7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

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7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by jleddy » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:36 pm

Image Since we're underway for the 2042 BBA First-Year Player Draft, why not a draft special feature? Let's take a look at the seven greatest draft picks! First, a few caveats: (1) Draft history on StatsPlus goes back only to 1995, so we'll basically be going back just thru the modern era; (2) Sure, the greatest players ever — regardless of their draft selection — are therefore probably the greatest picks but we'll be looking at more "value"; (3) To my knowledge, there have been some wacky un-drafted players that have panned out in one way or another, but without an easy way to access that, we'll bypass those interest players and only focus on drafted-and-signed guys.

Without further ado...

BBA'S GREATEST DRAFT PICKS

#7 - ROARK DEMPSEY - 1998, R14 (#362)
TEAM: Las Vegas Hustlers
WAR: 33.6
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Three-time All-Star; seven-time Zimmer Award (C) winner
Dempsey, out of Toronto, finished his career with the seventh-highest overall WAR in the 1998 Draft class and fourth-highest batter. The '98 Draft featured three catchers who were first-round selections, of which only one reached the majors (Daniel Syratt). Dempsey went on to become of the the greatest defensive backstops in league history, playing most of his career with Las Vegas and Vancouver. Las Vegas voted Dempsey into the Hustler Hall of Fame after his retirement and he even coached in the organization's minors for a brief period.


#6 - KEVIN MORALES - 2029, R25 (#708)
TEAM: Louisville Sluggers
WAR: 34.8 (active)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2034 Nebraska Award winner; one-time Landis Champion
One of the most incredible tales of bumping in Brewster lore, Morales was a TWENTY-FIFTH round pick in 2029 as a 20 Potential prep arm with just 6/4/4 ratings from scouts. There's not even twenty-five rounds in the draft anymore! Flash forward two years and scouts have the righty from Missouri tagged with a 70 Potential (7/6/8). From an unknown to the #26-overall prospect in 2032, Morales has had a great career for Louisville and Wichita. Now in his first year in Atlantic City, Morales will work on adding more career WAR, which ranks third-overall in the '29 Draft class behind only Arthur Dempster (#1 overall pick) and Feliciano Rafael (3rd-round selection).


#5 - MARIO GONZÁLEZ - 2016, R13 (#341)
TEAM: Las Vegas Hustlers
WAR: 51.4
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: One-time All-Star; one-time Zimmer Award winner; two-time Landis Champion
The 2016 Draft was deep, led by two Hall of Famers in Leon Sandcastle (#4 overall) and Hunter Eisenhower (4th-round selection), plus five more players who put up over 50-career WAR, including González. For six different franchises over the course of eighteen solid seasons, González's bumping and lumping resembles that of a Bell curve. Drafted as a 30 Potential starter, he would eventually reach a 70-rating in eleven years since being drafted, only to see it all fall apart seven years later. Still, he was productive and another feather in the cap for Recte's drafting acumen.


#4 - DAVE MARTIN - 2026, R12 (#294)
TEAM: New Orleans Crawdads
WAR: 52.3 (active)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Four-time All-Star; two-time Landis Champion; two-time 20-game winner
Martin leads the entire 2026 Draft class in career WAR, including over first-round pitchers like Júlio Alicea, Scotty Pendleton, Freddy Delgado and Cris Ríos. Unfortunately for New Orleans, Rockville has enjoyed Martin's best seasons since coming over in a 2036 trade.


#3 - STEVE FAULKNER - 1995, R20 (#470)
TEAM: Omaha Barnstormers
WAR: 43.3
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Two-time All-Star; one-time Zimmer Award (RF) winner
It's easy to overlook a lot of players when it comes to the 1995 Draft, hands down the greatest draft in sports history*. Featuring seven - yes, SEVEN - Hall of Famers in Charles Puckett, Robbie Sargent, Roman Empire, Duane Whitley, Davey Acheson, Daniel Labrie and Donald Noboru, Faulkner is "only" 11th-best in career WAR from that class. Just eleven picks away from being undrafted entirely, Faulkner was a well-rounded talent, averaging nearly 30 HR and 20 SB per season with a sure-glove in the outfield.

