The MLB draft is not like other professional sports drafts. The players generally don't have any substantial impact on their new teams for at least a year or two.
Since 1986, only seven players have skipped the minors entirely, the most recent being Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.
The last five MLB drafts have turned out some incredibly impressive talent. Although some of these players are still in the minors, there are plenty who have made substantial careers for themselves already.
Because most players in the 2011 and 2012 drafts have barely played any professional baseball, this list will start at 2007 and work up to the 2010 draft.
Additionally, this list is based off the current Major League performance of players in each class. While I'll obviously factor in potential, players who have had little to no impact at the big league level will not make this list.
So, without further adieu, here are the top five players from each MLB draft between 2007 and 2010.
1. Tampa Bay Rays, SP David Price (1st Overall Pick)
David Price is easily the best player to come out of the 2007 MLB Draft. Price made his Major League debut in 2008 and hasn't looked back. After posting a winning record in his first full season (2009), Price has gone on to post three good (two great) seasons. Price has been an All-Star in each of the last three years and after finishing second in Cy-Young voting in 2010, Price looks primed to take home his first award in 2012.
Career Stat-Line: 125 G, 120 starts, 61-31 record, 3.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 725 K, 259 BB, 786.1 IP, 14.3 WAR
2. Baltimore Orioles, C Matt Wieters (5th Overall Pick)
Matt Wieters makes this list due to his impressive abilities at a premium position. I'm a little disappointed with the batting average two of the last three years, .249 in 2012 and 2010, but his power and ability to drive in runs make him one of the best offensive catchers in the game. Wieters also threw out 39-percent of baserunners this season, good for fourth in the majors. Wieters was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons and at 26-years-old, Wieters should be a staple in the Orioles organization for years to come.
Career Stat-Line: 509 G, .260/.328/.421, 475 H, 65 HR, 92 2B, 249 RBI, 211 runs, 11.5 WAR
3. Atlanta Braves, RF Jason Heyward (14th Overall Pick)
Jason Heyward is the best position player to come out of the 2007 draft so far. After a stellar rookie season where he was an All-Star and batted .277/.393/.456 with 18 HR, 29 doubles, 72 RBI and 83 runs, Heyward went through a serious sophomore slump only to rebound in 2012 where he batted .269/.335/.479 with 27 HR, 30 doubles, 21 steals, 82 RBI and 93 runs. Heyward's plus speed and power make him a legit 30-30 candidate year in and year out. Defensively he's my pick to win the NL Gold Glove Award this season and his plus defensive ability should put him squarely in contention for multiple wins.
Career Stat-Line: 428 G, .261/.352/.447, 392 H, 59 HR, 77 2B, 196 RBI, 226 runs, 14.2 WAR
4. Miami Marlins, RF Giancarlo Stanton (76th Overall Pick)
Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most feared power hitters in the National League. The fact that he's only 22-years-old makes that fact even more impressive. In each of Stanton's three seasons he has increased his batting average, OBP, SLG-percentage, home run output and RBI totals. Stanton led the NL in SLG-percentage this season and, had it not been for an injury, he could easily have led the league in home runs as he finished with 37 in only 123 games. Just a quick note, Stanton hit 37 home runs in 123 games and his home games are played in that monstrous new stadium in Miami. Stanton made the All-Star team in 2012 and one thing's for sure, Giancarlo Stanton is going to hit a whole lot of home runs for the Marlins, or wherever else he may go in his career.
Career Stat-Line: 373 G, .270/.361/.553, 358 H, 93 HR, 81 2B, 232 RBI, 199 runs, 12.0 WAR
5. San Francisco Giants, SP Madison Bumgarner (10th Overall Pick)
Bumgarner is the second best pitcher to come out of the 2007 draft class. He's still only 23-years-old and is pitching at a very high level in the regular season, but most importantly in the playoffs and World Series. Bumgarner has now turned in two key starts in two separate World Series appearances both in 2010 and 2012. In his two World Series starts, Bumgarner pitched a combined 15 shutout innings allowing just five hits and four walks while striking out 14 batters. This season, Bumgarner pitched to a 16-11 record with a 3.37 ERA, 1.11 WHIP with 191 strikeouts to 49 walks in 208.1 innings pitched. Compared to David Price's age 23 season, Bumgarner is far ahead of the curve and I see him overtaking Matt Cain as staff ace at some point in the near future.
