The Drafts That Doomed the Bucs: 1993 and 1994

After the collapse in the 7th game of the 1992 NLCS, the Pirates lost two marquee free agents in Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek. As a result of the free agent losses, the Pirates received two sandwich picks in the first round of the 1993 draft, a measure designed to help teams recover from the loss of top shelf talent.
What happened was nothing short of a disaster. The 1993 draft took place on June 3. Of the 56 players the Pirates chose, just four made it to the majors and only two had any sort of impact on the club. Five days after the draft, GM Ted Simmons suffered a heart attack. He resigned a few days later and was replaced by Cam Bonifay, who had been assistant GM.
Bonifay was the architect of the 1994 draft which has to be among the worst in the history of the draft. Only two players the Pirates chose wound up in the show. One of those players was Brandon Larson, who the Pirates didn’t sign (he was their last pick in the 46th round). The other was Jimmy Anderson.
Between 1993 and 1994, 190 players were picked in the first ten rounds who eventually made their way into the Encyclopedia. With 28 teams drafting, that’s nearly seven per franchise. The Pirates chose exactly three of them – Anderson, Jermaine Allensworth and Kevin Pickford.
It’s not hard to look at the poor results of these two drafts and conclude that the low yield in on-field talent is largely to blame for the poor results achieved in the late 1990s and the first part of this decade.
A look at the #1s and some others from those fateful years:
1993
With their original pick for 1993, the Pirates chose speedy high school outfielder/pitcher Charles Peterson from South Carolina. I would imagine that the Pirates were grooming him for a lead off position. But he never developed an eye in the minors (twice as many whiffs as walks), never hit for much of an average (.268) and didn’t steal bases with a high rate of success (just 66% for his minor league career with the Bucs). He was released by the Pirates in 1999 and has been playing in independent leagues ever since. The Baseball Cube lists him as active through the 2006 season.
The Bucs used their first sandwich pick on Jermaine Allensworth from Purdue University. Everyone is familiar with him. He spent a decent chunk of 1996, 1997 and 1998 with the Pirates. He didn’t hit for much power or show obscene speed in the Show. He was traded to KC in 1998 for a career minor leaguer. He bounced from KC to the Mets and has also been active in the Northern League as recently as 2006 according to the Baseball Cube.
The Pirates final sandwich pick in 1993 was used on a player listed often as Andy Rice, but who actual went by Charles Rice. He was a high school first baseman from Birmingham. He failed to hit in the minors (more whiffs than base knocks) and was also Dick Stuart-esque with the glove (never fielded better than .970 in a full season at first base). He didn’t make it past high A and was out of OB following the 1997 season.
The Pirates other picks that got to the majors were all pitchers. 2nd round pick Kevin Pickford tossed 16 games for the Padres in 2002 after being released by the Pirates. Kane Davis was plucked in the 13th round. After signing with the Tribe as a minor league free agent, he found his way to the majors. He pitched very well for the Rockies in 2001 and tossed for the Phillies in 11 contests in 2007. Chris Peters was chosen in the 37th round and he started 43 games for the Pirates over parts of four years on the team. He was 17-21 for the Pirates and 19-25 for his full ML career.
1994
Mark Farris was a star high school quarterback in Texas. After being picked in the first round by the Pirates, he passed on a scholarship to play QB for Texas A&M to sign with the Bucs. He played primarily shortstop and third base but wasn’t fielding or hitting all that well in his first minor league season. 1995 was a loss due to a torn ACL suffered at the end of Spring Training. After that he never developed. He hit just .217 in 1996 and .232 in 1997. He had his best year in 1998 but quit baseball and decided, after a five year absence, to return to football. He spent the next four years as a quarterback for Texas A&M. He is in the top five all-time for several Aggie passing records.
I can’t say for sure, but I’d guess 2nd round pick Roger Goedde suffered injuries. The 6’4″ righty from Evansville, IN pitched just 32 games in three minor league seasons, none of them past low A.
Jimmy Anderson was taken in the 9th round and his career was far from a rousing success.

