Brien Taylor No. 1 Pick in 1991 Draft, Facing Drug Charges

Brien Taylor has been arrested on fifteen drug charges.

Brien Taylor, former overall No.1 draft pick in the 1991 MLB draft has been arrested, on cocaine trafficking charges by the Morehead City, N.C. police and the local sheriff’s office.

Taylor 40, was heralded as a can’t miss prospect when drafted by the New York Yankees. Taylor was caught selling drugs to undercover investigators.

Fifteen charges have been filed against Taylor, with most of them related to drug trafficking. He is being held on $275,000 bond.


Signed To $1.55 Million Contract

Taylor attracted the attention of baseball scouts by striking out 476 batters in 239 innings and posting a 29-6 record and a 1.25 ERA in high school. The Yankees signed him to a $1.55 million contract. The Yankees passed up signing Manny Ramirez, who was the No.13 pick in the 1991 draft to choose Taylor instead. It was a choice they would regret.

His minor league career started off well when he posted a 6-8 record with a 2.47 ERA while striking out 187 in 161 innings, for Class A+ Fort Lauderdale.

After being promoted to Albany-Colonie a AA team, he posted a better won-loss record with a 13-7 record, but his ERA rose to 3.48, while striking out 150 in 163 innings. However, after walking 66 in 161 innings during his rookie season, his walks soared to 102 in 163 innings signaling a control problem, that would haunt him the rest of his career.

During the 1993 offseason he would become involved in a fight that caused a shoulder injury, that would ultimately end his professional baseball career. He would miss the entire 1994 season due to the injury and when he returned he was never the same pitcher again. He compiled a 2-5 record with a 6.08 ERA. Taylor walked 54 in 40 innings while his strikeouts went down to 38 in the Yankees rookie league.


Walked 121 Batters in 68 Innings For Greensboro

He would pitch for Greensboro a class A team the next three seasons posting a combined 1-10 record. He would only pitch 68 innings in those three seasons, while striking out 48, but walked a staggering 121 batters.

The Yankees finally released Taylor in 1999, ending their hopes, of Taylor ever being the pitcher they thought they were signing, when they paid $1.55 million to Taylor, who never advanced past AA baseball. Any other pitcher with Taylor’s record would have been released years ago, but the Yankees were hoping to receive a return on their $1.55 million investment but it never happened.


Indians Give Taylor Chance

Taylor sat out the 1999 season but the Cleveland Indians gave Taylor one last shot, when he pitched 2.2 innings for their Columbus class A team in 2000. If there was ever any doubt that Taylor was washed up, those 2.2 innings over five games convinced the Indians that Taylor was not part of their future.

The line score for Taylor before being released by the Indians in 2000: 2.2 IP, 11 R (8 of them earned), 1 HR, 9 BB, 2 K’s, 2 HBP, 7 WP. These other stats from those five games confirm, that Taylor had reached the end of his professional baseball career: ERA 27.00, WHIP 5.250, 16.9 H per 9 innings, 30.9 BB per 9 innings,

Taylor posted a 22-30 record in his seven-year minor league career with a 5.12 ERA. He averaged 8.8 K’s per 9 innings and 7.3 BB per 9 innings.


Looking Back On His Signing

It is doubtful to me if Taylor would have made it to the majors, even without the fight and the resulting injury. If he was experiencing control problems in AA ball before the injury, it is questionable if he would have conquered his control problems, as he advanced to AAA and the major leagues.

Can’t help but wonder what happened to that $1.55 million and how it was spent, but the saddest part is that a young man who looked to have a bright future in the major leagues is now sitting in jail, waiting to see what happens next in his case and will spend many years in prison, if proven guilty of committing the charges filed against him.

Taylor and Steve Chilcott are the only No.1 picks to never reach the major leagues. Chilcott was chosen No.1 in 1966 ahead of Reggie Jackson, a move which prevented the Mets from having Jackson playing for them in the 1969 World Series, Chilcott was out of baseball at the age of 23 after playing seven seasons for nine teams, while Jackson went on to record a Hall of Fame career.



Matt Bush Could Be Third No.1 Pick

To Never Have Played In The Majors

Matt Bush the No.1 pick in the 2004 draft as a shortstop is pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays in spring training. He started his career as a shortstop but hit only .219 with 3 HR’s and 70 RBI in six minor league seasons. He posted a .294 OBP and slugged .276, so it was no surprise that he was converted to becoming a pitcher.

He has pitched well since his conversion to pitching with a 7-3 record and a 4.14 ERA. He has struck out 113 in 71 innings while walking 29. He played in AA Southern League in 2011 and could wind up in AAA this summer. I can’t see him pitching for the Rays this season, but if he pitches well he could be a September call-up.

The jury is still out on Bush at the age of 26, so he may never be the answer to a trivia question, about which No.1 picks never made it to the majors. He received a 3.15 million bonus when he signed with the Padres in 2004.

Bush had off the field problems including the incidents mentioned in this article:

The following article has even more details about Bush and his fight to return to major league baseball. It would be great to see him play in the majors after so many behavior problems in the past.


His 98 MPH fastball should go a long way in giving him a chance to play in the majors someday. Bush was a pitcher in high school, so it should be easier for him to adjust to the change than some players. I have always believed in second chances and hope this second chance for Bush results in him playing in the majors this year or next.



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