The Baseball Draft: The Coulda’ Been Cubs
Submitted by Rob G. on Fri, 06/03/2005 - 2:13am
Part 1 Part 2 Trivia Question: Name two current NFL players who were once drafted by the Cubs? I'll end this look back at the Cubs drafts through the years by looking at some of the players the Cubs had a chance at obtaining or gave up too early on. This is all for fun and there are no fingers being pointed here. Just a frivolous look at who could have been Cubbies if the things broke the right way. In Part I, I introduced the all-time greatest drafted Cubs, a list of players drafted by the Cubs and their contributions as Cubs. Here's that list again to spur your memory. Position Played/Round Taken/Career Cubbie Win Shares 1. Mark Grace (1b/24/269) 2. Rick Reuschel (P/3/155) 3. Shawon Dunston (SS/1/112) 4. Lee Smith (P/2/104) 5. Greg Maddux (P/2/102) 6. Ken Holtzman (P/4/75) 7. Kerry Wood (P/1/72) 8. Steve Trachsel (P/8/58) 9. Rick Wilkins (C/23/55) 10. Ray Burris (P/17/49) But what if the Cubs never made a move and all the players the Cubs ever drafted and signed played for the Cubs and contributed just as they did with other teams. Here's the best talents ever selected (and signed) by the Cubs: 1. Rafael Palmeiro (OF/1/385) 2. Greg Maddux (P/2/359) 3. Mark Grace (1b/24/294) 4. Joe Carter (OF/1/240) 5. Rick Reuschel (P/3/240) 6. Lee Smith (P/2/198) 7. Joe Niekro (P/4/189) 8. Oscar Gamble (OF/16/177) 9. Burt Hooten (P/1/164) 10. Ken Holtzman (P/4/157) Signability has always been an issue with the draft and the Cubs have missed out on an assortment of talent for various reasons. THE NEVER SIGNED CUBS P - Jon Lieber (1991/9th) P - Kevin Tapani (1985/9th) P - Mark Langston (1978/15th) P - Ken Forsch (1967/4th) P - Bob Welch (1974/14th) P - Jim Otten (1971/1st) P - Tom House (1965/11th) P - Tom Henke (1980/1st) 1B - Darrell Evans (1965/13th) SS- Khalil Greene (2001/14th) SS - Adam Everett (1995/4th) SS - Eddie Leon (1966/1st) 3B - Jeff Cirillo (1987/37th) 3B - Jeff King (1983/23rd) OF - Ray Lankford (1986/3rd) OF - Terry Francona (1977/2nd) Many of those players were selected out of high school and decided to go to college and there are 2 names missing from the list that you may recognize, although their baseball prowess is unknown. Current NFL-ers Antwaan Randle-El(1997/14th) and Quincy Carter(1996/2nd) were both selected out of high school by the Cubs and in Carter's case even played a few seasons within the organization. Screwing up the draft can happen in many forms, including missing out on superior talent. Here's a list to get your blood boiling, a team of players the Cubs could have drafted but chose someone else. I had to put some restrictions on this list. First, I tried to look no further then 5 spots below where the Cubs picked that year. Anymore then 5 spots and I figured that no matter how well the player may have turned out, it was likely they weren't considered to be that good on draft day, although on a few rare occasions I'll stretch that guideline. I also stuck to the first round of the June regular phase of the draft and restricted it to only one missed pick per year. In other words, the Cubs could only have selected either Billy Wagner or Derrek Lee in 1993 instead of Brooks Kieschnick but not both. The second player at each position is the player the Cubs chose instead. ALL-TIME JUST MISSED TEAM P - Dwight Gooden (1982/5th); Shawon Dunston(1982/1st) P - Jack McDowell(1987/5th); Mike Harkey (1987/4th) P - Roger Clemens (1983/19th); Jackie Davidson (1983/6th) P - Billy Wagner (1993/12th); Brooks Kieschnick(1993/10th) C - Ray Fosse (1965/7th); Rick James (1965/6th) 1B - Mark McGwire (1984/11th); Drew Hall (1984/3rd) 2B - Chuck Knoblauch (1989/25th); Earl Cunningham (1989/8th) SS - Garry Templeton (1974/13th)/Scot Thompson (1974/8th) 3B - Robin Venura (1988/10th)/Ty Griffin (1988/9th) OF - Manny Ramirez(1991/13th); Doug Glanville(1991/12th) OF - Lance Berkman(1997/16th); Jon Garland (1997/10th) OF - Gary Matthews (1968/17th); Ralph Rickey (1968/15th) One pick away from Robin Ventura and Manny Ramirez...nice work Jim Frey, nice work! That '91 draft, Frey could have also picked, Cliff Floyd (13th pick) and Shawn Green (16th pick). Clemens and McGwire were a bit of a stretch, but particularly in the case of Clemens, the Cubs had an opportunity to select a college pitcher over a high school one and paid for it, something many organizations have done time and time again. I truly had to stretch for a second basemen, eventually settling for Knoblauch. Second basemen are RARELY chosen in the first round and many second basemen are originally shortstops who convert, as is the case of Knoblauch. Chase Utley (2000/15th) could have also gotten the nod over Luis Montanez(2000/3rd). There is my look back at the baseball draft through the eyes of the Cubs organization. I hope you enjoyed the pieces and hopefully next year I'll expand on them. Thanks to The Baseball Cube(www.thebaseballcube.com), Baseball Reference(www.baseball-ref.com), Birds in the Belfry(www.birdsinthebelfry.com), Baseball Americaís Draft Almanac, Win Shares by Bill James and Jim Henzler and the 2005 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Look for a preview/review of this years draft next week.