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Mets & Yanks Top Worst #1 Draft Choices

By Mike Silva ~ June 6th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, MLB Draft Coverage.

Tonight, the MLB will conduct its amateur draft at 7pm. Unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL it’s likely none of the players selected in the first round will be on the 40 man roster, much less the big league roster, next season. Rewind the clock seven years and there are six players from the 2004 draft that have yet to step foot in the big leagues. That’s actually a pretty impressive. Go back another five years to 1999, and 16 players never played an inning in MLB.

With that said, the number one overall pick has much more certainty. There is no guarantee of stardom, but he will make it to the big leagues at some point. There have only been two such cases and, ironically, the Mets and Yankees are involved in both.

The Mets drafted Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson in 1966. The Arizona high school catcher played 7 seasons of minor league ball and hit .248 with 39 home runs. He would retire at the age of 23 (playing for the Yankees Double-A club in West Haven, CT) due to lingering injuries to his shoulder.

In 1991, the Yankees drafted a kid by the name of Brien Taylor out of East Carteret High School. In his senior season, Taylor threw 88 innings, striking out 213 hitters while walking 28. His fastball often hit 98 and 99 mph. Scott Boras has claimed that Taylor was the best high school pitcher he’s seen in his life. The Yankees believed they had their version of Dwight Gooden, and gave him a $1.55 million signing bonus.

Alas, an injury caused by a bar room brawl ended Taylor’s career. He suffered a dislocated left shoulder and torn labrum. Dr. Frank Jobe believed the injury to be one of the worst he’s ever seen. Taylor had to repair the labrum, as well as a torn capsule.

Taylor spent the rest of his career toiling throughout the minors. Struggling with his command before the injury, he walked an obscene 43 batters in 16 innings in 1996. The Yankees released him in 1998, and by 2000 he was out of baseball.

Right now, 2004 #1 pick Matt Bush is in danger of falling into the same category. Originally drafted as a shortstop by San Diego, Bush is toiling at Tampa’s Double-A club in Greensboro. He is no longer a positional player, but pitching out of the bullpen. To date, his ERA is 6.97 and he’s walking over 5 batters per nine innings.

Yahoo! Sports put together a list of the ten worst draft picks. Chilcott and Taylor are on the list, but so are Shawn Abner (1984) and Paul Wilson (1994), both drafted #1 overall by the Mets.

Abner was a power hitting outfielder who would make his big league debut with the Padres. He was part of the Kevin McReynolds/Kevin Mitchell deal.

Paul Wilson might be even more disappointing than Chilcott. Jim Duquette- farm director at the time- recently told me the team envisioned him in the mold of Roger Clemens. Many believed he was the best of the “Generation K” trio. Wilson would go on to pitch only one season for the Mets (5-12, 5.38) and was traded to Tampa in 2000 for Bubba Trammell and Rick White. His best season came in 2004, while pitching for Cincinnati, as Wilson won 11 games with a 4.36 ERA.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Mets & Yanks Top Worst #1 Draft Choices

  1. Russ Cress

    To this day, Reggie Jackson says that he was told that the reason the Mets didn’t draft him was because he was dating a white woman and the Mets front office didn’t like that.

  2. Mike Silva

    That is probably true Russ. Remember, they made a big deal about that with Cleon Jones many years later.

  3. Russ Cress

    IIRC — It goes back even earlier than that. I believe at the time of the Reggie draft, the Mets front office was still being run by George Weiss. The same George Weiss who refused to call up Vic Power to become the first black Yankee because he dug the white chicks too.

    There’s a lot of smoke around that fire.

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