How unpredictable is baseball’s amateur draft?
Back in 1992, five teams passed on Derek Jeter. These were the top picks in the draft, the best of the best, and most have names you quite possibly — probably? — never heard of. Not a single one of them is still playing, and Tyler Kepner wrote a terrific New York Times piece about the guys who can always say they were drafted ahead of the Captian.
“Every time I’m approached about the draft, they talk to me like I was a flop because I wasn’t as successful as Derek Jeter,” No. 1 pick Phil Nevin said.
Of course, the Yankees haven’t always gotten it right. Back in 2005, when the draft class was ridiculously loaded, the Yankees first-round pick was high school shortstop C.J. Henry, who flamed out and wound up playing college basketball. The Yankees are still waiting for a return on their investment into 2007 first-round pick Andrew Brackman, and in 2008 they took a chance on Gerrit Cole, who turned down their offer and chose to pitch at UCLA.
This year’s can’t-miss prospect is Bryce Harper, who will almost certainly go to the Nationals with the top pick. If you haven’t already, be sure to check on Tom Verducci’s Sports Illustrated cover story from last year.
Associated Press photo