What history tells us about Giants' No. 14 pick in 2021 draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Perhaps the greatest baseball player ever to be selected with the No. 14 overall pick in the MLB draft tragically had his career cut short.
When Jose Fernandez died in 2016 in a boating accident, he was just 26 years old. In less than four full seasons in the big leagues, he already was a two-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, had 589 strikeouts through his first 76 starts and was worth 14.2 bWAR. On pure talent, he was hands down of the best pitchers the game has ever seen.
The Miami Marlins took Fernandez with the 14th pick in the 2011 draft and he made his debut just two years later. It will be impossible for the Giants to find the next Fernandez when they're on the clock in the 2021 draft. Players like Fernandez simply don't come around.
The Giants still can find a very solid player at their slot in the draft. Since 1965, there have been 19 players who produced at least 1.0 bWAR in the career. Below we'll look at the top five players in draft history taken No. 14 overall, based on bWAR. Recent players outside the list like Jeff Weaver and Billy Butler also had nice careers, along with Aaron Hicks, who hit 27 homers for the New York Yankees two years ago.
Jason Heyward, OF, 2007: 38.2 bWAR
Heyward debuted for the Atlanta Braves at only 20 years old and looked like a future superstar with huge power potential. He hit 18 home runs as a rookie and was an All-Star his first year in the big leagues. Since then, he has been a good, but not great, hitter with average power.
His only All-Star season thus far came during his rookie year, but Heyward has won five Gold Glove awards. Heyward has been worth 10.7 dWAR and 22.2 oWAR over his 11-year career.
Is he a superstar? No. But Heyward's career has been more than serviceable, to say the least.
Derrek Lee, 1B, 1993: 34.6 bWAR
The Sacramento native was drafted by the San Diego Padres out of El Camino Fundamental High School back in '93. He lasted one major league season in San Diego before being traded to the Florida Marlins for Kevin Brown.
Lee played for six teams over 15 years and was a two-time All-Star. He hit 331 career homers and was a three-time Gold Glove winner. In 2005, he edged out by Albert Pujols and Andruw Jones in NL MVP voting when he hit .335 with 46 homers, 50 doubles and a 1.080 OPS.
While Lee never was a superstar by any means, he certainly was a star, minus the super, in the 2000s when he hit .299 with an .899 OPS and averaged 27 homers per year, including an injury-shortened 2006 season.
Tino Martinez, 1B, 1988: 29.0 bWAR
Martinez was a two-time All-Star and never was a star by any means. But he was consistently solid and always felt like a key bat to the Yankees' dynasty.
From 1992 (his first full season) to 2005 (his final season) he averaged 25 homers and 90 RBI while batting .272. He also hit .385 in the 1998 World Series, .267 in the '99 World Series and .364 in the 2000 World Series.
Cliff Floyd, 1B, 1991: 25.9 bWAR
Floyd made his MLB debut at only 20 years and didn't exactly live up to his billing as a future superstar. He did, however, hit over 20 homers five times.
The powerful lefty was an All-Star in 2001 when he hit .317 with 31 homers and a .968 OPS.
Jason Varitek, C, 1994: 24.2 bWAR
Varitek is a hero in the eyes of Boston Red Sox fans for being a big part of two championship teams. He was a three-time All-Star and also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.
From 1999 through 2009 he averaged 15 homers while leading the way behind the plate for Boston. Oh, and he punched A-Rod. That should be worth at least an extra All-Star nod.