Teams won’t always select a Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones or Darryl Strawberry with their No. 1 overall pick in the annual MLB draft. In fact, teams aren’t guaranteed anything — not even a Triple-A lifer — with a top-five selection.
There have been hundreds of hyped-up prospects that came and went, and each year, a new pick is considered the cream of the crop only to fall of the face of the earth just a few seasons later.
Here is a list of former first-round picks that didn’t make it and can be considered the top 10 MLB draft busts of the last 20 years.
Jeff Clement, C, 2005, No. 3 overall, Mariners
Clement is hitting .189 as a Pirates first baseman this year and is a
.220 career hitter over parts of three seasons between the Pirates and
Mariners. Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun were both taken right after Clement. Yes, after.
Daniel Moskos, RHP, 2007, No. 4 overall, Pirates
Decisions, decisions. Who will it be: Matt Wieters or Daniel Moskos? The Pirates
clearly went with the wrong pick as Moskos has yet to crack the major
league roster — yes the Pirates’ do have a major league roster — and owns a
career 4.35 ERA in the minors.
Brien Taylor, LHP, 1991, No. 1 overall, Yankees
Taylor signed a record-setting bonus of $1.55 million but the prospect damaged his throwing shoulder in a fight defending his brother and never pitched a game in majors. At least his brother is alright.
Adam Johnson, RHP, 2000, No. 2 overall, Twins
The Cal State Fullerton alum made it to the big leagues, but he spent most of his time — even seasons to be exact — “re-tooling” in the minor leagues, posting just two winning seasons, including his first year of professional baseball. Although he managed to pick up a major league win in 2001. Johnson was released by the Twins in 2005 and bounced around until his retirement in 2006.
Bryan Bullington, RHP, 2002, No. 1 overall, Pirates
The former first overall pick is now the proud last man in the Royals bullpen. Since being drafted over eight years ago, Bullington has started five games and is 0-6 with a 5.57 ERA in 16 career appearances.
Matt Anderson, RHP, 1997, No. 1 overall, Tigers
The Tigers’ scouting department saw 100 mph on the radar gun, and although he was a relief pitcher, Detroit just had to take him with the league’s top pick. That means they passed on future All-Stars J.D. Drew, Troy Glaus and Vernon Wells for a guy who would up with a career 5.19 ERA and 26 saves.
Dewon Brazelton, RHP, 2001, No. 3 overall, Rays
Brazelton was supposed to take over the Rays’ staff after he was plucked just after Joe Mauer and Mark Prior in 2001. Things didn’t work out that way and he ended up pitching just parts of five big league seasons and finished his brief career at 8-25 with a 6.38 ERA.
Clint Everts, RHP, 2002, No. 5 overall, Expos
Who needs Zack Grienke, when you can have Clint Everts? The Expos liked Everts over the future Royals’ ace so they went with Scott Kazmir‘s prep teammate, who clearly didn’t learn anything from the southpaw. Everts never cracked a big league roster and most recently, the Mets — yes, the Mets– designated him for assignment. He finished his minor league career at 35-40 with a 4.13 ERA.
Chad Mottola, OF, 1992, No. 5 overall, Reds
Doesn’t ring a bell? He’s the guy who was picked one spot ahead of a Kalamazoo, Mich., high school shortstop named Derek Jeter.
He finished with four career big-league homers (three of which in the
1996 season where he had a career-high 79 at-bats) and a lifetime .200
average in just 59 games. He didn’t play from 1997-1999 and went on to
play in just 24 big league games since 2000.
Matt Bush, SS, 2004, No. 1 overall, Padres
Bush never rose above Single-A and he made a pretty memorable
first impression when he and his buddies caused severe damage to Padres
owner John Moores‘ private box shortly after San Diego drafted him. In
2009, Bush was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving, vandalism and
resisting arrest in Mission Valley. Earlier that year, he was accused
of and pleaded guilty to, a drunken assault on four Granite Hills High
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