The 1991 Amateur Draft 20 Years Later

Of the 1600 players selected in the 1991 draft, five are still on Major League rosters. Each one of the remaining players was chosen after Brien Taylor, the high school left-hander who went first overall to the Yankees and never appeared in a big league game. The Scott Boras client signed for $1.55MM and showed star promise through two minor league seasons, but he injured his shoulder and remains one of two first overall selections never to appear in the majors.

By the time Taylor tore up his shoulder in a December 1993 fight, others from the draft, including its top player, had made their MLB debuts. Manny Ramirez, the 13th overall selection, hit .170 with a pair of home runs in his 22-game cameo with the Indians in 1993. Over the course of the next 18 seasons, Ramirez added 553 home runs and hit .313/.412/.587 – Hall of Fame numbers that may never be enshrined in Cooperstown because of his two PED suspensions. 

Ramirez’s retirement means Trever Miller (41st overall, Tigers), LaTroy Hawkins (7th round, Twins), Derek Lowe (8th round, Mariners), Mike Cameron (18th round, White Sox) and Jason Isringhausen (44th round, Mets) are the only remaining big leaguers from the ’91 draft. Ron Mahay (18th round, Red Sox) is looking to join them in the majors, though he’ll have to crack the D’Backs’ roster first.

Recent retirees Mike Sweeney (10th round, Royals) and Mark Grudzielanek (11th round, Expos) played last year, so they qualify as near misses. Two other notable big leaguers were selected in '91, only to re-enter the draft and sign later. Instead of signing with the Blue Jays, Ryan Franklin (25th round) postponed his pro debut and didn’t sign until the Mariners selected him the following year. Like Franklin, Nomar Garciaparra (5th round, Brewers) did not sign until later, though he was selected in ’91.

Jon Lieber, Brad Radke, Jason Schmidt, Shawn Green, Cliff Floyd, Aaron Sele and Paul Byrd are among the other successful big leaguers to emerge from the ’91 draft. Last of all, the Astros selected high school right-hander Brian Hudson with the 1600th overall pick. Curiously enough, he finished with precisely the same number of big league appearances as top pick Brien Taylor: zero.

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