by Andy Wiesner

With the Brassball Strat-O-Matic league now several years old, I figured that it might be time to take a look back through the history of the league.

In doing so, I decided to take a look at the draft history of the league.   Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a copy of the initial organization draft from 1995.  If someone can find a copy, I would be very interested in taking a look at it and updating this article.

So, instead we have to start with 1996.  I have broken down the 1996, 97, 98 and 99 drafts.  Without question, it is easier to analyze the earlier drafts, as the players chosen have had more time to develop and show their true talents.  With that in mind, these lists could change dramatically in just a few years, as once promising youngsters fail to reach their potential while other late round draft picks emerge as stars.

In looking at these drafts, I first reprinted the top ten selections as made during the draft.  Then I listed several other picks that may be of interest.  Thirdly I list some young players that are still prospects and may soon break into their own.   The most difficult part of each draft analysis is attempting to determine who would be in the top 10 of each draft if it were held today.  Some of these choices were extremely difficult, but I think I got most of them correct.  Lastly I list a few of the best and a few of the worst draft picks from each season.

I hope you enjoy the look back, and…if we look hard enough…there might just be a few lessons for us to learn before next year's draft!



The second ever Brassball draft saw Quilvio Veras go with the top pick.  While he has been a productive player for some years, he hasn't improved much on his rookie season.   After four years, Todd Helton has established himself as the cream of the 96 draft.  Bartolo Colon and Mariano Rivera have also paid nice dividends.  Early picks spent on Derrick Gibson and George Arias appear to have been wasted.  The seventh player drafted, Jose Cruz has teased Brass with his talents while never truly harnessing them.  At 200, Matt Stairs was easily the best steal in this draft, as he quickly turned into a middle of the order hitter after being selected.

Actual Top 10 Other Picks of Interest Still Prospects Top Ten Today
1 Quilvio Veras 17 Shannon Stewart 44 Chad Hermanson 1 Todd Helton
2 Ricky Bottalico 19 Geoff Jenkins 77 Ben Davis 2 Mariano Rivera
3 Andy Pettite 27 Livan Hernandez Best Picks 3 Bartolo Colon
4 Javier Valentin 28 Mariano Rivera 71 Todd Helton 4 Brad Radke
5 Derrick Gibson 31 Mike Sweeney 200 Matt Stairs 5 Matt Stairs
6 Steve Sparks 32 Bartolo Colon Worst Picks 6 Geoff Jenkins
7 Jose Cruz Jr. 71 Todd Helton 4 Javier Valentin 7 Shannon Stewart
8 George Arias 110 Paul Konerko 5 Derrick Gibson 8 Mike Sweeney
9 Brad Radke 148 Shawn Estes 8 George Arias 9 Paul Konerko
10 Esteban Loaiza 153 Mike Cameron     10 Edgar Renteria



Many of the players in this draft are still hitting their strides, so these lists could change dramatically in the years to come.  Fernando Tatis and Brian Giles are the two biggest bats in the draft, with Kris Benson, Carl Pavano and Jose Rosado still hoping to be the aces they were drafted to be.  A year ago, Francisco Cordova may have been near the top of the list, but his last 16 months have been rough.  Tatis was a steal with the 69th pick, as was Giles at #11.   Dee Brown and Aramis Ramirez could prove to be the biggest bargains if they produce in the majors as they have in the minors.  The toolbelts looked full for both Jermaine Allensworth and Edgard Velazquez (Clemente) when they were drafted high, but they never developed and end up leading the list of wasted picks.

