Philadelphia Phillies: Mark Appel busted number one pick

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Mark Appel
CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Mark Appel /
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Brien Taylor

The Yankees of the late 80s and early 90s looked nothing like the dynasty that would follow. They “earned” the first pick in the 1991 draft by losing 95 games the previous year.

The decision to select Brien Taylor, a high school left-hander from North Carolina, was easy. He stood 6’3 and touched the upper 90s with his fastball. In 88 high school innings, he struck out 213 batters.

"Taylor was a high school phenom from North Carolina, who regularly hit 99 mph on the gun from the left side. -Cory Fallon, BaseballEssential.com, February 24, 2016"

Baseball America ranked Taylor the #1 prospect in baseball before the 1992 season and #2 overall the following year. He flashed dominance at A+ Ft. Lauderdale and AA Albany-Colonie during his first two professional seasons.

Then, in December 1993, he got into a fight in a bar. While throwing a punch, he tore muscles in his left shoulder. The injury required surgery, and he missed all of 1994.

He was a shell of himself when he returned, losing much of his velocity and any semblance of control. He walked an astonishing 175 batters in only 108.2 innings from 1995-1998 in the low minors.

Taylor eventually returned to his childhood home in North Carolina on the street now called Brien Taylor Lane. In 2012, he was sentenced to 38 months in prison for cocaine trafficking.