The MLB Draft: Recent success rates of some positions in the top ten picks

Mike Stobe

Promoted from the FanPost section - Ryan

With the 2013 baseball draft nearly upon us, various rumors and mock drafts have been flying around suggesting that the Indians, with the fifth pick in this year's draft, will take this pitcher, that third baseman, that outfielder, etc. Here's a look at the results of some recent high draft picks at those positions.

The Indians have been connected to various players, including college third baseman Colin Moran, college pitchers Braden Shipley and Ryne Stanek, college outfielder Hunter Renfroe, high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows, and high school pitchers Kohl Stewart and Trey Ball. Additionally, college pitchers Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel and college third baseman Kris Bryant might unexpectedly drop and be available for the Tribe to draft. Altogether that includes five types of players. I'm looking back at 15 drafts from 1994-2008 drafts to see what happened to players at the same positions selected in the top ten picks of those drafts. So this will not include all players in the top ten, like catchers or shortstops, just high school outfielders, college outfielders, high school pitchers, college pitchers, and college third basemen. Again, I'm only looking at players in the top ten picks.

"None" means the player never made it to the major leagues.



Ben Grieve: 8.4 WAR (All-Star)

McKay Christensen: -0.3 WAR


Doug Million: None

Jaret Wright: 4.7 WAR


Paul Wilson: 2.2 WAR

Dustin Hermanson: 11.4 WAR

C.J. Nitkowski: -0.8 WAR


Antone Williamson: -0.8 WAR



Jaime Jones: None


Darin Erstad: 32.4 WAR (All-Star)

Jose Cruz: 19.5 WAR

Geoff Jenkins: 21.7 WAR (All-Star)


Kerry Wood: 27.7 WAR (All-Star)


Ariel Prieto: 3.3 WAR

Jonathan Johnson: -0.9 WAR



Chad Green: None

Mark Kotsay: 21.7 WAR


John Patterson: 5.1 WAR

Matt White: None


Kris Benson: 13 WAR

Braden Looper: 8.8 WAR

Billy Koch: 5.6 WAR

Seth Greisinger: 0.0 WAR


Eric Chavez: 37.5 WAR



Vernon Wells: 29.8 WAR (All-Star)

J.J. Davis (-1.3 WAR)


Geoff Getz: None

Jon Garland: 22.5 WAR (All-Star)


Matt Anderson: -.5 WAR

Jason Grilli: 4.8 WAR

Dan Reichert: 0.0 WAR


Troy Glaus: 38 WAR (All-Star)



Corey Patterson: 9.6 WAR

Austin Kearns: 12.9 WAR


J.D. Drew: 44.8 WAR (All-Star)


Mark Mulder: 20.0 WAR (All-Star)

Jeff Austin: -0.7 WAR

Ryan Mills: None


Pat Burrell: 18.6 WAR



Josh Hamilton: 24.7 WAR (All-Star)

B.J. Garbe: None


Josh Beckett: 34 WAR (All-Star)

Josh Gridley: None

Bobby Bradley: None


Kyle Snyder: 0.4 WAR

Barry Zito: 35.4 WAR (All-Star)

Ben Sheets: 23.4 WAR (All-Star)



Rocco Baldelli: 10.2 WAR


Mike Stodolka: None

Matt Harrington: None

Matt Wheatland: None

Mark Phillips: None

Joe Torres: None


Adam Johnson: -1.1 WAR

Justin Wayne: -1.5 WAR (so, this was an awful year for drafting pitching high)



Gavin Floyd: 14.9 WAR

Colt Griffin: None


Mark Prior: 16.5 WAR (All-Star)

Dewon Brazelton: -3.0 WAR

Josh Karp: None

Chris Smith: None

John Van Benschoten: -3.5 WAR


Mark Teixeira: 47.7 WAR (All-Star)



Chris Gruler: None

Adam Loewen: 0.5 WAR

Clint Evers: None

Zach Greinke: 32 WAR (All-Star)


Bryan Bullington: -0.2 WAR

Jeff Francis: 10.5 WAR



Delmon Young: 1.8 WAR

Chris Lubanski: None

Ryan Harvey: None


Nick Markakis: 24.4 WAR


John Danks: 19.3 WAR


Kyle Sleeth: None

Tim Stauffer: 3.4 WAR

Paul Maholm: 13.7 WAR



Mark Rogers: 1.1 WAR


Justin Verlander: 37.1 WAR (All-Star)

