The 2011 MLB Draft begins on Monday, and this is a time that can make or break a team's future, as they look to find the next superstar from a pool of high school and college talent.
Over the years, there have been some epic flops, and some late-round surprises, but there always seems to be one interesting storyline or another surrounding each team's draft.
I've decided to take a look back, starting with 1990, and name my All-Draft Team for each year's draft. I have chosen a starting lineup, along with designated hitter, a five-man rotation, a reliever and a closer. Anyone from that year's draft was eligible, as long as they signed that year.
After naming my roster, I have graded each draft based on how I feel that year's "team" would fare against other teams if it were in fact a legitimate roster. I stopped at 2005, as the more recent drafts are still up in the air as players continue to develop.
So enjoy a look back at some drafts of not so long ago, and the best players to be selected each year, with my All-Draft Teams from 1990-2005.
2B Ray Durham (Fifth Round)
DH Bret Boone (Fifth Round)
LF Garret Anderson (Fourth Round)
3B Chipper Jones (First Round)
1B Tony Clark (First Round)
C Jorge Posada (24th Round)
RF Jeromy Burnitz (First Round)
CF Carl Everett (First Round)
SS Mike Lansing (Sixth Round)
SP Mike Mussina (First Round)
SP Andy Pettitte (22nd Round)
SP Mike Hampton (Fixth Round)
SP Alex Fernandez (First Round)
SP James Baldwin (Fourth Round)
RP Bob Wickman (Second Round)
CP Troy Percival (Sixth Round)
C Mike Lieberthal, 2B Fernando Vina, OF Rondell White, OF Rusty Greer
This draft was strong in the first round, with seven future All-Stars taken, and had two of the best steals in draft history, both by the Yankees, in Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, who were both taken after the 20th Round.
The rotation is weak at the bottom but has a pair of aces at the top, while the lineup is anchored by two of the most consistent hitters of the 1990s in Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson. The remainder of the lineup is solid across the board, aside from shortstop Mike Lansing who was serviceable at best.
All-Draft Team Grade: C+
CF Mike Cameron (18th Round)
2B Mark Grudzielanek (11th Round)
RF Shawn Green (First Round)
LF Manny Ramirez (First Round)
1B Mike Sweeney (10th Round)
DH Cliff Floyd (First Round)
3B Jeff Cirillo (11th Round)
SS Alex S. Gonzalez (13th Round)
C Mike Matheny (Eighth Round)
SP Brad Radke (Eighth Round)
SP Derek Lowe (Eighth Round)
SP Jason Schmidt (Eighth Round)
SP Steve Trachsel (Eighth Round)
SP Aaron Sele (First Round)
RP LaTroy Hawkins (Seventh Round)
CP Jason Isringhausen (44th Round)
1B Dmitri Young, 3B Joe Randa, SP Paul Byrd, SP Kirk Rueter, SP Shawn Estes
The 1991 draft was short on talent, starting at the top with the Yankees' selection of SP Brien Taylor, who is one of only three first overall picks to never reach the majors.
The rotation is packed with a lot of solid middle-of-the-rotation guys but lacks a true ace. Matheny behind the plate could make the staff better though.
The lineup is stacked in the middle with Green, Ramirez and Sweeney, but is weak aside from that and has no true leadoff hitter as Cameron strikes out a ton. All in all, an above-average defensive team, however.
All-Draft Team Grade: B-
CF Johnny Damon (First Round)
SS Derek Jeter (First Round)
LF Raul Ibanez (36th Round)
1B Jason Giambi (Second Round)
3B Phil Nevin (First Round)
RF Preston Wilson (First Round)
DH Shannon Stewart (First Round)
2B Jose Vidro (Sixth Round)
C Jason Kendall (First Round)
SP Jon Lieber (Second Round)
SP Rick Helling (First Round)
SP Scott Karl (Sixth Round)
SP Garrett Stephenson (18th Round)
SP Ron Villone (First Round)
RP Brendan Donnelly (27th Round)
CP Ryan Franklin (23rd Round)
C Charles Johnson, SS Rich Aurilia, UT Craig Counsell, OF Jeffrey Hammonds
This may very well be the weakest draft in the past 20 years, and while a number of players turned out to be solid big leaguers, much more was expected from the first-rounders in this draft, especially Nevin.
