After looking at the 1990 class and seeing potential hall of fame players coming out of it, it would be easy to assume that was the norm. However, 1991 was a much weaker draft class on the whole. The biggest story involves the #1 overall selection. Before we get to that, I want to summarize what we saw from the 1990 draft.
1990 1st Round breakdown
High School Players – 16 (6 became ML starters)
College Players – 10 (4 became ML starters)
Potential Hall of Fame players in the draft – 4 (Mussina, C. Jones, Pettitte, Percival)
1. Brien Taylor – LHP (NYY) – Taylor was a very hyped pitcher out of East Carteret High School in North Carolina. He signed for $1.55 million, which was huge at the time. His high school numbers look like this:
29-6 with a 1.25 ERA, striking out 476 hitters in just 239 innings. That is just utterly ridiculous on the whole. Unfortunately for the Yankees, who had a very good draft in 1990, totally drafted a bust with this pick. Taylor missed the entire 1991 season due to contract negotiations stalling out. He had a very promising 1992 and 1993, pitching in A and AA respectively. After the season, his career took a turn for the worst as Taylor got in a fight outside of baseball and hurt his shoulder with the severity to need surgery. He never recovered fully enough to regain the zip on his fastball and and became very hittable. He bounced around the Yankee farm getting shelled until being released in 1999. He was out of baseball that year, never to be heard from again.
2. Mike Kelly – OF (ATL / Stats) Drafted out of Arizona State University, a school that has produced MLB names like Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, and even Cub favorite Rick Monday, Kelly made it to the major leagues in 1994 with the Braves. In 30 games, he hit a promising .273. Unfortunately, the following year, he would fail to reach even the Mendoza line. That prompted the Braves to cut their losses and deal Kelly to the Reds for a pair of middle relievers in Chad Fox and Ray King. Not a bad deal if you ask me. He would bomb out in Cincy and be traded to the Devil Rays for Dimitri Young, who was actually pick two spots after Kelly
3. David McCarty – OF (MIN / Stats) Drafted out of Stanford University. Other notable people to attend Stanford include: Mike Mussina, Jack McDowell, John Elway, and White Sox GM Kenny Williams. McCarty spent his career as a bench player with seven different teams over 11 seasons.
4. Dimitri Young – 3b / OF (STL / Stats) We get our first meaningful contributor out of this class at number four. Dimitri was picked out of Rio Mesa High School in California. Young has been a starter in the majors since 1997 and was even selected to the All Star game with the Tigers in 2003. He has hit .289 with an on base percentage just a shade under .350 for his career. Baseball Reference compares him to players like Raul Ibanez, Jacque Jones, and Kevin Millar. Not superstars, but above average ballplayers that can help a team win. If only he could field.
5. Kenny Henderson – RHP (MIL) Was drafted and never signed. He went to the University of Miami and entered the 1994 draft and was picked in the 2nd round by the Expos. He declined and returned for his senior year of school. In 1995 he was picked in the 5th round by the Padres. He never made it to the major leagues.
6. John Burke – RHP (HOU / Stats) The second player in the draft to not sign comes at the number six spot out of the University of Florida. Burke re-entered the draft in 1992 and was picked by the Rockies. He played two short seasons in the majors for the Rockies with no success to speak of.
7. Joe Vitiello – OF (KC / Stats) Vitiello attended the University of Alabama, which claims such names as Lance Cormier and Florida Marlin Taylor Tankersley. Vitiello broke into the majors in 1995 and was a bench player for 7 seasons with the Royals, Padres and the Expos. He finished his career with 172 hits and a career average of .248.
8. Joey Hamilton – RHP (SD / Stats) Drafted out Georgia Southern University, which generally has a powerhouse IAA football program, Hamilton showed promise with the Padres, posting three straight double digit win seasons in 1996 to 1998. He was voted to the 1994 Topps Rookie All Star Roster for his performance. Other names on the list included Raul Mondesi, Manny Ramirez, and Javy Lopez. Hamilton would finish the good years of his career in 98 and never win more than 7 from that year on.
9. Mark Smith – OF (BAL / Stats) Drafted out of USC, which has produced baseball names like Mark McGwire, Tom Seaver, Dave Kingman, Jacque Jones, and the golden boy, Mark Prior, Smith bounced around as a bench player for the Orioles, Pirates, Marlins, Expos and Brewers in a short 8 year career. He finished with a career average of .243.
10. Tyler Green – RHP (PHI / Stats) The son of ex-pro football player Charles Green, Tyler was drafted in the first round of the 1991 draft, 10th overall out of Whichita State University (gotta love their logo). He never quite lived up to his first round status, partly because he was hampered by shoulder and elbow problems the first three years of his pro career. Overall, he had a career record of 18-25 with an ERA well over 5.
Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the picks in round one as well as other notable selections from the 1991 draft.