Monday, August 16, 2010

The Montreal Expos Draft History

The recent MLB Network production of Triumph and Tragedy has rekindled my old feelings for the Montreal Expos. The special is fantastic and highly recommended even though it could have used a little more Jonah Keri for my taste. The strike shortened 1994 season really was a tragedy for the Expos not only ruining their World Series bound season but it financially sunk their battleship. The dominant team from the year before was broken up before the 1995 season and they could never recover, leading to their eventual move to Strasburg DC.

The Expos knew they couldn't compete in the free agent market and turned their focus to home-growing their own system. I already wrote about my favorite Expos and posted the must see fan video. But the special got me thinking about their draft history. So I figured I might highlight some of their more memorable draft picks. They had a nice eye for talent highlighted by signing Vladimir Guerrero, trading for Pedro Martinez and drafting (not signing) Mark McGwire. But I'm just going to take a look a draft picks for this special Canadian version of hop in the way back machine. (All info from Baseball-Reference)

Gary Carter - The Hall Of Fame catcher was draft in the 3rd round (53). He played for the Expos from 1974-1984 racking up 52.3 of his career 66.3 WAR. In 1984, Carter was traded to the Mets for Hubie Brooks and some loose change found in the GM's office.

Andre Dawson - Drafted in the 11th round (250), Dawson played from 1976-1986 in Montreal. He recorded 43.6 of his career 57.0 WAR during those years. The Hawk and his career .323 OBP were inducted into the Hall of Fame this year as an Expo.

Tim Raines - The Rock was drafted in the 5th round (106). From 1980 to 1990, he was the second best lead off man in baseball and racked up 46 of his career 64.6 WAR. Raines gets the Hall of Fame support he deserves from the sabermetric community but the voters are still a little grumpy about, I assume, the cocaine usage. Which of course is way different than Willie Mays' amphetamine use just a couple of decades prior. Rock should eventually get in but it's a shame he'll have to wait.

Tim Wallach - The catcher spent basically all of his productive years in Montreal collecting 31.1 of his 31.3 WAR from 1980 to 1992. He was the Expos' 1st round pick (10).

Andres Galaragga - The undrafted free agent didn't have a great career in Montreal from 1985-1991 (8.6 WAR) but they managed to turn him into Ken Hill for their magical run in 1994.

Larry Walker - The amateur free agent was a beast in the outfield from 1989-1994 posting a 19.3 WAR. In the great fire sale of 1995, he was granted free agency netting the Expos nothing in return for one of their cornerstone players.

Randy Johnson - The Expos didn't give The Big Unit much of chance giving him just 10 starts before dealing him to Seattle for Mark Langston in 1989. But they still get some credit for drafting him in the 2nd round (36).

Delino DeShields - The first round pick (12) was a fan favorite from 1990-1993 while collecting an 8.6 WAR. DeShields was traded in the 1993 offseason for a 160 pound pitcher from the Dodgers. While the Expos were crushed for the trade, Pedro Martinez ended up being fairly decent.

Marquis Grissom - The Expos drafted their star center fielder in the 3rd round (76) and he posted a 17.8 WAR from 1989-2004. But he'd be another casualty of the 1995 fire sale when he was traded to the Braves for Esteban Yan, a bag of Cheetos, Tony Tarasco, a case of half-filled Coca Cola glass bottles and Roberto Kelly. A fair haul for a center fielder who helped bring a World Series championship to Atlanta.

Rondell White - The first round (24) outfielder put up a respectable 17.7 WAR in his stint in Montreal from 1993-2000 before bouncing around both leagues.

Javier Vasquez - The 5th round (140) pitcher had some good seasons in Montreal from 1998-2003 posting a 16.1 WAR before being traded to the Yankees. If you remove his 2 stints in New York, Vasquez has had a solid career.

Just for fun.

Brandon Phillips - Given up on early after being drafted in the 2nd round (57) but more on him in a minute.

In The Year 2000
Grady Sizemore - Taken in the 3rd round (75).

Cliff Lee - Taken in the 4th round (105).

Jason Bay - Drafted in the 22nd round (645) and traded to the Mets in 2002. Then he was traded to San Diego in 2002 and flipped to Pittsburgh in 2003 before he was traded to Boston in 2008. He was the Mets big free agent signing in 2009 and, I assume, they're trying to trade him to the Washington Nationals to complete the circle of life.

Bartolo Colon Trade
In 2002, the Expos traded Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee for Bartolo Colon. The Indians didn't have much patience with Phillips either flipping him to Cincinnati. Cliff Lee has also been passed around quite a bit but might be the best pitcher in baseball and figures to sign a massive contract with the Yankees in the offseason. Grady Sizemore seemed like he was well on his way to multiple MVPs before injuries have stalled out his career. But for a while, this looked like the most lopsided trade in baseball history since Babe Ruth was traded for some theatre tickets and the rights to a Muscial To Be Named Later. Is that right? I'm not good with history.

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