The lineup is strong from top to bottom, and even the No. 8 and No. 9 hitter can hit .300 and get on base a lot. However, they may not be able to score enough runs to offset the pitching.
This could very well be the worst draft for pitching in the history of the MLB draft, as Lieber and Helling are solid but the rest of the staff is horrendous. Karl, Stephenson and Villone combined for 154 career wins and most of Villone's came as a reliever.
All-Draft Team Grade: D
CF Torii Hunter (First Round)
2B Mark Loretta (Seventh Round)
SS Alex Rodriguez (First Round)
DH Richie Sexson (24th Round)
3B Scott Rolen (Second Round)
1B Derrek Lee (First Round)
RF Jermaine Dye (17th Round)
LF Trot Nixon (First Round)
C Paul Lo Duca (25th Round)
SP Chris Carpenter (First Round)
SP Kevin Millwood (11th Round)
SP Jeff Suppan (Second Round)
SP Matt Clement (Third Round)
SP Brian Anderson (First Round)
RP Steve Kline (Eighth Round)
CP Billy Wagner (First Round)
3B Bill Mueller, SP Brian Moehler
While this is not exactly the deepest of drafts, it played out so that there is a legitimate starter at each position, making this particular team one of the best on this list.
The lineup is obviously led by Rodriguez, who was the first overall selection, but really has no holes, aside from that fact that it lacks a true leadoff hitter, but Hunter would do just fine in that role.
The rotation is fronted by a true ace in Carpenter, and then a lot of solid innings-eaters after him. The back of the bullpen can be counted on to slam the door as well with one of the best in the business in Wagner.
All-Draft Team Grade: B+
LF Scott Podsednik (Third Round)
2B Todd Walker (First Round)
SS Nomar Garciaparra (First Round)
1B Paul Konerko (First Round)
RF Ben Grieve (First Round)
C Jason Varitek (First Round)
DH A.J. Pierzynski (Third Round)
CF Jay Payton (First Round)
3B Aaron Boone (Third Round)
SP Javier Vazquez (Fifth Round)
SP Carl Pavano (13th Round)
SP Jaret Wright (First Round)
SP Dustin Hermanson (First Round)
SP Danny Graves (First Round)
RP Bob Howry (Fifth Round)
CP Keith Foulke (Ninth Round)
OF Dave Roberts
This draft was heavy at the top, with the entire starting lineup taken in the first three rounds. However, there was not much in the way of late-round values.
The lineup is weak, to say the least, as Garciaparra and Konerko are the only real difference-makers. The catcher position is solid with Varitek and Pierzynski, but the poor outfield more than off sets that.
The rotation is also a mess, as Wright fell apart quick, and Graves and Hermanson ended up as relievers for the better part of their careers.
All-Draft Team Grade: D
LF Darin Erstad (First Round)
DH Randy Winn (Third Round)
CF Carlos Beltran (Second Round)
1B Todd Helton (first Round)
3B Mike Lowell (20th Round)
RF Jose Cruz Jr. (First Round)
2B Mark Bellhorn (Second Round)
C Brian Schneider (Fifth Round)
SS Ramon Vazquez (27th Round)
SP Roy Halladay (First Round)
SP Jarrod Washburn (Second Round)
SP A.J. Burnett (Eighth Round)
SP Bronson Arroyo (Third Round)
SP Matt Morris (First Round)
RP Kerry Wood (First Round)
CP Joe Nathan (Fifth Round)
1B Sean Casey, OF Geoff Jenkins, SP Ryan Dempster, SP Russ Ortiz, SP Mark Redman
This draft is as deep on pitching as any draft in MLB history, and the pitchers left out of the rotation would be included virtually any other year.
The No. 1 pick, Erstad, did not quite become a star, but he had a solid career. He along with Beltran and Helton make a formidable lineup. However, the lack of a shortstop is troubling as Vazquez was more of a utility player during his career.
