Seven biggest busts in the history of the MLB draft

Bryan Bullington
Even a great collegiate career doesn't guarantee success in the Majors. Photo from Ball State University.

It’s never a guarantee when it comes to drafting a player. That said, there’s a reason why the MLB has numerous amounts of scouts that fly all over the U.S., watching endless amount of baseball and tape. The goal is to find someone that make it to the big leagues and not end up regarded as one of the biggest MLB busts.

It’s easier said than done. There’s going to be someone that looks the part, but can’t do it. And they end up being one of the biggest MLB busts.

Biggest MLB busts

There have been a number of busts in the MLB throughout its history, but these ones stand out the most.

Brien Taylor

Brien Taylor had all the makings of an MLB star. The New York Yankees drafted him first overall in 1991 and signed him to a large $1.2 million contract, which was unheard of before for a draftee coming out of high school. But he lived up to the hype, going 13-7 with 150 Ks in his first two years of minor league ball.

However, his story took a turn for the worse. He dislocated his shoulder in a bar fight in 1993, missing the next season and never could return to form. Taylor retired after the 2000 season. Lesson to learn from this – don’t get in bar fights when your shoulder is worth $1.2 million.

Clint Hartung

Spoiler alert – just because you can play extremely well for military teams, doesn’t mean that translates to the MLB.

That is the case with Clint Hartung. He served in World War II and he played on various military baseball teams, going 25-0 as a pitcher and hitting .567. The New York Giants signed him for $35,000, which was no cheap price at the time. But he never panned out, as a pitcher or a hitter, ending his career with a 5.02 ERA and .238 batting average.


Matt Bush

A high school pitcher drafted No. 1 overall, Matt Bush was drafted by his hometown San Diego Padres in 2004. That same year, he tore a ligament in his pitching elbow and missed the next two seasons.

His off-field antics were worse than his performance on the diamond. The pitcher was released by the Padres in 2009 after drunkenly assaulting two high schoolers. Bush was picked up by the Tampa Bay Rays, but then was involved with a DUI and a hit-and-run. He’s still kicking around today with the Texas Rangers, but he’s regarded as a big-time bust.

Danny Goodwin

You have to be really good to be picked No. 1 overall. You’d think you have to be REALLY good to get picked No. 1 twice. Danny Goodwin was in fact picked No. 1 twice – once out of high school and once when he finished college. He’s the only player to accomplished that and will be the only one ever.

And it looked like Goodwin would be great in the MLB. He hit .313 in the minors in his career. But once he was in the brightest of lights, he didn’t live up to expectations.

He was a career .236 player, never finding his footing in the MLB. One of those guys that’s too good for AAA, but not good enough for the majors. Nothing wrong with that, but that can’t be the case when you’re picked first.

Steve Chilcott

The No. 1 pick of the 1966 draft, Steve Chilcott was a promising lefty catcher. The New York Mets chose him over Reggie Jackson, who was drafted second.

Well the Mets flat out made the wrong decision. Chilcott played seven years in the minor leagues, only one in AAA. The catcher never made it to the MLB, as he was a career .246 hitter in the minors. Little different than how Jackson’s career turned out.

Bryan Bullington

Bryan Bullington was the No. 1 draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002. He had a solid collegiate career at Ball State, and was targeted by the Pirates since he was willing to sign for less.

Well, even for what he signed for probably wasn’t worth it.

He bounced around the MLB for five years before heading to Japan by 2010. Bullington finished his career with a 1-9 record and a 5.62 ERA. While he did end up as an All-Star in Japan’s Nippon Professional League, but he was far from an All-Star in the MLB.

David Clyde

David Clyde had the potential to be an MLB star pitcher. He was drafted first overall in 1973 right out of high school. You would think that he would have been given some time to develop but “development” didn’t ring as loudly as “money” for Texas Rangers owner Bill Short.

Short immediately brought Clyde to the majors and made a deal that he would make two starts for the Rangers then go back down.

Well, that didn’t end up being the case. Short saw it as an opportunity to bring in more fans and keep the Texas native in the majors. As a result, Clyde’s arm became worn out and he was ineffective. By 26, he was out of baseball for good. It’s hard to place the blame on Clyde when Short was only looking out for his pockets and not the young pitcher’s future.

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About Bryan Murphy 28 Articles
Bryan Murphy is an avid sports fanatic with an unhealthy addiction to Twitter. Big Boston sports guy and Tuukka rask defender.

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