You Are Here > > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for 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. » Sports Reference

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

Overall Number One Picks From H.S.

Posted by Steve Lombardi on November 23, 2010

In honor of Mr. Hamilton winning the A.L. MVP Award this season,, here's a list of players to be chosen #1 overall in the draft out of High School.

Year Rnd DT FrRnd RdPck Tm   Pos WAR G Type Drafted Out of
2008 1   FrRnd 1 Rays Tim Beckham (minors) SS     HS Griffin HS (Griffin, GA)
2005 1   FrRnd 1 Diamondbacks Justin Upton SS 4.6 422 HS Great Bridge HS (Chesapeake, VA)
2004 1   FrRnd 1 Padres Matthew Bush (minors) SS     HS Mission Bay HS (San Diego, CA)
2003 1   FrRnd 1 Devil Rays Delmon Young OF -1.8 605 HS Adolfo Camarillo HS (Camarillo, CA)
2001 1   FrRnd 1 Twins Joe Mauer C 33.1 836 HS Cretin HS (St. Paul, MN)
2000 1   FrRnd 1 Marlins Adrian Gonzalez 1B 15.5 858 HS Eastlake HS (Chula Vista, CA)
1999 1   FrRnd 1 Devil Rays Josh Hamilton OF 9.7 468 HS Athens Drive HS (Raleigh, NC)
1993 1   FrRnd 1 Mariners Alex Rodriguez SS 99.0 2303 HS Westminster Christian HS (Miami, FL)
1991 1   FrRnd 1 Yankees Brien Taylor (minors) LHP     HS East Carteret HS (Beaufort, NC)
1990 1   FrRnd 1 Braves Chipper Jones SS 76.9 2261 HS The Bolles School HS (Jacksonville, FL)
1987 1   FrRnd 1 Mariners Ken Griffey OF 79.3 2671 HS Moeller HS (Cincinnati, OH)
1984 1   FrRnd 1 Mets Shawn Abner OF -1.3 392 HS Mechanicsburg Area HS (Mechanicsburg, PA)
1982 1   FrRnd 1 Cubs Shawon Dunston SS 10.0 1814 HS Thomas Jefferson HS (Brooklyn, NY)
1980 1   FrRnd 1 Mets Darryl Strawberry OF 42.9 1583 HS Crenshaw HS (Los Angeles, CA)
1979 1   FrRnd 1 Mariners Al Chambers OF -0.7 57 HS John Harris HS (Harrisburg, PA)
1977 1   FrRnd 1 White Sox Harold Baines 1B 37.0 2830 HS St. Michael's HS (Easton, MD)
1973 1   FrRnd 1 Rangers David Clyde LHP 0.4 1 HS Westchester HS (Houston, TX)
1971 1   FrRnd 1 White Sox Danny Goodwin C -1.4 252 HS Peoria Central HS (Peoria, IL)
1970 1   FrRnd 1 Padres Mike Ivie C 7.2 857 HS Walker HS (Decatur, GA)
1969 1   FrRnd 1 Senators Jeff Burroughs OF 17.2 1689 HS Wilson HS (Long Beach, CA)
1968 1   FrRnd 1 Mets Tim Foli SS 1.2 1696 HS Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks, CA)
1967 1   FrRnd 1 Yankees Ron Blomberg 1B 8.7 461 HS Druid Hills HS (Decatur, GA)
1966 1   FrRnd 1 Mets Steve Chilcott (minors) C     HS Antelope Valley HS (Lancaster, CA)
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/23/2010.


Without looking it up, can you name the players other than Hamilton from this list who have gone on to win a league Most Valuable Player Award?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 at 3:40 pm 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.

37 Responses to “Overall Number One Picks From H.S.”

  1. It's amazing that there's such a large number of HOFers, and also bums, with relatively few average-to-good major leaguers of the Burroughs-Delmon Young variety. Very interesting.

  2. Griffey, A-Rod, Chipper and Burroughs are the other MVPs if I'm not mistaken.

  3. and Mauer. Wow... completely slipped my mind on that one.

  4. And Joe Mauer, yes?

  5. there is a much higher percentage of HOF types and solid starter/all-star types than I would have thought.

