1998 Draft

Kneejerk predictions about this year's draft might be more fun, but perspective can be interesting too. I looked at the 1998 draft and tried to get a sense of which teams gained the most, or lost the most, from their picks.

That draft was most memorable for the J.D. Drew drama, who would finally sign with the Cardinals after rejecting the Phillies in the previous year. Despite the hub-hub, what's most startling is how difficult it is for a team to get anybody who impacts their major league team from the draft. I tried to list all of the players who were signed who would either start or be a significant pitcher for at least 2 or more years at the major league level. Even with considering such players like Joe Beimel as significant (4.38 ERA over 443 major league IP over 8 major league seasons), a total of 10 teams still got absolutely no significant player over the entire draft.

Even in a draft that included such talents as J.D. Drew and Pat Burrell, it is even harder for them to get a star after the 1st round. It is nearly impossible for a team to not only find a major league player in a late round, but then to sign him. The Chicago White Sox get double credit for not only finding and securing any major leaguer in the 38th round, but Mark Buehrle. To give a sense of how difficult this is, the next future major leaguer to have any impact who was signed by the team who drafted were Mike Koplove and Tim Spooneybarger, who both provided two solid years of relief after having been drafted by the Diamondbacks and Braves respectively in the 29th round. (In Spooneybarger's defense, he might have had an even greater impact had he not needed Tommy John's surgery at a pretty young age)

The teams are listed in the order of what I think were the best drafts. The players are listed in order of what I think were the best picks. The numbers in parenthesies refer to which round they were chosen. If they were in the 1st round, they get two numbers to denote with which pick.

A's: Mark Mulder (1:2) Eric Byrnes (8), Gerald Laird (2)

Reds: Adam Dunn (2), B.J. Ryan (17) Austin Kearns (1:7)

White Sox: Mark Buehrle (38) Josh Fogg (3), Aaron Rowand (1:35), Kip Wells (1:16)

Rockies: Matt Holliday (7), Juan Pierre (13)

Cardinals: J.D. Drew (1:5) Jack Wilson (9)

Indians: C.C. Sabathia (1:20)

Phillies: Pat Burrell (1:1), Nick Punto (21) Geoff Geary (15), Jason Michaels (4)

Astros: Brad Lidge (1:17) John Buck (7)

Rangers: Carlos Pena (1:10)

Brewers: Bill Hall (6)

The Cubs got Corey Patterson (1:3), Eric Hinske (17), Ohman (8)

The Devil Rays got Aubrey Huff (5), Brandon Backe (18), Joe Kennedy (8)

Red Sox: Mike Maroth (3), Adam Everett (1:12)

Tigers: Brandon Inge (2), Jeff Weaver (1:14)

Blue Jays: Felipe Lopez (1:8), Jay Gibbons (14)

Expos: Brad Wilkerson (1:33)

Dodgers: David Ross (7), Scott Proctor (5)

Braves: Tim Spooneybarger (29)

Diamondbacks: Mike Kopolove (29)

Pirates: Joe Beimel (18).

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