Tonight begins the first “day” of the Major League Baseball Draft. The Yankees, as we know, don’t have a pick until 51st overall. Here are all the players taken at #51 since the draft started. As you can see, only a handful mad the Major Leagues:
1965, Angels: RHP Dick Baney. It appears Baney didn’t sign with the Angels, though, as he was later drafted by the Red Sox. He managed just 90.1 unspectacular innings in the Major Leagues. -0.2 bWAR
1966, Braves: SS Frank Duffy. Like Baney, he didn’t sign with the team that originally drafted him. He was selected in the first round of the draft in 1967 by the Reds. He spent 10 seasons in MLB, racking up 2,924 PAs to the tune of a 69 OPS+. 6.7 bWAR
1976, Braves: LHP Dan Morogiello. Morogiello was drafted by the Braves, but traded to the Orioles for Donnie Moore. He pitched in one season with Baltimore, 1983, in which he threw 37.2 innings to a 169 ERA+. 0.8 bWAR
1978, Royals: OF Darryl Motley. Motley played six seasons, mostly with the Royals, but was traded to the Braves for Steve Shields. He only got 500+ PAs once in a season (1984) and that was his best season by OPS+ (109). For his career, he had an 86 OPS+. -1.0 bWAR
1982, Reds: SS Barry Larkin. This one turned out alright. 68.9 bWAR EDIT: As JGS pointed out in the comments, Larkin didn’t sign in 1982; he was drafted number four overall by the Reds a few years later.
1984, Dodgers: RHP Tim Scott. Scott was drafted by the Dodgers but reached free agency before reaching the bigs. He signed with San Diego in 1990, was traded to Montreal in 1993, to San Francisco in 1996, claimed off waivers by the Reds later in 1996 before being granted free agency just a few months after that, signed by the Padres in January of 1997, released by the Padres in May 1997 before being signed and waived by the Rockies, claimed by the Mariners, again being granted free agency, and finally signing with the Dodgers. Anyway, during all that time, Scott was a moderately effective reliever (102 ERA+) with two very solid seasons (1993 and 1994) to his credit. 1.2 bWAR
1987, Rangers: RHP Barry Manuel. Manuel pitched for the Rangers, Expos, Mets, and Diamondbacks from 1991-1998 (no Majors from 1993-1995). He ended his career with a respectable 110 ERA+ as a reliever. 0.8 bWAR
1990, Expos: LHP Chris Haney. He debuted with the Expos, but spent the bulk of his career (1993-1998) with the Royals. He led the league with a 2.0 BB/9 in 1996, but he also gave up a league high 267 hits. He started 125 of his 196 career games and ended with a 91 ERA+. 2.9 bWAR
1996, Orioles: RHP Brian Falkenborg. He debuted in 1999, tossing three scoreless innings across two games for Baltimore. After that, he didn’t appear in the Majors again until 2004, where he stayed until 2008, pitching with the Dogers, Cardinals, Dodgers again, before ending with the Padres. All told, he pitched 75.2 innings in relief in his career to a 77 ERA+, though he did have a respectable K/9 of 7.4. -1.1 bWAR
1997, White Sox: RHP Rocky Biddle. Biddle pitched 198 games between 2000-2004 with the White Sox and Expos, amassing 378.2 IP and an 84 ERA+. His best year was 2002 when he managed a 112 ERA+ in 44 games (7 GS) with the White Sox.
2005, Dodgers: SS Ivan DeJesus. DeJesus got a cup of coffee with the Dodgers this year (last appeared in a game on May 11) and hit poorly in 34 PAs (.436 OPS, 25 OPS+). -0.5 bWAR
2006: Jeff Locke, LHP, Braves (now with the Pirates’ AA team)
2007: Charlie Culberson, 2B, Giants
2008: Anthony Gose, OF, Phillies (now with the Blue Jays’ AA team)
2009: Rich Poythress, 1B, Mariners
2010: Sammy Solis, LHP, Nationals
It’s early, but none of those taken from 2006-2010 are ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects.
So it would seem that the the past number 51 picks haven’t produced much of anything (aside from Barry Larkin). But, as we well know, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. We’ve heard over and ove again that the draft this year is very deep. The Yankees could very well land someone much better than the majority of these guys.
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