*StatsPlus doesn't have the 1996 Draft and there are several duplicate picks under 1995, so it may be a merge between the two years, but it's still an incredible group of talent even over two drafts.


#2 - BARTOLO MELÉNDEZ - 2007, R13 (#326)
TEAM: Hawaii Tropics
WAR: 60.8
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: BBA Hall of Fame; eight-time All-Star; one-time Puckett Award (1B) winner; Gillstrom Award winner; one-time Landis Champion
Maybe it's 'lucky number thirteen' when you snag a future Hall of Famer in the 13th round? Meléndez benefited from some bumping to put together a long career as a .300 hitter with over 400 home runs for mostly New Orleans, then finished his playing days for Calgary, Las Vegas, Huntsville and Havana. The most incredible tidbit was Hawaii (and the rest of the league, despite what some may say) gave up on Meléndez, releasing him ten days after being draft! The slugging first baseman spent a few seasons in the EBA before New Orleans signed him to a minor league deal and within three minor league seasons, Meléndez was the 16th overall prospect in the game. Moral of the story? Sometimes it's better to be lucky (and patient) than it is to be good.


#1 - HUNTER EISENHOWER - 2016, R4 (#108)
TEAM: Las Vegas Hustlers
WAR: 76.1
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: BBA Hall of Fame; six-time All-Star; seven-time Puckett Award (3B) winner; two-time Landis Champion
Another Hall of Famer (Meléndez) and 2016 draftee (González) on the list, "Boogie" was the best player at the hot corner for a decade despite being drafted behind a hundred other players. The third player on this short feature who was drafted by Recte, it goes to show that the Hustlers' long reign as the most dominant franchise in league history is often buoyed by less-than-obvious picks like Eisenhower. Even though he was a 65 Potential, the third baseman fell to the 4th-round, only to bump to 80 Potential in three years, thanks to improved contact and defense. Eisenhower rode his improvements to play seventeen seasons as a solid offensive threat and plus-defender. Maybe one of us will land a future Hall of Famer in the upcoming 4th round this year, who knows?


HONORABLE MENTION:
Tobias Kelly - 7th Round (#171) in 1997 Draft, 55.8 WAR
Chuck Bowers -14th Round (#365) in 2000 Draft, 45.8 WAR
Mark Simpson - 3rd Round (#81) in 2028 Draft, 65.8 WAR (active)
Aaron Stone - 8th Round (#239) in 2030 Draft, 33.8 WAR (active)
Carlos Valle - 4th Round (#123) in 2031 Draft, 36.1 WAR (active)
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by RonCo » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:49 pm

Outstanding feature.

I'm still a little peeved at Mario Gonzalez leaving us for Louisville.
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by jleddy » Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:56 pm

RonCo wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:49 pm
Outstanding feature.

I'm still a little peeved at Mario Gonzalez leaving us for Louisville.
Hey, you got plenty out of Stone and Valle...stop complainin'. :)
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by Lane » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:06 am

You're killin' it lately, Joe.
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by HoosierVic » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:58 am

You forgot Lorenzen.

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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by CTBrewCrew » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:33 pm

Wow! Morales is an incredible story....
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by felipe » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:26 pm

No great surprise in Morales

Our scouts saw something in the lad

He just needed the right ‘encouragement’ to bring out his inner greatness

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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by aaronweiner » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:31 pm

Dexter Sheehan. Look it up.

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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by tylertoo » Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:30 pm

Very cool.
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by recte44 » Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:40 pm

When I used to have luck in the drafts.
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Re: 7-For-70: BBA's Greatest Draft Picks

Post by JimBob2232 » Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:42 pm

recte44 wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:40 pm
When I used to have luck in the drafts.
This...
Check out sureveymonkey for my trade block (Last updated 12/7/2018)

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