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Drafting using 20/20 hindsight

Jun 3, 2005

The last time that the Orioles had baseball’s 1st pick in the June draft, they chose the (in)famous Ben McDonald from Louisiana State University. Since that time, the team has proven notorious for making bad picks. I thought it might be a nice exercise to celebrate the upcoming draft with a look at the players the Orioles could have wound up with had they drafted perfectly and been able to sign all of their selections.

1990: 20th pick – Mike Mussina Could have picked: No one of consequence; great draft pick.

1991: 9th pick – Mark Smith Could have picked: Shawn Estes (11) Manny Ramirez (13) Cliff Floyd (14) Shawn Green (16) Pokey Reese (20) Aaron Sele (23) Scott Hatteberg (43) Nomar Garciaparra (131)

The picks of both Manny Ramirez and Shawn Green a few picks later really sting.

1992: 4th pick – Jeffrey Hammonds Could have picked: Derek Jeter (6) Preston Wilson (9) Shannon Stewart (19) Jason Kendall (23) Johnny Damon (35) Todd Helton (55)

Missing out on Derek Jeter 2 picks later seems like a huge gaff. However, I seem to recall there being some particular reason why he was not picked. Perhaps it was the presence of Cal, but that factoid is lost to the dustbin of my brain. Maybe someone could refresh my memory.

1993: 19th pick – Jay Powell Could have picked: Torii Hunter (20) Jason Varitek (21) Scott Rolen (46) Matt Clement (86)

Not a particularly damning draft for the Orioles, although either of the next two picks would have turned out a lot better than Jay Powell.

1994: Did not pick due to losing their draft slot to the Mets for the Sid Fernandez signing. However, they did have a pick in the 2nd round at #54 choosing first-baseman Tommy Davis. Could have picked: A.J. Pierzynski (71) Aaron Boone (72) Scott Podsednik (85) Mike Hampton (100)

Had they kept their draft pick that year, they quite possibly could have landed: Terrence Long (20 – the actual pick used by the Mets) Jay Payton (27) Troy Glaus (37)

1995: 21st pick – Alvie Shepherd Could have picked: Michael Barrett (28) Mark Bellhorn (35) Carlos Beltran (49 – Just 2 picks before their 2nd round pick!!!) Sean Casey (53 – Just 2 picks after their 2nd round pick!!!)

Missing out on both Beltran and Casey really hurts from a 20/20 hindsight perspective.

1996: Did not pick due to losing their draft slot to the Blue Jays for the Roberto Alomar signing. However, they did have a pick in the 2nd round at #54 choosing Brian Falkenborg. Could have picked: Jeff Farnsworth (57) Eddie Yarnall (78) Nick Johnson (89)

Had they kept their 16th pick, they could have chosen: Eric Milton (20) Jason Marquis (35) Jacque Jones (37) Milton Bradley (40) Jimmy Rollins (46)

It’s debatable whether the Orioles would have been better off with any of those players over Alomar.

1997: 22nd, 26th, and 36th taking Jayson Werth, Darnell Mcdonald, and Ntema Ndungidi Could have picked: Jack Cust (30) ;) Aaron Myette (43) Randy Wolf (54) Rick Ankiel (72)

The Orioles had 3 picks in the 1st (and supplemental) round in arguably the weakest draft of the 1990s. As it turns out they did as good as they could have given the slim pickings. Werth was in fact a pretty good pick, but they eventually gave up on him too early.

1998: 26th pick – Rick Elder Could have picked: Mark Prior (43) Adam Dunn (50) Brandon Inge (57) Barry Zito (83) Josh Fogg (89) Aubrey Huff (162)

1999: 13th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 34th, 44th, and 50th – Mike Paradis, Richard Stahl, Larry Bigbie, Keith Reed, Joshua Cenate, Scott Rice, and Brian Roberts Could have picked: Jason Jennings (16) Casey Fossum (48) Carl Crawford (52) Justin Morneau (98) Hank Blalock (105) Kevin Mench (118) Albert Pujols (402)

With 7 picks of the first 50, the Orioles managed to get a potential star in Brian Roberts. Prior to the 2005 season, it really looked like the Orioles blew it big time with this draft; thankfully B-Rob managed to look like the second coming of Roberto Alomar. Larry Bigbie may turn out to be a serviceable player, but his time is running out. Crawford, Morneau, and Blalock sure would look nice in Orioles informs… oh well.

2000: 14th and 32nd picks – Beau Hale and Tripper Johnson Could have picked: Chase Utley (15) Billy Traber (16) Aaron Heilman (31) Xavier Nady (49) Laynce Nix (124)

2001: 7th, 19th, and 31st — Chris Smith, Mike Fontenot, and Bryan Bass Could have picked: John Van Benschoten (8) Casey Kotchman (13) John-Ford Griffin (23) Bobby Crosby (25) Dallas McPherson (57)

Having 3 of the first 31 picks should have produced something right? Well it turned out to produce nothing… literally.

2002: 4th pick – Adam Loewen Could have picked: Prince Feilder (7) Khalil Greene (13) Scott Kazmir (15) Nick Swisher (16)

The true result of this draft remains to be seen, but I am among the (higly) skeptical.

And there you are; an enumeration of the past 12 drafts by the Orioles including their actual picks and who the should/could have picked. In case you are wondering; if the team had picked optimally and been able to sign their picks, today’s lineup could be:

P - Mike MussinaP - Matt ClementP - Mike HamptonP - Mark PriorP - Eric Bedard

C  - Jason Kendall, Michael Barrett1B - Todd Helton2B - Mark Bellhorn, Brian Roberts3B - Hank BlalockSS - Derek JeterLF - Manny RamirezCF - Carlos BeltranRF - Albert PujolsDH - Adam Dunn

Of course they would also have a payroll twice that of the Yankees. :p


One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. Anonymous

    Hammonds was the consensus best player available. At the time it was the right pick.

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