The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t exactly had the best luck when it comes to the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. In fact, the Pirates have really been unable to produce much with their draft selections, with the exception of a few players.
In today’s Titusville Herald, Seth Murphy takes a look back at some of the mistakes by the Pirates in the draft, but he really hammers on the 2002 draft, when Pittsburgh selected Ball State right-hander Bryan Bullington with the number one overall pick. Murphy writes about how the Pirates took Bullington over guys that are stars today, including:
“B.J. Upton, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Jeff Francis, Jeremy Hermida, Joe Saunders, Khalil Greene, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, James Loney, Jeremy Guthrie (who the Pirates drafted in 2001 but didn’t sign), Jeff Francouer, Joe Blanton, Matt Cain and Mark Teahan.”
Bryan Bullington, who is still in search of his first big league win, has hopes of staying in the majors with the Pirates this time.
Well, that’s quite a list. Who knew these guys were going to be good? Wait… Fielder was heralded to be the next big slugger at the young age of 15, when he blasted a home run out of Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. And B.J. Upton also created quite a stir out of high school. And Greene was single-handedly leading the Clemson Tigers to the College World Series. I guess the Pirates really wanted the guy that dominated the Mid-American Conference instead of the Atlantic Coast Conference. So, yeah, I guess Murphy is right. The Pirates sure did mess up.
Maybe Pittsburgh is happy with their selection of Bullington. He owns a lifetime 5.89 earned run average in the big leagues with an 0-3 record. Although, he was recently called up to the Pirates’ active roster after making a sudden turnaround in the minors. But, it has taken Bullington much longer than these other guys drafted after him in 2002 to make it to the majors. So maybe, Bullington will finally become the superstar pitcher that the Pirates had hoped for when they drafted him, but I wouldn’t count on it. Already at 27-years-old, Bullington is behind most pitchers that make a name for themselves in the majors, especially those drafted as high as he was.
The 2008 draft is only days away and I’m sure most fans are not shocked to see the Pirates near the top of the draft order. That’s right – Pittsburgh will try to put an end to their horrible draft history this year with the second overall pick in the draft. Maybe this time they will get it right.