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Reviewing the 6th overall pick

Let’s look back at the players picked 6th overall in baseball’s amateur draft.

Shea Goodnight
Shea Stadium

Since the Rule 4 draft was instituted in 1965, 38 of the 54 players selected with the 6th overall pick have gone on to make a major league debut. Of those players, twenty-six produced positive value for their team. Many of those players went on to have outstanding careers—John Mayberry, Andy Van Slyke, Kevin McReynolds, and Zack Greinke, among others—and a handful even had careers that were borderline or definitely Hall of Fame worthy: Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds, and Derek Jeter.

Thanks to their 71-91 record in 1996, the Mets had the sixth overall selection in the 1997 MLB Draft. With their pick, they selected Geoff Geotz, a left-handed pitcher from Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida. He made his professional debut with the GCL Mets and made eight appearances, starting six games. He posted a 2.73 ERA in 26.1 innings, allowing 23 hits, walking 18, and striking out 28. Coming into the 1998 season, he was ranked the 96th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He started the 1998 season strong, pitching for the Capital City Bombers. He made 15 starts and posted a 3.96 ERA in 77.1 innings, allowing 68 hits, walking 37, and striking out 68. On May 22, however, he was traded to the Florida Marlins, along with Ed Yarnall and Preston Wilson, in exchange for Mike Piazza.

Geotz’s career stagnated in Florida because of a shoulder injury, and he had a few more up and down years with the Marlins and the Yankees before winding up out of professional baseball altogether. In 2005, he signed a deal with the Nashua Pride of the Atlantic League and posted a 6.25 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched, allowing 35 hits, walking 21, and striking out 19. He played for the Pride, now in the Canadian-American Association, in 2006 as well and posted a 9.00 ERA in 2.0 innings, allowing 1 hit, walking 4, and striking out 0. By the age of 28, he was out of baseball completely. Since 2009, he has been working at the Achieve Institute as a Senior Performance Expert.

Thanks to their 71-91 record in 1974, the Mets had the sixth overall selection in the 1975 MLB Draft, too. With their pick, they selected Butch Benton, a catcher from Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida. After signing, he made his professional debut with the Marion Mets and hit .248/.347/.379 in 45 games. He spent the 1976 season with the Wausau Mets .244/.326/.336 in 120 games. In 1977, he began the year with the Single-A Lynchburg Mets, was promoted to the Double-A Jackson Mets, and ended the season getting into one game with the Triple-A Tidewater Tides, hitting .343/.402/.494 in 59 games in Lynchburg and .287/.372/.409 in 60 games in Jackson. He began the 1978 season with the Jackson Mets and hit .275/.352/.422 in 106, earning a cup of coffee with the Mets in September. In the four games he played with the major league club, Benton went 2-4 and was hit by a pitch.

Because of the presence of John Sterns and Ron Hodges on the roster, Benton began the 1979 season in Tidewater. He had a very poor season, hitting .198/.252/.262. He did moderately better in 1980, hitting .263/.291/.404 in 67 games for the Tides and was rewarded with a call up to the majors when both Sterns and Hodges were put on the disabled list last in the year. Playing primarily as backup to utility infielder and catcher Alex Treviño, he managed only one hit in 12 games over the remainder of the season.

Because his bat never really developed and never really factored into the Mets’ future, he was traded to the Cubs for cash considerations just prior to the start of the 1981 season. His fortunes didn’t change in Chicago, as he got into a handful of MLB games but was mostly minor league filler for the Double-A Iowa Cubs. He spent the next few years as a minor league journeyman,

Benton spent the next few seasons as a minor league journeyman. Just prior to the 1983 season, he was traded to the Montreal Expos in exchange for future Mets manager Jerry Manuel. After filing for minor league free agency that winter, he was signed by the Phillies, but was released after failing to make the club following spring training. Not that long afterwards, signed with the Detroit Tigers, and then with the Cleveland Indians in 1985, where he appeared in 31 major league games, hitting .179/.208/.239. He found himself out of professional baseball after his stint with Cleveland but attempted a comeback in 1991. He signed with Detroit as a minor league free agent and played in a handful of games with Triple-A Toledo but was eventually released. Following this failed comeback, he decided to hang up his cleats and retired. Since the mid-2000s, he has been involved in golf, becoming a PGA professional in 2007 and managing golf operations in a variety of clubs in Florida, most recently the Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis, Florida.