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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28 Responses to The 1991 Amateur Draft 20 Years Later Leave a Reply

  1. Yes, very curious that the 1600th overall pick never made it to the majors.

    • 5_tool_MiLB_fool 4 years ago

      i bet he goes on this website and saw his name and his heart completely stopped

    • wkkortas 4 years ago

      If only Boras had represented him, he might have gotten a few mil out of Tom Hicks or some other genius.

  2. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    I long for the days where there was even a remote chance the Yankees would get the first overall pick

    • Guest 4 years ago

      If only there were a level playing field…with a salary cap, you might get your wish

      • JacksTigers 4 years ago

        I’d prefer a salary floor. Alex Rodriguez will make more this year than the entire Kansas City Royals and fairly close to the Pirates. Who’s at fault there?

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          Texas Rangers?

          • JacksTigers 4 years ago

            You do know that he signed a new contract a couple years ago, right?

        • alphabet_soup5 4 years ago

          Royals are making $4.2mil more than A-Rod.

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            Oh c’mon! Don’t ruin the top story for when they meet in the playoffs this year!

      • N1120A 4 years ago

        MLB has a level playing field – If teams have smart management.

  3. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    A+ would read again

  4. chasbar 4 years ago

    Who was the only other No. 1 overall pick, besides Taylor, to never play a game in the majors?

    • chasbar 4 years ago

      I just found the answer to my question on the amazing

      link to

      Strange that, at age 21, he made it to AAA one year, but then played A ball the next. Must have been an injury.

      If you knew this answer, you’re either one helluva baseball whiz / historian or related to Mr. Chilcott.

    • Karsch 4 years ago

      Matt Bush?

      • NatsTown 4 years ago

        haha Thats what san diego gets for drafting a 5’9” guy first

        • jwredsox 4 years ago

          What does height have to do with it? Dustin Pedroia says hi.

      • knucka11 4 years ago

        Steve Chilcott, 1966 by the Mets. Bush will likely make it three, but I don’t think he technically qualifies, yet since he is still pitching in AA for the Rays.

  5. TheHotCorner 4 years ago

    Not sure that theory really works in baseball. Regardless of the quality of weapon you have you are still only allowed the same number on the field at once.

  6. I guess hes saying if you have 11-12 players avg players on the field you can beat a team with 9 above avg players??

  7. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

    It really works. Last I checked, dollars were a form of quantity. That doesn’t mean that you can’t spend them ineffectively, but it’s always better to have that opportunity than to not have that opportunity.

  8. MaineSox 4 years ago

    I think we should test that idea.

  9. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

    The small-dollar clubs can pull together competitive teams from locally-grown talent for short periods of time, if they manage their farm systems extremely well and get lucky, but they often can’t afford to keep their best players when they reach arbitration, let alone free agency. “Level playing field,” my left foot. That’s the kind of excuse the big guy uses when he punches the little guy in the nose.

  10. VadaPinson 4 years ago

    Why was my comment removed regarding depth? Beacuse of the John Belushi line that I quoted from Animal House? Are you kidding me? That’s the best history lesson you can have is watching that movie. :)

  11. Maybe those cities shouldn’t have a team? I am sorry but the Marlins have won two World Series titles and they have no fan base. If that would have been a city with, you know, people who cared about baseball, they would have been able to raise their payroll. As a Phillies fan our payroll has more than doubled the past few years. It is at a really high rate (~166M), but only a few years ago it was under $80M.

    In Philly it started with home grown talent. Once we had the core of Burrell, Utley, Rollins, Howard, Myers, Hamels, (plus some lucky signings of Werth, Victorino), people started going to games and buying merchandise.

    I know all teams don’t have 5.5M potential customers within an hour drive. Still not a reason that they can’t get attendance up enough to increase payroll. I route for the small market teams like KC, Minn, Toronto, Baltimore (who I think has a great chance to dominate in a few years). I get tired of seeing the same teams in the cellar. Teams like Florida and Pittsburgh drive me crazy as they get rid of talent before they have to and seem happy losing.

  12. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 4 years ago

    Translation: Maybe we shouldn’t have baseball as we have known it for the last 100 years, because having baseball as we have known for the last 100 years requires supporting teams in cities not New York or Boston or Philadelphia. A league of four teams should be enough, since those are the only really deserving cities anyway. Oh but maybe we could add in a couple of reliable doormat teams just for the fun of seeing them beat up. Yuck. Do you know the real source of revenue these days? Of course you do. It’s not gate, it’s TV. Big media market, big revenue. That’s the main reason why the teams in the big media markets can spend 5-6 times as much the small market teams. The inequity is ridiculous. But I guess if you’re in one of those big media markets you can ignore the elephant in the room.

  13. jwredsox 4 years ago

    Florida doesn’t have a fanbase because of their stadium. Why would you go to mid afternoon game in 90+ and humid weather? Plus it rains there all the time. No doubt the fans will come out when their new ballpark opens next year.

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