The baseball draft is today.
And Stephen Strasburg is a sure thing. Or is he?
Since the baseball draft began in 1965, only four players taken No. 1 overall could be considered possible future Hall of Famers: Harold Baines (1977 to the White Sox), Ken Griffey, Jr. (1987 to the Mariners), Chipper Jones (1990 to the Braves) and Alex Rodriguez (1993 to the Mariners).
Yes, Harold Baines — Harold Baines — had the fourth-best career of anyone taken No. 1 overall in 44 years. And he was a fine player. But I don’t hear anyone saying: “Stephen Strasburg is so good … he could be the Harold Baines of pitching!”
So if Baines was the fourth-best ever, who were the rest of these shmoes?
2008: Tim Beckham, SS, Rays — Beckham has a .273 batting average in two seasons, has shown little power and is currently playing for the Bowling Green (Kentucky) Hot Rods of the South Atlantic League. He and his girlfriend Pam Spice are repeatedly hounded by the northern Kentucky paparazzi.
2006: Luke Hochevar, P, Royals — Hochevar is 7-15 with a 5.51 ERA in his major league career. But the Royals are hoping he will develop an anxiety disorder and become the next Zach Greinke.
2004: Matt Bush, SS, Padres — Bush has been out of baseball for two years. He hit .219 in four minor league seasons and had repeated legal troubles. He is currently filming an independent porno called “Matted Bush” about a promiscuous padre.
2003: Delmon Young, OF, Rays — Once threw hit bat at an umpire and hit him. This is the hardest contact he has made with his bat.
2002: Bryan Bullington, P, Pirates — Is winless in parts of four major league seasons. However, that is actually good for third on Pittsburgh’s list of winningest pitchers since 1993.
1999: Josh Hamilton, OF, Rays — Enjoys crack.
1998: Pat Burrell, 3B, Phillies – His career hits total is dwarfed by his career frosted tips total.
1997: Matt Anderson, P, Tigers — I have absolutely no idea who this is.
1996: Kris Benson, P, Pirates — Think of all the great players in baseball history. How many of their wives could you name? Exactly.
1994: Paul Wilson, P, Mets — In his best career stretch — 2001 to 2004 — he produced 21, 29, 24 and 26 home runs respectively. Unfortunately, he was a pitcher.
1992: Phil Nevin, 3B, Astros — Was a total bust and then he suddenly started putting up huge power numbers between 1999 and 2001. Weird, huh? Just wacky.
1991: Brien Taylor, P, Yankees — Career was derailed by injuries. Or was it the stupid spelling of his first name. One of them.
1966 t0 1990: Lots of additional suck, but let’s not belabor the point.
1965: Rick Monday, OF, A’s — Was a .264 career hitter who never had more than 77 RBI in a season. Not what you really want out of an outfielder. That’s why — and few people know this — but these fans were actually trying to set fire to a Rick Monday jersey: