The Baseball Exchange

1997 Draft Review by 27yankees
June 9, 2007, 6:32 am
Filed under: MiLB, MLB, Player Draft

Some say that it takes a few years, 3-5 years, to properly evaluate a draft. I personally think you have to take ten years before you can truly make an accurate analysis. 10 years is the time it takes for an 18-year old high school player to reach the majors and reach their prime. So, it seems appropriate to me that on the eve after the ’07 draft, we take a look back at the ’97 draft.


The very first pick, by the Detroit Tigers, was Matt Anderson, a righty arm out of Rice. Anderson has gone down as one of the all time first-pick failures who never had a major league career. In 256 and 2/3 innings from 1998 to 2005, he put up a 5.19 ERA, 157 walks to 224 strikeouts, 249 hits, a 1.582 WHIP, and a 15-7 Win-Loss.

The second pick, by the Phillies, was the famed J.D. Drew bonanza. Drafted out of Florida State, he never signed with the Phillies and even today receives showers of boos whenever he visits Philadelphia. For this pick, I’ll give it to the Phillies as a failure because they never got any compensation for losing Drew. It’s not really their fault, but then again, most draft failures aren’t.

The third pick was a major success – Troy Glaus was drafted out of UCLA by the Angels. He’s had quite the career, and when it’s all said and done we will look back and be surprised because Glaus had a borderline HOF career.

Other successes in this round include

  • Jon Garland (Cubs, out of High School, traded to the White Sox)
  • Vernon Wells (Blue Jays, out of high school)
  • Michael Cuddyer (Twins, out of HS)
  • Lance Berkman (Astros, out of Rice)
  • Adam Kennedy (Cardinals, out of Cal State Northridge)

A borderline player from that round is Jayson Werth (Orioles, out of HS)… He has been showing the power quite a bit this year but has yet to put it together for a major league career. He has flashed the power before, though, so that’s not out of the question.


The verdict is still out on one from the Compensatory round of the ’97 draft – Jack Cust (Diamondbacks, out of HS). It would be easy to say that he hasn’t stuck at the majors and isn’t a success, but on the other hand, he is showing this season that he is a major league hitter, and at every level of the minors he just found unfortunate circumstances. In an alternate reality, he could already have 100+ major league homers.


  • Randy Wolf (Phillies, out of Pepperdine)
  • Scott Linebrink (Giants, out of Southwest Texas State University)
  • Jeff Weaver (White Sox, out of Fresno State University) – believe it or not, he’s a success just because he can provide innings and because he’s lasted at the major league level so long. No credit to the Sox, because he stayed in college and was drafted by the Tigers next year, but I just felt like pointing him out. The Tigers got good value when trading him, so if I do this again next year, Weaver will be a success for the Tigers.
  • Aaron Cook (Rockies, out of Hamilton HS) – Cook is an example of why you have to wait more than five years before reviewing a draft. If you reviewed the draft five years after it happened, in 2002, Cook would have been a borderline player, but certainly not a success. A few years later, and he’s been a very solid pitcher for quite a few years. Success.
  • Chase Utley (Dodgers, out of HS) – Another example of the importance of being patient with high school players. No credit for the Dodgers though, because in reality he was a college pick for the Phillies.

The verdict is still out on Rick Ankiel (Cardinals, out of HS). I want to say that he’s a failure, but the optimistic part of me thinks that he could still be a decent major league hitter as a bench player maybe. No credit.


The verdict is still out on Scott Downs, who has been a decent major league reliever in his mid career revival if nothing else.


  • Eric Byrnes (Astros, out of UCLA) – No success for the Astros because he didn’t sign and the very next year was a eighth round pick by the A’s, and has since become a major league outfielder.
  • Chone Figgins (Rockies, out of HS)
  • Xavier Nady (Cardinals, out of HS) – No success because he went to college and then afterwards became a major leaguer. He’s kind of borderline anyways.


  • Derrick Turnbow (Phillies, out of HS) – Just saw the transaction history on this guy, he was a Rule V pick by the Angels, then was selected off of waivers by the Brewers. Weird.
  • Michael Young (Blue Jays, out of UCSB)
  • Horacio Ramirez (Braves, out of HS)


  • Tim Hudson (A’s, out of Auburn University)


  • Mike Lamb (Rangers, out of Cal State Fullerton)


  • Toby Hall (Devil Rays, out of UNLV)
  • Dustan Mohr (Indians, U of Alabama)


  • Garrett Atkins (Mets, out of HS) – No credit because he went to college and then signed with the Rockies.


  • Jerry Hairston, Jr. (Orioles, out of Southern Illinois U.)


  • Joel Piniero (Mariners, out of Edison College)


  • Ross Gload (Marlins, University of South Florida)


  • Jason Michaels (Cardinals, out of U of Miami) – Again, no credit because he signed with the Phillies the next year


  • Johnny Estrada (Phillies, out of College of the Sequoias)


  • David Eckstein (AKA the shortest player ever, so short that he needs a real ladder to “climb the ladder”) (Red Sox, out of Tulane University


  • Mark Hendrickson (Blue Jays, out of ?) – Did you know he was drafted six times!?!?!? He actually signed this time.
  • Joe Borchard (Orioles, out of HS) – No credit because he went to college, signed with the White Sox, etc. Kind of borderline, but for the twentieth round, everyone pretty much is borderline.


  • J.C. Romero (Twins, out of U of Mobile)


  • Jason Phillips (Mets, out of SDU) – Pretty decent career as a backup. I was kind of surprised.


  • Mike Gonzalez (Pirates, out of San Jacinto College)


  • Nick Punto (Twins, out of Saddleback College) – No credit, believe it or not. Punto actually went back to college, was drafted and signed by the Phillies in ’98, and then traded to the Twins in ’03.


  • Alex Cintron (Diamondbacks, out of HS)


  • Scot Shields (Angels, out of Lincoln Memorial University)


  • Geoff Geary (Brewers, out of U of Oklahoma) – No credit, went to college for another year and then signed with the Phillies in ’98
  • Chris Sampson (Royals, out of Lon Morris College) – Very borderline, but has shown at every level that he can perform and is currently competing for a job with the Astros. Could still put together a major league career. Regardless, no credit for the Royals because he went back to college and signed with the Astros in ’99


  • Orlando Hudson (Blue Jays, out of college) – Wow, a forty-third round success. That must be pretty rare.
  • David DeJesus (Mets, out of HS) – Did not sign, went to college, drafted and signed by the Royals a few years later, and is slowly becoming really good player.


  • Brad Hawpe (Blue Jays, out of HS) – Did not sign, went to college, drafted by Rockies.


  • Chad Qualls (Blue Jays, out of community college) – Did not sign, went to college, etc, etc. The Jays really have had a very good eye for draft talent the past ten or fifteen years, wow!


  • Aaron Heilman (Yankees, out of HS) – Went to college, signed with the Mets, etc, etc.


  • Heath Bell (Devil Rays, out of college) Did not sign, went to college, was an undrafted signee with the Mets… Was drafted with only three teams still picking – the Yankees had just dropped out of the draft and it was between the Rays, Dodgers, and Braves.

A few rounds after 69, the Dodgers and Braves dropped out and the Rays kept on picking, all the way to the 92nd round…

Now, folks, you tell me… Who had the best ’97 draft?



1 Comment so far
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Just a note, TS: Mark Hendrickson was drafted out of Washington State.

Comment by red

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