The 2018 MLB World Series is officially locked with the Boston Red Sox meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series after a postseason that has proven thus far to be thrilling.
In the American League, the fourth place Oakland Athletics and the third-place New York Yankees played in the wildcard game, with the Yankees advancing to play the first place Boston Red Sox in the opening round of the playoffs. The Red Sox then went on to defeat the Yankees in the first round before playing the Houston Astros, who defeated the Cleveland Indians in the opening round, in the American League championship to earn themselves a spot in the World Series. In the National League, the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies played in the wild-card game with the 91-72 Rockies defeating the 95-68 Chicago Cubs. In the first round of the playoffs, the Rockies were eliminated by the Brewers, who wound up losing to the Dodgers in the National League championship.
With the Dodgers earning their second trip to the World Series in two seasons, many are wondering if this will be a redemption story for the team that gave up the 2017 World Series to the Houston Astros in Game 7. A win for the Dodgers in this series would mark the franchise's first World Series win since 1988. On the other hand, the Boston Red Sox will be making their first World Series appearance since 2013 when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-2 series.
With the anticipation of the 2018 World Series upon us, we're counting down 20 of the biggest MLB busts based on pre-signing stats, signing bonus, and longterm stats.
20 Tyler Matzek - Colorado Rockies
Tyler Matzek played his first professional MLB game in 2014 after being drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Colorado Rockies. Upon making his MLB debut in 2014 after battling through anxiety issues that made him an inconsistent option in the minor leagues, he pitched an average 4.05 ERA over 20 games, giving up 120 hits over 117 innings pitched. In 2015, Matzek got another opportunity to pitch for the Rockies when he played in 5 games, posting a 4.09 ERA. Despite being an average pitcher, the 2015 season was Matzek's final in the MLB.
19 Joe Borchard - Chicago White Sox
Joe Borchard was drafted to the Chicago White Sox in 2000 with the 12th pick of the draft. While he wasn't a number one overall pick, the Chicago White Sox offered him what was at the time the largest rookie MLB signing bonus with $5.3 million. Unfortunately for the White Sox, Borchard just couldn't find his rhythm at the plate, and that, combined with an inability to settle into a position in the field, resulted in the White Sox trading him after just four seasons. After just two seasons with the Marlins, Borchard exited the league and never played professionally again.
18 Zach Lee - Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafted in 2010 as the 28th overall pick, Zach Lee didn't enter into the MLB with the weight of the world on his shoulders. With starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw putting up a 2.79 ERA the previous season over 30 games started, a starting pitcher wasn't the biggest need for the Dodgers. With that being said, the franchise hoped Lee could either replace Kershaw or back him up. Unfortunately for the franchise, it took five seasons for Lee to make it out of the minors. When he did, he pitched in just one game, giving up eleven hits and a home run to finish with an ERA of 13.5. Two seasons later Lee would get one more chance in the MLB, where he played in 3 games, finishing with a dismal ERA of 5.63.
17 Dustin Ackley - Seattle Mariners
Dustin Ackley was selected as the second overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Seattle Mariners. He entered into the minor leagues as a highly touted hitting prospect and quickly lived up to the hyped while playing in the minor leagues. However, things didn't go so well for Ackley in the majors. In his first season, he posted a batting average of .273 and an on-base percentage of .348. Those would prove to be the highest of his professional career, as things declined from season to season. In 2016, his most recent professional appearance, he posted a batting average of .148 to go along with an on-base percentage of .243. Those are not the kind of numbers you want out of a number two overall pick.
16 Kyle Drabek - Philadelphia Phillies
Pitcher Kyle Drabek was drafted as the 18th overall pick of the 2006 draft. The son of Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, you could say that Kyle Drabek entered into the league under a microscope. After four seasons in the minor leagues, the Toronto Blue Jays gave Drabek 30 starts over the next three seasons starting in 2010. During that time he posted an average 5.10 ERA over the three seasons, where he gave up 22 home runs. Following the 2012 season, Drabek continued to get between one to three appearances a season as a relief pitcher on various teams until 2016, when he left the MLB. While Drabek wasn't expected to be the greatest pitcher of all-time, given his massive 6'2, 205-pound frame, everyone expected him to be a threat on the mound.
