If history is any indication, the Cubs have a chance to hit the Powerball with the No. 2 pick on Thursday - or they could end up with some swampland in Florida.
Over the last 10 years, that second pick has offered up a mixed bag of results. Last year, the Minnesota Twins took Byron Buxton, a high school outfielder who's playing in Class A this year. Through 52 games, he's hitting .333 with a .435 OBP. His most impressive stat is a nearly 1:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio with 36 BB and 40 K.
In 2011, the Mariners went with pitcher Danny Hultzen from the University of Virginia. He had a rough season in Triple-A level in 2012, but was ranked as a top-20 prospect by Baseball America prior to this season and has been solid in four Triple-A starts this year.
In 2010, the Pirates went the high school route with pitcher Jameson Taillon, who played this spring for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic and was ranked as a top-15 prospect entering 2013. What's this tell us? The No. 2 pick often still needs some time, especially if they are drafted out of high school. More often than not it takes a couple years before the No. 2 pick makes his MLB debut.
That said, if you wait they will come. Only one No. 2 pick from 2002-2009 is not playing the in the big leagues right now. That's Greg Reynolds, a right-hander out of Stanford selected by Colorado in 2006. He's the one bust. He's played 27 games and was traded to the Rangers for Chad Tracy six years after he was picked. Reynolds was signed as a free agent by the Reds prior to the 2013 season and is pitching with their Triple-A affiliate.
[More: Positive test for Gray as Cubs weigh options at No. 2]
Here's the real upside:
Look at the No. 2 overall pick from 2003-2005. Rickie Weeks, Justin Verlander and Alex Gordon. Rickie Weeks has been inconsistent, but he's been in the Majors for 10 years. Alex Gordon was supposed to be the next George Brett. Instead, he's turned into an Gold Glove outfielder for Kansas City who's hit .302 over the last three years. Of course, if you're really lucky...you end up with the next Justin Verlander. Verlander was the No. 2 overall pick in 2004 out of Old Dominion.
Maybe Jonathan Gray or Mark Appel will be the next Justin Verlander. Or they could be the next Greg Reynolds.
In their previous chances with the No. 2 overall pick, the Cubs selected Mark Prior (2002) and Joe Carter (1981).
A look at the last 10 No. 2 picks (* denotes player not currently in major leagues):
|2007||Mike Moustakas||Kansas City||3B||3.6|
|2005||Alex Gordon||Kansas City||3B/OF||20.4|