MLB Draft logoMLB Draft

Grading All 30 MLB Teams on 1st-Round Drafting Skills of the Past Decade

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterMarch 12, 2013

Grading All 30 MLB Teams on 1st-Round Drafting Skills of the Past Decade

1 of 31

    Every season there are first-round draft picks who emerge as stars in the major leagues within a matter of just a few years.

    While the trend can in part be attributed to a player’s corresponding selection—higher draft picks are perceived to have more potential—the soaring failure rate among baseball prospects suggests that a draft pick’s potential value is in the eye of the beholder. 

    Obviously, teams that have been perennial contenders (such as the New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies) over the last decade haven’t received as many first-round picks as teams that have finished in last place (such as the Pittsburgh Pirates or Washington Nationals). Additionally, due to free-agent classification and the lofty signing-bonus demands of top draft picks, countless organizations have been deprived of a first-round pick.

    Therefore, I found it would be interesting to take a retrospective look at how each organization has targeted and developed its top picks. 

    Now, this is not an overall ranking of each team’s drafting track record of the last decade. Rather, it’s an analysis based solely on each team’s first-round selection from 2003-2012, not including the supplemental (or sandwich) round.

    Because such a study opens the door for subjectivity, as is the case with essentially all prospect-related work, both player statistics and annual draft expenditures have been used as a starting point. 

     

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: The number of first-round draft picks who have reached the major leagues with drafting organization. Presented in relation to overall number of first-round selections and does not included those players drafted in the supplemental first round.

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: The total amount (in millions) that a team has spent on its first-round draft picks. As expected, teams that have had numerous selections within the top 10 will have spent more. Therefore, in theory, they should have better odds of drafting and developing potential impact prospects. 

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: The total WAR (via Baseball-Reference.com) accumulated by all first-round picks only with their drafting organizations.

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: The average WAR accumulated by a first-round draft pick with drafting organization. (Total WAR/number of first-round picks.)

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: A team’s top first-round draft pick as determined by WAR accumulated with drafting team.

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: The top draft pick outside of the top 10 rounds as determined by WAR accumulated with drafting team. Also used for tie-breaking purposes.

    Grade: Taking into account the aforementioned criteria, a grade is to be assigned to each organization for its ability to target, draft and develop first-round draft picks.

     

    *All first-round singing bonus information courtesy of Baseball America's Draft Database.

30. Chicago Cubs: F

2 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 9)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $18.922 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: -1.0

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: -0.1

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Andrew Cashner, 0.2 WAR (2008)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Tony Campana, 1.9 WAR (13th round, 2008)

    Grade: F

    The Cubs have drafted a little bit of everything: college players, high school players, pitchers, hitters. Unfortunately, they've had minimal success on all fronts.

    The good news is that the future is bright for the organization with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer at the helm, as the team's top draft pick from last season, Albert Almora, already ranks among the top 50 prospects in the game.

29. Philadelphia Phillies: F

3 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 2 (of 5)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $6.938 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: -0.5

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: -0.1

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Greg Golson, -0.2 WAR (2004)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Michael Stutes, 0.4 WAR (11th round, 2008)

    Grade: F

    With only five first-round draft picks over the last 10 years, the Phillies have prioritized their on-field product in the major leagues over the cultivation of young talent. And with a farm system comprised of mainly mid-to-late round picks and several acquired prospects, it looks as though the trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

28. Texas Rangers: F

4 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 2 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $19.651 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: -0.4

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.0

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Eric Hurley, 0.1 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Ian Kinsler, 28.7 WAR (17th round, 2003)

    Grade: F

    The last decade of Rangers' drafts have yielded countless first-round picks who have reached the major leagues—with other organizations. Much like the Phillies, the Rangers have regularly used their prospect-rich farm system to land needed talent at the major league level.

27. San Diego Padres: F

5 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 3 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $23.298 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 1.5

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.2

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Tim Stauffer, 2.5 WAR (2003)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Mat Latos, 4.4 WAR (11th round, 2006)

    Grade: F

    Honestly, there's very little to say about an organization that drafts both Matt Bush (2003, $3.15 million) and Donavan Tate (2009, $6.25 million) in the same decade. Mat Latos was a great find, but a team drafting as high and as dependent on draft success as the Padres simply needs to have more success.

