CLEVELAND -- The Red Sox have never had a situation quite like the Stephen Strasburg Experience, and here’s why. Since the draft began in 1965, the Red Sox have never had the No. 1 overall pick.
The highest they've ever picked in the June draft was 1967, when they had the third pick and selected right-hander Mike Garman, who made his big-league debut in 1969 at age 19, beating the Yankees after a September callup. That was one of just two games Garman would win for the Sox before he was traded to the Cardinals in 1973, the first of four times he would be swapped before being released by the Expos in March 1979. Lifetime record: 22-27, 3.63.
The Sox picked fourth in 1966 and selected Ken Brett, who pitched in the ’67 World Series at age 19 but went 10-15 with a 4.58 ERA before being traded (with Billy Conigliaro, the fifth player taken in the ’65 draft) in a deal with Milwaukee. That would be the first of six trades involving Brett, who also was released four times before his career came to an end in 1981.
Since those first three years of the draft, the Sox -- because of their position in the standings -- have had a top-10 pick just once. That was in 1993, when they took outfielder Trot Nixon, who became a productive big-leaguer but hardly a superstar.
The Red Sox have drafted a pitcher 16 times in the first round; only nine have made it to the majors. Of the five pitchers they took with a pick higher than No. 18, none made it to the big leagues: Tom Fischer (’88), Andrew Madden (’77), Andy Yount (’95), John Curtice (’97), Rob Parkins (’82), all names long forgotten.
Roger Clemens was the 19th player picked in 1983 and became the greatest pitcher in the team’s history, but while his arrival in the big leagues was widely anticipated, it had none of the fanfare of Strasburg’s debut.
Bruce Hurst (22nd pick, 1976) was the other big first-round success story, though Daniel Bard (No. 28, 2006) could easily join that company. The best of the rest was Aaron Sele (23rd, 1991), while Phil Dumatrait, Craig Hansen and Reggie Harris also made it to the bigs.
Bard, it should be remembered, was selected with the pick the Red Sox received as compensation from the Yankees for New York's signing of Johnny Damon.
The Sox selected 10 other pitchers with first-round “sandwich” picks (compensatory selections for the loss of free agents): Five have made it to the big leagues, the best of the group Clay Buchholz (42nd overall, 2005).