15 Matt LaPorta - Milwaukee Brewers
Drafted as the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Matt LaPorta showed a lot of promise in the minor leagues. His rookie season he posted a batting average of .304 to go along with an on-base percentage of .369. The following season, LaPorta posted another impressive batting season in the minor leagues with an on-base percentage of .386. While his numbers in the minors were impressive, upon moving up to the Cleveland Indians his numbers declined from year to year, with his batting average starting at .254 and declining to .238 over four seasons. Similarly, his on-base percentage in the majors sunk from a .308 to a .267, and with it, the Indian's hope of a consistent hitter.
14 Lastings Milledge - New York Mets
Lastings Milledge was dealt a bit of an unfair hand in the MLB. During his time in the minor leagues, Milledge posted impressive batting stats that included 68 stolen bases over three seasons. When he entered into the major leagues via the New York Mets in 2006, Milledge posted a bleak .241 batting average to go along with a .310 on-base percentage. While his stats improved the following season, there was quite a bit of tension in the Mets locker room as some players felt as though Milledge over-celebrated during a celebration for his first home run. That, combined with an appearance in a rap music video, was enough for teams to deem Milledge as a liability, and he left the MLB after just two games in 2011.
13 Bubba Starling - Kansas City Royals
Bubba Starling wasn't only a highly touted baseball prospect; he was also recruited to Nebraska to play quarterback after being ranked as the number one baseball prospect in the country. Before his college career got started, however, the Kansas City Royals offered him a truckload of money, $7.5 million to be exact, to join the team. After posting an impressive rookie season in the minors, Starling saw his batting stats drastically drop the following season, which they continued to do for the next five seasons. To date, Starling has yet to play in an MLB game and spent the 2018 season split up among three different teams. For Royals fans, Starling's tale will always be one of "what could have been."
12 Tim Beckham - Tampa Bay Rays
Tim Beckham was selected with the Tampa Bay Rays' first overall pick in the 2008 MLB draft. After five seasons in the minor leagues, he made his MLB debut in 2013. Since then, Beckham's batting has been mediocre, to say the least. During the 2017 season, Beckham played in a career-high 137 games, ending the season with the Baltimore Orioles. He posted a .278 batting percentage to go along with a .328 on-base percentage. It was that same season that Beckham proved himself to be a liability in the field, posting 18 errors in just over 1,000 innings played. While he certainly isn't the worst first overall pick of all-time, his inability to break out of his shell after nearly a decade in the league lands him on our list.
11 Fernando Martinez - New York Mets
At just 16-years-old, Fernando Martinez signed a contract with the New York Mets that included a $1.4 million signing bonus thanks to his natural abilities. Four years later, Martinez made his MLB debut in 2009. That season, he finished with a batting average of .176 and an on-base percentage of .273. Things didn't really improve in Martinez' game until 2012, when he posted a career-best .300 on-base percentage to go along with a career-best, yet still subpar .237 batting average. After playing in the minor leagues until 2015, Martinez retired.
10 Joel Guzman - Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001, Joel Guzman picked up the largest signing bonus in Dodgers history to date with a $2.25 million bonus. Guzman played in the minors until 2006, when he played in 8 games for the Dodgers, posting a .211 batting average. The following season, he appeared in 16 games for the Tampa Bay Rays, where he posted a .243 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage. While his stats weren't necessarily bad, Guzman never played in another MLB game again, with the 2007 season also marking the end of his minor league career.
9 Jeff Clement - Seattle Mariners
Drafted with the third overall pick of the 2005 draft, and accompanied by a $3.4 million signing bonus, Jeff Clement spent two years in the minors before joining the Seattle Mariners MLB roster in 2007, where he posted an impressive .375 batting average and .474 on-base percentage. The following season, Clement appeared in what would be a career-high 66 games, posting a bleak .227 batting average and .295 on-base percentage. Clement's stats would never bounce back as he would primarily play in the minors throughout the rest of his career.
