If nothing else, if Foster keeps pitching like this he may actually redeem the disastrous 1999 draft, one of the worst anyone’s ever had. No first round pick. Second round, Matt Butler, washout. Third round, Pat Manning, washout. Some guys actually made the prospect lists, but they failed too. Matt McClendon blew out his arm and is apparently out of baseball after spending last year in Myrtle Beach. Brett Evert was let go after last season, wound up with Seattle, and was just released by them for stinking up Tacoma.
They spent a 37th-round pick on lil’ Jonny Scheurholz that year. And they knew that he wasn’t going to be signed, it was just a favor. They picked Shaud Williams in the 13th; he was the only person to draw a “major league” check last season, as a backup running back for the Buffalo Bills. From what I can tell, the only players from that draft to make it to the top level of baseball are Foster, picked 25th, and Ben Kozlowski, traded to the Rangers and now a rehab case for the Reds in Chattanooga.
As you probably know, the Braves draft mostly high schoolers. McClendon was the only one of the Braves’ first ten picks that year to be a college player. (The two players to make the majors, Kozlowski and Foster, were both from college, community college in Kozlowski’s case.) Now, let’s please not get into the high schooler/college risk/reward thing right now. Let’s just notice something obvious — any but the very best high schooler is a long way away and something bad is more likely to happen to him before he makes the majors. If you draft mostly high schoolers, even with the best scouting — and the Braves’ scouts are very good — then awful things like the 1999 draft are going to happen sometimes.