Career Stat-Line: 87 G, 84 starts, 36-30 record, 3.20 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 478 K, 124 BB, 534 IP, 6.5 WAR
Notable Exclusions: Mike Moustakas (2nd), Joshua Vitters (3rd), Ross Detwiler (6th), Ben Revere (28th), Todd Frazier (34th), Freddie Freeman (78th), Zack Cozart (79th), Will Middlebrooks (174th), Anthony Rizzo (204th)
1. San Francisco Giants, C/1B Buster Posey (5th Overall)
Buster Posey is the best all-around catcher in Major League Baseball and he's just 25-years-old. The Giants caught a superstar with the fifth overall pick in 2008. Posey made his debut in September of 2009 and played his first full season in 2010. In that year, Posey won Rookie of the Year, a World Series title and batted .305/.357/.505 with 124 hits, 18 HR, 23 doubles, 67 RBI and 58 runs scored. Posey suffered a nasty injury in 2011 but rebounded in a big way in 2012 where he batted .336/.408/.549 with 24 HR, 39 doubles, 103 RBI and 78 runs scored. Posey led all of baseball in average and looks to be the likely choice for MVP in 2012. Easily the best player of his draft class.
Career Stat-Line: 308 G, .314/.380/.549, 350 H, 46 HR, 67 2B, 191 RBI, 154 runs, 12.8 WAR
2. Atlanta Braves, CL Craig Kimbrel (96th Overall)
I'm of firm belief that closers are a dime a dozen, but when you can land a guy like Craig Kimbrel in the third round, you've done your homework. Kimbrel is the best closer in Major League Baseball and his numbers prove it. In 2012, Kimbrel went 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA, .065 WHIP and 116 K to 14 BB in 62.2 innings pitched. Kimbrel also set the MLB record Kimbrel's recorded 89 saves in his career in just 100 opportunities. Just some food for thought, Kimbrel has more saves at 24 than Rivera had after his year-28 season. Already a ROTY winner and two-time All-Star, we could be watching the most dominant closer in MLB history develop right in front of our eyes.
Career Stat-Line: 163 G, 11-4 record, 89 saves, 1.46 ERA, .911 WHIP, 283 K, 62 BB, 160.1 IP, 6.2 WAR
3. New York Mets, 1B Ike Davis
Ike Davis really makes this list because I can't make up my mind. Davis' slash line was a disappointing .227/.308/.462 this season, but he managed to chip in 32 HR, 26 doubles, 90 RBI and 62 runs. Davis showed Gold Glove caliber defense in his rookie season, however, he went on to post a negative UZR in 2012. I don't believe Davis' slump will be a permanent one. He returned from a nasty ankle injury in 2011 to post 30-plus home runs and 90 RBIs so there's plenty of reason for hope for the 25-year-old first baseman.
Career Stat-Line: 339 G, .252/.336/.461, 295 H, 58 HR, 67 2B, 186 RBI, 159 runs, 5.6 WAR
4. Kansas City Royals, 1B Eric Hosmer (3rd Overall)
Eric Hosmer had a rough sophomore season in 2012, but at 23-years-old, Hosmer has already shown the ability to perform at a high level in the majors. Hosmer batted just .232/.304/.359 with 14 HR, 60 RBI and 65 runs in 2012, but it's his 2011 campaign that lands him on this list. As a rookie in 2011, Hosmer hit .293/.334/.465 with 19 HR, 27 doubles, 78 RBI and 66 runs scored. Hosmer is a highly talented player who does a great job of advancing base runners. Hosmer has 25 home run power and he's chipped in double digit steals the last two years. Hosmer's future looks bright with a Royals team who is definitely on the up and up.
Career Stat-Line: 280 G, .262/.312/.411, 277 H, 33 HR, 49 2B, 138 RBI, 131 runs, 1.4 WAR
5. Arizona Diamondbacks, SP Wade Miley (43rd Overall)
Wade Miley really had a breakout season in 2012. After struggling a little in his 2011 debut, the 25-year-old lefty had a stellar year going 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and 144 K to 37 BB in 192.2 IP. For a period of time this season, Miley was considered to be a fringe candidate for the Cy Young Award. Miley's impressive season got him a trip to the MLB All-Star game and it's sure to nab him Rookie of the Year honors. Arizona netted two great players out of this draft class getting Miley 43rd overall and later getting Daniel Hudson from the White Sox via trade.
Career Stat-Line: 40 G, 36 starts, 20-13 record, 3.53 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 144 K, 55 BB, 234.2 IP, 3.2 WAR
Notable Exclusions: Pedro Alvarez (2nd), Yonder Alonso (7th), Gordon Beckham (8th), Jemile Weeks (12th), Brett Lawrie (16th), Lonnie Chisenhall (29th), Lance Lynn (39th), Vance Worley (102nd)
1. Los Angeles Angels, CF Mike Trout (25th)
Mike Trout posted what might go down as one of the best rookie seasons in the history of baseball. In 2012, Trout slashed .326/.399/.564 with 182 H, 30 HR, 27 doubles, 83 RBI, 129 runs and 49 stolen bases. Whether you're a believer in WAR or not, Trout posted a 10.7 WAR, a full two and a half points higher than the next closest player. Trout led all of baseball with his 129 runs and 49 steals and, up until the last day of the season, had an outside shot to best Miguel Cabrera's AL-leading .330 average. Trout's been gathering significant MVP consideration but whether he gets it or not has no bearing on how good he is. Trout's season will surely score him Rookie of the Year honors, he was also an All-Star and a Gold Glove finalist. Simply put, Trout is well on his way to becoming one of the best players of his generation.