8 Bryan Bullington - Pittsburgh Pirates
Drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in 2002, Bryan Bullington pitched his first MLB game in 2005, where he pitched for just one inning. Two seasons later, Bullington would get another chance in the MLB, as he played in 5 games, giving up 24 hits and three home runs in just 17 innings pitched. Bullington's career high in games played in a season came in 2010 when he pitched 42.2 innings and gave up six home runs to go along with 51 hits. The 2010 season wound up being Bullington's last in the MLB. That made him a poor first overall pick for the Pirates.
7 Greg Reynolds - Colorado Rockies
Drafted as the second overall pick in 2007 with a $3.25 million signing bonus, Greg Reynolds made his MLB debut in 2008, where he pitched 62 innings over the course of 14 games. The Stanford alum posted an absolutely painful ERA of 8.13, however, given that it was his rookie season, his struggles were written off. After spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons in the minor leagues, Reynolds made his return to the Rockies during the 2011 season, posting a 6.19 ERA over 13 games. It would be the last time he pitched for the Rockies. After a brief stint with the Reds in 2013, he left the league.
6 Delmon Young - Tampa Bay Rays
Delmon Young is a member of a small group of MLB players that were drafted out of high school. To make his situation even more unique, he was drafted as the number one overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays. During his minor league career, Young quickly cemented his place as a threat, winning the Minor League Player of the Year award. With that being said, however, Young caught himself in controversy as he had an on-field incident with an umpire. Upon entering the majors, Young was simply average throughout his entire nine-season career. With that being said, controversy continued to follow him as he dealt with off-field issues at some points in his time in the majors.
5 Donavan Tate - San Diego Padres
Donavan Tate was selected as the third overall pick of the 2009 draft by the San Diego Padres. Thanks to his $6.7 million signing bonus, Tate decided to forego a career at North Carolina. Unfortunately, the next couple of years were rough for him as he suffered numerous injuries, including a broken jaw, before then receiving treatment for other off-field issues. After going seven seasons in the minor leagues, he was released in 2016, never playing in a single professional game, and never playing in more than 110 games in a minor league season, thanks to the plethora of injuries he unfortunately sustained.
4 Josh Vitters - Chicago Cubs
Drafted in 2007 as the third overall pick by the Chicago Cubs, Josh Vitters only played in one season with the Cubs. After receiving a $3.25 million signing bonus and playing several average seasons in the minor leagues, Vitters was finally brought up to the Cubs MLB roster in 2012, where he finished his 36 games with an awful batting average of .121 to go along with an on-base percentage of .193. In the field, he committed 4 errors over 197 innings while covering third base. After being relegated to the minors for the following two seasons, Vitters retired from baseball, marking a massive waste of a No. 3 draft pick by the Chicago Cubs.
3 Matt Bush - San Diego Padres
Matt Bush was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the first overall pick of the 2004 draft. It didn't take long for his off-field issues to mount. He didn't play in a single professional game for the Padres, and would have ended his career without a professional game, had the Texas Rangers not given him an opportunity as a pitcher in 2016. Since then, he has pitched for the Rangers, marking a successful return to the mound, as he has posted ERAs under 5.00 every season over the course of the past three seasons. With that being said, however, his success in the major leagues comes 12 seasons after his being drafted.
2 Danny Hultzen - Seattle Mariners
Drafted as the second overall pick in 2011 to the Seattle Mariners, Danny Hultzen was given a whopping $6.35 million signing bonus. Given that, one could assume that the Mariners would have liked Hultzen to pitch at least one major league game. After two seasons in the minor leagues, Hultzen wound up taking a season off, before then attempting a return to the minors in 2015. After playing in just five games over the 2015/16 season, he joined the AAA in 2018, where he has continued his MLB pursuit, six seasons after being drafted at No. 2.
1 Mark Appel - Houston Astros
Drafted as the number one overall pick in 2013 to the Houston Astros with one of the largest signing bonuses in MLB history ($6.35 million), Mark Appel never actually played in an MLB game. In addition, he's never actually picked in more than 25 games in a single season, and has played on more than one team every season but one. In his first season in the minor leagues, he posted an impressive enough 3.79 ERA over 10 games, before then seeing his ERA drop the following season to 6.91 over 19 games pitched. Appel played in his final minor league season in 2017, where he posted an ERA of 5.14 over 19 games, marking the end of an era of regret for the Astros organization as they likely wondered how much better they could have been with a better number one overall pick.