June 6 – A shot in the dark?

DSCN2130*1983 • NEW YORK CITY – Tim Belcher was the #1 pick of the amateur draft on this date in 1983, but he turned down the Minnesota Twins’ signing bonus. He wanted to wait until the supplemental draft in January of 1984. He was selected first in that one too, this time by the New York Yankees.

How good a pick was Tim Belcher? He had a decent career, but he was no superstar. On the other hand, there are some number 1 picks that totally bombed.

Next time you have a bad day, say to yourself, ‘Well, at least I’m not responsible for drafting Shawn Abner.” Who? Exactly. Abner was the first pick in the 1984 draft.

Or, ‘At least I didn’t pass on Albert Pujols 12 times. Pujols was picked in the 13th round in 1999. Or, John Smoltz 21 times. Smoltz was chosen in the 22nd round in 1985. Or, Mark Buehrle 37 times. Buehrle was chosen in the 38th round in 1998!

A lot of scouts, general managers and player personnel directors go out on a limb around this time of year trying to figure out who the next Alex Rodriguez will be. Sometimes they’re very close, sometimes their way off.

Here are the 1st picks for every draft since 1980:

1980 Darrly Strawberry-Mets – Some great years. Lots of baggage
1981 Mike Moore-Mariners – 14 year career, 161-176, no superstar
1982 Shawon Dunston-Cubs – Solid, no superstar
1983 Tim Belcher-Twins – Some good years, some mediocre
1984 Shawn Abner-Mets – Total bust
1985 J. Surhoff Brewers – Solid, no superstar
1986 Jeff King Pittsburgh – Solid, no superstar
1987 Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle – Superstar when healthy
1988 Andy Benes-San Diego – Won 155 games in 12 seasons.
1989 Ben McDonald-Baltimore – Won 78 games in 6 seasons
1990 Chipper Jones-Atlanta – Superstar, Hall of Famer
1991 Brien Taylor-New York (AL) – Total bust
1992 Phil Nevin-Houston – Some good years, no superstar
1993 Alex Rodriguez-Seattle – Superstar, took steroids
1994 Paul Wilson-New York (NL) – 40-58 in 7-year career
1995 Darin Erstad-California – Solid, no superstar
1996 Kris Benson-Pittsburgh – 70-75 in 9-year MLB career
1997 Matt Anderson-Detroit – Starter, 15-7 in 7-year career
1998 Pat Burrell-Philadelphia – 292Hr, 976RBI over 12-years
1999 Josh Hamilton-Tampa Bay – Good numbers, a lot of baggage
2000 Adrian Gonzalez-Florida – Possible HOF. Still active
2001 Joe Mauer-Minnesota – Solid career. Still active
2002 Bryan Bullington-Pittsburgh – 1-9 over 5-years
2003 Delmon Young-Tampa Bay – .283 BA over 10 years
2004 Matthew Bush-San Diego – Drafted as SS. Today Texas’ closer
2005 Justin Upton-Arizona – >200 HRs, >700 RBI. Still active
2006 Luke Hochevar-Kansas City – Middle reliever in 9-year career
2007 David Price-Tampa Bay – #1 starter. Still active
2008 Tim Beckham-Tampa Bay – Up and down. Still young
2009 Stephen Strasburg-Washington, #1 starter/injury prone
2010 Bryce Harper-Washington, budding superstar
2011      Garrit Cole-Pittsburgh-Brilliant & mediocre. Still young
2012      Carlos Correa-Houston-Potential Hall of Fame SS
2013      Mark Appel-Houston-25 years old. Hasn’t played in majors
2014      Brady Aiken-Houston-20 years old. Hasn’t played in majors
2015      Dansby Swanson, Arizona-Braves starting SS
2016      Mickey Moniak, Philadelphia-20 years old. Hasn’t played in majors

First overall picks
Baseball Draft Research Application