The Dodgers’ 5 Biggest Draft Busts of All Time

With the success of our “5 Dodgers That Fans Wish Were Never on the Team” article this week, we did another deep dive with Dodgers fans. Since the NFL is set to host their virtual draft starting today, we posed the question on Facebook and Twitter asking fans about Los Angeles’ biggest draft busts. 

The responses ranged in reasoning, most of which focused on more recent draft picks that did not pan out. But there were also some picks from the 1980s that Dodgers fans have still not forgotten about.

For those wondering, the overall quality of the pick is what we were hoping to base this off of, not players those picks were traded for. For example, the Dodgers drafted Zach Lee back in 2010 but eventually traded him for Chris Taylor. Taylor is a net win, but we’re going to base it off the prospect alone. 

The Best of the Worst

Speaking of Zach Lee, he was a reoccurring name in this particular segment. Lee was part of more fans’ votes than any other player between our Facebook and Twitter responses. And it makes sense, given that Lee was the Dodgers’ 28th overall pick in the 2010 draft. The Dodgers also open to pass on guys like Noah Syndergaard and Nick Castellanos, who were selected just a few picks after Lee. 

In his only games with the Dodgers at the big league level, Lee tossed 4.2 innings and gave up seven earned runs. He struggled throughout his minor league career with the Dodgers, receiving invites to Spring camps but only cracking the 40-man roster in order to be protected by the Rule 5 draft. Really the only positive in regards to Lee is that he eventually was flipped for Chris Taylor. 


The Top Five Picks Plus More

  • Zach Lee
  • Darren Dreifort
  • Billy Ashley
  • Blake DeWitt
  • Preston Mattingly
  • Greg Miller
  • David Yocum
  • Bubba Crosby

Darren Dreifort

Dreifort was the second selection overall in the 1993 draft ahead of guys like Trot Nixon, Billy Wagner, Derek Lee, and Chris Carpenter. The Dodgers selected him out of Wichita State University where he was a two-time All-American and the 1993 NCAA Player of the Year. Dreifort made his debut in April of the following year without playing a game in the minor leagues. 

Injuries pushed Dreifort to the bullpen, where he pitched pretty well. But when Dreifort signed a free-agent deal with the Dodgers in 2000, and that’s where things went south. Dreifort was inked to a five-year, $55 million deal despite a history of arm troubles and a poor record. Elbow reconstruction in addition to knee and hip pain ultimately forced him into retirement at age 32. Dreifort made just 26 starts after signing his massive deal.

Billy Ashley 

Ashley was taken in the third round of the 1988 MLB draft. The Dodgers took Ashley directly out of high school, and he showed excellent power at the minor league level. He made his debut in 1992, but his inability to hit for average and his incredibly high strikeout rate led to his release in 1995. 

Blake DeWitt

DeWitt was the 28th overall pick in the 2004 draft. The biggest knock on him is that the Dodgers never even got league average numbers out of him. He got a chance to play with the big league squad in 2008 after injuries to Nomar Garciaparra, Andy LaRoche, and Tony Abreu left an opening at third base. He slashed .264/.344/.383 in 117 games, but his terribly in the playoffs that same year. He was ultimately traded to Chicago in a deal that brought Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to Los Angeles. 

Preston Mattingly

Let’s be honest, fans really don’t like this pick because of who his dad is. Mattingly was take in the first round of the 2006 draft and he never played a game above High-A ball. He was technically the supplemental pick which is the 31st overall pick, signing for $1 million. He hit well in his first professional season playing rookie ball but never panned out after that. He was traded right as his father was being named as the Dodgers’ manager but returned when he was cut from the Indians. His final game was in 2011 with Rancho Cucamonga. 

Greg Miller

Another first-round pick in the 2002 draft, the Dodgers missed out on Joey Votto and picked reliever Greg Miller out of Esperanza High School in Anaheim. At a very young age, Miller could be compared to Clayton Kershaw, who wouldn’t be drafted until four years later. Miller faced injury after injury to his throwing shoulder and elbow, which ultimately led to him never seeing the big leagues. The Dodgers released him in 2009 after accumulating a 9.26 earned run average at class A. 

David Yocum

Yocum is one of those guys that you can’t just help to feel bad for. He was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in the 1995 draft, at number 20 overall. Yocum showed plenty of potential, but shoulder injuries ultimately took him out of baseball after two short seasons. 

Bubba Crosby

Crosby was one of those guys that I wanted to work out so badly. The 23rd overall pick of the 1998 MLB draft, Crosby’s combination of speed and the potential for left-handed power had plenty of people in the organization hopeful that the 21-year-old would develop into something special. The Dodgers ultimately chose to start Rickey Henderson and keep Crosby in the minors in 2003. They later traded him to the Yankees for Robin Ventura. All told, he had 12 at-bats with Los Angeles. Mark Teixeira was pick number 265 during that draft.

Points For Comedy

A few of the responses had us laughing as opposed to most of these making us cry. Naturally, we had to give them a shoutout! 

Share your thoughts!

Let us know what you think! Who is your biggest draft bust in Dodgers’ history? If you feel there were some names missed, add them to the comments below. If there were guys that you felt should NOT be on the list, then give them a defense! 

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  1. Chris Anderson taken 18th in the first round of 2013 draft. Yankees picked Aaron Judge 14 picks later.

  2. Biggest Draft Bust?

    Me…they did not draft me at all and so they will never know what might have been…

    Had they drafted me, if nothing else, I might have made at least this list…

  3. Greg Luzinski’s son Ryan. 1st round pick as a catcher. Never made it to the bigs.

  4. Can,t have this list without at least a mention of Bill Bene. Personally I think he is the biggest bust.

  5. Don’t forget Ben Diggins. A good looking blonde pitcher who barely made it through A-Ball.

  6. Al Campanis was the gold standard with the draft. His 1968 draft of Garvey, Cey, Lopes, Yeager, Bobby Valentine, Tom Paciorek, Joe Ferguson, was amazing. Their drafts after that were inconsistent, even though they had plenty of Rookies of the Year. Things started to turn around when Logan White took over the draft. Loney, Martin, Kemp, Kershaw, Seager, and Bellinger are all from his drafts. Friedman and his staff are doing a great job with their drafts. They have a lot of good talent who will contribute to the team’s success for many years.

  7. I know he was a 6th rd pick but do you remember the hoopla around Edwin Jackson? I remember when he was a top prospect and everyone was calling him the Dodgers next ace.

    1. That doofus Paul DePodesta could’ve gotten Randy Johnson at the deadline in 04 but didn’t want to part with the way overhyped Jackson.

  8. You should proofread. Also Grant Holmes over Matt Chapman in 2014. Holmes was used in the Hill trade, but he could’ve easily been replaced with another arm.

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