There's a ton of hype surrounding the chosen one Stephen Strasburg. Some scouts think Strasburg can go directly from college to the Washington Nationals starting rotation after they pick him #1 overall in 2009 draft. One scout even said he's better than AJ Burnett right now...craziness! Time will only tell how good, great, bad, or completely worthless Strasburg will be, but time is already telling on some other #1 picks from years past.
2008- Timothy Beckham/SS/Tampa Bay Rays: No MLB experience. Minor league #'s: 1 yr, 48 gm, 35 r, 45 h, 13 dbl, 2 hr, 14 rbi, 6 sb, .246/.309/.350. Beckham didn't exactly impress in his first season as a professional, but he's got plenty of time to live up to his potential. Scouts expect him to be helping the Rays fight for the AL East in about 2 seasons, by which time Jason Bartlett will be due to be displaced from SS. In his brief time in major league camp this spring he went 2-11 (.182).
2007- David Price/P/Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 1 yr, 5 gm, 14 ip, 12 k, 1.93 era, 0.93 whip. This dude got more hype than any young stud in the playoffs since a 19 year old Andruw Jones burst on to the scene with the Atlanta Braves in October of 1996 belting 3 homers with 9 rbi. Price pitched in 5 games last October, compiling 5.2 ip, with 8 k's, and 1.59 era as a 22 year old barely wet behind the ears rookie. There's much debate over whether he's ready for the full-time gig of starting pitcher in the majors or not, so the Rays are sending him to Triple A to get a bit more seasoning. Almost everyone agrees, that once he makes it back to the bigs, he'll be there to stay and be top of the rotation caliber. He's gone 8.1 innings this spring, striking out 10, with a 1.08 era, but has been wild walking 6 batters.
2006- Luke Hochevar/P/Kansas City Royals: 2 yr, 26 gm, 6-13 record, 141.7 ip, 77 k, 5.21 era, 1.45 whip. He's struggled in both the minors and majors, yet people still expect big things from this big righthander (6'5"). As of now he's set to be the Royals #5 starter, but they're still hoping he can become much more than that. He's doing fine so far this spring with a 3.86 era over 16.1 innings, but scouts are still calling for him to develop a strikeout pitch that can put batters away.
2005- Justin Upton/SS/Arizona Diamondbacks: 2 yr, 151 gm, 69 r, 120 h, 27 dbl, 9 trpl, 17 hr, 53 rbi, .242/.334/.435. Justin has since converted from shortstop to play RF for the D-Backs. He's still a bit raw with pitch recognition, and that's why the strikeouts are high (158 k/496 ab) and the batting average low. He's only going to be turning 21 years old in August, so he's essentially a smidge older than a high school student sticking with MLB pitching...not too shabby. Upton is the real deal and pretty soon he'll be posting 25+ homeruns and 25+ stolen bases a season.
2004- Matthew Bush/SS/San Diego Padres: No MLB experience. Minor league #'s: 4 yr, 206 gm, 86 r, 158 h, 22 dbl, 5 trpl, 3 hr, 70 rbi, 15 sb, .219/.292/.276. Bush never made it above A+ ball, and he's been traded to
the Toronto Blue Jays for the infamous PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later). He converted to a pitcher in the 2007 season, but suffered an injury and missed all of the 2008 season. The Padres made this pick for financial reasons, but are now suffering because they didn't pick the best player.
2003- Delmon Young/OF/Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 3 yr, 344 gm, 161 r, 393 h, 75 dbl, 5 trpl, 26 hr, 172 rbi, 26 sb, .292/.326/.413. The kid can hit, he just doesn't walk much, and hasn't developed the power most expect him to yet. He'll be 23 this season and still has room for improvement, especially in terms of attitude. Fans won't care so much about his attitude though once he starts producing like his minor league line of .318/.362/.518.
2002- Bryan Bullington/P/Pittsburgh Pirates: 3 yr, 9 gm, 0-5 record, 33 ip, 20 k, 5.45 era, and 1.46 whip. Bullington has been a colossal failure so far. He's still young enough, 28, so teams are still willing to give him a chance because he has the former #1 status. The Buccos released him last summer, and the Cleveland Indians picked him up, but they've since let him hit the waiver wire too. The Toronto Blue Jays are set to give him a shot this season. Pirates obviously regret making this pick.
2001- Joe Mauer/C/Minnesota Twins: 5 yr, 561 gm, 325 r, 653 h, 128 dbl, 14 trpl, 44 hr, 301 rbi, 30 sb, .317/.399/.457, 2 Silver Sluggers, 2 time all-star, 1 Gold Glove, and 2 time batting champ. The Twinkies did a tremendous job selecting Mauer with the first overall pick in the draft, and he has been repaying them for that decision ever since. He's had offseason kidney surgery that currently has him laid up, but there's no doubt that he'll be returning to the diamond this season and when he does he'll continue to dominate.
2000- Adrian Gonzalez/1B/Florida Marlins: 5 yr, 538 gm, 311 r, 571 h, 126 dbl, 6 trpl, 97 hr, 325 rbi, .282/.349/.494, and 1 all-star selection. For the first part of his career in the minors and majors, he was a disappointment with the Marlins and Texas Rangers. It wasn't until he was dealt to the San Diego Padres in 2006 in a huge swap that included Adam Eaton, Chris Young, Akinori Otsuka, and others that he began to flourish. He's now the main cog in the middle of the Friars lineup.
1999- Josh Hamilton/OF/Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 2 yr, 256 gm, 150 r, 277 h, 52 dbl, 7 trpl, 51 hr, 177 rbi, 12 sb, .300/.370/.538, 1 Silver Slugger, and 1 all-star appearance. Never came to fruition with the Rays, as drugs messed up his life and his career. He finally straightened himself out before the 2007 season in which the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the Rule 5 draft. The Reds traded him to the Texas Rangers after 1 season for promising young pitcher Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera. When healthy he plays a solid defensive outfield and has tons of power to jolt a lineup. He's also an inspirational story to many as he's overcome addiction, became a born-again Christian, and put on an amazing display in last year's homerun derby at Yankee Stadium.
One is the Loneliest Number