You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all B-R content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing B-R blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Baseball-Reference.com » Sports Reference

For more from Andy and the gang, check out their new site High Heat Stats.

Draft history of catchers in the first round

Posted by Andy on June 9, 2010

With Bryce Harper going #1 to the Nationals in this year's draft, let's take a look at the history of catchers going in the first round. See the very long list after the jump, followed by some notes and discussion.

Year OvPck RdPck Tm WAR G AB HR OPS
2001 1 1 Twins Joe Mauer 33.1 748 2765 74 .887
1975 1 1 Angels Danny Goodwin -1.4 252 636 13 .674
1971 1 1 White Sox Danny Goodwin -1.4 252 636 13 .674
1970 1 1 Padres Mike Ivie 7.2 857 2694 81 .744
1966 1 1 Mets Steve Chilcott (minors)
1995 2 2 Padres Ben Davis 2.9 486 1512 38 .672
1989 2 2 Braves Tyler Houston 0.1 700 1805 63 .735
1973 2 2 Phillies John Stearns 18.6 810 2681 46 .717
2005 3 3 Mariners Jeff Clement -0.3 120 346 12 .650
1999 3 3 Tigers Eric Munson -2.6 361 1056 49 .683
1990 3 3 Phillies Mike Lieberthal 15.3 1212 4218 150 .783
1979 3 3 Blue Jays Jay Schroeder (minors)
1970 3 3 Expos Barry Foote 2.4 687 2127 57 .645
1968 3 3 Astros Martin Cott (minors)
2009 4 4 Pirates Jorge Sanchez (minors)
1970 4 4 Brewers Darrell Porter 40.6 1782 5539 188 .763
1968 4 4 Yankees Thurman Munson 43.4 1423 5344 113 .756
2008 5 5 Giants Buster Posey -0.2 16 50 0 .785
2007 5 5 Orioles Matt Wieters 1.2 147 536 13 .716
1985 5 5 White Sox Kurt Brown (minors)
1974 5 5 Braves Dale Murphy 44.2 2180 7960 398 .815
1972 5 5 Expos Bobby Goodman (minors)
1967 5 5 Senators John Jones (minors)
2008 6 6 Marlins Kyle Skipworth (minors)
1984 6 6 Angels Erik Pappas 0.1 104 289 1 .640
1977 6 6 Cardinals Terry Kennedy 21.2 1491 4979 113 .699
1975 6 6 Mets Butch Benton -1.1 51 99 0 .415
1990 7 7 Reds Dan Wilson 13.7 1299 4186 88 .691
1978 7 7 Giants Bob Cummings (minors)
1975 7 7 Indians Rick Cerone 5.7 1329 4069 59 .644
1965 7 7 Indians Ray Fosse 10.9 924 2957 61 .673
1983 8 8 Astros Robbie Wine -0.5 23 41 0 .381
1979 8 8 Astros John Mizerock -0.8 103 231 2 .575
1978 8 8 Brewers Nick Hernandez (minors)
1970 8 8 Royals Rex Goodson (minors)
1969 8 8 Dodgers Terry McDermott -0.2 9 23 0 .330
1983 9 9 Blue Jays Matt Stark -0.8 13 28 0 .421
1967 9 9 Angels Mike Nunn (minors)
2008 10 10 Astros Jason Castro (minors)
1989 10 10 Expos Charles Johnson 22.0 1188 3836 167 .762
1967 10 10 Cardinals Ted Simmons 50.4 2456 8680 248 .785
2004 11 11 Pirates Neil Walker -0.5 29 82 1 .736
1999 11 11 Mariners Ryan Christianson (minors)
1986 12 12 Athletics Scott Hemond 1.5 298 607 12 .621
1980 12 12 Twins Jeff Reed 3.6 1234 3101 61 .695
1969 12 12 Braves Gene Holbert (minors)
2005 13 13 Orioles Brandon Snyder (minors)
1994 13 13 Dodgers Paul Konerko 17.1 1751 6274 343 .847
1989 13 13 Royals Brent Mayne 4.4 1279 3614 38 .680
1984 13 13 Expos Bob Caffrey (minors)
1982 13 13 Phillies John Russell -3.1 448 1087 34 .653
1980 13 13 Phillies Henry Powell (minors)
1978 13 13 Cubs Bill Hayes -0.1 5 9 0 .556
1972 13 13 Mets Richard Bengston (minors)
1965 13 13 Tigers Gene Lamont -0.1 87 159 4 .649
1994 14 14 Mariners Jason Varitek 22.6 1465 4836 182 .781
1984 14 14 Red Sox John Marzano -0.2 301 794 11 .633
1982 14 14 White Sox Ron Karkovice 13.8 939 2597 96 .672
