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Looking Back at the Draft: 1990

March 31, 2010
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The year is 1990.

Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug posession in an FBI sting. The first McDonalds is opened in Moscow. Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years behind bars. Mike Tyson is knocked out by Buster Douglas. Windows 3.0 is released. The Soviet Union begins to dissolve as Latvia, Belarus and Lithuania declare independence. East and West Germany are reunited. Iraq invades Kuwait. Mob boss John Gotti is arrested. The Indians go 77-85, but there are signs of life as Sandy Alomar wins the Rookie of the Year Award, is selected to the All Star Game and wins his only career Gold Glove.

Indians 1st round pick: With the 8th pick overall, the Indians selected shortstop Tim Costo out of Iowa. Costo was considered to be one of the most advanced hitters in the draft, and a bit of an odd choice just after their selection of shortstop Mark Lewis #2 overall. It never really mattered though, as Costo never saw the field in an Indians uniform. He was dealt to the Reds barely a year after he was drafted for Reggie Jefferson, who was eventually dealt as part of the package for Omar Vizquel. To continue this game of musical shortstops, Costo was dealt back to the Indians in the winter of 1994 for none other than Mark Lewis. Confused yet? Bottom line, Costo never did anything to force his way into a major league lineup, and finished with a career .224 average (30-134). Costo's best minor league season was probably in 1992, when as a 23 year old in AA he hit 28 HR's and drove in 71, but only hit .241.

Best 1st round pick: A tough call, but I'll go with Florida HS shortstop Chipper Jones, #1 overall by Atlanta. Chipper currently sports a healthy .947 career OPS in addition to his .307 lifetime batting average. He is closing in on 500 HR's, and has an outside shot to get there even if he has to finish his career in the AL as a DH. An MVP trophy, batting title and six all-star games seals the case for Jones as the best player out of 1990's 1st round.

Honrable mention: The Orioles took Mike Mussina 20th overall, and he managed to win 270 games while pitching his entire career in the AL East...Jeromy Burnitz was selected 17th overall by the Mets, and the human windmill managed to hit 315 career HR's, good for 2nd most in the 1990's 1st round...This was known as the "Todd Van Poppel Draft," as he was considered one of the best pitching prospects to ever come out of high school. The Scott Boras client slid to the 14th overall pick, where he was selected by Oakland. Van Poppel and Boras took a hard line with the A's, with Van Poppel saying "If they think they can buy me, they're wrong. Money's not everything. The things I want to do, money can't buy. I've got to mature as a person and as a ballplayer. I think I can do that in college." Naturally, Van Poppel signed a month after the draft for a $500,000 bonus. He never lived up to the hype and bounced around the majors as a reliever with arm problems.

Indians best pick: With their 7th round pick, the Indians chose 3B David Bell out of football powerhouse Moeller HS in Cincinnati, OH. A third-generation major leaguer, Bell put together a solid if unspectacular 12 year career in the bigs. His best year came in 1999 after the Indians dealt him to Seattle for Joey Cora, when he went for a line of .268/21/78. Bell played solid defense, and he was a grinder before being a grinder was cool.

Honorable mention: Showing that the solid 1989 draft was an aberration, the Indians didn't get much out of the 1990 draft. Other than Bell, the best player drafted and signed by the Indians was journeyman starter Dave Milcki, chosen in the 17th round. Milcki put together a 10 year major league career in which he finished with a career record of 66-80. Milcki was dealt to the Mets in 1994 along with Paul Byrd and Jerry DiPoto in the deal that netted Jeromy Burnitz and Joe Roa.

