As the baseball world prepares for the 2014 MLB First-Year Player draft, much of the attention is rightly given to each team’s first-round pick. After all, that is typically where the best players are drafted.
Unfortunately, those picks don’t always work out.
Sometimes, there are stars hidden in the later rounds that are only awaiting the chance to prove they belong in the big leagues. So let’s dig a bit deeper here and take a look the 10 greatest draft steals of the last 10 years.
To be clear, the drafts that took place between 2004 and 2013 are the topic of conversation. Also, only players who were drafted in the fourth round or later will be looked at.
See, while Mike Trout was passed up by numerous teams and could be considered a steal since he was taken with the 25th pick of the 2009 MLB draft, he was still a first-rounder. And even though Charlie Blackmon seemingly came out of nowhere, he was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. They—and many more—were simply drafted too high to be considered steals.
Ranked based on total WAR, here are the 10 players who made the scouting department for the team that drafted them look like geniuses.