Found June 04, 2012 on

The Houston Astros have the No. 1 pick in the 2012 MLB Draft tonight, and, as with any sport, it comes with a lot of pressure. After all, when you choose No. 1, you have no excuses. You can’t say you didn’t want the player you drafted or preferred a different player, because you draft first. It comes with both a blessing and a curse.

The Astros have reportedly narrowed down their choice to Stanford pitcher Mark Appel or Georgia high school outfield prospect Byron Buxton, although there is a list of other high school athletes as well as a few top college prospects who could hear their name called by Houston at the top. Either way, the Astros have until around 7 PM to decide which player they would like to make the No. 1 overall pick this year.

Whoever the Astros select, they know that nothing is guaranteed. Their pick could go on to be the next David Price or Stephen Strasburg and become an elite pitcher in the big leagues. He could be the next Alex Rodriguez or Josh Hamilton and dominate at the plate for years to come.

Then again, he could just as easily be the next coming of Brien Taylor or Matt Anderson on the mound. Or he could be the reincarnation of Shawn Abner or Jeff King in the field. You just never know.

Teams do their due diligence when it comes to drafting players, especially with the No. 1 overall pick. You don’t want to be the team who drafted Abner over Mark McGwire or Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson. Who wants to be referenced as the team who drafted Bryan Bullington instead of Prince Fielder, Zach Greinke, Jon Lester or Matt Cain. Or the brain trusts who selected Matt Bush over Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver or Stephen Drew. It happens.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Aside from Rodriguez and Hamilton or Strasburg and Price, many other No. 1 overall draft picks have gone on to enjoy moderate to elite careers in the bigs. Joe Mauer was a No. 1 overall pick. So was Adrian Gonzalez, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. Some top picks do go onto become Hall of Famers.

Unfortunately, it does not always happen for the team who drafts them first. Hamilton was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays. Gonzalez was drafted by the Miami Marlins. Neither player enjoyed much success at all with the teams who drafted them first.

The Astros are looking to strike it rich with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. But if they cannot get the next Griffey Jr. or A-Rod, they certainly want to at least make sure that they do better than drafting the next comparison to Taylor or Abner or Bush.


Kelley writes for The Pigskin Report as well as Hardball Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24 and Like The Rob Kelley Sports Network on Facebook. Kelley is a former sports reporter for various newspapers throughout the state of Florida, and had his first book published I'm Not a Quitter after moving back to Massachusetts.



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