Monday, May 13, 2013

25 Minnesota Twins Drafts in 25 Days: 1989

The 1989 draft was much more notable than the slop from 1988.  In fact, the '89 draft produced a player who I believe will be in the Twins' Hall of Fame one day, two players who would win Rookie of the Year, and a guy who had one of the worst bleach blonde hairstyles of the '90s.  Let's check it out!

1st Round Pick

The Twins drafted old battery-face Chuck Knoblauch with the 25th overall pick in the 1989 draft.  Knoblauch would rise through the Minors quickly and win the AL Rookie of the Year and a World Championship in 1991.  He has to be considered one of the best draft picks in Twins' history.

Ah, but what if? 

Only Frank Thomas posted a higher WAR than Knoblauch among players taken in the 1989 first round.  In fact, I refuse to even look at early second round picks, as Knoblauch was just too great of a pick to change.  However, Jeff Bagwell lasted to pick 112, so perhaps we can "what if" with Jeff Bagwell in the 2nd round instead of John Gumpf, who will be mentioned again later, but not for his baseball abilities.

Best Player Drafted

Knoblauch, and it's not really all that close.  However, the Twins drafted really well in 1989, taking Denny Neagle in the 3rd round, Scott Erickson in the 4th round, Marty Cordova in the 10th round and Mike Trombley in the 14th round.  Each contributed in some way down the line. 

Worst Player to Reach MLB

Poor Denny Hocking.  It isn't his fault that he wasn't very good at baseball and that he had terrible taste in hair color.  Luckily for Hocking in this instance, George Tsamis posted a -0.6 career WAR to Hocking's -0.5 career WAR.  Derrick White posted a -1.8 career WAR, but did not sign with the Twins after being drafted in the 23rd round.  The Expos got to waste a 6th round pick on him a couple years later. 

The One Who Got Away

The Twins drafted Reggie Jackson in the 49th round of the 1989 draft.  Unfortunately, Mr. October, as he would soon be called, was not long for Minnesota.  He did the majority of his damage with the Yankees and Athletics, winning multiple championships and hitting over 500 home runs.  What?  Not the same guy?  Oh.  Well, no one then.

Best Name

The aforementioned John Gumpf and Rex de la Nuez, drafted in the 22nd round

Fun Facts
  •          2 future Rookies of the Year were drafted in 1989 - Knoblauch and Cordova
  •          Denny Neagle was happily traded after one season with the Twins for John Smiley (get it?!?!)
  •          10 players drafted by the Twins in 1989 reached the majors and five - Hocking, White, Tsamis, Dan Masteller and Tom Urbani, posted negative career WAR
  •          The other 5 who made it to the MLB posted a combined WAR over 110
  •          Fans threw batteries at Chuck Knoblauch once.  Seriously.

All those drafted who made it to the Bigs

Chuck Knoblauch, Scott Erickson, Denny Neagle, Mike Trombley, Marty Cordova, George Tsamis, Tom Urbani, Dan Masteller, Derrick White, and Denny Hocking (who always comes last on any list I am making).

One Sentence Summary

If the 1988 draft was the Ocean's Twelve of drafts, the 1989 draft was Ocean's Eleven.


  1. Great article. I am a Cardinals fan who moved south in 1989 but continue to love all things baseball. This led me to many Huntsville Stars AA games in the early 1990s - 2000s. At one of my first many games, a friend and I each had a Score rookie card of the visiting Orlando Sun Rays to choose from in attempt to get autographs. I chose Chuck Knoblauch and my friend chose Lenny Webster. The next year was magnificent as Knoblauch became my favorite player during a rookie of the year campaign while simultaneously the South was collectively jumping on the Braves bandwagon. When Chuck almost singlehandedly won the World Series with is juke of Lonnie Smith the next day week at school was amazing. What a great series. Will always love Chuck no matter the baggage as he was a phenomenal player. Got to see him in Old Yankee stadium play the Tigers the during the summer of 2000 as well.

    1. I'm glad you liked the article! Knoblauch is one of my all-time favorites. It was sad to watch his mind take him out of baseball while he was so young and talented. That Score rookie card is burned into my brain. I actually wrote about those cards a few weeks back.