    I guess pitchers are not a good choice because they are a crapshoot out of high school.

    Oh Brien Taylor...he must hope everyday that he would have ended up like David Clyde at best. I can't even imagine otherwise. If he continued to pitch and was good, he could have ended up right in the middle of the 1996-2001 Yanks teams. That would be a good "What if?" for a Yankee fan site (i.e. if they go out and get guys like Gooden and/or El Duque, how would it have affected Pettitte's development, things like that).

  6. Very minor error in the table. David Clyde pitched in 84 ML games. He only batted in 1. I guess the table was made of batting numbers only. Since there was only one other HS pitcher picked #1, and he didn't make the majors, no big deal.

  7. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    And the only city represented twice on this list is . . . Decatur, Georgia??!!

  8. This is a depressing list for Mets fans...Steve Chilcott, Tim Foli, Shawn Abner.

  9. [...] Overall Number One Picks From H.S. » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive [...]

  10. Wow, Brien Taylor has to have some of the worst single A stats ever. A career WHIP of almost 3!

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    For those who don't know, Brien Taylor got hurt in the off-season after '93. His arm was never the same. Prior to that he was looking like a good prospect, albeit with control issues. All the terrible stats he put up in A-ball after that are not the "real" Taylor.

  12. If I remember correctly, at the time, Mauer was not the Twins preference, but they felt that prior was unsignable for them so they "settled" on Mauer. If that is indeed the case, that ended quite nicely...

  13. "It's amazing that there's such a large number of HOFers.."

    Since when is zero a large number?

  14. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I think everyone else assumed the Twins didn't take Prior for that reason, but the Twins always said they wanted Mauer regardless.

  15. BSK @12

    I have the same recollection regarding the Twins' decision to draft Mauer instead of Prior. If you assume that Prior was not automatically destined to have the injury problems that he later developed, it is possible that his decision to demand a large signing bonus turned out to be pennywise, pound foolish in the sense that had he stayed healthy he would have had far greater longterm earning prospects. Of course, speculating that he would have stayed healthy had the Twins drafted him more properly belongs in one of Andy's "What if....?" columns.

    I would expect the Twins to say that regardless of whether it is true. It makes Mauer feel like he is wanted and not the team's second choice, which was also good for marketing him as the face of the franchise as he was developing as a player. It also makes the organization look smart in retrospect considering the arcs that the two players' careers have taken.

  16. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    No number one overall draft pick (HS or college) has gone on to the Hall of Fame. Griffey will be the first. I guess it shows how important that first pick is. . .

  17. Evan/JT-

    It's also possible that the Twins predicament was exaggerated to support the narrative that struggling teams couldn't compete and that MLB needed a salary cap, etc, etc, etc. I believe I read about it in an SI article. It spoke about how Mauer was a great fit for Minnesota because he was a local kid and had the whole "All-American" vibe going for him, having played QB and all that. But that, ultimately, Prior was the obvious #1 and the Twins would have picked him had money not been an issue. I'd be curious to hear what the true scouting consensus was at the time, if that info is available.

    Were there any other similar stories for other 1st round picks?

  18. That should say "#1 picks".

  19. 11 out of 23 have been All-Stars, including 10 of the last 16.

    Al Chambers ... In 1983, age 22, he was one of the best hitters in the PCL, and young for the league. Called up to Seattle that July and batting cleanup in his MLB debut (???), Chambers hit a 2-run single off Dennis Eckersley in the 1st inning and another in the 2nd, leaving him 1 RBI shy of what was then the debut record (since increased to 6 by Starlin Castro). Chambers had another RBI chance in the 4th, but flied out. In his first 7 games, he hit .381 with a .480 OBP. But there weren't many good days in his career after that....

  20. Ron Blomberg ... Famous as the first-ever Designated Hitter, he compiled a 140 OPS+ in his injury-shortened career -- the highest of any player with between 1,000 and 3,000 at-bats. Of course, that was helped by being platooned, since he couldn't hit a lefty to save his life.

