Rick Monday was the first
Fifty-two years ago Rick Monday was the first player ever drafted in a major league draft. For most fans it might be hard to reconcile the idea that there was no draft in baseball until 1965. That any kid from any state or country could sign with any team that he wanted too provided he was offered a contract.
Rick Monday looked back at that day with MLB.com a few weeks ago. Most of the interview is your basic stuff but this particular comment struck me.
“It’s been wonderful for the game in terms of competitive balance,” Monday said. “But I’ve always been a proponent of not holding the Draft while there’s still competition, of waiting until the College World Series is over.
“Having seen that empty look of bewilderment and confusion on teammates who weren’t drafted that day … it’s something that has stayed with me.”
I have also thought it strange that they do the draft during the College World Series. As though the kids don’t have enough on their plate now they get to worry about being drafted, then being drafted and where, or not being drafted.
For a number one overall pick, Rick Monday had a great career. In fifty-two years of overall picks, Rick Monday is in the top ten of bWAR. There have been countless overall picks who could never learn to hit or pitch at the highest level. Many more misses than hits. Rick Monday was at least at a triple, almost a home run.
The very next year Steve Chilcott was the overall pick. He never made it to the major leagues. Danny Goodwin was drafted twice as the overall pick. Once out of high school and once out of college. He had a negative career bWAR. The White Sox were glad he saved them his bonus money.
David Clyde was one of the more famous overall picks. He was drafted out of high school and pitching in the major leagues the same year. That didn’t work out.
Dave Roberts (not our Dave Roberts) played in the majors the same year he was drafted but he was a college player. That still didn’t work out.
Bob Horner also played in the majors the same year he was drafted. That did work out. Bob Horner had one of the strangest careers you will ever find, so strange I’ll have to write about it.
The Dodgers have never had the first pick. They came close in 1993 but the Mariners got the first pick and picked HOF Alex Rodriquez, the greatest overall pick by bWAR in history. The Dodgers got Darren Dreifort. Game changer.
The Dodgers, however, have acquired several of these overall picks.
- 1965 overall pick Rick Monday was acquired in 1977 when the Dodgers gave up fan favorite Bill Buckner and Ivan De Jesus. Rick Monday would hit the most important postseason home run in Dodger history until Kirk Gibson eclipsed him.
- 1980 overall pick Darryl Strawberry signed a five-year free agent deal with the Dodgers in 1991. That worked out for one year. He was released in the middle of the 3rd year of his contract.
- 1983 overall pick Tim Belcher was traded to the Dodgers in Sept of 1987 for Rich Honeycut. Tim Belcher would be an important part of the rotation that won the last Dodger World Championship.
- 2012 overall pick Adrian Gonzalez was acquired in the summer of 2012 and is still here.
Year Tm Signed Name Pos WAR OPS 1993 Mariners Y Alex Rodriguez(minors) SS 117.7 .930 1990 Braves Y Chipper Jones(minors) SS 85.0 .930 1987 Mariners Y Ken Griffey(minors) OF 83.6 .907 2001 Twins Y Joe Mauer(minors) C 50.9 .835 2000 Marlins Y Adrian Gonzalez(minors) 1B 43.3 .849 1980 Mets Y Darryl Strawberry(minors) OF 42.0 .862 1977 White Sox Y Harold Baines(minors) 1B 38.5 .820 1985 Brewers Y B.J. Surhoff(minors) SS 34.3 .745 1965 Athletics Y Rick Monday(minors) OF 33.1 .804 1995 Angels Y Darin Erstad(minors) OF 32.3 .743 2007 Devil Rays Y David Price(minors) LHP 32.0 .143 1988 Padres Y Andy Benes(minors) RHP 31.7 .390 2005 Diamondbacks Y Justin Upton(minors) SS 28.9 .821 1981 Mariners Y Mike Moore(minors) RHP 28.5 .000 1999 Devil Rays Y Josh Hamilton(minors) OF 28.1 .865 1976 Astros Y Floyd Bannister(minors) LHP 26.9 .383 1983 Twins N Tim Belcher(minors) RHP 26.2 .299 2010 Nationals Y Bryce Harper(minors) OF 24.4 .897 1978 Braves Y Bob Horner(minors) 3B 21.7 .839 1989 Orioles Y Ben McDonald(minors) RHP 20.9 .000 2009 Nationals Y Stephen Strasburg(minors) RHP 20.2 .401 1998 Phillies Y Pat Burrell(minors) 3B 18.8 .834 1969 Senators Y Jeff Burroughs(minors) OF 17.6 .795 1986 Pirates Y Jeff King(minors) SS 16.7 .749 1992 Astros Y Phil Nevin(minors) 3B 15.8 .814 1996 Pirates Y Kris Benson(minors) RHP 13.0 .337 2012 Astros Y Carlos Correa(minors) SS 12.6 .838 1982 Cubs Y Shawon Dunston(minors) SS 11.5 .712 2011 Pirates Y Gerrit Cole(minors) RHP 9.9 .397 1967 Yankees Y Ron Blomberg(minors) 1B 9.4 .832 1970 Padres Y Mike Ivie(minors) C 7.2 .744 1968 Mets Y Tim Foli(minors) SS 5.5 .593 1974 Padres Y Bill Almon(minors) SS 4.8 .648 2006 Royals Y Luke Hochevar(minors) RHP 3.1 .125 2008 Rays Y Tim Beckham(minors) SS 3.0 .736 2003 Devil Rays Y Delmon Young(minors) OF 2.5 .737 2004 Padres Y Matt Bush(minors) SS 2.4 1994 Mets Y Paul Wilson(minors) RHP 2.2 .271 2015 Diamondbacks Y Dansby Swanson(minors) SS 1.0 .693 1973 Rangers Y David Clyde(minors) LHP 0.7 1972 Padres Y Dave Roberts(minors) 3B 0.4 .644 2002 Pirates Y Bryan Bullington(minors) RHP -0.2 .667 1997 Tigers Y Matt Anderson(minors) RHP -0.5 1979 Mariners Y Al Chambers(minors) OF -0.5 .618 1984 Mets Y Shawn Abner(minors) OF -1.3 .591 1975 Angels Y Danny Goodwin(minors) C -1.7 .674 1971 White Sox N Danny Goodwin(minors) C -1.7 .674 2016 Phillies Y Mickey Moniak(minors) OF 2014 Astros N Brady Aiken(minors) LHP 2013 Astros Y Mark Appel(minors) RHP 1991 Yankees Y Brien Taylor(minors) LHP 1966 Mets Y Steven Chilcott(minors) C