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LEEInks list: Sox draft picks who signed elsewhere

06.08.10 at 7:09 am ET
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When it comes to the Major League Baseball draft, there are a lot of gambles. One of those risks is taking a player who might not sign. The Red Sox have had their fair share of players who passed on Boston’s offer and re-entered the draft, getting selected by another team and enjoying a productive career elsewhere. We’ve compiled a list of 10 such players, ranked by their success in the majors.

(It is also worth noting that, though he has not yet reached the big leagues, the Sox’ failure in 2005 to sign Pedro Alvarez — currently in the Pirates’ minor league system — helped to reshape the team’s approach to the draft. For more on that, click here.)

10. Duane Kuiper

Kuiper is known in trivia circles for hitting one home run in 3,379 at-bats, a major league record for at-bats with one career homer. The second baseman was a .271 career hitter in 11 seasons spent with the Indians and Giants. When he was drafted by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 1971 June secondary draft, it was the fifth time he had been drafted. The Indians took him 21st overall in the 1972 January secondary draft and the Southern Illinois standout finally signed. He debuted in Cleveland in 1974. His lone home run came late in the 1977 season off White Sox right-hander Steve Stone.

9. Ed Sprague

Sprague, drafted by the Sox in the 26th round in 1985 as a high schooler in Stockton, Calif., was part of some very successful teams starting in college, when he helped Stanford win national championships in 1987 and ’88. He followed that up with an unofficial Olympic gold medal in ’88 (baseball was a demonstration sport then). He was the 25th overall pick by the Blue Jays that year, and he made his major league debut in 1991, in time to be part of two World Series champions in Toronto in 1992 and ’93. Not a bad seven-year stretch: two college titles, an Olympic gold medal and two World Series wins. Sprague was traded from the Jays to the A’s in 1998 and finished his career with brief stops in Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Boston (33 games in 2000) and Seattle. Over 11 seasons, he hit .247 with 152 home runs and 558 RBI.

8. Geoff Zahn

Zahn passed on the Sox when they chose him in the fifth round of the 1967 January secondary draft. He signed with the Dodgers a year later and made his debut in Los Angeles in 1973. Zahn played for the Dodgers, Cubs, Twins and Angels in his 13-year career, with the highlight coming in 1982 when he went 18-8 with a 3.73 ERA and 12 complete games for the AL West champion Angels. He took the loss in Game 3 of the best-of-five ALCS, which the Angels lost to the Brewers after winning the first two games. Zahn finished his career with a 111-109 record and 3.74 ERA.

7. Dave Magadan

Now the Red Sox hitting coach, Magadan was a Tampa high schooler when the Sox selected him in the 12th round of the 1980 draft. He chose to attend the University of Alabama, where he led the nation in batting average in 1983, hitting .525 (the fifth-highest average in NCAA history). The Mets took Magadan 32nd overall that year, and he debuted late in New York’s World Series championship season of 1986. He lasted 16 seasons in the majors, splitting time between first and third base for seven teams, and finished his career with a respectable .288 batting average. His best season was 1990, when he hit .328 with six home runs and 72 RBI for the Mets.

6. Donnie Moore

Moore is best remembered by Red Sox fans as being the Angels reliever who surrendered Dave Henderson’s two-run home run when the Sox were down to their last strike in the 1986 ALCS. He could have been on the Sox had he signed when Boston drafted him in the 12th round in 1972. Instead, the Lubbock, Texas, native waited until the Cubs selected him with the third pick of the 1973 January secondary draft before signing. He spent 13 years in the majors, for the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Braves and Angels, compiling 89 saves and a 3.67 ERA. One year after being released by the Angels in 1988, a despondent Moore shot his wife (who survived) and then killed himself.

5. Pat Burrell

Burrell was a standout third baseman at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, where he competed against Tom Brady in football. After passing on the Red Sox in 1995 (43rd round), he attended the University of Miami and was the MVP of the 1996 College World Series. The Phillies drafted him first overall in 1998, and he spent eight seasons in Philadelphia, peaking in 2002 when he hit .282 with 37 home runs and 116 RBI. After being a part of the Phillies’ 2008 World Series champions, Burrell signed with the Rays as a free agent. He played in Tampa until May of this year, when he was let go. He’s now with the Giants.

4. Roy Smalley

The son of former National League shortstop Roy Smalley Jr. and the nephew of longtime MLB manager Gene Mauch, the Southern California native turned down the Sox twice (1971 and ’72), along with two other teams, before finally turning pro in 1974. After winning two college titles and earning All-America honors at USC, he was drafted first overall by the Rangers in 1974′s January draft. He had a solid 13-year career with the Rangers, Twins, Yankees and White Sox. He is remembered most for his time in Minnesota, which included a World Series title in 1987. He finished with a .257 batting average, 163 home runs and 694 RBI.

3. Tino Martinez

The Red Sox chose Martinez out of Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fla., in the third round in 1985, but he enrolled at the University of Tampa. He was a first-round pick of the Mariners in 1988 and made his major league debut in 1990, playing for Lou Piniella, a friend of his father. After six seasons in Seattle, Martinez was acquired by the Yankees to replace Don Mattingly at first base. Martinez was part of the Yankees’ run of four World Series titles in five years. He had short stints in St. Louis and Tampa Bay before ending his career with the Yankees in 2005. He finished with a .271 batting average, 339 home runs and 1,271 RBI.

2. Jack McDowell

The Southern California high school pitcher was a 20th-round choice of the Sox in 1984 but elected to attend Stanford University. After a stellar college career, the right-hander was selected fifth overall in 1987 by the White Sox. He made his major league debut in September of that season and went on to win 127 games over 12 seasons, including consecutive 20-win seasons in 1992 and ’93.

1. Mark Teixeira

The Sox took Teixeira in the ninth round in 1998, but the Maryland high school third baseman enrolled at Georgia Tech instead. After being named collegiate player of the year in 2001, Teixeira was drafted by the Rangers in 2001 and began his major league career with Texas. After 4½ stellar seasons with the Rangers, he made brief stops with the Braves and Angels before becoming a free agent after the 2008 season. The Red Sox made a push to land him, but we all know how that turned out. Small consolation for the Sox is the fact that Teixeira is struggling this season (.211 through 57 games). However, it should be noted that the .286 career hitter started off slow last year as well, before rebounding to hit .292 with 39 home runs and 122 RBI for the World Series champion Yankees.