Biggest Mets busts drafted in the first round in franchise history
By Alan Karmin
Mets Left fielder
Lastings Milledge was a first-round selection in the 2003 draft, 12th overall, out of Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Florida. The 2003 draft was not one with a lot of popular names with the exception of a couple of standout Baltimore Orioles outfielders, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
Milledge was already known as a problem kid when the Mets selected him. But they took a chance as he was known to have a world of talent. However, it wasn’t long before he alienated everyone around him. After hitting his first major league home run, he returned to his right field position and, on the way, was high-fiving fans in the stands. It angered his teammates, management, and drew heavy criticism from the media. A few games later, a sign was placed on his locker that said, “Know your place, rook!”
He, and his antics, were sent packing a year later. He played parts of two seasons for the Mets with less than stellar results. He wound up in Washington and had one pretty good year for the Nationals, before wearing out his welcome there, and then with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox…his career-ending at the age of 26 years old.
Stan Jefferson was a first-round choice in the 1983 draft, 20th overall, out of Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida. Jefferson was actually the second of two first-round picks the Mets had that year. The first was some guy you probably never heard of, Eddie Williams, the third was some guy that is a huge part of Mets lore, Calvin Schiraldi.
Jefferson was supposed to be the next five-tool superstar centerfielder, a switch-hitter with the combination of power and speed. He got a taste of the big leagues during the Mets stretch drive in 1986 for an inauspicious 14 games but it didn’t matter much, as he had Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, and Darryl Strawberry ahead of him, and was part of the package sent to the San Diego Padres that brought Kevin McReynolds to the team before the ’87 season.
Jefferson struggled with the Padres before moving on for stints with the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds, and finally retired at the age of 28.
Mets Right fielder
Terry Blocker was a first-round choice in the 1981 draft, 4th pick overall, out of Tennessee State University. The 1981 draft was loaded with talent…truly loaded. How in the world the Mets made this choice is truly mind-boggling.
After the Mets made the selection of Blocker, some of the other players chosen were Kevin McReynolds, Tony Gwynn, Ron Darling, Frank Viola, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Mark Langston, Paul O’Neill, Mark McGwire…and some dude named John Elway. Notice Darling, Viola, Fernandez, and Cone…but none of them drafted by the Mets. What were they thinking?
Well, Blocker would go on to have a less than spectacular career for the Mets. He would get to the bigs in 1985, playing in 18 games and getting one hit in 15 at-bats. He would disappear for a couple of years and play portions of two seasons with the Braves before fading away into obscurity.
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Some of the guys bypassed in favor of Blocker…well…this is the same team that drafted some guy name Steve Chilcott rather than a guy who had a candy bar named after him years earlier.