All-Draft Team Grade: B
SS Jimmy Rollins (Second Round)
2B Marcus Giles (53rd Round)
3B Eric Chavez (First Round)
DH Travis Hafner (31st Round)
1B Nick Johnson (Third Round)
RF Mark DeRosa (Seventh Round)
LF Jacque Jones (Second Round)
CF Mark Kotsay (First Round)
C Josh Phelps (10th Round)
SP Roy Oswalt (23rd Round)
SP Brad Penny (Fifth Round)
SP Ted Lilly (23rd Round)
SP Jason Marquis (First Round)
SP Doug Davis (10th Round)
RP Chad Bradford (13th Round)
CP Billy Koch (First Round)
3B Joe Crede, 3B Casey Blake, OF Milton Bradley, SP Gil Meche, SP Jake Westbrook
This was a draft of late-round steals, as teams convinced a number of late-round talents to sign. Most notable was Marcus Giles all the way in the 53rd round, while the 23rd round was home to both Roy Oswalt and Ted Lilly.
This rotation is a deep one, with a true ace in Oswalt and a number of pitchers who have enjoyed their fair share of success following him. Bradford is among the best middle relievers of the past decade.
The lineup is fairly weak, with Rollins being the only real star and a number of players who have run into injury problems. Catcher was particularly weak, as Phelps later moved out from behind the plate but was still the best option.
All-Draft Team Grade: C+
3B Chone Figgins (Fourth Round)
SS Michael Young (Fifth Round)
CF Vernon Wells (First Round)
1B Lance Berkman (First Round)
DH Troy Glaus (First Round)
RF Michael Cuddyer (First Round)
LF Jayson Werth (First Round)
2B Orlando Hudson (43rd Round)
C Johnny Estrada (17th Round)
SP Tim Hudson (Sixth Round)
SP Jon Garland (First Round)
SP Randy Wolf (Second Round)
SP Aaron Cook (Second Round)
SP Joel Pinero (12th Round)
RP Scot Shields (38th Round)
CP Scott Williamson (Ninth Round)
2B Adam Kennedy, SS David Eckstein, OF/P Rick Ankiel, RP Mike Gonzalez
This may be the best all-around team to this point, as there is no real weakness in the team, and they could even have a respectable bench if this was a 25-man roster.
The lineup is packed with players who are still major contributors now in 2011, and also, with a number of players capable of playing multiple positions, there is plenty of versatility.
The rotation is fronted by an ace in Hudson, and has solid arms following him. Shields is as good as it gets as a setup man, and Williamson was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1999 as a closer before moving to the rotation.
All-Draft Team Grade: A
2B Felipe Lopez (First Round)
CF Aaron Rowand (First Round)
LF Matt Holliday (Seventh Round)
DH Adam Dunn (Second Round)
RF J.D. Drew (First Round)
1B Aubrey Huff (Fifth Round)
3B Brandon Inge (Second Round)
C John Buck (Seventh Round)
SS Jack Wilson (Ninth Round)
SP C.C. Sabathia (First Round)
SP Mark Buehrle (38th Round)
SP Mark Mulder (First Round)
SP Jeff Weaver (First Round)
SP Brian Lawrence (17th Round)
RP Ryan Madson (Ninth Round)
CP Brad Lidge (First Round)
1B Carlos Pena, 2B Bill Hall, SS Adam Everett, OF Pat Burrell, OF Juan Pierre
This draft was loaded with talented first-round players but also with some can't-miss prospects who fell a bit short like Burrell and the Cubs' Corey Patterson to name a few.
This lineup is a good one, with a good mix of speed and power, as well as some good defensive players across the diamond.
The rotation falls a bit short at the bottom, but you can't argue with Sabathia and Buehrle at the top. Funny how Madson and Lidge were in the same draft and could be battling for the closer's job later this season.
