Todd Van Poppel
In the 1990 draft, the Oakland Athletics selected four top pitching prospects, one of them being Todd Van Poppel. These draftees were nicknamed “The Four Aces” because of their potential. Unfortunately, none of these prospects really worked out for Oakland – including Van Poppel.
The cards were stacked against Van Poppel from the beginning. When drafted, Van Poppel had signed a Major League contract instead of a Minor League deal. Because of this, he only had a limited number of Minor League options. Van Poppel did not receive the experience he really needed in the Minors to become a better pitcher and was brought up to the big leagues after only 32 starts while in the farm system.
He spent six season with the Athletics and struggled the entire time. He only had one season where his ERA was below 5.00 and he had an 18-29 losing record while with the A’s. Additionally, it probably did not help that Oakland made Van Poppel split his time between being a starter and a relief pitcher. Because of his lack of success, the A’s released him mid-season in 1996.
Unfortunately, he also did not fare well with any of the other five teams that he played with after leaving the Oakland Athletics. Over his 11 years in the majors, Van Poppel had a career ERA of 5.58 with a 1.54 WHIP. Even though he started off as one of the A’s strong pitching prospects, he ultimately flopped.
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