Draft Currents: Rounding up the Thirds


Welcome to the second installment of Draft Currents.  Today we are going to go in a different direction from last week’s Draft Recall look at the 2000 draft.  Instead of focusing on a specific draft I’m going to take a look at best picks made by each organization for a given round.  Instead of starting this series off with the first round picks, I thought it would be more interesting to jump over the 1st and 2nd rounds (for now) and start off with the third round.

I kicked around the idea of going back to the first draft in 1965, but the volume of picks and information to sort through was a little daunting and I wanted to keep things a little more focused on modern players.  So instead of 1965 I’ve elected to limit my scope to the 1995-2009 draft classes.  This gives us a nice 15-year period of picks to examine, though in reality it is a little early to expect much from the 2007, 2008, or 2009 classes.  Down the road, I may come back and write a follow-up piece to explore the third round picks made between 1965 and 1994, but I’ve got a lot of topics lined up in my mind for this column so it may be quite a while before I get to that point.

I have sorted the list using the career WAR divided by the number of major league seasons of each organization’s best 3rd round selection.  In addition to mentioning the best pick, the 2nd best player will receive Honorable Mention, and all other picks that reach the major leagues will be listed under Others.  Naturally a lot of the players taken in the last several drafts are still developing in the minors.  To give this section of players a little love, I’ve included each organization’s top ranked prospect that was drafted in the 3rd round.  Prospect Rankings listed are from Baseball America’s 2010 Prospect Handbook while all other data was compiled from Baseball Reference and Baseball Projection.

30. Cincinnati Reds: 16 players drafted, 1 has reached the majors

So who is the only Reds 3rd round pick from the last 15 drafts to reach the majors?  Why it is C-Craig Tatum of course who was selected by Cincinnati in the 2004 draft.  If you haven’t heard of him that’s probably because he has a grand total of 77 plate appearances in his career and a -0.4 WAR to go with it.  If you have heard of him, it’s probably because he beat out Chad Moeller this spring to back up Matt Wieters in Baltimore.  If we extended the scope to include 1994, the Reds Tatum would be replaced by Aaron Boone and his 9.5 WAR in 12 seasons, but for our purposes here it falls on Tatum to represent the Reds.  -0.4 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  None
Others:  None
Prospect: #8 LHP-Matt Maloney (2005)

29. San Diego Padres: 16 players drafted, 2 have reached the majors

The limited playing time of C-Colt Morton, the Padres 3rd round draft pick in 2003, saves the team from appearing above the Reds on this list.  Morton racked up a grand total of 18 plate appearances during 2007 and 2008, but that didn’t stop him from accruing -0.4 WAR in those two seasons.  16 players and we’re talking about Colt freakin’ Morton.  -0.2 WAR/Year

“Honorable” Mention:  RHP-Josh Geer (2005), -1.1 WAR in 2 seasons
Others: None
Prospect: #17 OF-Blake Tekotte (2008)

28. Oakland Athletics: 15 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

RHP-Vin Mazzaro was the A’s 3rd round pick in the 2005 draft and made his major league debut in 2009.  His 91.1 innings of work were good enough to get him a 0.1 WAR and an ERA+ of 83.  I gave A.J. Hinch the honorable mention spot since I felt seven seasons of catching at the major league level were more valuable than the two seasons, and 0.1 WAR, turned in by LHP-Bill Murphy.  Or maybe I listed Hinch there because he played for the Royals.  You can decide.  0.1 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: C-A.J. Hinch (1996), 0.0 WAR in 7 seasons
Others: RHP-Jason Windsor (2004), LHP-Bill Murphy (2002) and RHP-Marcus Jones (1997)
Prospect: #27 LHP-Justin Marks (2009)

27. San Francisco Giants: 13 players drafted, 3 have reached the majors

3B-Brian Buscher was selected by the Giants in the 2003 draft and has the distinction of being the team’s only 3rd round pick in the last 15 seasons to have a positive WAR in the majors.  He was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 2006 Rule-5 draft and went on to play in 164 games for them between 2007 and 2009.  Buscher signed a minor league contract this past offseason with the Cleveland Indians and is currently in Triple-A Columbus.  As such his 0.5 WAR in 3 seasons is subject to change.  0.17 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: OF-Daniel Ortmeier (2002), -0.5 WAR in 4 seasons
Others: OF-John Bowker (2004)
Prospect: #7 OF-Roger Kieschnick (2008)