All-Draft Team Grade: B+
SS Brian Roberts (First Round)
2B Brandon Phillips (Second Round)
1B Albert Pujols (13th Round)
DH Justin Morneau (Third Round)
CF Josh Hamilton (First Round)
LF Carl Crawford (Second Round)
RF Alex Rios (First Round)
3B Hank Blalock (Third Round)
C Ryan Doumit (Second Round)
SP Josh Beckett (First Round)
SP John Lackey (Second Round)
SP Ben Sheets (First Round)
SP Brett Myers (First Round)
SP Barry Zito (First Round)
RP Mike MacDougal (First Round)
CP J.J. Putz (Sixth Round)
1B Lyle Overbay, 2B Mark Ellis, OF Marlon Byrd, OF Ryan Ludwick, OF Shane Victorino, SP Erik Bedard
Without a doubt, one of the best drafts in baseball history, and the players who made up the cream of the 1999 draft crop are among the best players in the game today.
Just looking at the lineup, you might as well be looking at an All-Star team, and as a matter of fact, everyone on that list has made an All-Star team other than Doumit.
The rotation is loaded with guys who have been among the best in the league and would be even more impressive if Sheets and Zito could have maintained their early success.
All-Draft Team Grade: A+
CF Grady Sizemore (Third Round)
SS Freddy Sanchez (11th Round)
2B Chase Utley (First Round)
1B Adrian Gonzalez (First Round)
3B Jose Bautista (20th Round)
RF Corey Hart (11th Round)
DH Mike Napoli (17th Round)
LF Josh Willingham (17th Round)
C Yadier Molina (Fourth Round)
SP Adam Wainwright (First Round)
SP Cliff Lee (Fourth Round)
SP James Shields (16th Round)
SP Chris Young (Third Round)
SP Brandon Webb (Eighth Round)
RP Chad Qualls (Second Round)
CP Bobby Jenks (Fifth Round)
2B Kelly Johnson, OF David DeJesus, SP Dontrelle Willis
Another fantastically deep draft, 2000 was actually riddled with first-round disappointments but more than made up for it with late-round steals like Jose Bautista and James Shields.
The lineup has no real hole and has a surprising amount of power from top to bottom. The first pick in the draft, Adrian Gonzalez, has more than lived up to that billing.
The pitching is also a strength, and it would have been ridiculous if Brandon Webb and Dontrelle Willis could have maintained their peak performance. Still, a very good all-around draft.
All-Draft Team Grade: A
CF Chris Young (16th Round)
C Joe Mauer (First Round)
1B Mark Teixeira (First Round)
DH Ryan Howard (Fifth Round)
3B David Wright (First Round)
2B Dan Uggla (First Round)
RF Luke Scott (Ninth Round)
LF Johnny Gomes (18th Round)
SS Jason Bartlett (13th Round)
SP Dan Haren (Second Round)
SP Gavin Floyd (First Round)
SP CJ Wilson (Fifth Round)
SP Edwin Jackson (Sixth Round)
SP Mark Prior (First Round)
RP Aaron Heilman (First Round)
CP Brandon League (Second Round)
C Geovany Soto, 1B Kevin Youkilis, SS JJ Hardy, SP Jeremy Bonderman
Obviously the first thing that jumps out is the depth at first base, with Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis all part of this draft. All in all, this draft brought us some of the game's premier hitters today.
The lineup is stacked in the middle, but the outfield is a clear weakness and the fact that Youkilis is left off while Jonny Gomes and Luke Scott make it seems wrong.
As for the rotation, Haren is a legitimate ace, and he is followed by some good arms who are just coming into their own, and then the ultimate what-if in Mark Prior.
All-Draft Team Grade: A-
LF Curtis Granderson (Third Round)
RF Nick Swisher (First Round)
1B Joey Votto (Second Round)
DH Prince Fielder (First Round)
C Brian McCann (Second Round)
CF B.J. Upton (First Round)
3B Mark Teahen (First Round)
2B Howie Kendrick (10th Round)
SS Khalil Greene (First Round)
SP Jon Lester (First Round)
SP Josh Johnson (Fourth Round)
SP Zach Greinke (First Round)
SP Matt Cain (First Round)
SP Cole Hamels (First Round)
RP Matt Capps (Seventh Round)
CP Jonathan Broxton (Second Round)
C Russell Martin, 1B James Loney, SP Joe Blanton, SP Jeremy Guthrie, SP Scott Kazmir
So many great starting pitchers in the first round and who do the Pirates take first overall? Bryan Bullington, who went 1-9 with a 5.62 ERA in his brief big league career. Ouch.
