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Ranking the top area players taken in the Major League Baseball draft



Barrington High School graduate Dan Wilson played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, most of them as a catcher with the Seattle Mariners.
AP

With Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft starting on Sunday, it’s time to take a look back.

This week’s High Five ranks the top area players selected since the draft began in 1965.

York High School’s Ryan Sloan, a hard-throwing pitcher, could be a first-round pick this year. Maybe someday he’ll make this list.

5. Dan Wilson, Barrington High School

Known as one of MLB’s top defensive catchers during his 14 seasons, Wilson was first selected out of high school by the Mets in the 26th round of the 1987 draft.

Wilson didn’t sign, however, and played at the University of Minnesota. In 1990, he was taken seventh overall by the Reds. After two seasons with Cincinnati, Wilson was traded to the Mariners.

Wilson was an all-star in 1996, hitting .285 with 18 homers and 83 RBI. Twice he led the American League in catching runners stealing.

At the time he retired following the 2005 season, Wilson had the highest all-time fielding percentage for AL catchers. In 2012, he was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame.

4. Paul Splittorff, Arlington High School

An anchor for more than a decade in Kansas City’s starting rotation, the Royals drafted Splittorff in the 25th round of the 1968 draft out of Morningside College.

The left-hander spent his entire 15-year MLB career with the Royals and was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1987. Splittorff went 166-143 with a 3.81 ERA and 1,057 strikeouts, including a 20-win season in 1973.

Splittorff was a key cog in the Royals’ four playoff appearances between 1976 and 1980. He went 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in four ALCS starts against the Yankees and appeared in the 1980 World Series against the Phillies.

3. Dave Kingman, Prospect High School

Known for his monstrously long home runs, the 6-foot-6 outfielder was an intimidating presence at the plate who had a rocket arm.

Kingman was drafted by the Angels in the second round and by the Orioles in the first round, but he chose to play at the University of Southern California — after playing a year at Harper Junior College — instead of signing with either team.

Primarily a pitcher in his early college years, Kingman started showing his power while helping the Trojans to an NCAA College World Series title in 1970.

Kingman was the first overall pick by the Giants in the 1970 Secondary Phase Draft. He hit 442 home runs with 1,210 RBI while being named to three all-star teams.

Kingman spent three of his 16 MLB seasons with the Cubs, hitting 94 home runs including a National League-leading 48 with 115 RBI in 1979. Despite hitting .236 for his career, he hit .278 with the Cubs.

2. Brett Butler, Libertyville High School

A long shot prospect who went to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Butler persevered for a 17-year MLB career as a center fielder who spent the bulk of his time as a leadoff hitter.

Butler was drafted out of college by the Braves in the 23rd round of the 1979 draft. He went on to play for five different teams while making one all-star team and four playoff appearances.

Butler hit .290 with 2,035 hits, 1,359 runs scored, 1,129 walks, 131 triples and 558 steals. He retired with an on-base percentage of .377.

1. Greg Luzinski, Prospect Heights

Luzinski is still a hometown hero despite playing his high school ball at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles.

He was selected out of high school in 1968 by the Phillies with the 11th overall pick and made his MLB debut at 19.

While the “Bull” spent his prime seasons with the Phillies — earning all four of his all-star selections and helping the team win the 1980 World Series — Luzinski also had a memorable four seasons with the White Sox.

He hit 32 home runs and drove in 95 runs as the Sox won the AL West title in 1983. In 15 seasons he launched 307 homers, drove in 1,128 runs and hit .276.



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