It’s still debatable as to whether or not Roger Clemens will propel the New York Yankees back into respectability – after all, Tyler Clippard couldn’t make it through four innings on Sunday - but the Rocket’s quality start did prove one thing:
While every year a handful of NBA and NFL teams are accused of purposely losing games in order help them land top draft picks, there is no place for tanking in Major League Baseball.
Nope, teams will just buy their way out of jams. Or at least they’ll attempt to.
That’s why ESPN would have been better of airing World Series of Poker reruns than baseball’s First Year Player Draft last week. People are a little more familiar with David Williams and Mike Matasow than David Price and Mike Moustakas (the first two picks).
And it’s not just the regular sports fan finding it hard to recognize any of the first round picks. It’s the scouts too. I kid you not. I recently talked to a scout about his team’s first round pick and all he knew about the kid was that he had a good arm. No position, no projection. The pick wasn’t even a pitcher.
The first pick overall however, was a pitcher. Price was Vanderbilt’s ace and has a promising chance to become the best pitcher to be picked first in the history of the game. Of course, that’s not saying much. Andy Benes (155-139 career record) and Kris Benson are his competition.
Furthermore, the lack of repercussions for poor drafting directly coincides with the public’s lack of attraction to the draft. In most sports, screwing up in the first round means people are losing their jobs. In baseball, it simply means a team better spend more money. Since 1990, the Yankees have had one first round pick produce for them on the major league level: Derek Jeter in 1992. The year before, they selected Brien Taylor first overall and he never reached the big leagues.
The Cardinals, White Sox and Red Sox, the sports last three World Champions have had a combined four of their first round picks on their roster when they won their title.
But hey, who’s counting?
And when it comes to baseball’s draft, who cares?