Career Stat-Line: 179 G, .306/.379/.532, 209 H, 35 HR, 33 2B, 99 RBI, 149 runs, 53 SB, 11.3 WAR
2. Washington Nationals, SP Stephen Strasburg (1st Overall)
Stephen Strasburg is the best pitcher of the 2009 draft class. Strasburg made his Major League debut just one year after being drafted and didn't disappoint in the slightest. In his first 12 appearances, Strasburg posted a 5-3 record with a 2.91 ERA, 1.074 WHIP and 92 strikeouts to 17 walks in 68 innings pitched. Strasburg's sophomore season was interrupted by Tommy John surgery, but 2012 Strasubrg came back in full force. The 24-year-old righty made the All-Star Game and pitched to a 15-6 record, a 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 197 strikeouts to 48 walks in 159.1 innings pitched. Should he not have been shut down so early, Strasburg would've drawn some Cy Young consideration and his Nationals may have fared better against the Cardinals in the playoffs. In any event, Strasburg is one of Major League Baseball's brightest young stars and he should be a perennial Cy Young candidate for years to come.
Career Stat-Line: 45 G, 45 starts, 21-10 record, 2.94 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 313 K, 67 BB, 251.1 IP, 5.1 WAR
3. Arizona Diamondbacks, 1B Paul Goldschmidt (246th Overall)
Paul Goldschmidt is the latest-drafted player thus far. Selected in the eighth round of the '09 draft, Goldschmidt needed just two and a half seasons in the minors prior to making his major league debut in 2011. He played just 48 games that season, but in 2012 he made his full season debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Goldschmidt played 145 games in his first full season and slashed .286/.359/.490 with 147 hits, 20 HR, 43 2B, 82 RBI, 82 runs and 18 stolen bases. Goldschmidt is a promising young first baseman and he'll definitely help the Diamondbacks after experiencing some growing pains in the 2012 season.
Career Stat-Line: 193 G, .278/.353/.487, 186 H, 28 HR, 52 2B, 108 RBI, 110 runs, 22 SB, 3.4 WAR
4. Cleveland Indians, 2B Jason Kipnis (63rd Overall)
Jason Kipnis took the minors by storm in 2009, '10 and '11 before gaining his promotion to the majors. His first showing in Cleveland was only 36 games, but he slashed .272/.333/.507 with seven HR, 19 RBI and 24 runs scored. Kipnis carried his success into 2012 when he played 152 games, slashed .257/.335/.379 with 14 HR, 22 doubles, 76 RBI, 86 runs and 31 stolen bases. Kipnis has the potential to be a 20-20 threat every year and his ability to steal bases certainly helps his run production. Additionally, Kipnis is an above-average defensive second baseman. Kipnis reminds me of a younger Brandon Phillips type player. If that proves to be his potential, Kipnis will be one of the better second baseman in the league.
Career Stat-Line: 188 G, .260/.335/.403, 189 H, 21 HR, 31 2B, 95 RBI, 110 runs, 36 SB, 4.8 WAR
5. Seattle Mariners, 3B Kyle Seager (82nd Overall)
After snagging former super prospect Dustin Ackley with the second pick in this draft, the Mariners picked up Kyle Seager with their third round pick. Seager played just 53 games in 2011, but in 2012 he made his full-season debut. Seager played in 155 games in 2012 and batted .259/.316/.423 with 20 HR, 35 doubles, 86 RBI, 62 runs and 10 stolen bases. Seager only struck out 104 times this year and walked 46 times. Seager's a sweet-swinging lefty who plays multiple positions. If he can continue to produce the way he did in 2012, he'll be a big part of the Seattle Mariners future.
Career Stat-Line: 208 G, .259/.315/.412, 201 H, 23 HR, 48 2B, 99 RBI, 84 runs, 16 SB, 3.2 WAR
Notable Exclusions: Dustin Ackley (2nd), Zach Wheeler (6th), Mike Minor (7th), Mike Leake (8th), Drew Storen (10th), Shelby Miller, (19th), Brett Jackson (31st), Billy Hamilton (57th), Brandon Belt (147th),
1. Washington Nationals, OF Bryce Harper (1st Overall)
Bryce Harper was possibly the easiest player to pick of any of these drafts. By 16, Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. By 17, he was already out of high school and wowing the collegiate world. Now, after one year of minor league seasoning, Harper is again wowing the baseball world. In his rookie season Harper didn't play a game until the end of April and still managed a .270/.340/.477 slash line with 22 HR, 26 2B, 59 RBI, 98 runs and 18 stolen bases. Outside of Mike Trout, Harper was the best rookie offensively in 2012. Harper just turned 20 on October 16th and, barring anything crazy, he's got a solid 15-20 years left on his Major League career. Harper's been destined for greatness since he was 16-years-old and he's shown that he's completely capable about performing to the level fans expect.
