The 2015 Major League Baseball amateur draft less than a week away and – without doubt – Seattle Mariners fans will be watching intently to see what the team does with their first pick in the draft, which is number-60 overall in the second round.
As of today, most Mariners fans don’t mind that the team’s late start in the draft is due to the fact that Seattle surrendered their first-round pick so that they could sign slugger Nelson Cruz – who had a qualifying offer placed on him by his former team – the Baltimore Orioles – after the 2014 season.
Regardless of who the team selects next week, we won’t really know how their drafted actually turned out for years. Prior to this season, Prospect Insider founder and co-host of The Steve Sandmeyer Show – Jason A. Churchill – illustrated how 20/20 hindsight would have changed the first round of the 2009 draft for the Mariners and every other team. Jason’s article demonstrates how a consensus pick – like Dustin Ackley at number-two overall – may not pan out, while another player from the same school who was selected in the third round – Kyle Seager – can turn out to the team’s best choice.
Leading up to the draft, I’ve discussed the fact that good players – like Seager – can be found in the later rounds of the draft. I’ve also pointed out that a drafted player’s position coming out of college or high school doesn’t necessarily matter because positions can be changed during player development. To accentuate the point that the position of draftees doesn’t always matter, I’ve posted a couple of fun pieces that lists rosters of players who were drafted at one position and eventually made their major league debut at another.
So, with a week to go before draft day, I’ve decided to compile one last group – players drafted as pitchers who debuted as position players. Just like the “All-shortstop squad” and “All-catcher crew” that I previously constructed, the “All-pitcher posse” has several impressive players – including three Hall of Fame players – plus a current major league General Manager who was drafted as an outfielder and has been celebrated in a best-selling book and an Academy Award nominated movie.
As with the other groups, I have a few notes:
1. My selection pool includes every year of the draft, which started in 1965.
2. Players had to debut as a position player to be eligible for consideration. That means a player like Rick Ankiel – who debuted as pitcher and converted to the outfield – isn’t eligible.
3. Drafted position is based on the position listed on the MLB.com draft history page for each amateur draft.
4. I didn’t rule out any position players who were asked to pitch as part of a mop-up scenario, such as a blowout.
As I mentioned earlier, there are three Hall of Famers in the lineup – Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken Jr, and Dave Winfield. Henderson is considered by many as the all-time best lead-off hitter and holds the all-time stolen base record, while Ripken is known as the “Iron Man” for his consecutive games streak. To me, Winfield is the most impressive of an impressive trio. When drafted out of the University of Minnesota by the San Diego Padres, Winfield was a two-sport athlete who was also drafted professionally as a basketball player and a football player despite the fact that he didn’t play collegiate football.
|Repositioned Pitcher Starting Lineup|
|1B||Jack Clark||1973||294||SFG||Gladstone HS (Covina, CA)
|2B||Kelly Johnson||2000||38||ATL||Westwood HS (Austin, TX)|
|SS||Cal Ripken Jr.||1978||48||BAL||Aberdeen HS (MD)
|3B||Ray Knight||1970||231||CIN||Dougherty HS (Albany, GA)
|LF||Rickey Henderson||1976||96||OAK||Technical HS (Oakland, CA)|
|CF||Bake McBride||1970||795||STL||Westminster College (MO)|
|RF||Dave Winfield||1973||4||SDP||University of Minnesota|
|C||Alan Knicely||1974||63||HOU||Turner Ashby HS (Bridgewater, VA)|
|DH||Ryan Klesko||1989||114||ATL||Westminster HS (CA)|
Of the former notable pitchers listed below, Billy Beane is certainly the most notable although his brief major league career is overshadowed by his exploits as the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, which have been publicized in the movie and book of the same title – Moneyball. Other players of note include current MLB Network analyst and younger brother of Cal – Billy Ripken– and Dave Kingman, who was notorious for his monstrous home runs and frequent strike outs.
|Other Notable Former Pitchers|
|OF/GM||Billy Beane||1980||23||NYM||Mt. Carmel HS (Rancho Bernardo, CA)|
|OF/1B||Dave Kingman||1967||29||CAL||Mount Prospect HS (IL)|
|OF/3B/SS||Hubie Brooks||1978||3||NYM||Arizona State University
|1B||Jason Thompson||1975||75||DET||California State University, Northridge
|RF||Brad Hawpe||2000||317||COL||Louisiana State University|
|1B||Mark Trumbo||2004||533||ANA||Villa Park HS (CA)|
|OF||Daryl Boston||1981||7||CWS||Woodward HS (Cincinnati, OH)
|2B||Billy Ripken||1982||286||BAL||Aberdeen HS (MD)|