There are absolutely NO sports going on. When that happens you find yourself in a sort of funk.
I have binge-watched things that would have never entered my conscience.
If not for the lack of baseball, I would have no clue who or what Tiger King is. We at Dallas Sports Nation have continued to pick each other up and keep producing story ideas. One suggestion was a list. Any list! Since baseball is my passion and the minor leagues are a huge part of that, I figured why not do a list of the biggest draft bust in Rangers history.
The criteria is simple: The player needs to have been a first-round pick in the draft. That means the player was probably thought of well with other teams.
This also means that the player was taken ahead of other players who turned out much better.
There are a lot of names that could have been considered that I left out because I think they may not be totally at fault.
Here are a couple honorable mentions…
Clyde was the overall #1 pick in 1972. Unlike most highly regarded prospects he was rushed to the major leagues as a publicity stunt for a team with low attendance. Just 18 days after his last high school game he made his major league debut. He won the game and wasn’t all that bad. But he threw out his arm and never made a full recovery. I can’t fully blame Clyde for his demise. When healthy he was very good. It’s a shame that he was rushed to the big leagues over money.
Tate was taken 4th overall in the 2015 draft right after Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, and Brendan Rodgers. If any had slid to number 4 the Rangers would have taken them. Tate was considered the best option at that pick. He has struggled in three organizations. The Rangers included him in a package for Carlos Beltran in 2016. Tate could easily crack the Top 5 when his career is over. But for now, he gets a pass. He still may prove all the scouts right before he retires.
The Rangers have had a lot of busts when it comes to the draft. Those were a couple of honorable mentions.
These are the Top 5.
5) Drew Meyer
Drafted 10th overall in 2002 out of The University Of South Carolina, Meyer starts off our list. Meyer was a South Carolina kid who was heralded from high school until college. He was an All American SS for the Gamecocks. However, he never could produce the same magic as a professional. He played in 5 major league games, hitting .214 in 14 total AB’s.
He ended up playing 8 seasons as a professional before hanging up his cleats. Not to rub it in, but with the 10th pick, the Rangers could have had Cole Hamels or Nick Swisher. Both were taken after Meyer in the first round.
4) Jeff Kunkel
Taken 3rd overall in the 1983 draft, Kunkel was an All American SS out of Rider University. Kunkel ended up with 5.5 years of total service time in the major leagues. He played a total of 11 years in pro baseball.
For the Rangers, he played parts of 8 seasons in the big leagues. He started a total of 337 games and hit .224 with 18 HRs. He never could secure a starting job and be eventually released in 1991. To add insult to injury, Roger Clemens was taken 16 picks later.
3) Jonathan Johnson
Drafted 7th overall in the 1995 draft out of Florida State University. He was an All American at FSU. This one was has a personal tinge with me. I remember a few days after being drafted, Johnson got lit up in the College World Series. I wondered allowed if this was a bad omen.
Johnson played in a total of 42 games over parts on 6 seasons for three different teams. His MLB career numbers were 77.1 innings pitches. He won 2 games and lost 4 with a 6.63 ERA. With the 7th pick in 1995, the Rangers could have had Todd Helton who was taken with the very next pick.
2) Monty Fariss
Taken with the 6th overall pick in 1988, Fariss was the first of a back to back disasters by the Rangers front office. He was an All American SS out of Oklahoma State University. Fariss never lived up to his hype. He played in 86 games over parts of two seasons with the Rangers hitting .223 in 197 AB’s.
After Texas let him go he played 18 games for Florida. His MLB totals were 104 games played, .217 BA, 226 ABs, and 4 HRs. In 1988 with the 6th overall pick, the Rangers could have taken Robin Ventura or Tino Martinez.
1) Donald Harris
Tom Grieve was the GM that took Monty Fariss 6th overall in 1988. If that wasn’t a big enough blunder, he took Texas Tech outfielder Donald Harris 5th overall in 1989. It’s not that he was an overrated draft pick who never lived up to his potential. Harris was drafted as a projectable two-sport athlete. His athletic ability had Rangers scouts salivating at his potential.
The question is whether or not he was the 5th overall best prospect in that year’s draft. Some scratched their heads at whether or not Harris might have been a second or third-round pick. But, the Rangers took him at number 5.
Harris played in a total of 82 big league games and was clearly overmatched. He had 117 AB’s with a .205 average and 2 HR’s over three seasons. Donald Harris was selected two picks before HOF first baseman Frank Thomas. The Rangers could have also had Mo Vaughn or Chuck Knoblauch.
Tom Grieve is one of my favorite people to ever be associated with the Texas Rangers. In fact, he was a very good GM that I respect tremendously. But even I have to admit that in 1988 and 1989 his scouts took him down a dark road. He oversaw the two worst draft picks in Texas Rangers history.
Now it’s back to binge-watching something while I wait for Joey Gallo to play MLB The Show this Sunday.
Featured Image: David Clyde