Actual Top 10 Other Picks of Interest Still Prospects Top Ten Today
1 Dmitri Young 11 Brian Giles 17 Travis Lee 1 Fernando Tatis
2 Jose Rosado 13 Matt Morris 167 Aramis Ramirez 2 Brian Giles
3 Miguel Tejada 14 Francisco Cordova 236 Russ Branyan 3 Kris Benson
4 Luis Castillo 15 Adrian Beltre 245 Daryle Ward 4 Carl Pavano
5 Jermain Allensworth 22 Brett Tomko Best Picks 5 Adrian Beltre
6 Carl Pavano 47 Bret Saberhagen 59 Fernando Tatis 6 Jose Rosado
7 Kris Benson 59 Fernando Tatis 11 Brian Giles 7 Luis Castillo
8 Edgard Velazquez 76 Kelvim Escobar Worst Picks 8 Miguel Tejada
9 Alex Gonzalez 109 Doug Glanville 5 Jermaine Allensworth 9 Francisco Cordova
10 Omar Olivares 250 Mike Remlinger 8 Edgard Velazquez 10 Doug Glanville



In three or four years, we may look back and see several of the games top hitters on this list.   It's tough to know what the future holds, but Sean Casey, Kevin Millwood and Troy Glaus have already shown they were solid draftees.  The real promise for this draft lies with Rick Ankiel, Eric Chavez, JD Drew, Pat Burrell and Vernon Wells.  Any of these players could easily end up being the best player in this draft in the next ten years.  Ankiel was an absolute steal with a 7th round pick, as was Glaus at #93.  Marvin Benard was a big bargain as the 8th last player drafted in 1998.  Mark Kotsay may yet turn around his career, but he certainly hasn't been worth his second overall pick thus far.  Jose Mercedes and John Thompson were other first round busts.


Actual Top 10 Other Picks of Interest Still Prospects Top Ten Today
1 Rick Reed 11 Tony Womack 59 Ben Petrick 1 Sean Casey
2 Mark Kotsay 13 Magglio Ordonez 58 Pat Burrell 2 Kevin Millwood
3 JD Drew 16 Kevin Millwood 119 Vernon Wells 3 Rick Ankiel
4 Garrett Stephenson 17 Sean Casey 179 Rick Ankiel 4 Troy Glau
5 Jeremy Gonzalez 26 Matt Clement Best Picks 5 Eric Chavez
6 Jose Mercedes 42 Eric Chavez 179 Rick Ankiel 6 JD Drew
7 Rolando Arrojo 57 Mike Lowell 93 Troy Glaus 7 Matt Clement
8 Matt White 77 Eric Milton Worst Picks 8 Pat Burrell
9 Tony Saunders 93 Troy Glaus 6 Jose Mercedes 9 Vernon Wells
10 Scott Hatteberg 291 Marvin Benard 17 John Thomson 10 Rick Reed



With only 15 months of perspective on this draft, the lessons are difficult to find.  However, it appears the first two picks, Orlando Hernandez and Carlos Beltran were wise investments.  A duo of relief pitchers, John Rocker and Matt Mantei would probably have gone in the top ten if everyone's crystal ball was clear.  Several prospects are working their way through the minors and could end up leading this draft when the book is closed 20 years from now.  Corey Patterson was a great pick at #102 as was Michael Cuddyer at #159.  Jack Cust may end up being the best pure hitter in the draft, going at #106.  While it's too early to count out anyone drafted in 99, Calvin Pickering hasn't looked too good at #6, with Tyler Green and Andy Fox joining him as disappointments.


Actual Top 10 Other Picks of Interest Still Prospects Top Ten Today
1 Orlando Hernandez 41 Kerry Ligtenberg 15 Ben Davis 1 Carlos Beltran
2 Carlos Beltran 47 Matt Mantei 16 Brad Penny 2 Orlando Hernandez
3 Russ Ortiz 48 Bobby Howry 25 Alex Escobar 3 Ryan Anderson
4 Jeff King 53 John Rocker 31 Nick Johnson 4 John Rocker
5 Jeremy Giambi 74 Preston Wilson 73 Sean Burroughs 5 Matt Mantei
6 Calvin Pickering 123 Antonio Alfonseca 91 Tony Armas Jr. 6 Corey Patterson
7 Ryan Anderson Worst Picks 102 Corey Patterson 7 Nick Johnson
8 Carlos Febles 6 Calvin Pickering 106 Jack Cust 8 Sean Burroughs
9 Masato Yoshii 11 Tyler Green 109 Alfonso Soriano 9 Jack Cust
10 Michael Barrett 13 Andy Fox 128 Marcus Giles 10 Michael Cuddyer