1976 14 14 Indians Tim Glass (minors)
2007 15 15 Reds Devin Mesoraco (minors)
1988 16 16 Athletics Stan Royer -0.2 89 164 4 .650
1985 16 16 Phillies Trey McCall (minors)
1994 17 17 Astros Ramon Castro 3.0 515 1265 56 .722
1983 17 17 Mariners via WhiteSox *Terry Bell 0.0 9 4 0 .333
1965 17 17 White Sox Ken Plesha (minors)
1986 18 18 Tigers Phil Clark 0.6 264 543 17 .743
1975 18 18 Braves Donald Young (minors)
1973 18 18 Dodgers Ted Farr (minors)
1967 18 18 Giants Dave Rader 3.8 846 2405 30 .675
1990 19 19 Giants via Padres *Eric Christopherson (minors)
1979 19 19 White Sox via Orioles *Ricky Seilheimer -0.6 21 52 1 .633
1977 19 19 Orioles Drungo Hazewood -0.1 6 5 0 .000
1976 19 19 Dodgers Mike Scioscia 23.7 1441 4373 68 .700
1987 20 20 Tigers via Phillies *Bill Henderson (minors)
1979 20 20 Reds via Phillies *Dan Lamar (minors)
1970 20 20 Tigers Terry Mappin (minors)
2007 21 21 Blue Jays J.P. Arencibia (minors)
1993 21 21 Twins Jason Varitek 22.6 1465 4836 182 .781
1975 21 21 Athletics Bruce Robinson -0.6 38 101 0 .534
1973 21 21 White Sox Steve Swisher -2.6 509 1414 20 .581
1997 22 22 Orioles Jayson Werth 13.5 674 2159 103 .835
1987 22 22 Astros Craig Biggio 66.2 2850 10876 291 .796
1974 22 22 Athletics Jerry Johnson
2006 23 23 Astros Maxwell Sapp (minors)
1992 23 23 Pirates Jason Kendall 37.1 2022 7387 75 .751
1987 23 23 Rangers via Yankees *Bill Haselman 2.2 589 1606 47 .720
2004 24 24 Athletics via RedSox *Landon Powell 0.3 61 186 8 .732
1991 24 24 Pirates Jon Farrell (minors)
1989 24 24 Mets Alan Zinter -0.5 67 78 3 .548
1980 24 24 Mets via RedSox *John Gibbons 0.1 18 50 1 .676
1979 24 24 Padres via Dodgers *Bob Geren 0.6 307 765 22 .632
1973 24 24 Pirates Steve Nicosia 1.0 358 938 11 .655
1972 24 24 Orioles Ken Thomas (minors)
1970 24 24 Orioles James West (minors)
2006 25 25 Angels via Indians *Hyun Choi Conger (minors)
2000 25 25 Rangers via Mets *Scott Heard (minors)
1987 25 25 Angels John Orton 0.5 156 401 4 .540
1981 25 25 Red Sox via Orioles *Kevin Burrell (minors)
1994 26 26 White Sox Mark Johnson 1.9 332 934 16 .632
1981 26 26 Padres via Yankees *Frank Castro (minors)
1985 27 27 Mariners *Bill McGuire -0.3 23 44 1 .515
2003 28 28 Cardinals Daric Barton 2.3 271 884 20 .763
2000 28 28 Yankees David Parrish (minors)
1992 28 28 Marlins Charles Johnson 22.0 1188 3836 167 .762
2003 30 30 Royals via Braves *Mitch Maier 0.9 212 591 4 .659
1990 30 30 Cardinals *Paul Ellis (minors)
1992 32 32 Dodgers *Ryan Luzinski (minors)
2009 33 33 Mariners *Steven Baron (minors)
2001 33 33 Angels *Jeff Mathis -1.0 275 783 21 .608
1990 33 33 Giants *Marcus Jensen -0.7 145 343 6 .575
2002 35 35 Athletics *Jeremy Brown 0.0 5 10 0 .864
2003 36 36 Braves *Jarrod Saltalamacchia 0.4 240 794 23 .701
2007 37 37 Phillies *Travis d'Arnaud (minors)
2004 37 37 Yankees *Jonathan Poterson (minors)
2009 38 38 White Sox *Joshua Phegley (minors)
1998 40 40 Rockies *Jeff Winchester (minors)
1991 40 40 Astros *Jim Gonzalez (minors)
2007 43 43 Giants *Jackson Williams (minors)
1991 43 43 Red Sox *Scott Hatteberg 8.3 1314 4226 106 .772
2007 48 48 Cubs *Josh Donaldson 10 26 1 .493
1997 50 50 Twins *Matt LeCroy -0.2 476 1388 60 .766
1999 51 51 Padres *Nick Trzesniak (minors)
2007 57 57 Padres *Mitch Canham (minors)
2007 61 61 Diamondbacks *Ed Easley
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/8/2010.