Best early round picks: The Angels selected all stars in the 4th and 6th rounds with their selections of OF Garret Anderson and catcher-turned-closer Troy Percival, respectively...Chicago's Southsiders took future Tribe closer Bob Wickman in the 2nd round out of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wickman finished his career with 267 saves, including an AL-high 45 for the Indians in 2005...Chicago also came up with all star 2B Ray Durham in the 5th round...The Mets picked up future Albert Belle speedbump Fernando Vina in the 9th round out of Arizona St...Seattle hit on their 5th and 6th round picks, picking up all stars Brett Boone and Mike Hampton...Texas took underrated outfielder Rusty Greer in the 10th round. Greer hit .305 with a .865 OPS over his 9 year career.

Best late round picks: After using their 1st round pick on Crazy Carl Everett, the Yankees did an outstanding job of finding late round gems in 1990. They took OF Ricky Ledee in the 16th round, Andy Pettite in the 22nd round, Jorge Posada in the 24th round, and finally Shane Spencer in the 28th round...The White Sox hit on 36th round pick Jason Bere, who was never particularly great but finished above .500 for his career with a record of 71-65...First baseman Brian Daubach was chosen in the 17th round by the Mets.

The ones that got away: The Indians took catcher Paul Bako in the 6th round, but were unable to sign him...Future Golden Spikes winner Jason Varitek was chosen in the 23rd round by the Astros, but they were unable to come to terms...Pitcher Darren Dreifort was drafted by the Mets in the 11th round, but he didn't sign...Albie Lopez was again drafted, and again didn't sign, this time by the Mariners in the 19th round.

Other interesting picks: The Tigers drafted but did not sign future Penn St. and NFL QB Kerry Collins in the 26th round out of a Pennsylvania high school...Collins was probably the best QB drafted, but he had competition from future Heisman winner Chris Wienke, drafted by the Blue Jays in the 2nd round...Montreal had 10 of the first 53 picks in the draft due to compensation picks for losing free agents and failure to sign their 1st round pick from the year before. The best player out of the 10 selected was Rondell White, who finished his career with 198 career HR's and an OPS of .799. He's also the owner of the lone all star appearance out of the 10 picks.

Indians June 1990 draft:

1. Tim Costo, SS
1s. Sam Hence, OF
2. Darrell Whitmore, OF
2. Pat Bryant, OF
3. Jason Hardtke, SS
4. Jeff Brohm, SS
5. Oscar Munoz, RHP
6. Paul Bako, C
7. David Bell, 3B
8. Shawn Bryant, LHP
9. Rodrick McCall, 1B
10. Robert Smith, 2B
11. Carl Johnson, RHP
12. Craig Sides, RHP
13. Todd Whitehurst, RHP
14. Dino Philyaw, OF
15. Samuel Baker, RHP
16. James Morgan, OF
17. Dave Mlicki, RHP
18. Steve Gajkowski, RHP
19. Ricky Powell, OF
20. Robert Schultz, OF
21. Matt Carpenter, C
22. Jerry Ashford, 3B/C
23. Baylor Alexander, C
24. Roynal Coleman, OF
25. Timothy Thomas, 1B/OF
26. Scott Morgan, RHP
27. Oscar Resendez, RHP
28. Bart Peterson, RHP
29. David Vindivich, OF
30. Eric Trice, OF
31. Victor Ramirez, OF
32. Pete Guerra, C
33. Kenneth Day, RHP
34. Larry Minter, OF
35. Jose Sued, C
36. Edwin Couvertier, OF
37. Cesar Ramirez, OF
38. Joseph Fleet, RHP
39. Tim Langdon, LHP
40. Michael Zollars, SS
41. Joseph Frias, 2B
42. Mark Martin, OF
43. David Chisum, OF
44. John Rodgers, C
45. Efrain Montero, LHP
46. Charles Hickman, 1B
48. Ron Vaught, RHP
49. Joseph Chastain, LHP
50. DeWayne Wilson, 2B
51. Carlos Crawford, RHP
52. Chad Brown, LHP
53. James Warwick, SS
54. Lance Martin, OF
55. Brian Coleman, RHP
56. Aaron Morris, OF/1B
57. John Lorms, C
58. Tracy Sanders, OF
59. Frank Monastero, 2B

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