26. Houston Astros: 18 players drafted, 2 have reached the majors

Of the eighteen 3rd rounders selected by the Astros since 1995, only RHP-Kirk Saarloos has a positive WAR.  In seven seasons the 2001 pick has a career WAR of 1.6 and an ERA+ of 88.  The Astros’ recent struggles in the draft aren’t limited to the 3rd round, and they were ranked by Baseball America to have the worst farm system in baseball after ranking 29th heading into last season.  0.23 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: SS-Tommy Manzella (2005), -0.1 WAR in 1 season
Others: None
Prospect: #6 RHP-Ross Seaton (2008)

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: 13 players drafted, 2 have reached the majors

Only two options means that LHP-Onan Masaoka and his 0.5 career WAR in two seasons gets the nod.  The Dodgers drafted Onan in 1995 and followed that up with Alex Cora in 1996.  Since then the 3rd round has produced nothing for the organization.  Interesting note, Onan pitched in the Dodgers pen in 1999 and 2000 with an ERA+ of 100 and 110 respectively.  He then left baseball behind to get a business degree from the University of Hawaii.  After seven years away from professional baseball he pitched for the Gary SouthShore Railcats in the Northern League last season. 0.25 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  SS-Alex Cora (1996), 1.9 WAR in 12 seasons
Others: None
Prospect: #12 OF-Kyle Russell (2008)

24. New York Mets: 13 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

Sometimes quantity and quality fit together nicely.  This isn’t one of those times.  Of the five Mets’ 3rd round picks to reach the majors, only one has a postive WAR.  Come on down 2006 pick, RHP-Joe Smith!  In three big league seasons, Smith has a career WAR of 1.0.  He is currently pitching out of the Indians bullpen after being part of the 3-team trade in December of 2008 that sent reliever J.J. Putz to the Mets and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners.  The Indians got Smith and 2B/SS Luis Valbuena.  0.33 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  LHP-Ed Yarnall (1996), 0.0 WAR in 2 seasons
Others:  LHP-Lenny DiNardo (2001), RHP-Jeremy Griffiths (1999), and SS-Cesar Crespo (1997)
Prospect: #13 OF-Kirk Nieuwenhuis (2008)

23. St. Louis Cardinals: 15 players drafted, 3 have reached the majors

Heading into the 2010 season, UT-Joe Mather had just 147 major league plate appearances, all of which came in 2008.  The 2001 3rd round pick used that playing time to secure a WAR of 0.5.  So far in 2010 he’s 1-3 in limited playing time, but limited playing time is better than no playing time.  0.50 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  RHP-Dennis Dove (2003), -0.2 WAR in 1 season
Others: SS-Brent Butler (1996)
Prospect: #4 OF-Daryl Jones (2005)

22. Cleveland Indians: 16 players drafted, 3 have reached the majors

The Indians selected RHP-Jensen Lewis in the 2005 draft.  In 2007 he made his major league debut and put up the first of two consecutive 0.8 WAR seasons before dipping to -0.1 in 2009.  It’s very early in his career but he has a 1.5 WAR in 3 seasons to go along with an ERA+ of 115.  0.50 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  1B-Ryan Garko (2003), 2.1 WAR in 5 seasons
Others: LHP-Scott Lewis (2004)
Prospect: #6 OF-Nick Weglarz (2005)

21. Atlanta Braves: 16 players drafted, 7 have reached the majors

On the surface, getting 7 of 16 players to the majors out of the 3rd round from 1995-2009 looks like an impressive achievement, and on some levels it is indeed impressive.  However, of those seven, only one has a positive WAR in his career.  That distinction belongs to 1998 selection, OF-Ryan Langerhans who has a career WAR of 3.7 over seven seasons.  In addition to the Braves, he has seen major league action with the A’s, Nationals, and Mariners.  Seattle recently designated him for assignment on April 8th.  0.53 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: Rob Bell (1995), -1.1 WAR in 8 seasons
Others: OF-Jordan Schafer (2005), LHP-Matt Harrison (2003), RHP-Charlie Morton (2002), OF-Adam Stern (2001), RHP-Blaine Boyer (2000)
Prospect: #5 RHP-Craig Kimbrel (2008)

