MLB Draft Requires Patience

On Thursday, Major League baseball teams will use first round picks on Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel, hoping those potential future stars can help them win a few games in 2016. One team will draft San Diego University's Kris Bryant (pictured), who hit more home runs than three-quarters of all college TEAMS, in hopes that he can hit some home runs by 2018. Unlike in the NBA and NFL Drafts where a quarterback or star shooter can immediately improve a team, fewer than half of first round picks from four years ago have played in a single major league game.

The following are the average career numbers put up by first-round position players from the past five years: 

Year HR RBI SB
2012 0 0 0
2011 0 0 0
2010 3 10 2
2009 5 17 6
2008 21 81 7

Three years after the 2010 draft, Bryce Harper is the only player who has been a factor at the Major League level, with 34 career home runs, 82 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. The next best is Manny Machado with 12-56-7.

Mike Trout (45-137-65) is obviously one of a kind in nearly grabbing the MVP just three years after being drafted in 2009, but Dustin Ackley (19-94-20) is the only other producer four years after the draft. In fact, only five of the total 16 first round position players from Trout’s draft have even made the majors four years later.

Except for the occasional Trout or Harper, the hope is for a first round position player to start producing in five years. From the 2008 draft, Buster Posey, Gordon Beckham, Ike Davis, Pedro Alvarez and Justin Smoak are the five that have 50 career home runs after five years.

Bryant is one of the greatest college home run hitters in history despite playing at sea level in San Diego in college, so he would be fun to see if he gets to go to Colorado as the third pick. Colin Moran of UNC would have a better chance to hit for average, and a team with patience might gamble on high school five-tool player Clint Frazier.

The following are the average career pitching numbers for first round picks over the past five drafts.

W Sv K
2012 0 0 1
2011 0 0 5
2010 3 1 42
2009 8 4 104
2008 6 1 91

Chris Sale (26 wins, 12 saves, 2.80 ERA) and Matt Harvey (8 wins, 2.40 ERA) from 2010 draft are the two pitchers out of 16 that have made a mark three years after being drafted, but 12 of the other 14 first round pitchers from that draft have not pitched in the majors. Even after five years the contributions are usually minimal, as Brian Matusz from the 2008 draft is the only pitcher with at least 10 career wins five years after being taken in the first round.

The 2009 class is the exception, as the Reds’s Mike Leake, Braves’s Mike Minor and Nationals’s Stephen Strasburg have all recorded more than 20 career wins just four years later.

Jonathan Gray out of Oklahoma (6’4”, 240 pounds, high 90s fastball) and Stanford senior Mark Appel provide two pitchers who could make it within a few years. A team with more patience on the mound might take high schooler Kohl Stewart.

 


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