Draft History of the Red Sox

In the spirit of the 2005 MLB Draft (Tuesday and Wednesday) let’s look back on the draft history of the Red Sox all the way back to 1984. No, not because that’s the title of the excellent novel by George Orwell, but because that is when Lou Gorman’s GM reign began. Dan Duquette’s began in 1994, and Epstein in 2003.
1984-1993 Lou Gorman
1993 Trot Nixon, of = We all know who Trot Nixon is, and how valuable he is to the Red Sox … and also the amazing season he is currently putting up with a line of .306/.405/.497.
1992 NONE —
1991 Aaron Sele, rhp = Sele spent five years with the Red Sox and only two full ones. With massive promise in 1993 and 1994, he departed in 1997 after back to back 5.00+ seasons. Sele has since been with the Rangers, Mariners, Angels, and now is currently with the Mariners again. He has been nothing more than a 5th starter, but hey – that’s a boon to Gorman because he got someone to the majors, in his 13th year, who is still getting rotation spots.
1990 NONE —
1989 Greg Blosser, of = Blosser was someone before his time, someone who had OBP as his main skills. As it is, he only had 39 AB in the major leagues. Blosser currently would be an attractive option as a fourth outfielder (or even with more development time than given, a starter) but he flamed out as per the era he was drafted in.
1989 Mo Vaughn, 1b = The right move, as Vaughn spent seven and a half years with the Red Sox until leaving as a free agent to sign with the Angels. He didn’t know it then, but that was the end of his career. He steadily declined four straight years before finally retiring after 2003. But this is how you want first-round picks to turn out – as MVPs, as he recieved one in 1995. (Psst – anyone else thing Vaughn could possibly have used steroids?)
1989 Kevin Morton, lhp = Morton had a 4.59 ERA with a 6-5 record for the Red Sox at age 22 in 1991. He was never heard from again. I have no idea why, I googled for the answer but got nothing. Since he threw a perfect game for AAA in 1990, you have to think something unusual happened. Good promise, marred by whatever happened.
1988 Tom Fischer, lhp – Since he’s not good enough to be linked by the Baseball Cube … flameout!
1987 Reggie Harris, rhp = Harris bounced around the majors, being sent from BOS to OAK to SEA to KC back to BOS where he appeared in the major leagues for 4.1 IP in 1996 to PHI to HOU to MIL to Newark of the Independent League and then went back to Houston for 2004. Who knows where he is now. He had six years and 121 IP in the major leagues.
1986 Greg McMurtry, of = Not good enough for TBC? Flameout!
1985 Dan Gabriele, rhp = Flameout!
1984 John Marzano, c = Marzano remained a Red Sox until 1992, acting as a yo-yo between the Sox and AAA club. He went on to play in the bigs consistently from 1995-1998. Nothing more than a backup catcher, but consider there are ~60 catchers in the major leagues every year, ~5 who are new, and Marzano reached a pinnacle millions of other catchers never have nor never will.
PROGNOSIS: Did average to below average until 1989 when he started cranking out the draft picks. Out of the twelve 1sts (ten actually picked), he had three flameouts, but he created seven major leaguers, one MVP, one rotation stalwart, and one good enough to still with the Red Sox (and be valuable to them). I would say Lou did pretty well as a general manager in this area.
1994-2002 Dan Duquette
2001 NONE — = Thanks, Manny Ramirez. We appreciate it.
2000 Phillip Dumatrait, lhp = Traded for Scott Williamson, Dumatrait is hurling for a 2.93 ERA for the AA Reds affiliate. Considering he is a lefty and is 24, he’ll break into the majors eventually. A draft pick that actually panned out.
1999 Rick Asadoorian, of = Asadoorian, a local boy who came out of the town 20 minutes from me, he was traded to Saint Louis for Dustin Hermanson (remember him!? slipped on a wet mound starting his first game in a game called due to rain immediately thereafter, then departed as a free agent and is now the White Sox closer) he has since moved on to Texas and needs a prayer to make the major leagues. Not a terrible draft pick at the time, but he just didn’t pan out.
1998 Jeffrey Everett, ss = Flameout! [EDIT: Ah, the trials and tribulations of names. Jeffrey’s middle name is Adam, who is the starting shortstop for the Houston Astros currently. We traded him for Carl Everett.] 1997 John Curtice, lhp = Ah yes… I remember the feared duo of Curtis and Garrett, a force to be reckoned with in Fenway for years to come! Curtis is such a flameout he’s not even on TBC, but I remember him fondly. He was last seen in the Cincinatti system.