20. Milwaukee Brewers: 15 players drafted, 2 have reached the majors

Ruddy Lugo was the 3rd round pick of the Brewers back in the 1999 draft.  In two major league seasons spent pitching for Tampa Bay and Oakland he has a career WAR of 1.1 and a near average ERA+ of 103.  His last major league action came back in 2007 and he is currently pitching for the Tigers Triple-A affiliate.  In addition to spending time in the Milwaukee and Detroit organizations, he’s also pitched for six others including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, and New York Mets.  0.55 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: OF-Kevin Barker (1996), -0.8 WAR in 5 seasons
Others: None
Prospect: #5 C-Jonathan LuCroy (2007)

19. Colorado Rockies: 15 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

The Rockies selected RHP-Shawn Chacon in the 1996 draft.  He last pitched in the majors in 2008 with the Houston Astros.  Chacon has also pitched in the majors for the Rockies, Yankees, and Pirates, but spent 2009 pitching for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate and Newark in the Independent Atlantic League.  His 2007 season was the best of his eight-year career and accounted for 4.0 of 4.8 WAR.  0.60 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  C-Josh Bard (1999), 1.8 WAR in 8 seasons
Others: RHP-Steven Register (2004) and 1B-Todd Sears (1997)
Prospect: None

18. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 16 players drafted, 6 have reached the majors

RHP-Steven Shell was the Angels 3rd round pick in 2001.  He became a minor league free agent after the 2007 season and signed with the Washington Nationals.  Shell made his major league debut with the Nats in 2008 throwing 50.0 innings with an ERA+ of 200.  In two seasons he has a career WAR of 1.3.  0.65 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: LHP-Scott Schoeneweis (1996), 2.4 WAR in 11 seasons
Others: RHP-Sean O’ Sullivan (2005), SS-Sean Rodriguez (2003), LHP-Jake Woods (2001), SS-Tommy Murhpy (2000)
Prospect: #21 RHP-Ryan Chaffee (2008)

17. Arizona Diamondbacks: 15 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

The D-backs 3rd round selection in the 2001 draft, 2B/OF-Scott Hairston, has a career WAR of 4.0 in six major league seasons.  He was traded by Arizona to San Diego in July of 2007 for Leo Rosales.  The Padres traded him to the Oakland A’s last summer for Craig Italiano and Sean Gallagher.  In January he was traded from the A’s back to the Padres.  At least he knows he’s wanted.  0.67 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: LHP-Matt Chico (2003), 0.2 WAR in 2 seasons
Others: RHP-Micah Owings (2005), RHP-Garrett Mock (2004), LHP-Bill White (2000)
Prospect: #12 SS-Reynaldo Navvarro (2007)

16. Boston Red Sox: 17 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

LHP-Mike Maroth was drafted by the Red Sox in 1998 and was traded the following summer in exchange for Bryce Florie.  He has a career WAR of 4.0 spread over six seasons with 3.5 WAR coming during his 2004 season with the Detroit Tigers.  Maroth has a career ERA+ of 87 and barely cracked league average in 2004 and 2006.  In addition to the Tigers, he also pitched with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007.  0.67 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: OF-Dernell Stenson (1996), 0.8 WAR in 1 season
Others: 1B-Aaron Bates (2006), LHP-Rich Rundles (1999), and RHP-Travis Harper (1997)
Prospect: #14 SS-David Renfroe (2009)

15. Seattle Mariners: 15 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

30.0 innings pitched for the Detroit Tigers in 2002 by LHP-Andy Van Hekken secures him the top spot for the Mariners organization.  That’s 30 innings by Seattle’s 3rd round pick in 1998 that saves you from being subjected to a rant about Willie “the Spork” Bloomquist from the perspective of my IRF (Inner Royals Fan).  Be thankful that Van Hekken pitched in the majors for that one season and be thankful that he wound up with a 0.7 WAR as a result.  0.70 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  UT-Willie Bloomquist (1999), 1.9 WAR in 8 seasons
Others: 3B/2B-Matt Tuiasosopo (2004) and Ryan Feierabend (2003)
Prospect:  #19 3B/2B-Matt Tuiasosopo (2004)

