Rob Neyer Grant Brisbeehas a piece up about the 2005 draft, and taking a preliminary look on whether it will be able to stake a claim as being the best draft ever. Neyer Brisbee notes that the gold standard among drafts is the 1985 draft, which included Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin, Will Clark, B.J. Surhoff, Bobby Witt, and Pete Incaviglia among the top 10 picks.*
* If that doesn't seem like an incredible bounty of talent in the top 10, you need to go look at the history of MLB drafts. If you get a halfway decent regular with a top 10 pick, you are doing good..
The Rangers, of course, pretty well whiffed on that draft, with Michael Kirkman being the one draftee who still has a chance to do something of significance to redeem it for Texas.
The thing that sticks out about this draft to me was that it was the first draft after Buck Showalter and Orel Hershiser's palace coup that got Grady Fuson forced out, although Fuson was supposedly not all that involved in the 2004 draft, either. The big black mark on Fuson's record, and the thing everyone pointed to to explain why he had to go and John Hart had to stay on, was the Drew Meyer selection...you can't, they argued, use a first round pick on a position player who needs to have his swing rebuilt.
So, we get to the 2005 draft, and the Rangers select...John Mayberry, Jr. A position player who needs to have his swing rebuilt. And unlike Meyer, who was considered a premium defender, a guy whose only value was in his bat.
In any case, the 2005 draft was particularly deep in late first round and supplemental round talent, with the Rangers passing on, among others, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus, and Clay Buchholz to grab Mayberry.
And their second round pick saw them reach for Kingwood infielder Johnny Whittleman, who is now part of the Kansas City contingent of former Ranger minor leaguers. Since the Rangers never hit on their second round picks, Whittleman flaming out is no surprise.
In any case...
Neyer's Brisbee's piece is worth a read, but I think it is also worth going back and looking at what the rest of the 2005 first round looks like. While the Rangers screwed up this draft, and there are quality players they passed on, if you look through the players picked in the first round in 2005, you see a lot of people who have gone on to do nothing.
If you look at how many misses there were in the 2005 draft and consider that it is being talked about as one of the all-time great drafts, it truly puts into perspective what a crapshoot the MLB amateur draft is.