The path to the MLB is not easy at all for those getting drafted with huge expectations. Some players like Bryce Harper and Alex Rodriguez have shown that prospects can become icons, but that isn’t always the case. NBA and NFL players get instant chances with the highest picks typically playing professionally for their team right away. The difference in the MLB is that the prospects must spend time in the minor leagues before landing a major league roster spot.
We will look at the players that didn’t get to have a great career despite the hype behind them. The players here were drafted quite high out of college with teams expecting them to change their franchise forever. They instead turned into flops that couldn’t make an impact like expected. Find out the tragic side of top prospects in the MLB with ten players that couldn’t live up to their draft status.
10 Matt Bush
The San Diego Padres selected Matt Bush with the first overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft with the hope of him becoming the next face of their franchise. Bush was a hometown boy that played a huge role in the Padres wanting to market him as a rising star moving forward.
San Diego would never see Bush play a single game for them in the majors as his minor league numbers were atrocious. They passed on Justin Verlander to go with Bush and still regret it today. Bush did eventually find his way to the MLB as a mediocre pitcher for the Texas Rangers.
9 Shawn Abner
The New York Mets have had some bad luck with top prospects joining their roster. Shawn Abner was the first overall pick made by the Mets in the 1984 Draft. The Mets drafted Abner out of high school with the hope of him becoming their next superstar.
Abner unfortunately played horrible once getting called up with a .227 batting average. To make matters worse, the Mets missed out on two pitchers that would haunt them for decades from that draft class – Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. Superb hitter Mark McGuire was also passed over for Abner.
8 Dewon Brazelton
The 2001 MLB Draft was remembered for the huge expectations for Joe Mauer and Mark Prior as the top two picks. Dewon Brazelton was the third overall pick behind them as the hope for a future superstar by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The major league career of Brazelton would see him have an atrocious record of 8-25 and a 6.38 ERA. Tampa Bay realized relatively quickly that Brazelton was not going to be a player for them. Brazelton fizzled out of the MLB never making a positive impact.
7 Corey Myers
The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Corey Myers as the fourth overall pick in the 1999 MLB Draft hoping to make him a priority of the new millennium. Despite winning the World Series two years later, Myers did not play any role in that accomplishment.
The minor league career of Myers was so disappointing that he never got called up to the majors. Other players from the draft class like Barry Zito and Ben Sheets made Arizona regret taking such a bust that high in the draft.
6 Josh Booty
Josh Booty was one of the standout two-sport athletes of the 90s that made baseball his priority when entering the 1994 MLB Draft. The Florida Marlins selected Booty with the hope of him helping them find relevance early in their run as an MLB team.
Booty did so lackluster in the MLB that he ended up quitting to try his luck at football again. The .270 batting average was the peak of his stats as he didn’t contribute in many areas at all. Florida missed out on other talented players like Nomar Garciaparra and Paul Konerko in the draft.
5 Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson was the second overall pick in the 2000 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. The pick turned out to be a huge mistake as Johnson could never overpower hitters at the major league level. Minnesota wanted an ace, but he couldn’t even stay in the rotation.
The record of 1-3 with a 10.25 ERA saw the Twins instantly regret the decision to invest in him. Johnson could not break out and turned into a huge bust. Some of the better players Minnesota missed out on in the draft class included Chase Utley and Adam Wainwright.
4 B.J. Wallace
The Montreal Expos made a huge mistake when taking B.J. Wallace with the third overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft. Wallace had a world of potential as a pitcher, but it would never pan out that way for him. The poor run in the minor leagues would never see Wallace even make the major league level.
Montreal passed on Derek Jeter who was selected a few spots later by the New York Yankees. Given how much Jeter helped the Yankees, you have to wonder if the Expos would have found more success in Montreal if they picked Jeter over Wallace here.
3 Matt Anderson
Matt Anderson was the first overall pick of the 1997 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers. The hope was that he would become the future ace of the starting pitching rotation. Anderson did spend seven seasons at the major league level as a reliever, but he could never find long-term success.
The career ERA of 5.19 showed just how much fun hitters had facing him. Anderson did manage to have a positive record of 15-7, but that was clearly due to luck given his weak stats elsewhere. Detroit passed on seven future All-Stars in the draft class to take Anderson first.
2 Brien Taylor
The New York Yankees usually have incredible luck when it comes to finding future superstars. Brien Taylor was one of the rare exceptions when they banked on a player that disappointed them. Scouts viewed Taylor as a future superstar and the Yankees selected him first overall in the 1991 MLB Draft.
Taylor spent seven seasons in the minor leagues and never proved worthy of becoming a full-time member of a major league roster. The Yankees missed out on future superstar Manny Ramirez by going for the pitching with Taylor that never helped them.
1 Bryan Bullington
Bryan Bullington was the first overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2002 MLB Draft with a world of expectations. Pittsburgh was in a terrible state as they badly needed their draft picks to help save them. Bullington turned out to be a bad choice with terrible numbers.
The five seasons in the MLB would see Bullington have a 1-9 record with an even worse ERA at 5.62. Bullington clearly wasn’t good enough for the major leagues. To make matters worse, the Pirates missed out on eight future All-Stars in the draft class that went after Bullington.