History of the No. 3 pick: Two Hall of Famers, and...

History of the No. 3 pick: Two Hall of Famers, and...
June 3, 2014, 6:15 pm
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The White Sox have only had a top-three pick in the MLB Draft three times: 1969 (No. 3), 1971 (No. 1) and 1977 (No. 1).

They'll add to that list Thursday, with 2013's 99-loss season granting them the No. 3 overall pick.

While Harold Baines was a top-three success (No. 1 overall in 1977), Danny Goodwin (No. 1 in 1971) and Ted Nicholson (No. 3 in 1969) were busts. Goodwin amassed -1.7 WAR in 252 career games, while Nicholson never made it to the majors.

Nicholson is one of nine No. 3 overall picks to never play in the major leagues, though that includes last year's third pick (Rockies pitcher Jon Gray). 2009 third-round pick Donovan Tate is still playing, though he hasn't made it out of Single-A and tore his Achilles' prior to the 2014 season.

[MORE: White Sox focused on more than first-round pick]

The success stories outweigh the cautionary tales, though. The top 10 No. 3 overall picks, as ranked by career WAR:

1. SS Robin Yount (77 WAR)
2. SS Paul Molitor (75.4 WAR)
3. 3B Matt Williams (46.4 WAR)
4. OF Lonnie Smith (38.4 WAR)
5. 3B Troy Glaus (37.9 WAR)
6. 3B Evan Longoria (37.2 WAR)
7. RHP Joe Coleman (23.7 WAR)
8. OF Jose Cruz (19.5 WAR)
9. SS Dick Schofield (18.8 WAR)
10. C Mike Lieberthal (15.2 WAR)

That's two Hall of Famers (Yount and Molitor), two players with 300+ career home runs (Williams and Glaus) and a current perennial All-Star (Longoria).

Two other No. 3 picks have connections to the White Sox -- Dustin Hermanson (11.3 WAR) saved 34 games for the 2005 White Sox and Philip Humber (0.9 WAR) threw a perfect game for the White Sox in 2012.

A few other notable No. 3 picks: Indians starter Trevor Bauer (2011, drafted by Arizona), Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (2010), Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (2009) and former Marlins, Mets, Cardinals and Brewers pitcher Braden Looper (1997).

[MORE: White Sox have productive first day of MLB Draft debates]

The 40 players picked No. 3 overall who've made the major leagues have averaged 12.4 WAR in their respective careers. That's less than the average for No. 4 picks (14.1), No. 6 picks (13.9) and No. 20 picks (13.3).

By most accounts, the White Sox will select a pitcher third overall on Thursday -- whether that's Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek, Carlos Rodon or Aaron Nola, that player will have a chance to become the first elite pitcher picked third overall.