Philip Humber: 1.1 WAR

Jeff Niemann: 4.1 WAR

Jeremy Sowers: 1.6 WAR

Homer Bailey: 3.4 WAR

Thomas Diamond: -0.4 WAR



Cameron Maybin: 8.3 WAR


Wade Townsend: None

Ricky Romero: 9.8 WAR (All-Star)

Mike Pelfrey: 4.6 WAR


Alex Gordon: 20.3 WAR

Ryan Zimmerman: 31 WAR (All-Star)

Ryan Braun: 35.2 WAR (All-Star)



Drew Stubbs: 7.3 WAR


Clayton Kershaw: 28.6 WAR (All-Star)


Luke Hochevar: 0.8 WAR

Greg Reynolds: -1.3 WAR

Brad Lincoln: 0.3 WAR

Andrew Miller: -2.9 WAR

Tim Lincecum: 22.8 WAR (All-Star)


Evan Longoria: 32.4 WAR (All-Star)



Jarrod Parker: 4.5 WAR

Madison Bumgarner: 9.3 WAR


David Price: 15.1 WAR (All-Star)

Daniel Moskos: 0.2 WAR

Ross Detwiler: 3.1 WAR

Casey Weathers: None



Brian Matusz: 2.0 WAR


Pedro Alvarez: 1.7 WAR

All of this of course comes with a bunch of caveats, such as, I know it's arbitrary to look at only the top 10 and not, say, the top 9, 11, or 15 (but I had to cut it off somewhere); small sample sizes, especially for the less common positions college outfielders and college third basemen; some of the players from the more recent drafts could look better (or worse) with time; WAR is an imperfect metric, yada yada yada; All-star appearances are not an objective measure of greatness, etc.

This is not intended at all to be a definitive argument that the Tribe should take any certain player over another; if a player doesn't have the tools or the projection to become a great player according to the scouting reports, he should be bypassed.

That said, here are how the positions fared. (I figured that if a player had 3 WAR, he was probably somewhat useful at some point during his career. If not, he could probably be considered a total bust; hence, "Bust percentage" is 100% minus the percentage of players with at least 3 WAR, and includes some players that made the majors as well as those who never did. I'm NOT saying that any player with 3 WAR is a success; I would think that a success is somewhere around 10+ WAR).

High school outfielders:

AVG: 7.44 WAR

None: 29%

3+ WAR: 50% (Bust: 50%)

10+: 29%

20+: 14%

All-Star: 21%

College outfielders:

AVG: 21.61 WAR

None: 13%

3+: 88% (Bust: 12%)

10+: 75%

20+: 63%

All-Star: 38%

High School Pitchers:

AVG: 7.85 WAR

None: 50%

3+: 42% (Bust: 58%)

10+: 27%

20+: 19%

All-Star: 19%

College Pitchers:

AVG: 5.47 WAR

None: 12%

3+: 44% (Bust: 56% - future success for Brian Matusz could make this look a little better)

10+: 22% (Madison Bumgarner should join this group soon)

20+: 10%

All-Star: 16%

College Third Basemen:

AVG: 26.16 WAR

None: 0%

3+: 80% (Bust: 20% - and Pedro Alvarez still has a shot to break out of this category, making this look even better)

10+: 80%

20+: 70%

All-Star: 50%

What to make of all this? Ummm...hire Colin Moran? or Hunter Renfroe? I'm still leery of Moran; but reportedly he does have a great hit tool plus a great approach at the plate, so good, in fact, that a lot of people consider him worthy of a top-10 pick. The power tool and possible position switch still worry me though.

The most striking thing about this, to me, is how well high school pitchers have done compared to college pitchers. Sure, top-ten selected college pitchers get to the majors a LOT more frequently, if that's all you care about; half the high schoolers chosen in the top ten will never get to the majors. But lots of the college pitchers do nothing once they get there (cough cough SOWERS cough cough). When it comes to actually having sustained success, the high schoolers are a little more likely than the college pitchers to get to 10 WAR; and in fact, they're nearly as likely to get to 20 as the college guys are to have 10 - according to this sample, at least.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.