Feeling a Draft

Monday night, the annual Major League Baseball draft kicked off (oops, wrong metaphor).

This draft, perhaps more than that of any other sport is a big hit-and-miss (right metaphor) uncertainty. Trying to judge how good an 18-year-old flamethrower from Ashville, NC, Pikesville KY or Medford OR will be in 5-7 years is part science, part prayer.

The history of the MLB draft, is fraught with big misses. In 1971, the Chicago White Sox selected high school catcher Danny Goodwin with the #1 pick, instead of future Hall of Famer Jim Rice or star pitcher Frank Tanana. Amazingly, Goodwin, who did not sign with Chicago, was picked #1 again, by the Angels in 1975 – the only player ever to be the #1 pick twice.

In 1966, the New York Mets chose high school catcher Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson, who also went on to the Hall of Fame. In 1985, the Brewers chose catcher B.J. Surhoff, who turned out to be a good major league player, over Barry Bonds. And, so it goes.

This year’s first 3 rounds had some interesting names called. For geography fans, the Reds chose 3rd baseman Jonathan India with their first pick. Miami followed that with Tristan Pompey and Seattle stayed on this continent with Cal Raleigh.

The White Sox and Royals undoubtedly were humming and tapping their feet when they drafted shortstop Nick Madrigal and pitcher Brady Singer, respectively.

Milwaukee and Cincinnati were both seeing gray. The Brewers selected outfielder Joe Gray in the second round. The Reds grabbed pitcher Josiah Gray, 12 picks later (which reminds me of the Eduardo Paredes / Edward Paredes deal last month… but that’s another story).

The Texas Rangers drafted a high school pitcher, aptly named Cole Winn. There is no truth to the rumor that the hyphen laden Rangers (Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Shin-Soo Choo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa) have asked him to change his name to Cole Winn-Now.

The Miami Marlins were obviously looking for rebirth when they drafted shortstop Osiris Johnson in Round 2. He may one day sport a Pharaoh beard, but hopefully he doesn’t have green skin, ‘cause that could get weird.

The Astros and Dodgers were evidently still still feeling the lingering effects of their nerve-wracking World Series from last year when they reached for two cold ones in Round 1. Houston grabbed outfielder Seth Beer. L.A. went for something stronger in pitcher J.T. Ginn.

In the 3rd round, Tampa Bay selected shortstop Fred Proctor. If they are smart enough at some point in the remaining rounds to pick Arizona high school shortstop James Gamble, then we’ll really have something to talk about.

*You can find more fun facts like these – including a list of all time baseball names – in my new book, The Average Joe’s Super Sports Almanac: https://steveriach.com/products/the-average-joes-super-sports-almanac

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