Only two former number-one picks have retired from the game without reaching the big leagues: catcher Steve Chilcott, taken by the Mets in 1966, and left-hander Brien Taylor, the Yankees’ top choice in 1991. Both players’ careers were derailed by injury, though Chilcott’s performance, even when healthy, inspired little confidence in his major-league future. Taylor, on the other hand, quickly established himself as an elite prospect before tearing the labrum in his left shoulder during an altercation in December 1993. Rehabilitation cost Taylor the 1994 season, not to mention eight miles an hour from his fastball, and the arm that changed the draft never realized the potential of what some consider the greatest high school pitcher they’ve ever seen.
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Ronnie Belliard and Luis Hernandez head for Triple-A, Brandon Belt breaks camp with the big squad, and Matt Holliday loses an appendix but keeps a roster spot.
By my count (or more accurately, Rob McQuown’s), Christina Kahrl has devoted 952 articles to analyzing transactions, and that’s probably selling her short, since our database doesn’t go back quite as far as her byline. In the first Transaction Analysis entry that I could find, Ozzie Guillen appears not as a manager, but as a shortstop and the owner of an exceedingly low OBP; given that Guillen has just entered his eighth season at the helm of the White Sox, it’s clear that Christina has been at this for some time, and unlike Guillen, she didn’t overstay her welcome before shifting to a new role.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
The king of Three True Outcomes discusses his former teammates, his experiences in the game, and a memorable Easter Sunday blast.
Russell Branyan and Jack Cust are challenging his legacy, but until their career stat lines are finalized, Rob Deer reigns as the king of Three True Outcomes. With 230 home runs, 575 walks, and 1,409 strikeouts in 4,512 plate appearances, Deer has a TTO rate of 49.7, a percentage unmatched in big-league history. A legendary slugger in multiple statistical categories, Deer hit .220/.324/.442 in a career which saw him strike out once every 2.75 at-bats-also a big-league record among retired players-and register the lowest batting average of any outfielder with over 2,000 at-bats. Despite the negatives, Deer did three things well: propel majestic home runs, draw walks, and play a well-above-average right field. A minor league hitting coordinator in the Padres' organization for seven years after his playing days, Deer currently runs his own business, Vizubat. Deer talked about his time in the game, including notable teammates, his unique standing in historic annals, and a memorable home run on Easter Sunday.
The exchanges in the senior circuit's edition of the mild, mild West leaves the Giants as this winter's big players within the division.
Coming off of a year in which the division ranked as one of the weakest of the Wild Card Era, the NL West has been hit by hard economic times this winter to at least the same degree as the NL Central. As in that division, the result has been an exodus of talent via departing free agents and salary-conscious trades. Among the West's five teams, only two have signed a free agent to a deal worth more than $10 million, and only one has signed an incoming free agent (i.e., one coming to a new team) to a contract worth $8 million or more.
The Doctor returns with a look at the draft history of high school and college pitchers, to see if we can learn a few things about pitching value.
Pos Years 1st Rd 2nd Rd 3rd Rd Overall Busts
COL LHP 84-91 - 4.4% + 54.7% +133.4% + 21.5%
COL LHP 92-99 - 7.3% + 61.1% + 15.0% + 8.0%
COL LHP 84-99 - 5.8% + 57.8% + 82.4% + 15.2%
Years Biggest Bargains Biggest Busts
84-91 Jim Abbott, Greg Swindell Drew Hall, Kyle Abbott
92-99 Barry Zito, Randy Wolf B.J. Wallace, Jeff Granger
Note that the two most valuable draft picks from 1984 to 1991 are notRandy Johnson, who was third on the list. Johnson is a future Hall of Famer, but was not a full-time starting pitcher in the major leagues until four years after he was drafted, and didn't become RANDY JOHNSON until 1993. And of course, along the way he was traded by the team that drafted him, the Montreal Expos, essentially for four months of Mark Langston. The point bears repeating: the sooner a draft pick renders his value, the less likely the team that drafted him will have already given him up for pennies on the dollar.