26. Houston Astros: F

6 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 2 (of 8)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $16.983 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 2.6

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.3

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Brian Bogusevic, 1.7 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Edwin Maysonet, 0.2 WAR (19th round, 2003)

    Grade: F

    Over the first half of the last decade, the Astros primarily targeted college players with the expectation of a quick ascension to the major leagues.

    By 2009 it was obvious that said strategy wasn't working, so the organization switched its focus to drafting high-ceiling, prep players as part of an overall rebuilding process. As a result, the Astros used first-round picks on Jio Mier (2009), Delino DeShields Jr. (2010), Mike Foltynewicz (2010) and Carlos Correa (2012), with toolsy Connecticut alumnus George Springer (2011) mixed in.

25. Cleveland Indians: D-

7 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 5 (of 10)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $19.93 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 1.9

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.2

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Lonnie Chisenhall, 1.1 WAR (2008)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Vinnie Pestano, 4.2 WAR (20th round, 2006)

    Grade: D-

    With the exception of Francisco Lindor (2011), the Indians' draft strategy over the last decade has been both consistent and uninspiring. In general, the organization has used a majority of their first-round picks on college pitchers such as Jeremy Sowers (2004), Alex White (2009) and Drew Pomeranz (2010), with a few high-floor college bats intertwined.

    Considering Sowers hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2009, and both White and Pomeranz were dealt prior to their big league debut, the Indians are in desperate need of an overhaul to their drafting philosophy.

24. Miami Marlins: D-

8 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $20.6 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 4.0

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.3

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Chris Volstad, 4.1 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Alex Sanabia, 1.0 WAR (32nd round, 2006)

    Grade: D-

    With 12 first-round picks over the last decade, the Marlins' success with the draft has been hit-or-miss.

    Notorious for targeting high-ceiling prep players, the organization has maintained a consistent draft philosophy over the years. However, starting with the 2010 draft, the quality of the team's first-round picks has steadily improved, which is reflected in top prospects Christian Yelich (2010) and Jose Fernandez (2011).

23. Oakland Athletics: D

9 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 3 (of 11)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $18.503 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 6.0

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.6

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Cliff Pennington, 5.6 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Dallas Braden, 4.3 WAR (24th round, 2004)

    Grade: D

    Despite their knack for cultivating seemingly average prospects into big league regulars, the A's have had surprisingly little success in developing their first-round draft picks over the last decade. That being said, the jury is still out on a slew of their top prospects, as Grant Green (2009), Michael Choice (2010), Sonny Gray (2011) and Addison Russell (2012) have yet to reach the major leagues.

22. Minnesota Twins: D

10 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 6 (of 13)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $22.352 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 7.8

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.6

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Ben Revere, 2.7 WAR (2007)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Matt Tolbert, 0.3 WAR (16th round, 2004)

    Grade: D

    Aside from the selection of outfielder Byron Buxton with the No. 2 pick last June, the Twins have demonstrated an extreme preference for college players, and have drafted at least one in five of the last 10 years.

    Surprisingly, they've had more success in developing high school picks such as Chris Parmelee (2006) and Ben Revere (2007), while Aaron Hicks (2008) is expected to debut in the major leagues during the 2013 season.

21. St. Louis Cardinals: C

11 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 5 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $18.46 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 7.3

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.6

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Colby Rasmus, 6.5 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Jason Motte, 4.2 WAR (19th round, 2003)

    Grade: C

    While the Cardinals have made a killing with mid-to-late round, under-the-radar draft picks, they have yet to produce an everyday big leaguer—Colby Rasmus (2005) counts, I guess—from a decade of first-round selections.

    However, that could change in the near future, as Shelby Miller (2009), Kolten Wong (2011) and Michael Wacha (2012) are nearly big league ready.

20. New York Yankees: C

12 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 3 (of 8)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $14.179 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 6.1

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.8

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Phil Hughes, 6.2 WAR (2004)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: David Robertson, 6.8 WAR (17th round, 2006)

    Grade: C

    As an organization that's expected to contend for a World Series title on an annual basis, it should come as no surprise the Yankees have had little success with their first-round draft picks. With the need to field an ultra-competitive team at the major league level, the organization has tried to do its best to target and develop its late first-round picks.

