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Monday, June 4, 2012
All-time draft rosters: NL Central

By David Schoenfield

OK, I promised I'd finish these lists of all-time draft rosters. Today, the NL Central. Reminder: These are players drafted and signed by each franchise, whether or not they ended up making an impact for that club. It's likely I may have missed a player or two -- for example, I left Ryne Sandberg off the Phillies' all-time team in favor of Chase Utley. Not that Utley is exactly Duane Kuiper or anything.

Other divisions: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East

Chicago Cubs
C -- Joe Girardi
1B -- Mark Grace
2B -- Scott Fletcher
3B -- Eric Hinske
SS -- Shawon Dunston
OF -- Joe Carter
OF -- Bill North
OF -- Doug Glanville
DH -- Rafael Palmeiro
SP -- Greg Maddux
SP -- Rick Reuschel
SP -- Jamie Moyer
SP -- Joe Niekro
SP -- Burt Hooton
RP -- Lee Smith

The Cubs have a nice list of starting pitchers: Among those not listed include Ken Holtzman, Steve Trachsel, Mike Krukow, Larry Gura, Jon Garland, Kyle Lohse and, of course, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Not shockingly, in typical Cubs fashion, they made some bad deals along the way: Niekro for Dick Selma, Hooton for Geoff Zahn, Palmeiro and Moyer for (essentially) Mitch Williams, North for Bob Locker and so on. But as you can see from that lineup, the Cubs have basically spent 45 years failing to draft good hitters. Other than Grace, the two best hitters they developed were traded away early in their careers (Carter in the Rick Sutcliffe deal, and then Palmeiro). In fact, here's a pretty amazing statistic: Since 1965, 17 Cubs position players have accumulated 10+ WAR, via Baseball-Reference. Some of those entered the Cubs organization in the pre-draft days (Ron Santo, Billy Williams). The only two drafted by the Cubs were Grace and Rick Wilkins, who I suppose deserves to be the catcher on this roster based on that one great season. Everybody else -- Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa, Derrek Lee, Andre Dawson and so on -- came from other organizations.

Cincinnati Reds
C -- Johnny Bench
1B -- Joey Votto
2B -- Ron Oester
3B -- Chris Sabo
SS -- Barry Larkin
OF -- Paul O'Neill
OF -- Eric Davis
OF -- Ken Griffey Sr.
DH -- Hal McRae
SP -- Gary Nolan
SP -- Don Gullett
SP -- Tom Browning
SP -- Charlie Leibrandt
SP -- Milt Wilcox
RP -- Trevor Hoffman

Other outfielders drafted by the Reds: Danny Tartabull, Kal Daniels, Reggie Sanders, Adam Dunn and Jay Bruce. In the late '70s and early '80s, under scouting director Joe Bowen and GM Dick Wagner, the Reds had an impressive run of outfielders: in 1978, Gary Redus (1,159 career games, .342 OBP); in 1980, Tartabull (262 home runs, 965 RBIs) in the third round and Davis (282 home runs, 934 RBIs, 349 SB) in the eighth; in 1981, O'Neill (281 home runs, 1,269 RBIs) in the third round; in 1982, Daniels in the first round of the June secondary. If you're too young to remember, Daniels was a terrific hitter -- .320 as a rookie, .334 in his second season, led the NL in OBP in his third year, but his career was wrecked by knee injuries. Anyway, Bowen had been the Reds' scouting director since 1969 and after the team lost 100 games in 1982 no longer held the position. He'd worked for the club for 29 years before taking over as scouting director, so I'm guessing he was pretty old by 1982 and maybe retired. As for Hoffman, he never played for the Reds. Originally drafted as a shortstop out of the University of Arizona in 1989, he converted to pitching in 1991 and was selected by the Marlins in the expansion draft.

