It's the second season in a row of following our draft pick position more closely than our place in the standings and that has, this being LGT, led to a large number of discussions of the best possible draft strategy and position. This snippet from Chuck got me thinking
your much more likely to get a potential HoFer than hanging on to those stiffs and losing "only" 92 games and drafting 6th and taking a "safe" pick like Jeremy Sowers.
So, is that really true? The success of Strasburg is right in front of us, but what has happened before him?
For starters, from 1965-1986, the number one pick yielded nary a one Hall Of Fame. The other picks, of course, did. So, at least for the first 22 years of the draft, that statement didn't hold true. Players selected after 1986 aren't eligible for the HOF yet, so some digging needs to be done.
From then on I'm going to go year by year with the first pick and then a listing of who else, from only the first round, should merit HOF consideration. In the cases where no one seemed to merit HOF consideration, I simply included the best player from the first round. I include only the first round because it is clear from Chuck's comment that was all that was being discussed. Besides, further rounds are a crapshoot anyway. I'll stop at 2000, as anyone after that is too far removed from the end of their career to intelligently project toward the HOF.
1987- Ken Griffey Jr* (Craig Biggio*, 22nd)
1988- Andy Benes (Tino Martinez, 14th)
1989- Ben McDonald (Frank Thomas*, 7th)
1991- Brien Taylor (Manny Ramirez*, 13th)
1992- Phil Nevin (Derek Jeter*, 6th)
Picking first is by no means a notable advantage toward the procurement of HOF players. The numbers strongly indicate that the monetary outlay required in signing the first pick will not be worth it in the end run. The comparative savings of picking fourth or lower more than outweigh the extremely slim loss of career potential. You are not more likely to get that potential HOF at the first position, you are more likely to spend significant money.
In short, the MLB draft is not the NBA or NFL draft. Even at its highest level, it's an inexact science. Picking first in this culture of absurdly inflated costs may be more curse than blessing.