We look back at the last draft of the Montreal Expos, one which didn’t produce a lot of star power, even though one name continues to produce.
Before the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals they had one last draft class in 2004. Only five players from said class made it to the major leagues, though one of them continues to play. As we prepare for the 2020 MLB draft we take a look at some of the names the Expos selected as a part of their final draft.
In the fifty rounds, only five players played at the major league level. There were only two high schoolers taken in the first twenty rounds and both players spent time with the Washington Nationals.
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While the first-round pick played in the majors, Bill Bray struggled as both a starter and a reliever. He would play in parts of six seasons, come back from Tommy John surgery, and have his best years in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. As far as a first-round pick is concerned, he was a bust for the Nationals.
High schoolers Ian Desmond and Collin Balester were taken back to back in the third and fourth rounds. Balester made fifteen starts in 2008 for the Nationals, though he could not get a firm grip on his rotation spot. After short stints with the Detroit Tigers and Reds, he was out of baseball after six years.
Desmond was the prize jewel in the draft class and the player who keeps contributing. Where it took him five years to get out of the minors, he has had a stranglehold on playing time ever since. Desmond strikes out a lot, makes a lot of errors, and struggles at times to hit for average, though can hit for power and can steal bases. After eleven seasons he is still going strong and currently calls the Colorado Rockies home.
Desmond did not break into the bigs with the Expos, he couldn’t. The year after he was drafted the Expos ceased to exist anymore. He did have a productive career in a Nationals uniform and continues to be the final link between the Expos and Major League Baseball.