You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Why were Pirates so bad for so long?

The Pirates are poised to end their playoff drought.

Sarah Conard/REUTERS

The Pirates are poised to end their playoff drought.

After a major league-record 20 consecutive losing seasons, the Pirates (71-49 entering the weekend) look like a cinch to clinch their first winning campaign since 1992.

Since then the Bucs have finished an average of 21½ games behind each year, only coming within five games of .500 three times.

Continue reading below

Draft day was a major cause of their problems. Despite picking in the top 10 15 times and never lower than 19th, they missed way more often than they hit.

Their biggest mistakes:

2012 P Mark Appel (8th overall pick):

Outcome: He didn’t sign

Passed on: Too early to say, but Appel was No. 1 overall pick in 2013 by Astros

2010 P Jameson Taillon (2d)

Outcome: Promoted to Triple A in July

Passed on: 3B Manny Machado (3d), P Matt Harvey (7th), P Chris Sale (13th)

2008 3B Pedro Alvarez (2d)

Outcome: His 162-game average in four seasons -- 29 homers and 196 whiffs

Passed on: C Buster Posey (5th)

2007 P Daniel Moskos (4th)

Outcome: 4.99 ERA in four seasons at Triple A

Passed on: C Matt Wieters (5th), P Madison Bumgarner (10th)

2006 P Brad Lincoln (4th)

Outcome: 7-9, 4.62 ERA in 22 appearances; traded in 2012

Passed on: P Clayton Kershaw (7th); P Tim Lincecum (10th), P Max Scherzer (11th)

2004 C Neil Walker (11th)

Outcome: Walker has turned into a serviceable second baseman

Passed on: P Jered Weaver (12th), 1B/DH Billy Butler (14th)

2002 P Bryan Bullington (1st)

Outcome: 1-9, 5.62 ERA in 26 appearances for four teams. Out of baseball since 2010

Passed on: P Zack Greinke (6th), 1B Prince Fielder (7th), P Cole Hamels (17th)

1999 P Bobby Bradley (8th)

Outcome: Never made it past Triple A in six seasons

Passed on: P Barry Zito (9th), P Brett Myers (12th), OF Alex Rios (19th)

1996 P Kris Benson (1st)

Outcome: 70-75, 4.42 ERA in nine seasons for five teams

Passed on: 3B Eric Chavez (10th)

1995 SS Chad Hermansen (10th)

Outcome: A .195 hitter in six major league seasons with four teams

Passed on: P Roy Halladay (17th)

1994 SS Mark Farris (11th)

Outcome: Never got above Double A in four seasons

Passed on: SS Nomar Garciaparra (12th), 1B Paul Konerko (13th), C Jason Varitek (14th)

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.