    As a result, it has typically selected the player perceived to have the highest ceiling—a strategy that's yet to pay dividends. 

19. Seattle Mariners: C

13 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 3 (of 8)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $27.13 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 7.4

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 0.9

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Dustin Ackley, 5.9 WAR (2009)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Michael Saunders, 1.0 WAR (11th round, 2004)

    Grade: C

    After a run of ill-advised first-round picks used on the likes of Jeff Clement (2005), Phillippe Aumont (2007) and Josh Fields (2008), the Mariners have been on fire with their selections since 2009.

    While Dustin Ackley (2009) quickly established himself as a big league regular, Nick Franklin (2009), Danny Hultzen (2011) and Mike Zunino (2012) are each expected to debut in Seattle at some point this season.

18. Chicago White Sox: C+

14 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 6 (of 9)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $15.176 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 10.9

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 1.2

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Chris Sale, 9.0 WAR (2010)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Hector Santiago, 1.7 WAR (30th round, 2006)

    Grade: C+

    As an organization that typically avoids paying big money to first-round draft picks, the White Sox have made the most of their early selections by targeting advanced college players—such as Gordon Beckham (2008) and Chris Sale (2010—capable of making a near-immediate impact in the major leagues.

    Beyond those two players, however, the organization has failed to develop any other first-rounder into a lasting big leaguer.

17. New York Mets: C+

15 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 5 (of 8)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $18.544 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 11.4

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 1.4

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Ike Davis, 5.0 WAR (2008)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Daniel Murphy, 6.7 WAR (13th round, 2006)

    Grade: C+

    After drafting Lastings Milledge, who is regarded as one of the top busts of the last decade, in 2003, the Mets made a concerted effort to avoid Milledge-like players in future drafts. As a result, the organization selected five college players with each of their five first-round picks between 2004 and 2010.

    In the wake of their success with Ike Davis (2008) and Matt Harvey (2010), the Mets have developed the confidence to target more high-risk, high-reward players as they did with Brandon Nimmo (2011) and Gavin Cecchini (2012).

16. Boston Red Sox: B-

16 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $20.218 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 16.7 

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 1.4

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Jacoby Ellsbury, 14.4 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Josh Reddick, 1.4 WAR (17th round, 2006)

    Grade: B-

    As is the case with other big-market franchises such as the Yankees and Phillies, a majority of Boston's first-round draft picks of the last decade were traded to improve the overall quality of the parent club.

    However, the Red Sox did strike gold with soon-to-be free agent Jacoby Ellsbury (2005), who may ultimately be dealt this season in exchange for a pack of young talent. It's also worth noting that the team has targeted a blend of high-floor and high-ceiling talent with two first-round picks in each of the last two drafts.

15. Cincinnati Reds: B-

17 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 7 (of 10)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $23.17 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 18.4

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 1.8

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Jay Bruce, 9.4 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Chris Heisey, 2.3 WAR (17th round, 2006)

    Grade: B-

    With seven of their 10 first-round picks of the last decade having reached the major leagues, the Reds' ability to develop its top prospects ranks among the best in the game.

    Even though Homer Bailey (2004), Jay Bruce (2005), Drew Stubbs (2006), Devin Mesoraco (2007), Yonder Alonso (2008) and Mike Leake (2009) have each established themselves as an everyday player in the major leagues, the Reds have yet to produce a legitimate star compared to other organizations.

14. Atlanta Braves: B

18 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 6)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $9.579 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 13.8

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 2.3

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Jason Heyward, 14.2 WAR (2007)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Craig Kimbrel, 6.2 WAR (33rd round, 2007)

    Grade: B

    Without a first-round pick in four of the last 10 years, the Braves have made the most of their limited opportunities. Their draft history is highlighted by Jason Heyward (2007), obviously, followed by high-floor college arms such as Mike Minor (2009) and Sean Gilmartin (2011).

    Given the team's recent preference for signing and acquiring quality major league talent, it may be some time before the team has a high first-round pick.