Houston Astros
C -- Craig Biggio
1B -- John Mayberry
2B -- Bill Doran
3B -- Ken Caminiti
SS -- Julio Lugo
OF -- Lance Berkman
OF -- Kenny Lofton
OF -- Luis Gonzalez
DH -- Hunter Pence
SP -- Roy Oswalt
SP -- J.R. Richard
SP -- Floyd Bannister
SP -- Darryl Kile
SP -- Ken Forsch
RP -- Billy Wagner

I put Biggio at catcher so we could get the underrated Bill Doran into the lineup. Think how good those late '90s/early '00s Astros may have been if they hadn't given away Lofton for Eddie Taubensee and Gonzalez for the Wilkins (see above!). Maybe they should have just left Biggio behind the plate. The Astros have some great players come through organization, but not all were drafted: Jeff Bagwell came via trade, Cesar Cedeno was from the Dominican, Jose Cruz Sr. in a trade with the Cardinals, Jimmy Wynn was a pre-draft player taken from the Reds in the 1962 expansion draft.

Milwaukee Brewers
C -- Darrell Porter
1B -- Prince Fielder
2B -- Jim Gantner
3B -- Jeff Cirillo
SS -- Robin Yount
OF -- Gary Sheffield
OF -- Ryan Braun
OF -- B.J. Surhoff
DH -- Paul Molitor
SP -- Ben Sheets
SP -- Jim Slaton
SP -- Chris Bosio
SP -- Yovani Gallardo
SP -- Bill Wegman
RP -- Dan Plesac

Good lineup, not so good rotation. You could slide Greg Vaughn into the outfield instead of Surhoff and fans of the Harvey's Wallbangers team will stump for Gorman Thomas. Surhoff had a solid and lengthy career (over 9,000 plate appearances), although some of his best seasons came after he left the Brewers for the Orioles. He was the first pick in the talented 1985 draft -- three of the next five picks were Will Clark, Barry Larkin and Barry Bonds.

Pittsburgh Pirates
C -- Jason Kendall
1B -- Kevin Young
2B -- Willie Randolph
3B -- Richie Hebner
SS -- Fred Patek
OF -- Barry Bonds
OF -- Dave Parker
OF -- Moises Alou
DH -- Jay Buhner
SP -- John Candelaria
SP -- Tim Wakefield
SP -- Ed Whitson
SP -- John Smiley
SP -- Bruce Kison
RP -- Gene Garber

A pretty nice lineup, although a little weak at first base. One of the worst trades in Pirates history was when they traded Randolph, Dock Ellis and Ken Brett to the Yankees for Doc Medich. (Have to think that's the only trade in major league history involving two guys named "Doc" or "Dock.") Anyway, the Pirates gave up a second baseman with borderline Hall of Fame credentials for a pitcher who won eight games with the Pirates before traded the next season. What were they thinking? Randolph had hit .164 in 61 at-bats with the Pirates in 1975, so maybe they just didn't think he'd hit at the major league level, even though he'd hit .339 in Triple-A. They also had a solid second baseman in Rennie Stennett, who was just 24 years old. Randolph was really just a throw-in; the deal was essentially Medich for Ellis. The Yankees knew Randolph could field. Turned out he could hit as well. One more bad one: Everybody remembers the Buhner-for-Ken Phelps trade the Yankees made, but few remember the Yankees originally acquired Buhner in a deal that sent Tim Foli and Steve Kemp (both washed up) to the Pirates. By the way, the great Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve was an undrafted free agent -- as were Bruce Sutter, Jeff Reardon and Dan Quisenberry. Trevor Hoffman and Troy Percival were converted minor league position players. You never know where closers will come from, but most were not high draft picks.

St. Louis Cardinals
C -- Ted Simmons (not yet, Yadi)
1B -- Keith Hernandez
2B -- Placido Polanco
3B -- Terry Pendleton
SS -- Garry Templeton
OF -- Ray Lankford
OF -- Andy Van Slyke
OF -- J.D. Drew
DH -- Albert Pujols
SP -- Jerry Reuss
SP -- Dan Haren
SP -- Matt Morris
SP -- Bob Forsch
SP -- John Denny
RP -- Todd Worrell

This would be some kind of defensive team, especially if we put Yadier Molina behind the plate in place of Ted Simmons. But we can't do that -- Simmons was one of the best-hitting catchers of all time. The Cardinals have specialized in drafting speedy outfielders although I couldn't fit them all on the team -- Brian Jordan, Jerry Mumphrey, Vince Coleman and Coco Crisp to name a few.