The lineup here is good aside from the left side of the infield, where Teahen and Greene both had some early success in the big leagues but have turned into little more than backups. Still, the Votto, Fielder, McCann heart of the order is formidable.
The rotation is what makes this draft so great, as there are five legitimate aces that were taken that season, and four of them were in the first round, as scouting has continued to get better over the years.
All-Draft Team Grade: A
SS Ian Kinsler (17th Round)
2B Rickie Weeks (First Round)
CF Matt Kemp (Sixth Round)
RF Andre Ethier (Second Round)
DH Carlos Quentin (First Round)
LF Nick Markakis (First Round)
3B Casey McGehee (10th Round)
1B Daric Barton (First Round)
C Jarrod Saltlamacchia (First Round)
SP Clay Billingsley (First Round)
SP John Danks (First Round)
SP Shaun Marcum (Third Round)
SP Scott Baker (Second Round)
SP Paul Maholm (First Round)
RP Jonathan Papelbon (Fourth Round)
CP Brian Wilson (24th Round)
2B Aaron Hill, OF Adam Jones, OF Michael Bourn, OF Delmon Young
This was a draft that was a bit of a disappointment early on, as top pick Delmon Young was supposed to be a future superstar, and he has failed to pan out. Still, there are number of talented young players from this draft class.
I admittedly cheated a bit putting Kinsler at shortstop, but with Weeks, Kinsler and Aaron Hill at second and no one of note at shortstop it seemed right. Outfield was a position of depth, and it was hard to leave Adam Jones out of the lineup.
The pitching is nothing special but solid top to bottom, and Papelbon and Wilson at the back-end makes it that much better.
All-Draft Team Grade: B
SS Stephen Drew (First Round)
2B Dustin Pedroia (Second Round)
CF Hunter Pence (Second Round)
RF Adam Lind (Third Round)
1B Billy Butler (First Round)
LF Ben Zobrist (Sixth Round)
DH Neil Walker (First Round)
3B Mark Reynolds (16th Round)
C Kurt Suzuki (Second Round)
SP Justin Verlander (First Round)
SP Jered Weaver (First Round)
SP Yovani Gallardo (First Round)
SP Gio Gonzalez (First Round)
SP Jonathan Sanchez (27th Round)
RP J.P. Howell (First Round)
CP Huston Street (First Round)
C Chris Ianetta, SP J.A. Happ, SP Phil Hughes
Now is when we start to get into draft classes that are still in the works of being developed, as a number of the players on this list have just recently reached the big leagues, and there are many more who still have a shot to make an impact who have not made it yet.
That said, the lineup is solid, although there are a few players slightly out of position. Pence and Butler are among the game's emerging talents, and Pedroia already has an MVP under his belt.
The rotation is fantastic, as is the bullpen, which is anchored by University of Texas teammates Howell and Street. All in all, this is already one of the better pitching classes of recent memory.
All-Draft Team Grade: B+
CF Andrew McCutchen (First Round)
RF Justin Upton (First Round)
SS Troy Tulowitzki (First Round)
LF Ryan Braun (First Round)
3B Ryan Zimmerman (First Round)
DH Jay Bruce (First Round)
1B Gaby Sabchez (Fourth Round)
C Josh Thole (13th Round)
2B Chris Getz (Fourth Round)
SP Matt Garza (First Round)
SP Ricky Romero (First Round)
SP Clay Buchholz (First Round)
SP Tommy Hanson (22nd Round)
SP Jaime Garcia (22nd Round)
RP Sergio Romo (28th Round)
CP Mitchell Boggs (Fifth Round)
OF Colby Rasmus, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF Austin Jackson, SP Mike Pelfrey
This is one of the best drafts of all time, and 35 of the 48 first-round selections have already seen big league action, with many of them among the best players in the game today.
The lineup, as well as the rotation, is stacked, and the only real weaknesses lie at catcher, second base and in the bullpen. Still, this is a fantastic team and one of the best collections of outfielders in draft history.
All-Draft Team Grade: A