Ten Worst Chicago Cubs First Round Picks of the last 40 Years


June 10 brings the Major League Baseball draft, an event that is “hit-or-miss” to say the least. Draft position, like recruiting rankings, can just as often be an indicator of future success as it is future failure. The only thing it absolutely predicts 100% is sky-high expectations.

Let’s look at 10 of the best and 10 of the worst first round draft picks for both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. Yes, we know that listicles are to journalism what Taco Bell is to food. However, it also worth noting that Taco Bell measures its annual revenue in the billions.

Side note, go here for the 2020 MLB Draft mock sourcing for the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox.

See Also:

10 Best Chicago White Sox First Round Picks of the Last 40 Years

10 Best Chicago Cubs First Round Picks of the Last 40 Years

10 Worst Chicago Cubs First Round Picks of the Last 40 Years

10 Worst Chicago White Sox First Round Picks of the Last 40 Years

1. Josh Vitters, 3rd overall, Cypress High School, 2007

At least he actually played in the show. We easily probably could have put somebody who never made it to the big leagues in the number one slot, but really what’s the fun in that? Better to put somebody that more of us are at least a little familiar with up in the “top” position.

The extent of his MLB career is as follows: .121, 2, 5 for the 2012 Cubs.

2. Lou Montanez, 3rd overall, Miami Coral Park High School, 2000

Pretty much 1A and 1B with Vitters. He spent seven seasons in the Cubs’ minor league system but never made it to the Major Leagues, before being traded to Baltimore where he had a couple cups of coffee with the Orioles, then came back to the Cubs, where he had another cup of coffee. Final MLB career stats: .232, 5, 32.

3. Ryan Harvey, 6th overall, Dunedin High School, 2004

Who??? As Principal Skinner said upon approaching Ralph Wiggum’s entry at Diorama-rama “now we’re into the dregs.”

Although we’ve pretty much been in the dregs all along, and really when you’re dealing with prospects like these, the rankings really don’t mean all that much. Again the MLB Draft is a total crapshoot.

4-6 Mark Pawelek (20th overall, Springville High School 2005), Todd Noel 17th overall, North (Vermillion High School 1996), Jayson Peterson (15th overall, East High School, 1994)

Honestly, these three are pretty much interchangeable in the middle of this list. And there are plenty on the dishonorable mention list that could slot here too.

Only the first name among this trio even has a Wikipedia page.

7. Lance Dickson, 23rd overall, University of Arizona, 1990

So much for the value of my 1991 Donruss baseball card of this guy, emblazoned with the “Rated Rookie” logo on it. From 1987-1994, with the exception of Doug Glanville in 1991, the Cubs first round draft selections produced only very dreadful results.

Although “1991 Cubs busts” is a term more synonymous with third baseman Gary Scott, the man who projected to fill the black hole at that position which lasted for several decades. He didn’t last an entire season, but as he’s not a Cubs first round pick he is ineligible for this list.

8. Earl Cunningham, 11th overall, Lancaster High School, 1989

He’s quite obscure these days and it’s difficult to find information on him. The painter Earl Cunningham dominates the Google machine on this name these days.

I take it my 1990 Score baseball card (pictured above) has a minimal net present value.

ty griffin

9. Ty Griffin, 9th overall, Georgia Tech, 1988

A 1988 Olympian whose hype was on par with the other Team USA prospect drafted in the first round by a Chicago team- the Sox’s Robin Ventura.

Two roads diverged from that path, to say the least, 30 years ago.

10. Mike Harkey, 4th overall, Cal St-Fullerton, 1987

So much for the value of my 1989 Topps baseball card of this guy, emblazoned with the “Future Star” logo on it. He is doing quite well these days though as he’s bullpen coach of the New York Yankees.

Definitely worth mentioning: Kevin Orie, Ben Christensen, Tyler Colvin, Brooks Kieschnick, Derek Wallace, Bobby Brownlie

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

Powered by


  1. Jayson Peterson was not one of the worst he brought the cubs to the championship game pitching and still holds the best hitting and pitching stats for his high school

Speak Your Mind