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8 Responses to “The Drafts That Doomed the Bucs: 1993 and 1994”

  1. sludgeworm Says:

    My contention is historically the Pirates have never drafted well. The biggest edge they had for many years was the Latin American players that they managed to get on the roster, when other teams did the same the Pirates fortune started to fade. Since you are also doing a Downfall Series I have looked back to the 1980 draft for recognizable names and impact players…
    Tim Burke,Joe Orsulak, Bip Roberts,John Smiley,Jay Buhner, Barry Bonds ,Tommy Gregg, Jeff King,Moises Alou ,Stan Belinda ,Rick Reed,Wes Chamberlain,John Wehner,Tim Wakefield ,Willie Greene, Kevin Young,Rick White, Tony Womack,Jason Kendall.
    This 1980- 1992, not exactly Killer Crew, here…
    Players that were drafted but did not sign…
    John Kruk,Scott Bankhead,Lance Johnson,Joe Magrane, Greg Vaughn,Tom Goodwin,Archi Cianfrocco, Mickey Morandini,.Dustin Hermanson
    After seeing some of the players that were drafted but did not sign, the Pirates did a better job than I thought but Vaughan, Buhner , Bonds and Alou are the only long term mashers with Young and King thrown in for short term production
    Pitching. Blah… Smiley, Wakefield then Bankhead, Reed relief Belinda and White
    In retrospect the drafts were not as bad as I thought, not much pitching to be seen. The Main thing is Alou and Buhner being traded and Bonds walking as a free agent .The drafts are better than I remember but the trades were the downfall…
    Argh…sorry for the diatribe all I really wanted to say regarding your article is in the first 5 lines…

  2. sludgeworm Says:

    Whoops here’s the link to the draft index I used..
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PIT/draft.shtml

  3. Randy Linville Says:

    The final part of the Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee series will take a good look at the drafts and amateur free agent pick ups in the 1960s and 1970s to show just how down hill the Bucs went in that department, leading to the mid-80s cellar dwelling period. The 1960s and early 1970s were good. Then there was a 10 year period that was poor until you get to the year Bonds was selected.
    And I agree that for the most part, the Pirates drafts in the 1980s were not that overwhelming. What the club got in 1993 and 1994 was beyond abysmal. Given four first round picks and three second round picks (including a sandwich pick in 1993 for losing Gary Redus, if memory serves) between ’93 and ’94 and only yielding Allensworth is poor.

  4. Randy Linville Says:

    The final part of the Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee series will take a good look at the drafts and amateur free agent pick ups in the 1960s and 1970s to show just how down hill the Bucs went in that department, leading to the mid-80s cellar dwelling period. The 1960s and early 1970s were good. Then there was a 10 year period that was poor until you get to the year Bonds was selected.
    And I agree that for the most part, the Pirates drafts in the 1980s were not that overwhelming. What the club got in 1993 and 1994 was beyond abysmal. Given four first round picks and three second round picks (including a sandwich pick in 1993 for losing Gary Redus, if memory serves) between ’93 and ’94 and only yielding Allensworth is poor.

  5. RollingWave Says:

    On the other hand, a quick look through the 93 draft showed almost no one that turned out to be a major star who were drafted after the Buc’s first rounder. the only one i’m seeing is Scott Rolen in the 2nd round and sort of Mark Loretta in the 7th… so it’s not like the Bucs let hoards of talent slipped pass them, there simply wasn’t that many great players after the first couple of picks (unfortunately for the Bucs… the #1 pick that year was some Alex Rodrigez dude .. i heard he’s pretty good 😛 )
    The 94 draft was more ouchie though. the Pirates could have picked these guys ….
    Kevin Brown, A.J. Pierzynski, Scott Podsednik, Javier Vazquez, Keith Foulk…. Brown was taken just a couple of slots after the Pirate’s first pick. that was bad.
    Still though, i have to say that while those 2 draft were terrible, the field was pretty barren in those two year by the time the Pirate had a pick. and even before the Pirate’s first pick it’s not like it was loaded with hall of famers. (outside of A-rod anyway, and possibly Billy Wagner… the other really notable picks ahead of the Bucs were Nomar, Trot Nixson, Jason Varitek, Chris Carpenter, Torii Hunter and Derek Lee. )

  6. Eric SanInocencio Says:

    That’s not an inspring list by any means. I hope they didn’t make the same mistake by passing on several better talents in last year’s draft to take Daniel Moskos.
    There were several other choices that could have been made. Hopefully Bucs fans won’t see Matt Wieters or anyone else turn out to be hall of fame talents.

  7. sludgeworm Says:

    Hopefully you can put the entire Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee series together as a link so I can reread it again.
    I have always had a personal opinion on what went wrong after everything went so right in 79…
    Sometimes you have to pay the piper…

  8. Randy Linville Says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. The Downfall series can be found linked under the “Stats” page to the right of my head. Or follow the link below. There are a bunch of other things that I’ve kept posted at the Stats page as well. Eventually I’ll stick all my posts on ElRoy Face and his record in 1959 up there as well.
    http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates/stats/


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