With the sixth pick in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, the Oakland Athletics selected 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder Austin Beck out North Davidson High School in Lexington, N.C.
As John Hickey points out in the East Bay Times, it was 25 years ago this month that Derek Jeter was drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees with the sixth overall pick.
Jeter, who retired in 2014 as perhaps the most popular Yankees player in the last half century, had his No. 2 retired by the club and a plaque unveiled at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. The New York shortstop is eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 and he could become the first player voted in with 100 percent of the vote (Ken Griffey Jr. holds the record with 99.32 percent – 437 of 440 ballots).
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So, did the Athletics draft the next Derek Jeter?
If history is any indicator … probably not.
Hickey says: “A study of the last quarter century of No. 6 picks suggests the A’s have a much better chance of getting nothing from having the sixth choice than they do of getting a star.
“The only genuine stars to come out of the sixth pick in the last 25 years are Jeter, the 1996 Rookie of the Year, and Zack Greinke, the current Diamondbacks starter who was drafted by Kansas City and who won the 2009 Cy Young Award when still with the Royals. Andrew Miller, while not a star, is a top-flight reliever who helped the Indians reach the World Series last season after a mid-season trade from the Yankees. And 27-year-old third baseman Anthony Rendon has twice hit 20 homers for Washington and is on pace for around 30 this season.
“Only 15 of the 25 picks have even made it to the big leagues, although the picks from 2014-16, including A.J. Puk, taken sixth by the A’s last year, haven’t had time to climb the ladder and make their way to the big leagues.”
Former Turlock High and Fresno State standout Steve Soderstrom was the No. 6 overall pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1993. He reached the big leagues in 1996, making three starts for the Giants and posting a 2-0 record with a 5.27 ERA.
A quarter century of No. 6 picks
(Year drafted, player, position, career peak)
2016 – A.J. Puk, LHP, A’s, High Class-A
2015 – Tyler Jay, LHP, Twins, Double-A
2014 – Alex Jackson, C, Mariners, High Class-A
2013 – Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins, MLB / 9 gms 2016 / in AAA
2012 – Albert Almora, CF, Cubs, MLB since 2016
2011 – Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals, MLB since 2013
2010 – Barret Loux, RHP, Diamondbacks, Triple-A
2009 – Zach Wheeler, RHP, Giants, MLB 3 years
2008 – Kyle Skipworth, C, Marlins, MLB 4 games
2007 – Ross Detwiler, LHP, Nationals, MLB 9 seasons
2006 – Andrew Miller, LHP, Tigers, MLB / All-Star
2005 – Ricardo Romero, LHP, Blue Jays, MLB 5 seasons
2004 – Jeremy Sowers, LHP, Indians, MLB 4 seasons
2003 – Ryan Harvey, OF, Cubs, Double-A
2002 – Zach Greinke, RHP, Royals, MLB 3x All-Star
2001 – Josh Karp, RHP, Expos, Triple-A
2000 – Rocco Baldelli, OF, Devil Rays, MLB 7 seasons
1999 – Josh Girdley, LHP, Expos, High Class-A
1998 – Ryan Mills, LHP, Twins, Triple-A
1997 – Geoff Goetz, LHP, Mets, Double-A
1996 – Seth Greisinger, RHP, Tigers, MLB 4 seasons
1995 – Jamie Jones, OF, Marlins, Triple-A
1994 – McKay Christensen, OF, Angels, MLB 4 seasons
1993 – Steve Soderstrom, RHP, Giants, MLB 3 games
1992 – Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees, MLB 14x All-Star