Friday, November 3, 2023

Baseball's Best Fifth Round Draft Picks 1970 - 74

Thanks to Immaculate Grid game #212's new category (first round draft pick) for inspiring me to bone up on MLB's Rule 4 amateur draft, which kicked off in 1965. Baseball Reference's statistical history includes Rule 4's complete record, broken down by draft phase and pick. I already covered 1965-69 in my prior post and will keep looking at five-year blocks until we run out of steam.

Two of these names from the top of 1970's fifth round found similar overall success, right around WAR's break-even point.

Pat Scanlon, who shares his name with an uncle of mine, played parts of four seasons for Montreal and San Diego. He appeared on a pair of standard cards, one SSPC...

...the other, 1978 Topps, airbrushed his Montreal cap and uniform with a foreshortened SD.

Thanks to dedicated blogger and image updater WthBalls, we can enjoy one more Scanlon, based on a real Padres photo.

As good as those three cards turned out, Pat's -0.3 career WAR sits well below our best choice for 1970.

1970: Rick Waits (14.2 WAR)

Rick turned into a Cleveland innings-eater for five years before slowing in 1982 and closing his career as a Milwaukee reliever. His first appearance (September 17, 1973, for Texas) gave him a save that might not be granted today. He pitched the ninth, gave up one run, and finished ahead by seven runs.

Easy to pick my favorite Waits card, a "waiter" card, as marked up by

1971: Charlie Moore (10.3 WAR)

Charlie's name feels more familiar than most, as a Wisconsin native and 1980s card collector. Milwaukee's "tools of ignorance" looked great in blue and gold, with Moore wearing them on cards at least twice.

Moore also spent a lot of time in right field and batted well during a 1982 postseason that brought his Brewers to the World Series against St. Louis.

1972: Randy Jones (17.8 WAR, 1976 NL Cy Young, 2x All-Star)

Randy fell a few votes short of back-to-back Cy Young awards, finishing second to Seaver in 1975 before winning the following year. His flip side Jim Palmer managed that feat, joining the cadre who won at least two in a row.

These two cards show the significance of a great mid-1970s hairdo, whether you're feeling Randy or feeling Jim.

1973: LaMarr Hoyt (12.1 WAR, 1983 AL Cy Young, 1985 All-Star)

Hoyt also led the AL in wins twice (1982-83) and picked up a Cy Young of his own. He followed Randy's example with lofty curls and classic, vintage uniforms.

As inscribed by his own hand, LaMarr started that 1985 All-Star Game (for San Diego) and took the win-plus-MVP in a 6-1 NL victory.

1974: (tie) Steve Henderson (11.5 WAR), Jim Morrison (12 WAR)

For my first time so far, two players vie for the trophy. While Henderson remains closer to my heart as a former Mariner, I prefer his Buntin' Cub 1983 card's more interesting composition.

Jim Morrison started his teen years about when the famous Jim Morrison peaked and I bet he rode a rollercoaster of seeing that name in the papers, for reasons good, bad, and ugly. In an echo of Mr. Mojo Risin's animal magnetism, Topps used portraits of Jim's handsome mug on several cards.

I give the "best pick" edge to Jim over Steve for his three scoreless pitching appearances as a 1988 Brave. Remember his name the next time IG asks for an Atlanta Brave with season ERA under 3!

1 comment:

Bo said...

Many years ago I worked with a woman named Pat Scanlan.