Yankees Draft bust Taylor facing drug charges
No. 1 overall pick's career derailed by shoulder injury in bar fight
Brien Taylor, the No. 1 overall Draft pick in 1991 who appeared headed for great success with the Yankees until he was injured in a bar fight, was arrested Thursday on charges of cocaine trafficking in North Carolina, according to The Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C.
Taylor, 40, of Beaufort, N.C., was arrested after joint county and city police completed an operation during which Taylor sold undercover agents cocaine and crack cocaine over several months, according to the report.
Taylor was charged with two counts each of trafficking in cocaine by possession, trafficking in cocaine by sell, trafficking in cocaine by deliver, trafficking in cocaine by manufacture, trafficking in cocaine by transport and felony maintaining a vehicle.
He was also charged with one count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine and sell and deliver cocaine. Bail was set at $275,000.
Taylor was a promising left-handed pitcher in the Yankees organization, striking out 337 batters in 324 1/3 innings in Class A and Double-A in 1992-93, until seriously damaging his throwing shoulder in a December 1993 bar fight.
The Yankees had signed him to a then-record $1.55 million bonus following the 1991 Draft. He is one of only two players taken No. 1 overall in a Draft never to have played in the Major Leagues.
The New York Daily News reported in 2006 that Taylor, then 34, was living with his parents at the end of a road named after him. There were multiple warrants out for his arrest in North Carolina's Wake County, according to that story.
"He was on the phenom path," Giants general manager Brian Sabean, the Yankees' head of player development during Taylor's playing days, told the Daily News.
Taylor missed all of 1994 following the fight. He returned in 1995 but was released by the Yankees in 1998 after pitching to a 10.85 ERA over parts of four Minor League seasons, none of them above Class A. Attempted comebacks with Seattle and Cleveland ended in 2000 after five games in the Indians organization.
Steve Chilcott, a catcher who was the top overall pick by the Mets in 1966, was the first No. 1 Draft pick to never make the Majors. Matt Bush, the No. 1 overall pick by the Padres in 2004, has yet to arrive in the big leagues but could be nearing a callup with the Rays after switching from shortstop to reliever.