14. Baltimore Orioles: 15 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

2003 pick, RHP-Chris Ray leads Baltimore’s 3rd round class.  His resume is as follows; 4 seasons, 2.9 WAR, and Tommy John Surgery in 2008.  Ray returned from TJS in 2009, but clearly wasn’t back to 100% and finished with -0.9 WAR.  After four seasons with the Orioles, Ray moved on to the Texas Rangers for the 2010 season.   0.73 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: C-Jeffrey Fiorentino (2004), 0.7 WAR in 4 seasons
Others: OF-Val Majewski (2002), RHP-Steve Bechler (1998), and LHP-Matt Riley (1997)
Prospect: #3 LHP-Zach Britton (2006)

13. Tampa Bay Rays: 12 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

The Rays selected OF-Elijah Dukes in the 2002 draft.  He made his major league debut with the team in 2007 and was then traded to the Washington Nationals in December for Glenn Gibson.  He played for the Nationals the last two seasons and was projected to be the starting RF for 2010.  On March 17th the team released him and his future is very much up in the air despite the fact that he is only 25, incredibly talented, and has a career WAR of 2.5 over 3 seasons.  Wade Davis will probably take over this spot after the 2010 season, but for now this is Elijah territory.  0.83 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: RHP-Wade Davis (2004), 0.3 WAR in 1 season
Others: LHP-Andrew Miller (2003) and RHP-Doug Waechter (1999)
Prospect: #3 RHP-Wade Davis (2004)

12. Kansas City Royals: 15 players drafted, 2 have reached the majors

LHP-Jeremy Affeldt was drafted by the Royals in 1997.  He had his ups and downs in four and a half seasons in Kansas City before he was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Scott Dohmann and Ryan Shealy.  He has gone on to put up a 137 ERA+ for the Rockies in 2007, a 133 ERA+ in 2008 for the Reds, and a stellar 253 ERA+ in 2009.  His career ERA+ now sits at 111, but that figures to keep climbing based on his performance in recent seasons.  In eight seasons he has amassed a 6.7 WAR.  0.84 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  RHP-Chad Durbin (1996), -0.3 WAR in 10 seasons
Others: None
Prospect: #3 C-Wil Myers (2009)

11. Chicago Cubs: 17 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

In 2001 the Cubs used their 3rd round pick on SS-Ryan Theriot and have been rewarded with 5.8 WAR over the last five seasons.  He’s a below average hitter with an OPS+ of 85, but he makes up for that the defensive side of things where he has a career 4.8 UZR/150.  1.16 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: LHP-Scott Downs (1997), 6.6 WAR in 8 seasons
Others: 3B/OF-Jake Fox (2003) and RHP-Billy Petrick (2002)
Prospect: #8 RHP-Chris Carpenter (2008)

10. Chicago White Sox: 16 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

RHP-J.J. Putz was drafted by Chicago in 1995 and currently has an ERA+ of 134.  He actually didn’t sign with the White Sox and wound up being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 6th round of the 1999 draft.  Putz spent his first six seasons in Seattle, before spending 2009 as a member of the Mets.  This season he has come full circle and has found his way back to the White Sox.  He has a 8.9 career WAR over seven seasons.  1.27 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  RHP-Jon Rauch (1999), 4.6 WAR in 8 seasons
Others: RHP-Josh Rupe (2002), SS-Mike Morse (2000), and RHP-Josh Fogg (1998)
Prospect: #4 3B-Brent Morel (2008)

9. Philadelphia Phillies: 16 players drafted, 3 have reached the majors

The Phillies’ 2004 3rd round pick, LHP-J.A. Happ, was instrumental in getting the Phillies back to the World Series last season.  He accumulated 4.1 of his career 4.4 WAR along the way.  In 201.2 innings pitched, over three seasons, heading into the 2010 season his ERA+ was an impressive 137.  While it is a small sample size and he might not again attain the level of success he found in 2009, he has his career off to a good start and is a good bet to push the Phillies up this list in the years to come.  1.47 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  LHP-Matt Maloney (2005), 0.1 WAR in 1 season
Others: OF-Jorge Padilla (1998)
Prospect: #14 OF-Kyrell Hudson (2009)

8. Toronto Blue Jays: 16 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

RHP-Shaun Marcum was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft.  By 2007 he had solidified himself in the Jays rotation and turned in excellent seasons in 2007 and 2008 good for respective WARs of 2.0 and 3.1.  September Tommy John surgery prematurely ended his 2008 season and cost him all of 2009.  In four seasons he has a career WAR of 6.1 and an ERA+ of 112.  He looked pretty good in his first start of 2010 on opening day.  1.53 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  OF-Adam Lind (2004), 4.6 WAR in four seasons including 3.3 in 2009
Others:  OF-Tyrell Godwin (2001), LHP-Matt Ford (1999) and LHP-Clayton Andrews (1996)
Prospect: #1 Zach Stewart (2008)

