"1st Overall"; The phrase that all the Fans love and most General Managers dread. For the fans, just uttering the phrase awakens them from their ranting state and sends a smile across their face. For General Managers, it makes the stress acne increase. In most cases, there is never one clear cut talent available for this spot.
General Managers send their scouts across the country to uncover the truths behind mysterious tales of 5 tool players and flamethrowing arms. Occasionally, the search leads to small towns like Gardner-Edgerton where scouts will discover that mythical beasts do exist, or Refugio Texas where high school sophomores blow scouts away with 100 MPH gas and curves that would buckle the knees of even the most polished major league hitters.
But more often than not, the flock to the civilized centers of baseball, colleges. There they find anything from flamethrowers to robots or kids that hit 500 ft homeruns.
There is an old real estate phrase that goes, Location, Location Location. The same applies in baseball except instead of Location, Its about Projection, Projection, Projection. If there is a guy out there that is already Major League ready and and could be the next Justin Verlander and then there is another guy who has all 5 tools, who is incredibly raw but could be the next Mickey Mantle. Who are you going to take? These are the decisions that haunt General Managers and result in multiple sleepless nights.
In the 1987 MLB Draft, the Seattle Mariners held the 1st pick and used it to select a lanky outfielder out of an Ohio high school. That lanky kid would earn the nickname, "The Kid" and would go on to hit 630 career homeruns and proved that lefthanders could be 5 tool players too. Now that draft did have some other talents, Royals Hall of Famer Kevin Appier and future Astros great Craig Biggio. After that, there weren't any more real stars. The fact of the matter is, the Mariners could have selected anyone of the players in that draft. They could have taken Willie Banks or Mike Harvey, two highly touted talents at the time but fell out of favor soon after being drafted. However, not all teams can be lucky.
In the 2006 MLB Draft, the Kansas City Royals selected Luke Hochevar with the 1st overall pick. While the pick seemed good at the time, it quickly became apparent the Royals could have done better. Selected 2 picks later at 3rd Overall, the Tampa Bay Rays selected some kid out of Long Beach State University named Evan Longoria. But that's not the end of it. At 6th and 7th overall Andrew Miller, the top player in the draft, was selected by the Tigers. Then at 7th overall, the Dodgers selected some lefthanded kid named Clayton Kershaw. The list just keeps going, The Freak, Max Scherzer, Tyler Colvin, Kyle Drabek, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Bard and Joba Chamberlain. While Hochevar has turned out to be decent, the Royals could have done better but might as well move on.
The 1st Overall pick is supposed to be the best player in the country. They are supposed to be the best at their job and the hardest worker, they should be, in effect the perfect baseball player.
There is a sports term that fits perfectly to the 1st overall pick.
The higher the pick, the higher the risk.
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