In the spring of 1990, the Braves (averaged 67.3 victories from 1984-89) were mocked nationally for passing on prep pitcher Todd Van Poppel with the No. 1 overall pick. The draft placed amateur baseball players onto major league teams. 1,487 players were distributed to 26 teams. The draft consisted of first round selections, supplemental first round selections, compensation picks, and many more rounds, in fact, it went a record 101 rounds with 40 first round selections
Leading into the draft, there were reports of Von Poppel—a schoolboy legend in Texas, reminding some of Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens—nixing Atlanta’s overtures, so he could sign with his hometown team (Rangers) or baseball’s model franchise around that time (Oakland Athletics).
By extension, Jones was viewed as a consolation prize for the Braves, as if they turned down a once-in-a-lifetime arm for some random infielder from Florida.
As history dictates, the pundits were wayyyyyyy off the mark with this assessment.
To be fair, Von Poppel had a respectable 11-year career in the majors (40 wins, 5.58 ERA), but he never lived up to the immense promise from that spring of 1990; and obviously, he never came close to securing a bust in Cooperstown.