In 1999, TEN players were taken in the top 63 picks from the state of Washington. Three of those players were from Moses Lake High School, my alma mater, so this article was of particular interest to me. Never again will we probably ever see that many baseball players go so high in the draft from the state of Washington. If you weren't around to see any of those players play, you might say that Washington may have gotten over-hyped a bit, but I'm sure many first-hand witnesses of this talent would beg to differ. I was only ten at the time, but I remember getting updates during class about when the Moses Lake High School players had been drafted.
How are all of these players doing right now? Well, you can read the article I'm referring to in order to find out. Basically, only one player from the draft, Ryan Doumit, has made it big. Although he is injured at the moment with a broken hand bone, he recently signed a 3 yr $11.5 million deal with the Pirates. My father, who was head coach at Moses Lake HS for about six years in the early '90s (just before the three draftees entered high school), insists that Doumit probably never would have been drafted that high if it weren't for all the hype behind B.J. Garbe and Jason Cooper. B.J. Garbe was drafted 5th overall in '99 and he was the most highly taughted player in Washington that year. The scouts never would have come to Moses Lake if it weren't for Garbe and Cooper, and therefore Doumit's talents would have gone unnoticed.
But as you can see, the most important aspect of where you get drafted is only the money, because anyone can make it to the big leagues if they perform well enough, and even the brightest young talents can falter or become injured; which happens more often than not. And while I was on the topic of money: B.J. Garbe was given a $2.75 million signing bonus! And this was in 1999 people! If my memory serves me correctly, Doumit's signing bonus just barely cleared six figures. (chum change... chum change...)
Why was Doumit able to make it to the majors? Well, a lot can be said for the position he plays: Catcher. If you can play catcher and hit well, you have a very good chance of rising up the ranks and into the Majors. Also, as with many of the opportunities that arise for minor leaguers to make it to the bigs, there has to be an open spot to fill, and the Pirates have been very thin at the Catcher position for a number of years.
Doumit has had quite a number of injuries the past few seasons, yet somehow the Pirates had enough faith in him to sign him for 3 years. (That probably had to do a lot with the fact that he batted .318 with 71 Runs, 69 RBIs, and 15 HRs in just 431 atbats last season). I really hope he can put his injuries behind him and wind up with a solid MLB career.