5 Biggest Draft Busts in San Francisco Giants History
Led by former draft picks like Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Sergio Romo and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants' skill at drafting and developing young talent has been the key factor in them winning two of the last three World Series.
Things haven't always been that way, however. The Giants, like pretty much every other team, have plenty of former draft picks that didn't work out. For every Buster Posey, there's a Marcus Jensen. The following list is a look at five of the biggest draft busts in Giants history.
Before we get to the list, a quick disclaimer: For most of the 90s and the start of the 2000s, the Giants entire draft philosophy seemed to be a two-step process: 1. Draft player; 2. Trade player for veteran. Some of these players turned out to be pretty good (like Jason Grilli), while others were ... less than great (like Nate Bump or Boof Bonser). These players were not eligible for this list because they did not have enough time within the organization for any type of verdict to be reached.
With that being said, let's get to the list!
5. Jessie Reid
The Giants had the No. 7 pick in the 1980 MLB draft and used it on Reid, a first baseman from Lynwood High School in Southern California.
Reid would go on to spend seven years putting up middling numbers in the minor leagues before finally reaching the big leagues in 1987. However, Reid would only spend six games with the Giants before being sent back to Triple-A in the following season. In total, he had just 10 at-bats as a major leaguer.
Reid retired in 1994 after playing professionally in Japan and Mexico for a few seasons.
4. Steve Soderstrom
Soderstrom was the sixth overall pick in the 1993 MLB Draft, taken just five spots after the Seattle Mariners took Alex Rodriguez with the first overall selection.
Soderstrom came to the Giants after a strong college career at Fresno State, and spent three years in the minor leagues before being called up at the end of the 1996 season. He was in the big leagues for 10 days and made three starts, winning two of them. But by 1997, Soderstrom was back in the minor leagues for good. He would play four more years in Triple A before retiring in 2000.
3. Alan Cockrell
Alan Cockrell was a two-sport star at the University of Tennessee, becoming the first true freshman in UT history to start at quarterback for the football team. However, Cockrell's first love was baseball. He was an All-American selection as an outfielder in college before the Giants selected him with the ninth pick of the 1984 draft.
However, Cockrell was never able to translate his college success to the professional game. He spent more than four seasons in the Giants organization and never reached the big leagues. Even Cockrell's minor league numbers were unimpressive, as he never hit over .260 in any of his years with the Giants' minor league teams. Cockrell reached the big leagues in 1996 as a member of the Colorado Rockies, receiving the eight at-bats that make up his entire big league career.
Making the sting worse for the Giants? Their bay area rivals, the Oakland A's, used the very next pick of the 1984 draft to select Mark McGwire.
2. Ted Barnicle
Barnicle was a left-handed pitcher from Jacksonville State University whom the Giants selected eighth overall in the 1975 draft.
Barnicle was a disaster of a draft pick. He spent three years in the Giants organization, never rose above A ball, and never had an ERA lower than 4.00 or a WHIP lower than 1.6. The Giants gave up on Barnacle in 1978, and he spent the remainder of his career with the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates of the Chicago White Sox.
The only consolation for the Giants was that the 1975 draft class is, to this day, considered one of the worst in league history.
1. Bob Cummings
Cummings was the 10th overall selection of the 1978 draft out of Brother Rice High School in Chicago. He was sent off to Great Falls, MT to play for the Giants rookie league affiliate at just 17-years old.
Cummings would go on to spend eight years playing minor league baseball before he eventually retired without having ever played a day in the big leagues. The highest level Cummings would ever reach was Triple A, where he went hitless in six career at-bats.
Luckily for San Francisco, they didn't completely miss on the 1978 draft. Three rounds after selecting Cummings, the Giants picked Rob Deer, who went on to play for over a decade in the big leagues.