Dodgers Draft: Best compensatory picks in franchise history

Steve Howe, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Steve Howe, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Steve Howe celebrates with the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

1) Dodgers best compensatory picks: Steve Howe (1979, 16th)

After losing pinch-hitter Lee Lacy to the Pittsburgh Pirates in free agency, the Dodgers gained the 16th pick in the 1979 draft as compensation and used it to select pitcher Steve Howe.

It didn’t take long for Howe to make his stamp at Chavez Ravine, winning Rookie of the Year in 1980 as a 22-year-old with a 2.66 ERA out of the bullpen. Appearing in 59 games, he accumulated 17 saves, which set a rookie record.

The left-hander would end up saving the clinching game of the 1981 World Series against the New York Yankees. From 1980-1983, he was one of the best relievers in baseball, pitching to a 2.17 ERA over 212 appearances, with 56 saves.

Unfortunately, substance abuse put a hard stop on his promising, young career. He ended up getting suspended for drug use for the entire 1984 season. The Dodgers would eventually let him walk as a free agent to the Minnesota Twins in 1985.

While Howe’s time with the Dodgers was checkered with his addition to drugs, he remains the top compensatory pick in franchise history, paying immediate dividends for a team that won the 1981 World Series relying on his arm late in games.

Meanwhile, Lee Lacy ran into his own troubles, as one of the players named in the Pittsburg drug trials in 1985.