Royals Sign Former No. 1 Overall Pick, Bryan Bullington

The Kansas City Royals made a minor move today, but the player they signed will have an impact on baseball’s amateur draft for years to come.

The Royals signed RHP and the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft Bryan Bullington to a minor-league contract today. Bullington was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and has recently pitched in the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.

Bullington was the No. 1 pick in 2002

Bullington is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with baseball’s draft and why they desperately need a slotting system like the NBA.

The Pirates drafted Bullington with the No. 1 pick in 2002 for one reason and one reason only: Signability.

Bullington, who was drafted out of Ball State University, was the most signable player at that time. The Pirates took Bullington ahead of more talented players like BJ Upton, Prince Fielder, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Khalil Greene, and Jeff Francouer.

When asked why he took Bullington with the No. 1 pick, Pirates GM Dave Littlefield said at the time “Bullington could be a good No. 3 pitcher.”

Really not something you want to hear about the No.1 overall pick in the draft.

Since Bullington was drafted, he has appeared in a grand total of 13 major league games. In those 13 games he has given up 47 hits and 22 earned runs in 39 innings.

In all fairness to Bullington, he did pitch well after being drafted by the Pirates going 34-17 with a 3.33 ERA in 69 games during his first three seasons.

Bullington hasn’t been the same since he tore his labrum in his pitching shoulder.

Picks like Bullington in 2002 and Matt Bush (San Diego Padres) in 2004 are the greatest examples of why baseball needs a slotting system for their draft. Bad teams need to be able to take the best player available, not the most signable.

Now to Bud Selig’s credit, he has recognized this as a problem in baseball and plans to implement this in the next collective bargaining agreement.

The Royals plan to use Bullington out of the bullpen in the minors. I guess he will never become the No.3 starter he was projected to be.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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