  21. Danny Goodwin ... Listed above as going #1 overall with the White Sox, but he didn't sign with them. He went to college, and 4 years later, was drafted #1 overall again, by the Angels. Later traded to Minnesota for Disco Dan Ford, who helped California win their first division title with a 100-run, 101-RBI season. As for Goodwin (a catcher), 3 of his top 4 Similarity Scores are pitchers, which pretty much tells you how his career went.

  22. Shawon Dunston had a WAR of 10.0 spanning an 18-year career involving just over 1800 games (he only had a few handful of seasons early on where he played nearly every day). He only had a WAR of 1.0 or greater 8 times and never higher than 2.6.

    Is there some sort of "record" for longest career with the fewest WAR? Maybe as a proportion of games played or PAs with a minimum GPs of 1500 or something? Dunston averaged .00555... WAR/G. ARod, on the other hand averaged .042.

    Truly amazing that he carved out a career that long while offering next to nothing at any given point.

  23. @13 Chuck,

    Obviously he was talking about Hall of Fame type guys. Griffey, A-Rod, Chipper (automatic HOF) and also Mauer.

  24. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I'd be curious to hear what the true scouting consensus was at the time, if that info is available.

    I'm sure there were some scouts who liked Mauer more, and perhaps they did work for the Twins (who would have the chance to see the local player more than anyone else). But the consensus was definitely in favor of Prior, calling him the best college pitcher since Seaver or stuff along those lines.

    Were there any other similar stories for other 1st round picks?

    "I'm Matt F---ing Bush!" was definitely a signability pick by the Padres in '04. That's worked out swimmingly. I don't think there was a consensus top guy in that draft, though #2 Verlander would have been a fine #1 pick. Actually, scrolling down, I think Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew were considered the top guys, and I guess they fell because of their demands.

    I don't remember Bryan Bullington in '02 being picked because he was an easier sign, but I don't think anyone outside Pittsburgh felt he was a great choice. There may not have been a consensus top guy in that draft though.

  25. Re #22, just look at Tim Foli compared to Dunston on this very list and you'll see that Dunston was far from terrible.

  26. Jiffy-

    Oi, nice catch!

  27. BSK, Not a #1 pick, but if you are looking for the worst player with a long career, you can't do much "better" than Alfredo Griffin. Over 1900 games and 7300 PA of negative WAR. (Fangraphs has his WAR as slightly positive.) Fangraphs also has Foli as better than Dunston, much better defense and more of his career at SS.

  28. From the list above Delmon Young already has over 600 games and nearly 2500 PAs with a negative WAR. That said he was positive this year so maybe he's turning it around. And still only 24!

  29. Johnny Twisto Says:

    WAR hates _elmon's defense, which slices away almost all his value. I'm not sure it's wrong. I read Twins fans railing about his performance in the outfield. And just from watching him during the postseason, his range looked awful. He's not a Kevin Reimer-esque butcher, so one might think he's doing ok. But I felt like there were 3 or 4 balls hit in his direction during those 3 games which Brett Gardner would have caught, and Young let drop 10 feet in front of him. Nothing egregious, but those add up.

  30. Kds-

    Certainly doesn't have to be a #1 pick. I just started with Dunston because his numbers jumped out at me. Amazing that guys can have such long careers with such little value.

  31. Penrod Barker Says:

    Dunston was fun to watch. Stats show he had great range for a SS which could have led to more errors, making his fielding WAR -10. Probably a lot of throwing errors with that cannon of an arm too. His entertainment value above a replacement player is about 77.72 over his career.

  32. PB-

    Holy crap! I didn't even know Dunston played SS. All I saw was his OF career. I missed that when looking at his player page.

  33. When I call up Justin Upton's page, I see his career WAR as 8.4 not 4.6. Am I misreading it?

  34. In 1966, the first round was mostly weak, but the #2 pick was Reggie Jackson (A's).

  35. It amuses me that the Yankees pick, and of the one Mets picks, ever even made the majors.

  36. one* of the Mets

  37. I've been told by a friend that Clickbank tries to make it very difficult to receive a commission by way of compelling you to supply loads of unique packages from unique bank cards and also Paypal. I'd really like to sign up for Clickbank except I am worried about it. Do you know if it is the case?