Grading Every MLB Team's 2015 Draft Haul 6 Years Later

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2021

Grading Every MLB Team's 2015 Draft Haul 6 Years Later

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Six years after Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson and LSU shortstop Alex Bregman went No. 1 and No. 2 overall, respectively, in the 2015 MLB draft, the two faced off in the 2021 World Series.

    Breakout stars Austin Riley and Kyle Tucker were also part of the 2015 draft class, and they were a big reason their teams were playing in the Fall Classic as well.

    In honor of that draft class, we've gone back through the haul of all 30 MLB teams and slapped a letter grade on the talent they acquired.

    We went with A, B, C, D or F as the possible grades based on the amount of MLB talent a team's draft class produced, how it did with its first-round pick and how it used prospects to improve the roster in other ways, like trades.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Dansby Swanson
    Dansby SwansonNorm Hall/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Dansby Swanson (1-1)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Alex Young (2-43), RHP Taylor Clarke (3-76), RHP Ryan Burr (5-136)

    The D-backs selected Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the No. 1 overall pick after he hit .335/.423/.623 with 24 doubles, 15 home runs and 64 RBI in 71 games during his junior season. With a polished overall game, he was expected to reach the majors in short order.

    That was indeed true, as he made his MLB debut Aug. 17, 2016, but he did it in an Atlanta Braves uniform after the Diamondbacks traded him prior to the 2016 season in an ill-fated deal that brought Shelby Miller to Arizona.

    Taylor Clarke (43 G, 4.98 ERA) and Alex Young (30 G, 6.26 ERA) were both members of the 2021 bullpen, while Ryan Burr has developed into a useful reliever for the Chicago White Sox after Arizona traded him in 2017 for international bonus pool money.

    Grade: B

Atlanta Braves

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    Austin Riley
    Austin RileyDylan Buell/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Kolby Allard (1-14), RHP Mike Soroka (1-28), 3B Austin Riley (1-41)

    Other MLB Players: LHP A.J. Minter (2-75), RHP Patrick Weigel (7-210), RHP Evan Phillips (17-510)

    This group has a strong case for being the best 2015 draft class.

    Left-hander Kolby Allard was the first high school pitcher taken in the draft, and he made his MLB debut at age 20. The Braves traded him to the Texas Rangers for reliever Chris Martin at the 2019 deadline, and he still has a chance to be a long-term contributor.

    Mike Soroka has missed most of the last two seasons with an Achilles injury, but he was 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 174.2 innings in 2019 when he finished runner-up in National League Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in NL Cy Young balloting.

    Third baseman Austin Riley was a breakout star this year with a 132 OPS+, 33 home runs, 107 RBI and 6.1 WAR. Lefty reliever A.J. Minter was a key arm during the team's playoff run with a 3.00 ERA, 18 strikeouts in 12 innings and three holds in eight appearances.

    Grade: A

Baltimore Orioles

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    Cedric Mullins
    Cedric MullinsCole Burston/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF DJ Stewart (1-25), SS Ryan Mountcastle (1-36)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Garrett Cleavinger (3-102), OF Ryan McKenna (4-133), RHP Jay Flaa (6-193), RHP Ryan Meisinger (11-343), OF Cedric Mullins (13-403)

    DJ Stewart batted .318/.500/.593 with 15 home runs and 59 RBI in 64 games during his junior season at Florida State, but he has failed to match that production as a pro. He had 10 doubles, 12 home runs and 33 RBI in a career-high 318 MLB plate appearances in 2021, but he also hit .204 with minus-0.3 WAR in 100 games.

    However, the Orioles appear to have found a pair of impact players in slugger Ryan Mountcastle and center fielder Cedric Mullins.

    Mountcastle led rookies with 33 home runs in 2021, albeit with limited on-base ability and defensive shortcomings. Mullins became the first 30/30 player in Orioles history, hitting .291/.360/.518 in a 5.7-WAR season.

    Grade: A

Boston Red Sox

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    Andrew Benintendi
    Andrew BenintendiDiamond Images/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Andrew Benintendi (1-7)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Travis Lakins (6-171), RHP Ben Taylor (7-201), LHP Logan Allen (8-231), LHP Bobby Poyner (14-411), Trevor Kelley (36-1,071)

    Outfielder Andrew Benintendi hit .376/.488/.717 with 20 home runs and 24 steals as a draft-eligible sophomore at the University of Arkansas, winning Golden Spikes honors, before being taken No. 7 overall in the draft.

    After 151 games in the minors, he made his MLB debut Aug. 2, 2016, and he took over as Boston's everyday left fielder the following year. He finished as the runner-up in 2017 AL Rookie of the Year voting and then took another step forward in 2018 with a 123 OPS+ and 4.8 WAR in 148 games.

    However, his development stalled in 2019 and 2020 with a 94 OPS+ and 1.7 WAR in 152 games, and the Red Sox flipped him to the Kansas City Royals last offseason.

    None of the other players in the 2015 draft class have made a significant impact in Boston, but the team used left-hander Logan Allen in the trade package to acquire All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel prior to the 2016 season.

    Grade: B

Chicago Cubs

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    Ian Happ
    Ian HappJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Ian Happ (1-9)

    Other MLB Players: SS Vimael Machin (10-293), 2B P.J. Higgins (12-353), RHP Scott Effross (15-443), C Tyler Payne (30-893)

    Ian Happ hit .369/.492/.672 with 18 doubles and 14 home runs in 56 games as a junior at the University of Cincinnati. He fit the mold of a polished college hitter with versatility that Theo Epstein and company targeted early in drafts during their time in the Chicago Cubs front office.

