three AL MVP Award’s and he was chosen as a Gold Glove Award winner in both the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Rodriguez has recorded 560 dingers to date, and it is anticipated that he will break Barry Bond’s tainted home run crown sometime within the next four seasons.

Unfortunately, “A-Roid” acknowledged that he used synthetic testosterone and his exploits now appear as genuine as Pam Anderson’s tits.

Nevertheless, despite all his many warts, Rodriguez is a great baseball talent.

3. Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones, Jr.

After he graduated from Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, Jones, 37, was selected by the Atlanta Braves with the first pick overall in the 1990  amateur draft.

“Chipper,” a nickname given to him by family members who believed he was a “chip off the old block” of his father, is a six-time All-Star selection who won the NL MVP Award in 1999.

Jones, one of the most consistent offensive forces of this generation, won the NL batting title in 2008 and was twice nominated for the Silver Slugger Award in both the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

His nickname may be a tad funny.

But, his skills on the diamond are absolutely no joke.

4. Joe Mauer

Mauer, 26, excelled on both the diamond and on the gridiron when he attended St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall High School.

Ultimately, Mauer decided to play baseball and he was drafted out of high school as a catcher by the Minnesota Twins with the first overall selection in the 2001 draft.

Mauer, a two-time All-Star selection who won the AL batting title in both the 2006 and 2008 seasons, seems destined to have a Hall of Fame career.

Mauer is simply no average “Joe” on the field of athletics and, at this juncture, it would be surprising if his skills didn’t ensure him a ticket to Cooperstown one day in the future.

5. Darin Erstad

Erstad, 35, graduated in 1992 from Jamestown High School in Jamestown, North Dakota.

After his remarkable four-sport career concluded in high school, Erstad decided to attend the University of Nebraska where he flourished playing for the Huskers baseball and football teams.

In 1995, the California Angels picked Erstad with the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Erstad, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, was an intricate part of the Angels 2002 championship team.

The 2000 Silver Slugger Award winner is also an angel in his hometown of Jamestown where there is a billboard in his honor off Interstate 94.

*Honorable Mention-Brien Taylor

A little levity, huh?

*Needless to say, this article is based on opinion and I am confident that many will dispute my rankings.

Nevertheless, I look forward to receiving feedback and the thoughts of my readers.



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