4. Kris Benson (1996):
Kris Benson, a standout right-handed pitcher from Clemson University, was selected as the first overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1996 MLB Draft. Benson possessed a diverse repertoire of pitches, including a mid-90s fastball, a sharp slider, and a devastating changeup.
During his tenure with the Pirates, Benson displayed flashes of brilliance, showcasing his ability to dominate opposing hitters. However, injuries hindered his overall performance and limited his potential impact. Despite these setbacks, Benson's contributions to the Pirates' pitching staff cannot be overlooked, and he went on to have a solid career in the major leagues.
- Record: 43-49
- ERA: 4.23
- Innings Pitched: 815.2
- Strikeouts: 609
Kris Benson had a relatively successful career with the Pirates, showing flashes of brilliance on the mound. Despite battling injuries, he managed to contribute to the team's pitching staff and put up respectable numbers during his time in Pittsburgh.
5. Jeff King (1986):
Jeff King holds the distinction of being the first-ever first overall pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the modern era of the MLB Draft. Drafted as a third baseman in 1986, King made an immediate impact, showcasing his defensive prowess and power-hitting ability.
Offensively, King possessed a smooth swing and a knack for driving the ball to all fields. His ability to generate both gap power and home runs made him a valuable asset in the Pirates' lineup.
- Batting Average: .258
- Home Runs: 154
- Runs Batted In (RBIs): 585
Jeff King was a solid contributor to the Pirates' lineup during his tenure with the team. He displayed power-hitting ability, hitting over 20 home runs in three different seasons, and provided stability at third base while producing solid offensive numbers.
Each of these players, from Henry Davis to Gerrit Cole, Bryan Bullington, Kris Benson, and Jeff King, all made an impact on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
At least an impact in some way whether it was positive or negative. While their journeys may have differed in outcomes, their selections represent the franchise's commitment to identifying and developing top-tier talent to build a competitive team. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates will find something closer to Gerrit Cole than Bryan Bullington.