The Ones That Got Away: National League East


Best positional player: Tony Gwynn Jr. (2000: Round 33, Pick 1,000)

Best pitcher: Scott Downs (1994: Round 12, Pick 342). Of course this isn’t the most famous non-sign in Braves history as far as left-handed pitchers go. Some guy named Randy Johnson was drafted but not signed too, he’s just no longer active.

Honorable mention: Mark Hendrickson (1992, 1994: Rounds 13 and 32, Picks 369 and 902). Yes, they drafted him twice, no he never signed. In fact, he was drafted by a team every year between 1992 and 1997. He was too busy playing basketball to care.


Best positional player: Adam LaRoche (1998, 1999: Rounds 18, 42, Picks 550, 1,254). Like Atlanta with Hendrickson, the Marlins drafted LaRoche twice and failed to sign him either time. Naturally he wound up with Atlanta.

Best pitcher: Cliff Lee (1997: Round 8, Pick 246). Yep, they too tried tasting the Lee fruit and were denied.

Honorable mention: Bob Howry (1993: Round 45, Pick 1,269). Not because Howry is anything special, but because the Marlins’ draft history is pretty boring.

New York

They actually deserve their own list:

Mark Grudzielanek (1989: Round 17, Pick 450)
A.J. Burnett (1995: Round 8, Pick 217)
Aaron Rowand (1995: Round 40, Pick 1,113)
David DeJesus (1997: Round 43, Pick 1,281)
Garrett Atkins (1997: Round 10, Pick 300)
Jeremy Guthrie (1997: Round 15, Pick 450)


Best positional player: J.D. Drew (1997: Round 1, Pick 2). Oh come on, you knew it was coming. Drew didn’t sign and then re-entered the draft to be selected by the Cardinals a year later.

Best pitcher: Joe Saunders (1999: Round 5, Pick 156)

Honorable mention: Brad Ziegler (2003: Round 20, Pick 595). He actually did sign with the Phillies on June 17, 2003. They released him on March 28, 2004.

2010 draft connection: Brandon Workman is projected to go in the first round. The Phils nabbed Workman with their third round pick in 2007 but let him scamper away to the University of Texas. Keith Law’s latest mock draft has him going to the Rays at 31 and his scouting report suggests he could be a number two starter some day.

Best positional player: Russell Martin (2000: Round 35, Pick 1,035). The Expos’ 2000 draft was a thing of beauty and actually produced each of their three representatives here.

Best pitcher: Wes Littleton (2000: Round 7, Pick 195). No, really, there are no other choices.

Honorable mention: Jason Bay (2000: Round 22, Pick 645). This before trading Bay to the New York Mets for Lou Collier in 2002. The Mets would then trade Bay months later for Jason Middlebrook and Steve Reeds.

You know who else the Expos drafted in 2000? Fred Lewis, Jeff Karstens, Grady Sizemore, Shawn Hill, and Cliff Lee. None of them were as good as Justin Wayne though.

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I spent all week writing about the Marlins’ draft history, and now I’m told it’s boring? What am I doing with my life?