13. Colorado Rockies: B

19 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 5 (of 11)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $22.9

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 25.6

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 3.2

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Troy Tulowitzki, 25.7 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Dexter Fowler, 7.3 WAR (14th round, 2004)

    Grade: B

    Over the last decade, the Rockies have had considerably more success drafting hitters in the first round. While Ian Stewart (2003) and Chris Nelson (2004) both have stuck in the major leagues, Troy Tulowitzki (2005) and his WAR of 25.7 is undoubtedly their top pick of the decade.

    On the pitching front, the organization is still struggling to develop a legitimate pitching prospect despite using first-round picks on Greg Reynolds (2006), Casey Weathers (2007), Christian Friedrich (2008), Tyler Matzek (2009) and Tyler Anderson (2011).

12. Toronto Blue Jays: B

20 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 7 (of 11)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $18.552 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 27.8

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 2.5

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Aaron Hill, 15.3 WAR (2003)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Jesse Litsch, 3.4 WAR (24th round, 2004)

    Grade: B

    Having graduated seven of their last 11 first-round picks to the major leagues, the Blue Jays are one of the more successful organizations when it comes to developing top draft picks.

    More specifically, the Blue Jays have fared well when selecting college players with their first pick, which is shown by Aaron Hill (2003), David Purcey (2004), Ricky Romero (2005), J.P. Arencibia (2007), David Cooper (2008) and Chad Jenkins (2009).

11. Arizona Diamondbacks: B

21 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 9 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $32.43 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 28.1

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 2.3

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Justin Upton, 13.1 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Mark Reynolds, 4.7 WAR (16th round, 2004)

    Grade: B

    Another club that's become revered for its ability to turn top draft picks into high-level major league players, each of the Diamondbacks' first-round picks from 2003 to 2008 reached the majors in their time with the organization.

    At the same time, it's worth noting that each of the previously mentioned players—Connor Jackson (2003), Carlos Quentin (2003), Stephen Drew (2004), Justin Upton (2005), Max Scherzer (2006), Jarrod Parker (2007) and Daniel Schlereth (2008)—have since been traded by the organization.

10. Kansas City Royals: B

22 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 7 (of 12)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $37.8 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 33.6

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 2.8

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Alex Gordon, 17.0 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Jarrod Dyson, 2.6 WAR (50th round, 2006)

    Grade: B

    Widely regarded as one of the premier drafting organizations of the last decade, the Royals have made a killing when selecting a hitter in the first round. Since 2004, the team has drafted and developed arguably the four best hitters on its major league roster in Billy Butler (2004), Alex Gordon (2005), Mike Moustakas (2007) and Eric Hosmer (2008), each of whom will offer value for years to come.

9. Baltimore Orioles: B+

23 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 6 (of 9)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $30.842 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 35.5

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 3.9

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Nick Markakis, 21.6 WAR (2003)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: David Hernandez, 1.2 WAR (16th round, 2005)

    Grade: B+

    An organization that has always drafted with a purpose, the Orioles' first-round draft picks over the last decade are a mixture of young, high-ceiling talent and polished, sure-fire big leaguers. In addition to the ongoing contributions from Nick Markakis (2003) and Matt Wieters (2007), the team has been aggressive with the development of recent top picks Manny Machado (2010) and Dylan Bundy (2011).

    Considering the organization has graduated six of their last nine first-round picks to the major leagues, they clearly have a successful formula in place.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates: B+

24 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 6 (of 9)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $34.275 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 36

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.0

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Andrew McCutchen, 18.1 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Kyle McPherson, 0.4 WAR (14th round, 2007)

    Grade: B+

    The Pirates' track record of developing major leaguers ranks among the best in the game, as each of the team's six first-round draft picks between the 2003 and 2008 seasons have already reached the bigs.

    The scary part is that the organization's success rate will inevitably increase in the near future, as top picks Jameson Taillon (2010) and Gerrit Cole (2011) are both within striking distance of the major leagues.

7. Tampa Bay Rays: B+

25 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 11)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $31.218 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 47.4

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.0

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Evan Longoria, 28.5 WAR (2006)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: John Jaso, 2.7 WAR (12th round, 2003)

    Grade: B+

    Despite the fact that only four of the 14 first-round picks of the last decade have reached the major leagues, two of those players, Evan Longoria (2006) and David Price (2007), have developed into perennial All-Stars.