7. Pittsburgh Pirates: 15 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

The Pirates are an interesting and surprising case.  Since 1995 they have drafted 15 players including four pitchers and eleven position players.  All four of their pitchers selected have reached the majors, all four are going strong, three of them average better than 1.6 WAR per season over the course of their career, and not a single one of them is still in Pittsburgh.  The best of the bunch is RHP-Bronson Arroyo who has a career ERA+ of 108 pitching for the Pirates, Red Sox, and Reds.  In 10 seasons he has bumped his career WAR up to 17.8 and it is worth nothing that his WAR has been positive every year since his rookie season in 2003 when it was -1.2.  Arroyo would be slightly above replacement level the following three seasons before pitching his way to 2.4 WAR in 2004.  Since then he has been above 1.7 and has thrown over 200 innings for five straight seasons.  The Pirates have done a lot of things wrong in their recent history, but it seems they are pretty adept at landing major league pitching in the third round.  With a success rate of 100% they might want to go to the well a little more often.  1.78 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: RHP-Jeremy Guthrie (2001), 10.2 WAR in 6 seasons
Others:  RHP-Chris Young (2000) and LHP-John Grabow (1997)
Prospect:  #22 SS/3B-Jordy Mercer (2008)

6. New York Yankees: 13 players drafted, 5 have reached the majors

1B/DH-Nick Johnson was drafted in 1996 and has gone on to put up a career OPS+ of 124.  He’s battled injuries for much of his career, but has still managed to rack up a career 14.6 WAR over 8 seasons.  He has played for the Yankees, Expos/Nationals, and Marlins in his career and returned to where it all started by signing with the Yanks this offseason.  1.80 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  OF-Brett Gardner (2005), 2.2 WAR in 2 seasons
Others:  LHP-Chase Wright (2001), LHP-Alex Graman (1999), and 3B-Drew Henson (1998)
Prospect: #5 RHP-Zach McAllister (2006)

5. Florida Marlins: 15 players drafted, 3 have reached the majors

Thanks to the work of 1995 pick OF-Randy Winn, the Marlins wind up in a tie on this list with the Twins.  To break the tie I went with the WAR of each team’s second best (Honorable Mention) player.  Randy Winn is in his 13th season and has played in the majors with the Rays, Mariners, Giants, and as of this season the New York Yankees.  He never made it to the majors with Florida, because Tampa Bay selected him in the 1997 expansion draft.  In his twelve seasons previous to this one, he has a WAR of 26.9 and despite the fact he is 36 years old has finished with a WAR above 3 in each of the last two seasons.  2.24 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  3B-Chris Aguila (1997) -1.1 WAR in 4 seasons
Others:  SS-Josh Wilson (1999)
Prospect: #9 OF-Scott Cousins (2006)

4. Minnesota Twins: 16 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

1B-Justin Morneau was drafted in 1999 and currently has a career OPS+ of 123 to go with an MVP award,two Silver Slugger awards, and has been named to three All-Star teams.  He’s been a part of the Twins organization his entire career, and he is one of my favorite players in the game.  In seven seasons he has a career WAR of 15.7, but has racked up 14.4 of that in the last 4 seasons.  2.24 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: LHP-Brian Duensing (2005), 1.3 WAR in 1 season
Others: C-Jose Morales (2001), who was drafted as a SS, and C-A.J. Hinch (1995)
Prospect: #8 OF-Angel Morales (2007)

3. Texas Rangers: 13 players draafted, 4 have reached the majors

He wouldn’t sign with the Rangers, and wound up being drafted by Oakland the following year, but in 1998 Texas selected LHP-Barry Zito.  He has gone on to pitch his entire 10-year career in the bay area accumulating 31.7 WAR in the process.  Despite a downturn in his productivity during his time with the San Fransisco Giants, he still boasts a career ERA+ of 114.  3.17 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention: 3B-Hank Blalock (1999), 9.3 WAR in 8 seasons
Others: RHP-Ryan Dempster (1995) and C-Taylor Teagarden (2005)
Prospect: None

2. Detroit Tigers: 16 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

Drafted in 2002, OF-Curtis Granderson, has an OPS+ of 114.  It isn’t as impressive as guys like Morneau or Nick Johnson, but his defensive ability puts him far ahead of those guys.  Curtis was a part of the 3-team blockbuster trade involving the Tigers, Yankees, and Diamondbacks this offseason.  He now finds himself in the hallowed pinstripes and while he is off to a slow start at the plate in terms of BA and OBP, his SLG is 0.625.  In six seasons he has a career WAR of 19.2 which is good for 3.20 WAR/Year.

