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Looking Back at the Draft: 1995

Looking Back at the Draft: 1995
May 26, 2010
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The year is 1995.

Would-be terrorist Ramzi Yousef is arrested for planning to blow up U.S. bound airliners over the Pacific Ocean. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes over 5,000 for the 1st time ever. Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult release sarin gas into the Tokyo Subway, killing 12 and injuring over 5,000. Forrest Gump wins the Oscar for Best Picture. USAF Captain Scott O'Grady's F-16 is shot down over Bosnia; he evades capture for six days before being rescued by the Marines. In response to evidence produced by UNSCOM, Iraq admits for the first time the existence of an offensive biological weapons program. OJ Simpson is acquitted in criminal court for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin is assassinated. UNSCOM intercepts 240 Russian gyroscopes and accelerometers on their way to Iraq from Russia. DVD's are invented. Ebay is founded.

The Cleveland Indians participate in baseball's post-season for the first time since 1954, and win a post-season game for the first time since 1948. A magical strike-shortened season revives professional baseball in Cleveland, and ushers in a new era of Cleveland Indians baseball. Albert Belle belts 103 extra base hits in just 144 games, and the Indians go a remarkable 100-44 in the regular season. The run comes to an end in Game 6 of the World Series against Atlanta, but what a season it was.

Indians 1st round pick: With the 23rd pick in the draft, the Indians selected 1B David Miller out of Clemson University. He was named Clemson's MVP in 1995, and was a 2nd team All-American and 1st team All-ACC player. Miller hit .301 with a .773 OPS in 1996 for Akron, but that was his best season in the minors. Miller never played a game in the majors, and only spent one season above AA. His career average in the minors was just .260, and he only hit 35 HR's in 2289 career AB's. Disappointing, to say the least.

Best 1st round pick: Its close, but right now I'm going with Rockies 1B Todd Helton, selected 8th overall out of Tennessee. Helton hasn't exactly been an elite player for a few years now, but in his peak he was one of the best hitters in baseball. Helton put together seven straight seasons with an OPS over .980, and has a career OPS of .989. He's hit 326 HR's and has a career batting average of .327. His best single season came in 2000, when he led the NL in hitting (.372) doubles (59), RBI (147), total bases (402), OBP (.463), SLG (.698) and OPS (1.162).

Honorable mention: Toronto selected pitcher Roy "Doc" Halladay 17th overall out of a Colorado high school. Halladay won the 2002 AL Cy Young award, and is still one of the better pitchers in baseball...Indian reliever Kerry Wood was chosen 4th overall by the Cubs, and burst on the MLB scene by striking out 20 Astros as a 21-year old in 1998...The Angels took OF Darrin Erstad 1st overall, and he made two all-star teams and won three Gold Gloves before retiring after last year.

Indians best pick: With their 2nd round pick, the Indians selected another collegiate 1B from the Atlantic Coast. Fortunately, their selection of Sean Casey out of Richmond turned out much better than the choice of Miller. Casey only played 6 games for the Indians before being dealt to the Reds for pitcher Dave Burba just days prior to the 1998 season. "The Mayor" was a steady presence both in the clubhouse and in the middle of the Reds order for eight seasons before being traded to Pittsburgh in 2005. Casey retired after 2008 with a .302 lifetime batting average, 130 career HR's and three all-star appearances. He was blocked at 1B in Cleveland by Jim Thome, and the trade to Cincy worked out well for both teams.

Honorable mention: N/A. With the exception of Casey, no one drafted by the Indians in 1995 finished with a WAR (wins above replacement) above 0 in the major leagues. Another poor, poor draft for the Tribe. The team did select a solid front-office guy though, with their choice of Ross Atkins in the 38th round out of Wake Forrest. Atkins never made the Indians as a pitcher, but he's doing pretty well for himself nonetheless.

