The Pittsburgh Pirates may have defeated the St. Louis Cardinals last night, but the Seattle Mariners won as well, handing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft to the Buccos.
|Kris Benson's wife. Wow.|
In 1996, the team took Kris Benson. In the Pirates' defense,lots of teams missed in the first round that year. Still, when you have the overall pick fans expect that player to help turn the team around. Instead,Benson was injury plagued and was mediocre at best. For his career, Benson is 70-75 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.393 WHIP. Despite his pitching ineptitude, he did land Anna Benson, so he's not doing too poorly for himself. He's also better than the next guy.
With a new ball park and a promise to bring a winning team to the city, management used the first overall pick in 2002 on Bryan Bullington. Because of multiple major arm surgeries, Bullington didn't make a start for the Pirates until 2007. He lost all three starts that year and didn't play another game with the team. After similar failures in Cleveland and Toronto, Bullington got his first, and only, major league win this season with the Kansas City Royals. Bullington is 1-9 in his career with a 5.62 ERA and 1.58 WHIP.
What makes the Bullington fiasco so much worse is all the talent the Pirates passed up that year. Unlike the 1996 draft class, 2002's first round was filled with future all-stars. I get that hindsight is 20/20, but how the heck could the scouting department think Bullington would help the team more than Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain and B.J. Upton?
|I bet he wishes he was Kris Benson. |
Actually, a lot of guys probably do.
Depending on how his ankle heals up, third baseman Anthony Rendon is the leading candidate to be the first player selected in June. Rendon has torn it up at Rice University the past two seasons. With 26 homers and a .394 average in 2010, he could be a power bat the Pirates need. Right now, Garret Jones is their big bat, and he only has 21 home runs this season. Another positive about Rendon is that he's not a high school project. Unlike 2010 draftees Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, Rendon won't take three to four years to reach the big leagues.
|Rendon looks like he's 14.|
Alvarez and Rendon project to be big time players with big time pop. A corner infield of that duo could definitely assist the Pirates in ending two decades of misery.
Of course, this is the Pirates we're talking about. Even though their recent drafts have shown they will spend big money to sign legit talent, fans have a hard time forgetting years of being cheapskates. Until the Pirates actually ink Rendon (Assuming he remains the top draft prospect), don't expect fans to be too excited about the No. 1 pick.
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