First Round Busts: The Twins Struck Out Three Consecutive Years
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsMinnesota had a decent run of first round picks in the early 1990s. Torii Hunter, Todd Walker, Mark Redman and Michael Cuddyer were all drafted in consecutive years leading into the three picks discussed below. All those players would make it to the big leagues and there are multiple All-Stars on the list. However, Minnesota’s luck ran out from there.
Ryan Mills (1998, 6th overall)
Ryan Mills had been a 13th round pick out of high school by the Yankees, but he opted to head to Arizona State and he greatly improved his draft stock. He played every professional inning with the Twins organization, but he failed to get out of Triple-A. He was the only top-10 pick that year not to make the big leagues. Other players taken later in the first round included Carlos Pena (25.5 WAR), Jeff Weaver (15.2 WAR), CC Sabathia (62.5 WAR) and Aaron Rowand (20.9 WAR).
BJ Garbe (1999, 5th overall)
One year after the Twins took Mills, BJ Garbe was the team’s first round pick and the team missed out for the second year in a row. Josh Hamilton and Josh Beckett were the first two players off the board, but some other well-known big leaguers were taken later in the first round. The Twins missed out on Barry Zito (31.9 WAR), Ben Sheets (23.2 WAR), Alex Rios (27.3 WAR) and Brian Roberts (29.5 WAR). Garbe played for three different organizations and never made it past Double-A. By the age of 25, he’d be out of baseball.
Adam Johnson (2000, 2nd overall)
Adam Johnson might be the biggest swing and a miss in team history. Minnesota saw the Marlins take Adrian Gonzalez with the first overall pick before they were on the clock. There was plenty of other strong talent left on the board including Rocco Baldelli (10.2 WAR), Chase Utley (64.4 WAR) and Adam Wainwright (40.5 WAR). Johnson would make his big league debut in 2001, just one year after being drafted. He would only make nine appearances with the Twins and he allowed 30 earned runs in 26.1 innings. Johnson was out of affiliated baseball at age-26 and his professional career was over before he turned 30.
Minnesota’s first round ineptitude improved after the Johnson debacle. Joe Mauer was selected first overall in 2001, Denard Span was taken in 2002, Trevor Plouffe and Glen Perkins were taken in 2004, and Matt Garza was taken in 2005. While these picks all worked out well, one must wonder how the future of the franchise would have changed with different picks from 1998-2000.
Which player was the biggest bust? Which player do you wish the Twins would have drafted instead of these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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