Monday, August 16, 2010

1st Overall Pick - Pitchers

#1 Overall Pick - Pitcher
1973 David Clyde
1976 Floyd Bannister
1981 Mike Moore
1983 Tim Belcher
1988 Andy Benes
1989 Ben McDonald
1991 Brien Taylor
1994 Paul Wilson
1996 Kris Benson
1997 Matt Anderson
2002 Bryan Bullington
2006 Luke Hochevar
2007 David Price
2009 Stephen Strasburg

The only two drafted straight out of high school were David Clyde and Brien Taylor.  Brien Taylor (1991) is the only pitcher from the #1 picks to never make the majors, with Steve Chilcott (1966) the only position player (Matt Bush, from 2004, drafted as a shortstop but now a pitcher, and Tim Beckham, a shortstop from 2008, still haven't made it either).

To date, none are Hall of Famers or even Cy Young Award winners (kind of amazing, although David Price could end that this year, and Stephen Strasburg will probably follow soon).  Although several came out of the gate strong (such as Ben McDonald and Tim Belcher), the pitcher that had the best final numbers was probably Andy Benes (155-139, 3.97 ERA). 

Teams have have much better success with position players at #1 (Harold Baines, Darryl Strawberry, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Darin Erstad, Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer).  If you have the first pick and Stephen Strasburg or David Price is there, you probably have to take him. 

It's not always cut and dry (ask the Padres, who took Matt Bush in 2004 with Justin Verlander going at #2 to the Tigers), but most of the time it's not a good gamble.  I swear I heard on ESPN in 2002 that the Pirates thought Bryan Bullington (who just got his first career win, congrats) would be a middle of the rotation starter, yet still took him at #1.  The last two are on their way to great careers, but it's probably more of a fluke than a trend, and pitchers are still usually a bad bet at #1.


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