Honorable Mention:  OF-Nook Logan (2000), 2.6 WAR in 4 seasons
Others: SS-Tony Giarratano (2003) and 3B-Jack Hannahan (2001)
Prospect: #20 RHP-Luke Putkonen (2007)

1. Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos: 15 players drafted, 4 have reached the majors

The team drafted OF-Grady Sizemore in the 3rd round of the 2000 draft and found themselves with a future superstar on their hands.  Unfortunately, they proceeded to trade him to Cleveland along with Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens to get seventeen starts out of impending free agent Bartolo Colon.  At least they got RHP-Tim Drew as well who pitched in the majors for five seasons with an ERA+ of 65.  It may not be the worst trade in baseball history, but it is up there.  Sizemore has more than lived up to his promise and has a career WAR of 28.7 in 6 seasons.  Grady had a down year in 2009 and still finished with a WAR of 2.9 on the season which is pretty darn good.  It was a down year because it came on the heels of a 4 year run of 5.9, 7.3, 6.1, and 5.1.  Still only 27-years old he’s got a ton of baseball left in him and a shot to wind up in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  4.78 WAR/Year

Honorable Mention:  LHP-Mike Hinckley (2001), 0.7 WAR in 2 seasons
Others: SS-Ian Desmond (2004) and OF-Kory Casto (2003)
Prospect: #4 SS-Ian Desmond (2004)

Conclusion:

The above encompasses 454 3rd round selections from the 1995 to 2009 draft classes.  Of those selections, 115 (or just over 25%) have reached the major leagues, though that percentage will go up as more and more prospects from the later drafts make their major league debuts.  The above exercise highlights one thing above all else.  It is hard to identify and draft players who will reach the major leagues.  That’s baseball draft knowledge 101, so it’s far from a groundbreaking statement.  We can go further than that basic statement however.  Of the 115 who have reached the majors, only 17 have averaged more than 1 WAR per season.  The Pittsburgh Pirates are the only team to draft three of these players (Arroyo, Guthrie, and Chris Young).  Four organizations have drafted two players apiece from this group including the Blue Jays (Marcum and Lind), Yankees  (Nick Johnson and Gardner), Twins (Morneau and Duensing), and Rangers (Zito and Blalock).  The remaining 6 of the 17 are Theriot (Cubs), Putz (White Sox), Happ (Phillies), Winn (Marlins), Granderson (Tigers), and Sizemore (Nationals/Expos).

We can break it down even further to identify that five players out of 454 have been worth more than 2.0 wins above replacement level over the course of their careers.  This elite group is comprised of Randy Winn, Justin Morneau, Barry Zito, Curtis Granderson, and Grady Sizemore.

I have to admit I was surprised by the results of my research.  My assumption heading into this was that more players would average more than 1 WAR per year and that as a whole, fewer players taken in the 3rd round would have reached the majors.  The preconceived notion I had when I started out was that the percentage would wind up being around or slightly less than 20%.

One thing is an absolutely certainty, Grady Sizemore is the elite talent from the third round picks of the last 15 years.  The Nationals/Expos are probably still looking for the undo button on that trade.  If they’re not, they should be.

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Tags: Andy Van Hekken Barry Zito Brian Buscher Bronson Arroyo Chris Ray Colt Morton Craig Tatum Curtis Granderson Elijah Dukes Grady Sizemore J.A. Happ J.J. Putz Jensen Lewis Jeremy Affeldt Joe Mather Joe Smith Justin Morneau Kirk Saarloos Mike Maroth Nick Johnson Onan Masaoka Randy Winn Ruddy Lugo Ryan Langerhans Ryan Theriot Scott Hairston Shaun Marcum Shawn Chacon Steven Shell Vin Mazzaro