Darren Dreifort was never the pitcher the Dodgers expected | Owen C. Shaw / .
Darren Dreifort was one of the most notorious picks for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and while his record as a college athlete was a success, in MLB he couldn’t show anything decent from the mound.
He was selected in the first round (second overall pick behind Alex Rodriguez) in the 1993 MLB Draft by the Dodgers. Additionally, he became one of the few players to debut in the major leagues without first appearing in a minor league game.
#OnThisDay in College Baseball: 1972
Two-time @GoShockersBSB All American Darren Dreifort is born in Wichita.
He would go 26-5, 2.24 w / 17 saves in his WSU career. As noted power-slugger, Dreifort also smashed 22 home runs in the 1993 national runner-up campaign. pic.twitter.com/F8U1tKRY84
– Eric Sorenson (@Stitch_Head) May 3, 2020
After missing the 1995 season due to injury, Dreifort returned to the Dodgers’ bullpen for the 1996 and 1997 seasons, pitching effectively as a setup. In 2000, he had his best season with a 12-9 record and 4.16 ERA in 32 starts, plus 164 strikeouts.
He received a five-year, $ 55 million lucrative contract in 2001 as a free agent despite having a 39-45 record and a serious history of arm problems. However, the problems grew and forced him to change his mechanics and lose games in the majors.
Happy 48th birthday to Darren Dreifort. Dreifort became LA’s highest draft pick ever when he was selected 2nd overall in 1993 and he even made his pro debut with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, injuries riddled his career and prevented him from fully living up to high expectations. pic.twitter.com/0KryT8YAJG
– Dodger Cards (@dodgers_cards) May 3, 2020
Dreifort retired at age 32, making himself a very bad investment in Los Angeles. He lives in California, but is still involved in baseball, working as an instructor in the Dodgers’ minor league spring training.