Yankees Draft: Biggest First Round MLB Draft Busts
By Adam Weinrib
3. Yankees Draft: David Walling
The New York Yankees draft guidebook didn’t seem to include pitchers in ’99-’00.
We’re not sure who was in charge of scouting pitchers for the Yankees at the end of the 1990s and the turn of the next decade, but whoever it was: A) found almost no one and B) drafted literally Brandon Weeden (2002).
Stuck in the doldrums at the end of the first round yet again in 1999 (winning the World Series STINKS!), the Yankees selected righty David Walling out of the University of Arkansas. Unfortunately, the “Woo Pig Sooie!” in this case represents a reaction to the offensive smell of Walling’s baseball career, and not a hopeful war cry.
In 2000, Walling dominated the Single-A level, going 7-2 with a 1.98 ERA. Unfortunately, he was then promoted to Double-A, where everything went off the rails (3-9, 5.29 ERA). After struggling for the first time…ever, Walling developed a compulsion, throwing to first an abnormal amount of times per start. A sports psychologist was called in to save his career, but it didn’t work — Walling walked away in 2002.
Luckily for the Yanks, the rest of the 1999 draft…was also bad! The most realistic options the Yankees passed on were Colby Lewis and Brian Roberts.