With the season 11 draft just around the corner, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look back on the number one draft picks for the first ten seasons of Mantle with a brief synopsis of the career to date of each pick and my grade. Dissenting opinions are welcome to comment.
Season 1: Mike Florie, 2B - selected by vachedawg, Cheyenne Fighting Bovines (now Portland Poltergeists)
Mike Florie was the first ever draft pick in Mantle world. He was given his first taste of big league action in season 2 by Portland, and spent season 3 split between AAA and the majors before being traded in season 4 to San Antonio. He's been a very durable though unspectacular major league player ever since. Since first seeing full time action with the Soggy Bottom Boys, he's been traded two more times: first to Tacoma in season 6, and then to Salem in season 11. He's made one All-Star team, in season 9 for Tacoma. In over 1200 games to date, he's a lifetime .281 hitter with 141 home runs and 610 RBI. He's also stolen 191 bases in his major league career. He's been a solid major league player, but for a number one draft pick more should have been expected from him.
Season 2: Al Ramirez, SP - selected by lefty32, Seattle Geoducks (now Vancouver Fighting Skeletons)
Despite a number of franchise changes, Ramirez has spent his entire career with the now Fighting Skeletons. He made it to the majors at the end of season 3, and has been there ever since as the anchor of the pitching staff. With 244 career starts under his belt, he has a lifetime record of 102-75, with an ERA of 3.81, OAV of .258 and WHIP of 1.31. He also has one 20-win season on his record (21-8 in season 9) and three All-Star appearances. He's certainly lived up to his expectations as a number one pick.
Season 3: Jim Aurilia, SP - selected by nova20147, Charlotte Miners (now Kansas City Monarchs)
Like Ramirez, Aurilia has spent his entire career with the franchise that drafted him. Unlike Ramirez, Aurilia has not exactly lived up to his billing as a number one draft pick. In 229 appearances (181 starts), he's only amassed a career record of 69-54 with a 4.35 ERA, .250 OAV and 1.38 WHIP. He has yet to make an All-Star appearance, but is still relatively young at age 26 and still has a number of seasons ahead of him. One could say that the jury is still out as he still has potential for a very solid and productive career.
Season 4: Vance Collier, SP - selected by mbooker, Jacksonville Seminoles
After a brief but impressive minor league career, Collier was promoted to the majors in season 6 to stay. He struggled a bit in his rookie season, but has been spectacular ever since. Only 26 years old, he has already compiled a record of 84-36 in 163 career starts, with a 3.52 ERA, .241 OAV and 1.23 WHIP. He's made one All-Star appearance in season 9, and has posted three consecutive 18+ win seasons for the Seminoles. His current numbers in season 11 are his best to date. The Seminoles certainly cannot be disappointed with their number one pick.
Season 5: John Blake, SS - selected by brendanjod, Colorado Springs Mile High Marines
Blake made an immediate impact in his rookie season in season 6, when he crashed upon the scene with a .335 AVG, .404 OBP and .598 SLG performance in 53 games upon his promotion from AAA. He also contributed 12 home runs and 45 RBI's in that span. He's settled down some in the following 4+ seasons, but still has compiled career numbers of (.288 AVG, 128 HR, 394 RBI) in almost 700 major league games. Still only 26 years old, he's made two All-Star appearances and has a long and bright career still in front of him. He looks like a keeper.
Season 6: Louis Haney, RF - selected by rwright, San Antonio Soggy Bottom Boys (now Jackson Bootleggers)
Haney was rushed to the major leagues after a brief but hugely spectacular career in San Antonio's minor league system. He struggled greatly in his first 3+ seasons in the majors, including season 9 when he inexplicably appeared in only 25 games despite not being injured. One can only speculate that inactivity of that nature can only have stunted his development. Now in season 11 he seems to be coming into his own, but still only has lifetime numbers of .235 AVG, 64 home runs and 201 RBI's in 363 games. He's also stolen 90 bases in 111 lifetime attempts. Only 25 years old, the jury is still out on him as to whether he will live up to the expectations that rwight may have had when he made Haney his number one pick.
Season 7: Edgardo Cortes, SP - selected by rwright, San Antonio Soggy Bottom Boys (now Jackson Bootleggers)
Another victim of rwright's mismanagement of his minor leagues, Cortes spent three seasons in the Jackson farm system and stuggled due to apparent misuse. Promoted to the majors in season 10, he's struggled even more at the big league level, posting an 8-8 record despite a 6.46 ERA, .280 OAV and 1.52 WHIP. He's only 22 years old and has plenty of time to right the ship. Whether he ever does depends on how he's used going forward. A change of scenery may be the best option for him to reach his potential.
Season 8: Bill Hewson, SS - selected by ardthomp, Tucson Plateau (now Colorado Ligers)
Traded by Colorado to Minnesota after only one season in the minors, including a brief but impressive stint in the majors, Hewson quickly rose through the Mighty Men's farm system and made it to the majors in season 10 at age 22. He's immediately made a nice contribution to Minnesota's offense. In 187 career games at the major league level, he's posted numbers of (.290 AVG, 49 HR, 146 RBI) with a .548 SLG. Drafted as a shortstop, he's now successfully splitting his time between 2B and 3B. He looks like he is destined to have a very production major league career in front of him.
Season 9: Tyrone Hamilton, SS - selected by ericsomsel, Colorado Ligers
Much like Hewson, Hamilton had a brief and very successful taste of major league action with the Ligers before being traded to Florida. In 54 career major league games in season 10, he posted numbers of (.322 AVG, 10 HR, 51 RBI) with a .395 OBP and .576 SLG. He's now spending his time in AAA for the Lockdown where he is tearing it up. It will be difficult for welsh5 to keep him in the minors if he continues to tear the cover off the ball. Overall, Hamilton looks to be a superstar in waiting.
Season 10: Rob Tomlinson, C - selected by Reps, Baltimore Blast
Not signed. A wasted selection. For his efforts, Reps gets compensated with the 47th pick in the season 11 draft.
Season 11: ???, selected by ericsomsel, Colorado Ligers