International News: A Former First Overall Pick in the MLB Draft Finds a New Home in Japan


As the Houston Astros draft the first overall pick today, they hope they land a star at least of the likes of

Justin Upton

the 2005 #1 overall pick. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the Major League Baseball Draft happening today, I thought we would look back at a former #1 overall pick in the draft.

We know a lot of the overall #1 picks have become superstars over the years with the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, Chipper Jones, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, and even Justin Upton. But what about the ones that didn’t turn out to be superstars.

Almost all of the overall #1 picks have made it to the Major Leagues over the past 20+ years, except some of the newer guys who are still in the minors. We have all heard of Brien Taylor, the high school phenom who the Yankees took with the top pick only to see him flame out never even reaching Triple-A.

Or what about Matt Bush, who was the first overall pick in the 2006 Draft by the San Diego Padres. Well, he is serving a 51 month sentence in a Florida prison. If he never returns, he will be only the third #1 overall pick to never reach the Major Leagues joining Taylor and Steve Chilcott (1966).

Then there are others who have a smattering of success at the big league level like Paul Wilson (1994), Kris Benson (1996), Matt Anderson (1997), and Bryan Bullington (2002). Wait who?

Bryan Bullington was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Ball State University. He was taken in front of players like Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, and Matt Cain.

It only took Bullington three seasons to make it to Triple-A before making his Major League debut in 2005 during a September call up. He made a few more appearances in the big leagues spanning the next four seasons with four different teams, but never was able to stick at the Major League level.

Instead of heading back to the minor leagues for the 2011 season, Bullington headed east to sign with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, where he has been ever since.

Bullington is in his third season with the Carp in 2013. In 2+ seasons he has already surpassed his MLB total win by 21 (as of this writing). He finished his MLB career with a 1-9 record but so far he has posted a little more impressive 22-30 record in Japan. His first season was his best so far. He pitched over 200 innings with an ERA of just 2.42 while going 13-11. Those thirteen wins match his career high as a professional going all the way back to his first pro season in 2003 when he won a total of thirteen between Low-A and High-A ball.

While the Houston Astros are picking first this season, they hope they will hit on someone more in line with a Chipper Jonesor Ken Griffey Jr. instead of a Brien Taylor or Bryan Bullington.

Bryan Bullington’s Stats with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp


Whether or not Bullington ever makes a return to the big leagues will remain uncertain. But what is certain is that all 30 MLB clubs hope they get a little bit more out of their first pick in the 2013 draft.