Commentary

Gonzalez leads stars who were doubted

Snap judgments on draft picks sometimes miss rising stars

Updated: June 8, 2011, 3:47 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
Adrian GonzalezAP Photo/Winslow TownsonAdrian Gonzalez may have been a controversial pick, but he is one the best hitters in baseball.

Like everyone else who loves the draft, I had a lot of fun Monday. Between baseballprospectus.com and ESPN.com, I chatted for nearly eight hours, pushed out hundreds of tweets and lost count of the radio appearances by mid-afternoon. At the same time, I judged. I said this pick was great or that pick was bad, and as an analyst in the field of scouting and player development, that's what I'm paid to do. Still, properly judging a draft pick can often take years, so here are 10 recent examples of when the industry rushed to judgment far too soon on a first-round pick:

Adrian Gonzalez, Florida Marlins, 2000 (No. 1 overall)

The 2000 draft remains one of the worst in recent memory, as only five of the first 10 picks even reached the majors. While Gonzalez was seen by some as the best high school hitter in the draft, his status as a first base-only type among an impressive group of college arms had few seeing him as worthy of the top pick. He only ended up going first because he agreed to a $3 million deal before Florida made its selection, but 11 years later, his 180 home runs top all picks from that June.

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins, 2001 (No. 1 overall)