That's a lot of catchers, but also a lot of success. Note that this list counts anybody drafted at the catcher position as a catcher. So that's why we see names like Paul Konerko, who has never played a game at catcher in the big leagues, and Craig Biggio, who played a lot more games at second base than catcher. But the point of this exercise is to see how players drafted as catchers fared in the big leagues, even if their performances ultimately came at different positions.

The list is currently ranked by round taken. This helps you to get a sense of how often the draft choices pan out. If we set a limit of career Wins Above Replacement at 10, there are 20 players on this list who exceeded this target. The list has 124 total draftees, so that's a rate of about 1 out of every 6 catchers drafted in the first round panning out as a quality major leaguer. (Note that I have counted multiple appearances of the same player, such as Jason Varitek, multiple times. This is just a rough calculation!) And that skips over some guys on this list who definitely contributed in the bigs, including Cerone, Hatteberg, Geren, and Rader, as well as youngsters who haven't even made the majors yet.

We've got a few future managers here too: Geren, Gibbons, Lamont, Mizerock, and Russell.

Also a few names stick out as prematurely deceased: Porter, Munson, and Marzano. There might be others.

Best name on the list? Drungo Hazewood.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at 7:12 am and is filed under Draft. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Draft history of catchers in the first round”

  1. Ted Simmons belongs in the Hall of Fame.

  2. No argument from me on that one.

  3. It's all pretty unrelated, but as a Pirates fan, I had to laugh when I sorted by WAR and found John Russell to be dead last (also had to pass the freshly sent-down Jeff Clement in the negatives on the way down). Full disclosure: I actually don't mind the guy as a manager, for what he's had to work with during his tenure here.

  4. That's Drungo Larue Hazewood to you.

  5. I was surprised to see so many success stories among first round catchers. Even so, I suspect that next to high school pitchers it's probably the riskiest pick you can make.

  6. Looking at this list, I am still amazed at the fact that back in '65, Johnny Bench lasted as long as he did -- until Round Two, if memory serves.

  7. And then, as the flipside to this chart, there's good ol' Mike Piazza. Yes, he of the much smaller list of future HOF'ers being drafted in the 62nd round, and even then only as a favor. Heh.

  8. any way to split this list into two lists based on if the majority of major league games were played at the catcher position?

  9. There's no automatic way to do it.

    Of the guys who racked up the WAR, obviously Konerko and Werth have never played catcher, Biggio played it for a while but ended up with a lot more games at 2B plus a bunch in CF, and Hatteberg ended up playing more at 1B than catcher.

  10. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Was B.J. Surhoff drafted as a catcher, a shortstop, or another position? I seem to recall that he was drafted as a shortstop, but he debuted in the majors (less than two years later) as a catcher. Until Joe Mauer established himself, Surhoff was the catcher on my all-time #1 overall picks team.

    And I had totally forgotten that Danny Goodwin was drafted as a catcher, at least the first time, and now it turns out to have been both times.

    I also didn't realize how many times the Phillies drafted a catcher in the first round, although some were before my time. I did think of Mike Lieberthal right away, before I even made the jump to this page. John Stearns was traded away for someone of great value - Tug McGraw - so that was probably a good pick for them.

    I also didn't know that Neil Walker (who has been moved from catcher) was a September call-up last year and has also appeared with the Pirates this year. I remember that he was drafted either just before or just after a pitcher named Thomas Diamond, who went to the Rangers in 2004. I don't think Thomas Diamond (who would be the first "Dia" entry in the Players index not named Diaz) has ever made it to the majors. I had hoped they'd eventually be batterymates on the Red Sox and lead the Fenway crowd in singing "Sweet Caroline".

  11. Surhoff was drafted as a SS (at lease thats how he is listed in the database) , but started catching as soon as he began playing in the minors.

    It should be noted that Bryce Harper was drafted as an outfielder. According to the reports I heard, his bat is too good for the Nationals to wait for him to develop as a catcher.

    However, according to mlb.com( http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2010/draftcaster.jsp )there were plenty of catchers taken in the first round this year. Yasmani Grandal went to Cinci at 12, Kellin Deglan went to Texas at 22 and Justin O'Conner went to Tampa at 31. Additionally, Houston took Michael Kvasnicka as a compensation pick at 33.

  12. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Diamond is the only one of the "DVD" pitching prospects who Texas kept. Edison Volquez and John Danks have found success elsewhere.

    Actually, now I see he is in the Cubs' organization, pitching very well in AAA. How did he get there? I wish B-R included transactions for minor leaguers.

  13. JSE: Actually, that's Durango LaRue Hazewood. (Note the capital R).

    I was in a "keeper" Strat-O-Matic simulation baseball league in the 1980's, and the manager of our Baltimore Orioles loved that name so much, that after the 20th round of the draft (once additional selections no longer cost 'league dollars') he would -- with great flair -- announce, "The Baltimore Orioles, with the 401st* selection of the 1985* draft, select outfielder Durango LaRue HAZEwood." (* Replace numbers as appropriate.) Of course, Hazewood would get cut every year when the roster had to be trimmed to the 40-man limit. But by being drafted, his name would be on the list of eligible players in the following year's draft. This ritual went on for many years, long after Hazewood retired from professionall baseball (at least into the late 1980's or early nineties.)

    A photo of Durango in his post-baseball days can be found on this page. You have to click on the small thembnail image under the main photo. (I tried to get a link directly to the enlargement, but that link fails.)

  14. I'll grant you the capital R, but dude, DRUNGO, NOT DURANGO!