    Considering they had six first-round picks in the last three drafts, it's entirely possible that the organization's next great player is still stashed in the minor leagues.

6. Los Angeles Angels: B+

26 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 9)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $15.123 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 36.1

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.0

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Jered Weaver, 27.8 WAR (2004)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Mark Trumbo, 4.7 WAR (14th round, 2004)

    Grade: B+

    Although they ultimately came up empty with Brandon Wood (2003), the Angels have developed a legitimate ace in Jered Weaver (2004) and perennial MVP candidate in Mike Trout (2010). Relative to other organizations, the Angels have repeatedly stuck by their top picks, as all nine players either debuted with the team or remain in the system.

5. San Francisco Giants: A-

27 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 10)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $21.656 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 40.7

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.1

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Tim Lincecum, 21.5 WAR (2006)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Sergio Romo, 6.3 WAR (28th round, 2005)

    Grade: A-

    Over the last decade, the Giants have repeatedly thrived at the major league level due to their ability to draft and develop pitching prospects. Both Tim Lincecum (2006) and Madison Bumgarner (2007) have been instrumental to the team's pair of World Series titles in 2010 and 2012, while catcher Buster Posey (2008) has served as the catalyst at the heart of the batting order.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers: A-

28 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 10)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $32.43 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 28.1

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.3

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Clayton Kershaw, 23.9 WAR (2006)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: A.J. Ellis, 3.5 WAR (18th round, 2003)

    Grade: A-

    With two of the team's four prospects, Chad Billingsley (2003) and Clayton Kershaw (2006), currently represented in their big league starting rotation, the Dodgers have focused on developing young arms over the last decade.

    At the same time, they've noticeably neglected the lack of impact position prospects on the farm, as they have selected a pitcher eight out of their last 10 first-round picks.

3. Milwaukee Brewers: A-

29 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 4 (of 11)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $22.422 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 45.2

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.1

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Ryan Braun, 32.0 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Michael Fiers, 1.5 WAR (22nd round, 2009)

    Grade: A-

    Despite trading former first-round picks Matt LaPorta (2007) and Brett Lawrie (2008) prior to their arrival in the major leagues, the Brewers have still produced impact players in Rickie Weeks (2003) and Ryan Braun (2005).

    Although there has been a relatively steep drop-off in the quality of their selections since landing Braun, the organization should ultimately reap the benefits from having a pair of first-round picks in both the 2011 and 2012 drafts.

2. Washington Nationals: A

30 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 7 (of 11)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $35.9 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 48.2

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 4.4

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Ryan Zimmerman, 28.7 WAR (2005)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: John Lannan, 7.0 WAR (11th round, 2005)

    Grade: A

    Although it came at the cost of numerous seasons as one of the worst teams in the game, the Nationals have officially come full circle thanks to a host of successful first-round draft picks.

    Headed into the 2013 season, the organization's outstanding draft history is reflected on their major league roster in Ryan Zimmerman (2005), Ross Detwiler (2006), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Bryce Harper (2010).

    By the time Anthony Rendon (2011) and Lucas Giolito (2012) reach the major leagues, the Nationals may be able to field a substantial portion of the National League All-Star team.

1. Detroit Tigers: A

31 of 31

    Number of First-Round Picks to Reach MLB: 6 (of 7)

    Total Money Spent on First-Round Picks: $22.43 million

    Total WAR of First-Round Draft Picks: 36.2

    Average WAR/First-Round Draft Pick: 5.2

    Top Draft Pick of the Decade: Justin Verlander, 33.6 WAR (2004)

    Top Sleeper Pick of the Decade: Casper Wells, 2.4 WAR (14th round, 2005)

    Grade: A

    With six of their last seven first-round draft picks having reached the major leagues, the Tigers stand alone in their ability to develop top prospects. At the same time, that perception is severely weighted by Justin Verlander (2004), who's accumulated a WAR of 33.6 with the organization and captured both the American League Cy Young Award and MVP in 2011.

    In recent years, however, the team's emphasis on prospect development has taken a back seat to success at the major league level, as the Tigers have not made a pick in the first round since selecting Jacob Turner in 2009.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices