Ranking the Top 5 Drafting GMs in Major League Baseball
As part of my ongoing retrospective draft analysis, I thought that I’d take a different angle this week by looking at various front offices rather than specific players or draft classes.
Therefore, I’ve decided to rank the top drafting general managers in the game, but only as it relates to their current organization. Only the top draft picks from each year are noted—primarily players whom I consider to be top-25 prospects within that organization. Furthermore, those that are currently regarded as top-50 overall prospects are designated in italics, while players who have reached the major leagues appear in bold.
5. Washington Nationals: Mike Rizzo
Although his time with the Nationals pales in comparison to the tenures of most general managers, Mike Rizzo has transformed the organization from perennial laughingstock to contender over the last three seasons.
Sure, drafting Bryce Harper was a no-brainer and has already paid significant dividends, but his successes extend well beyond the Nationals' young phenom.
2010: OF Bryce Harper, LHP Sammy Solis, RHP A.J. Cole (Athletics), SS Jason Martinson, LHP Robbie Ray
2011: 3B Anthony Rendon, RHP Alex Meyer, OF Brian Goodwin, 3B/1B Matt Skole
2012: RHP Lucas Giolito, 2B Tony Renda, LHP Brett Mooneyham
4. Toronto Blue Jays: Alex Anthopoulos
Named as the Toronto Blue Jays’ General Manager in Oct. 2009 after the firing of J.P. Ricciardi, Anthopoulos’ consistently strong drafts have established the team’s farm system as one of the best in the game.
He’s taken considerable risk by drafting a large quantity of high school players over the last three seasons—both pitchers and position players. However, his eye for young talent is extraordinary as many of those top draft picks have already exceeded the expectations tied to their development.
2010: RHP Deck McGuire, RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Noah Syndergaard, RHP Asher Wojciechowski (Astros), LHP Justin Nicolino (Marlins), LHP Sean Nolin
2011: RHP Joe Musgrove (Astros), OF Dwight Smith, RHP Kevin Comer (Astros), SS Christian Lopes, OF Kevin Pillar
2012: OF D.J. Davis, RHP Marcus Stroman, LHP Matt Smoral, 3B Mitch Nay, RHP Tyler Gonzales, RHP Chase DeJong, OF Anthony Alford
3. Seattle Mariners: Jack Zduriencik
Since assuming the position as the Mariners GM in Oct. 2008, Jack Zduriencik has stocked the team’s farm system with a slew of high-upside but projectable talent at nearly every position.
In each of the last four drafts, he’s targeted a healthy mix of high school and college prospects, some of whom have already reached the major leagues. More importantly, an even larger number of the prospects drafted under his watch are seemingly within a year of making their big league debut.
2009: 2B Dustin Ackley, SS Nick Franklin, IF Kyle Seager, 3B Vinnie Catricala (10th)
2010: RHP Taijuan Walker, C Marcus Littlewood, LHP James Paxton, RHP Stephen Pryor, OF Jabari Blash, 3B/2B Stefen Romero (12th)
2011: LHP Danny Hultzen, SS Brad Miller, RHP Carter Capps, 3B Steve Proscia, RHP Carson Smith, C Jack Marder
2012: C Mike Zunino, 3B Joe DeCarlo, RHP Edwin Diaz, LHP Tyler Pike, SS Chris Taylor, 2B Timmy Lopes
2. Kansas City Royals: Dayton Moore
Named as the Royals GM exactly one day after the 2006 draft, Dayton Moore made an absolute haul in his first three drafts, landing franchise futures Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers in successive years.
His track record would be even more impressive if it weren’t for the struggles of left-handers Mike Montgomery, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer over the last two seasons.
2007: 3B Mike Moustakas, LHP Danny Duffy, RHP Greg Holland, OF David Lough
2008: 1B Eric Hosmer, LHP Mike Montgomery, 2B Johnny Giavotella, LHP John Lamb
2009: RHP Aaron Crow, OF Wil Myers, LHP Chris Dwyer, RHP Louis Coleman
2010: SS/2B Christian Colon, OF Brian Fletcher (18th)
2011: OF Bubba Starling, 3B Patrick Leonard, RHP Kellen Moen
2012: RHP Kyle Zimmer, LHP Sam Selman, C Chad Johnson
1. Texas Rangers: Jon Daniels
Since taking over for the legendary John Hart as the Texas Rangers GM in 2005, Jon Daniels’ draft track record and ability to identify future big league talent has been impeccable.
As you can see, he’s never shied away from trading a top-notch prospect when presented with the right opportunity—which has made his tenure all the more impressive. To be exact, Daniels’ drafts have yielded 15 major league players since 2006, and there undoubtedly will be more players added to that list in the coming years.
2007: RHP Blake Beaven (Mariners), OF Julio Borbon, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Tommy Hunter (Orioles), 1B Mitch Moreland (17th)
2008: 1B Justin Smoak (Mariners), LHP Robbie Ross, RHP Joe Wieland (Padres), RHP Cody Eppley (43rd)
2009: RHP Tanner Scheppers, LHP Robbie Erlin (Padres),
2010: C Kellin Deglan, RHP Luke Jackson, 3B Mike Olt, RHP Cody Buckel, RHP Justin Grimm, RHP Nick Tepesch
2011: OF Zach Cone, LHP Will Lamb, RHP Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)
2012: OF Lewis Brinson, 3B Joey Gallo, RHP Collin Wiles, OF Nick Williams, RHP Alec Asher