The 2014 MLB first year player draft is only nine days away and the Diamondbacks have plenty of needs that they want to fill in their minor league system. Its a chance for teams to bring in quality amateur talent and it is certainly an exciting time for an organization. Before we take a look at the Snakes needs in this year’s draft, its always fun to look back on past drafts to see how the team did. Today I will take a look at the good and mostly bad of the 1996 and 1997 drafts, the team’s first drafts as a major league organization.
First Pick: Nick Bierbrodt
Best Pick: Brad Penny
Could have chosen: Jimmy Rollins
1996 was the Dbacks first ever first year player draft as an organization and I guess this team was still learning how to draft talent because looking back it ended up being a horrible draft that hurts right now. Their first round pick was Nick Bierbrodt who didn’t amount to much, and the same can be said for most of their picks that year. The best pick of the draft was by far starter Brad Penny who pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues but he never pitched in a major league game for Arizona. What hurts is the Dbacks had the chance to pick Jimmy Rollins in the first round and they passed on him. Rollins of course ended up being a franchise shortstop for the Phillies currently in his 13th season with Philadelphia, and he is now second on all time Phillies hits list. That hurts for Arizona, he could have been on this team now, and who knows how many more times the Dbacks would have gone to the playoffs if they had Rollins in his prime.
First pick: Jack Cust
Best Pick: Cust
Could have chosen: Chase Utley
If 1996 was a bad draft, 1997 was worse. Their best and first pick in that year’s first year player draft was Jack Cust who played in a total of 3 games for Arizona. He ended up playing 10 seasons in the big leagues including 4 with the Oakland A’s and hit 105 home runs and 323 RBI’s. The rest of the picks didn’t amount to much. Alex Cintron selected with the 1,103 pick played 5 seasons with Arizona and was apart of the 2001 World Championship team. What hurts about this draft is the Dbacks could have selected second basemen Chase Utley in the first round, who of course has developed into a franchise second basemen with the Phillies currently in his 11th season with the club. Many believe he is a hall of famer. Just imagine having Rollins and Utley in the same infield during their prime.
The 1996 and 1997 drafts were not good for the Diamondbacks but it eventually got better. Tell me what you think about the Dbacks 1996 and 1997 drafts in the comments section below.