1996 Josh Garrett, rhp = Again, another flameout. He’d be 27 right now.
1996 Chris Reitsma, rhp = Finally, a major leaguer. Currently the favorite for saves in the Atlanta bullpen, Reitsma, who was traded to the Reds (what is it with us and the Reds?) and has become a very good reliever.
1995 Andy Yount, rhp = Odd. MLB lists him drafted as a RHP, but the Baseball Cube says he’s a hitter. Who cares, either way he never got out of Rookie-A and is out of baseball.
1995 Corey Jenkins, of = Flameout.
1994 Nomar Garciaparra, ss = Who? Kidding, kidding.
PROGNOSIS: Ten first round picks, three flameouts, two nothings, one potential something, two solid players, and one star. No wonder we won nothing with Dan at the helm. If you look at the team constructed as it is today or even in the 2004 World Series, it’s truly amazing to see how many holes we had to fill that didn’t come through our minor league system. Read: 23. Trot Nixon and Kevin Youkilis (drafted in 2001, by the Duke) were the only homebred Sox players. Lou Gorman was the only one whose first round picks turned out to be something. Duke only had two that turned out to be something. Reitsma is a reliever anyone can find anywhere, and the only true star he drafted was of course, Nomar, who had to be traded to get a World Series. Credit does go to Duquette for finding Nomar, but from 1995 on, he was horrendous although he did right himself out slightly in 1998.
2002 Mike Port
2002 NONE — (2nd Round Jon Lester)
PROGNOSIS: N/A, no first round pick. However, his second round pick was a beauty. Lester could be a top-of-the-rotation starter for us for years to come. And he’s a lefty!
2003-? Theo Epstein
2004 NONE — (2nd Round Dustin Pedroia)
2003 David Murphy, of
PROGNOSIS: N/A. I know, he drafted flameout David Murphy, but consider that Peter Gammons gives us the nugget that he wanted Conor Jackson but no, this idiot scout (no longer with the Red Sox…) said to take Murphy. Alas, you have to give it a strike against Theo to agree. Murphy could still have a career as a reserve outfielder, but that’s pretty much it. Pedroia has been an excellent pick and could see Boston next year as our starting second baseman.
That’s it for the first-round picks of the Red Sox back to 1984. One thing I’ve noticed as this has progressed is that the Port/Epstein era has shown exceptional judging of prospects, even beyond the the first round, as even their second rounders have been very strong. With the sheer number of picks the Red Sox have this year (six) in the first two rounds, I have to be very excited about the strength of our minor league system. If Theo is Theo, we will have a powerhouse of the minor leagues that can help us for years to come. But I am also apprehensive, because he could fail, and these are six future MVP/Cy Young candidates that the Red Sox could have had. I won’t say it’s vital to our success to have six excellent picks because it wasn’t to win the World Series, but if Theo wants to lower payroll, create a great minor league system, and have more homebred talent, as he and we all want, then this year is a very important, and watershed, year in Red Sox history. Don’t miss it live online at 12:30 on Tuesday (you can watch the feed or follow online).
Just for fun, here are the other picks back to 1965. I’m appalled by the number I can recognize as having turned into good major league players- only four to six ever really became good enough major leagues to be recognizable by me. People attribute the Sox’s World Series drought to either the Curse, just plain bad teams, or bad managers, bad GMs, bad ownership. How about bad draft classes?
1983 Roger Clemens, rhp
1982 Sam Horn, 1b
1982 Rob Parkins, rhp
1982 Jeff Ledbetter, 1b-of
1981 Steve Lyons, ss-of
1981 Kevin Burrell, c
1980 NONE —
1979 NONE —
1978 NONE —
1977 Andrew Madden, rhp
1976 Bruce Hurst, lhp
1975 Otis Foster, 1b
1974 Edward Ford, ss
1973 Ted Cox, ss
1972 Joel Bishop, ss
1971 Jim Rice, of
1970 Jimmy Hacker, 3b
1969 Noel Jenke, of
1968 Thomas Maggard, c-of
1967 Mike Garman, rhp
1966 Ken Brett, lhp-of
1965 Billy Conigliaro, of

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