Career Stat-Line: 139 G, .270/.340/.477, 144 H, 22 HR, 26 2B, 59 RBI, 98 runs, 18 SB, 5.0 WAR
2. Chicago White Sox, SP Chris Sale (13th Overall)
Chris Sale required hardly any minor league seasoning and made his debut in the same year he was drafted. Sale pitched in 79 games before he made his debut as a starter in 2012. In those two seasons, Sale pitched 94.1 innings with a 2.58 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 111 strikeouts to 37 walks. In Sale's first season as a starter, he pitched to a 17-8 record, a 3.05 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 192 strikeouts to 51 walks in 192 innings pitched. Sale posted a career-best 2.4 BB/9 and a 5.7 WAR. Sale made the All-Star team in 2012 and was firmly in the discussion for AL Cy Young for about three-quarters of the season. Sale's just 23-years-old so, as long as his arm holds up, he should only get better.
Career Stat-Line: 109 G, 29 starts, 21-11 record, 2.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 303 K, 88 BB, 286.1 IP, 9.0 WAR
3. Baltimore Orioles, 3B/SS Manny Machado (3rd Overall)
The Pirates may have made a big mistake letting Manny Machado drop past them at number two. Meanwhile, the Orioles got a gift dropped right in their laps. Machado popped 23 home runs with a .263/.342/.432 slash line with 114 RBI and 111 runs scored in 219 games. Machado's a shortstop by trade, but the Orioles may be better off leaving him at third since they have JJ Hardy at short. In any event, Machado made his debut on August 9th and helped lead the Orioles to their first playoff birth since 1997. In his 51 games, Machado batted .262/.294/.445 with seven home runs, 26 RBI and 24 runs scored. Manny struggled through most of the playoffs batting just .158/.238/.368 with a home run and two RBI but he's clearly ready to make a long term impact for the Orioles. Between he, JJ Hardy and Adam Jones, the Orioles have a tough heart of the lineup and could contend for the AL East championship again in 2013.
Career Stat-Line: 51 G, .262/.294/.445, 50 H, 7 HR, 8 2B, 26 RBI, 24 runs, 2 SB, 1.5 WAR
4. New York Mets, SP Matt Harvey (7th Overall)
Matt Harvey is another pitcher drafted out of high school who chose to test his merits in college. Harvey pitched well in his three seasons at UNC and was drafted seventh overall by the Mets in 2010. Harvey needed just short of two years in the minors before he was promoted to the Mets in 2012. Harvey made just 10 starts in his debut season but it was enough to make an impression on fans, scouts and teams around the league. Harvey allowed three or less runs in nine of his 10 starts and recorded six or more strikeouts in seven of those 10. Harvey breezed through the minors and performed better than expected with the Mets. He averaged 10.6 K/9 and fans should expect similar numbers through his career. Between he and Zack Wheeler, the Mets will have an impressive 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation for quite some time.
Career Stat-Line: 10 G, 10 starts, 3-5 record, 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 70 K, 26 BB, 59.1 IP, 1.6 WAR
5. San Diego Padres, C Yasmani Grandal (12th Overall)
Yasmani Grandal went to San Diego in the deal that sent Mat Latos to the Reds. Grandal's a big switch-hitting catcher with a highly disciplined bat and great power from the catcher's position. After breezing through the minors in 2010 and 2011, Grandal made his Major League debut on August 16th and played 60 games slashing .297/.394/.469 with eight home runs, 36 RBI and 28 runs scored. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Grandal's debut season is that as a 23-year-old he struck out 39 times walking 31 times. As he progresses, Grandal will prove that he can mash with the best catchers in baseball. He's got above average power from both sides of the plate and his ability to call games behind the plate will help the Padres as they look to improve their pitching staff over the next couple seasons.
Career Stat-Line: 60 G, .297/.394/.469, 57 H, 8 HR, 7 2B, 36 RBI, 28 runs, 2.7 WAR
Notable Exclusions: Jameson Taillon (2nd), Drew Pomeranz (5th), Taijuan Walker (43rd), Mike Olt (49th), Jedd Gyorko (59th), Ryan LaMarre (62nd), Drew Smyly (68th), Andrelton Simmons (70th), Anthony Ranaudo (39th)