Best early round picks: The Giants took closer Joe Nathan in the 6th round, and ended up trading him to Minnesota in a package for catcher AJ Pierzynski...Florida chose OF Randy Winn in the 3rd round...Kansas City took Puerto Rican OF Carlos Beltran with their 2nd round pick...In the 8th round, the Mets took flamethrowing righty AJ Burnett out of an Arkansas high school...Minnesota selected defensive wiz Doug Mientkiewicz in the 5th round...Pittsburgh chose current Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the 3rd round...Also in the 3rd round, Texas picked up starter Ryan Dempster.

Best late round picks: The Cubs selected and signed pitcher Justin Spier in the 55th round...Detroit chose Gabe "The Babe" Kapler in the 57th round out of a California JC...Seattle came up with a solid pick when they took future closer Brian Fuentes in the 25th round.

The ones that got away: The Brewers took pitcher Kip Wells in the 58th round, but he elected to go to Baylor instead...The Dodgers selected Brad Wilkerson in the 13th round, but they were unable to come to terms...San Fran took pitcher Brad Lidge in the 42nd round out of a Colorado HS, but decided to attend Notre Dame...The Mets selected but couldn't sign Aaron Rowand, who was a high school shortstop...Baltimore took IF Jerry Harriston Jr. in the 42nd round, but he wouldn't sign with the club until they chose him in the 11th round in 1997...Boston picked Pat "The Bat" Burrell in the 43rd round, but he attended the University of Miami instead...The Yankees took 3B Casey Blake out of Wichita St in the 45th round, but they were unable to come to terms.

Other interesting picks: Future Cowboys QB Chad Hutchinson was selected in the 1st round by the Braves, but he became the only 1st round pick in 1995 not to sign when he opted to attend Stanford instead...Baltimore took OF David Dellucci in the 10th round out of Ole Miss...Detroit took OF/SS Lawyer Milloy in the 19th round, but he remained committed to football...The Yankees took OF Daunte Culpepper in the 26th round, but the QB decided to go to college and play football instead...Seattle took future Indians utility IF Ramon Vazquez in the 27th round.

Indians June 1995 Draft:

1. David Miller, 1B
2. Sean Casey, 1B
3. Chad Whitaker, OF
4. Scott Harrison, RHP
5. Scott Schultz, RHP
6. Jake Messner, OF
7. Scott Morgan, OF
8. Tim Jorgensen, SS
9. Mike Edwards, SS
10. Jason Bennett, RHP
11. Jewell Williams, OF
12. Brett Merrick, LHP
13. Frankie Sanders, RHP
14. Scott Winchester, RHP
15. Darren Loudermilk, RHP
16. Luis Estrella, RHP
17. Terry Harvey, RHP
18. Keith Horn, RHP
19. Jason Minici, OF
20. Marc Deschenes, SS
21. Mark Budzinski, OF
22. Mike Glavine, 1B
23. Jon Edwards, RHP
24. Ken Wagner, RHP
25. Jason Rakers, RHP
26. Frank Chapman, RHP
27. Gary Rodriguez, OF
28. Michael Bishop, OF/C
29. Corey Richardson, OF
30. Jason Adge, RHP
31. Richy Gonzalez, C
32. Michael Custer, RHP
33. Nathan Coats, C
34. Jamie Brown, RHP
35. Bryan Hardy, 1B
36. Jerry Taylor, OF
37. Chad Thornhill, SS
38. Ross Atkins, RHP
39. Thomas Blythe, C
40. Randy Keisler, LHP
41. Mike Speigel, LHP
42. Dennis Martinez, RHP
43. Bryan Ransom, SS
44. Albert Garza, RHP
45. Kirk Irvine, RHP
46. Rex Crosnoe, C
47. Sam Mathis, RHP
48. Ryan Bailey, RHP
49. Brian Anderson, RHP
50. Peter Lopez, RHP
51. Tony Fleetwood, LHP
52. Michael Ploharz, RHP
53. Kevin Eberwein, RHP
54. Damien Kolb, OF
55. Brandon Driggers, RHP

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