Indians, Reds pass on Jeter
Major League Baseball’s draft is very different from the annual drafts in professional football and basketball. Players from high schools, junior colleges, small colleges and the major college baseball teams are selected each June. Most will never sniff the big leagues and those who do are years away from stardom.
Because the baseball draft can be more a crapshoot, it is hard to a baseball equivalent of the great Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf debate the Indianapolis Colts pondered leading up to the 1998 NFL Draft.
However as time passes, even in baseball some draft day decisions seem baffling in hindsight. In 1992, both the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds held top five overall draft picks. After the Houston Astros selected Phil Nevin first overall, the Tribe picked Paul Shuey and the Reds took Chad Mottola fifth overall.
With the sixth pick, the New York Yankees selected Derek Jeter, then a high-school shortstop from Kalamazoo, Mich.
While Jeter has led the Yankees to five World Series titles and is bound for Cooperstown, none of the players selected before him are still playing.
The Indians tabbed Shuey to be their version of Rob Dibble, according to a New York Times article. After a career at the University of North Carollina, Shuey played 11 serviceable seasons in the major leagues, but never anything more than a set-up man.
The Lima, Ohio native recorded only 23 saves. After eight and-a-half seasons with the Tribe, Shuey pitched with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002-03. He spent the 2004 season on the disabled list and retired the following year, only to return to baseball in 2007 with the Baltimore Orioles. He retired for good after the 2007 season.
Chad Mottola on the other hand had trouble getting to the big leagues. The University of Central Florida slugger made his major league debut early in the 1996, but only appeared in 35 games with the Reds. Mottola would not be back in the major leagues until he resurfaced with the Toronto Blue Jays for three games in 2000.
He went on to suit up with the Florida Marlins for five games in 2001, six games with the Atlanta Braves in 2004 and 10 final games with the Blue Jays in 2006.
Even though he only appeared in 59 games in the major leagues, Mottola played in 1,801 minor league contests over 16 seasons with 13 different minor league clubs.
He is currently the hitting coach for the Blue Jays’ Class AAA affiliate Las Vegas 51s.