    He moved quickly through the minors and made his MLB debut May 13, 2017.

    He has a 111 OPS+ with 162-game averages of 27 home runs, 74 RBI and 2.0 WAR in parts of five MLB seasons, but he is still working toward establishing himself as a consistent high-level performer.

    Second-round pick Donnie Dewees never reached the majors, but the Cubs used him to acquire Alec Mills from the Kansas City Royals.

    Grade: C

Chicago White Sox

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    Carson Fulmer
    Carson FulmerDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Carson Fulmer (1-8)

    Other MLB Players: C Seby Zavala (12-352), SS Danny Mendick (22-652)

    Playing alongside Dansby Swanson and Walker Buehler at Vanderbilt, Carson Fulmer went 14-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 127.2 innings as a junior to emerge as one of the draft's top arms. Despite those impressive numbers, some red flags were present.

    "Listed at 6-feet, 195 pounds, he is undersized for a right-hander and has an effortful, high-energy delivery. Those factors lead some to see him as a future reliever," wrote Baseball America in his predraft scouting report.

    He struggled to a 6.56 ERA in 44 appearances spanning four seasons with the White Sox before they designated him for assignment in 2020. He has bounced around on the waiver wire since and had a 6.66 ERA in 20 appearances out of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen in 2021.

    Seby Zavala and Danny Mendick have developed into useful bench pieces, but that's not nearly enough to save this draft class.

    Grade: F

Cincinnati Reds

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    Tyler Stephenson
    Tyler StephensonMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: C Tyler Stephenson (1-11)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Tony Santillan (2-49), RHP Tanner Rainey (2-71), SS Blake Trahan (3-84), RHP Jimmy Herget (6-175), SS Alejo Lopez (27-805)

    With veteran Tucker Barnhart traded to the Detroit Tigers, the catcher position in Cincinnati belongs to Tyler Stephenson, who hit .286/.366/.431 with 21 doubles, 10 home runs and 45 RBI in 402 plate appearances as a rookie in 2021.

    First-round high school catchers have a long history of flopping, but he looks poised to buck that trend and develop into an impact player.

    Burly right-hander Tony Santillan has been one of Cincinnati's top pitching prospects for several years, and he had a 2.91 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 43.1 innings in his first MLB action in 2021. Tanner Rainey has spent the past three years in the Washington Nationals bullpen after the Reds used him to acquire veteran starter Tanner Roark prior to the 2019 season.

    Grade: C

Cleveland Guardians

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    Triston McKenzie
    Triston McKenzieSam Hodde/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: LHP Brady Aiken (1-17), RHP Triston McKenzie (1-42)

    Other MLB Players: 2B Mark Mathias (3-93), OF Ka'ai Tom (5-154), RHP Justin Garza (8-244), 2B Sam Haggerty (24-724)

    Brady Aiken was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, but he didn't sign with the Houston Astros after concerns over the health of his arm led the team to lower its signing bonus offer. He enrolled at IMG Academy and threw 13 pitches in his first start before exiting with an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery.

    Despite all of that, Cleveland scooped him up with the 17th overall pick in the following year's draft.

    In three seasons in the Cleveland farm system, he posted a 5.18 ERA with almost as many walks (128) as strikeouts (147) in 179 innings, failing to advance beyond the Single-A level before he was released.

    Triston McKenzie has shown flashes of being a solid MLB rotation piece over the last two seasons, posting a 4.95 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with 136 strikeouts in 120 innings in 2021, but he has a ways to go before he can even the scales on the Aiken pick.

    Grade: D

Colorado Rockies

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    Brendan Rodgers
    Brendan RodgersDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Brendan Rodgers (1-3), RHP Mike Nikorak (1-27), 3B Tyler Nevin (1-38)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Peter Lambert (2-44), RHP Justin Lawrence (12-347), OF Sam Hilliard (15-437)

    After battling injuries the past few seasons, Brendan Rodgers saw his first extended MLB action in 2021, and he responded by hitting .284/.328/.470 with 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 415 plate appearances.

    With Trevor Story expected to sign elsewhere, he should have a starting job at one of the middle infield positions in 2022.

    Outfielder Sam Hilliard has developed into a useful fourth outfielder, and right-handers Peter Lambert and Justin Lawrence are on the 40-man roster and expected to compete for roster spots next spring.

    However, Mike Nikorak is out of professional baseball after struggling to a 6.98 ERA with 82 walks in 68.1 innings while dealing with arm issues, and Tyler Nevin is a member of the Baltimore Orioles after being shipped out in the Mychal Givens trade.

    Grade: C

Detroit Tigers

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    Tyler Alexander
    Tyler AlexanderJulio Aguilar/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Beau Burrows (1-22), OF Christin Stewart (1-34)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Tyler Alexander (2-65), RHP Drew Smith (3-99), LHP Matt Hall (6-190), RHP Kyle Dowdy (12-370)

    Right-hander Beau Burrows and outfielder Christin Stewart were both top prospects during their time in the Detroit Tigers farm system, but they have failed to develop into MLB contributors.

    After struggling in limited MLB action, Burrows was designated for assignment in June and claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins. He has a 10.79 ERA and 1.98 WHIP in 17.2 innings in the majors.

    Stewart showed potential in 2019 when he tallied 25 doubles, 10 home runs and 40 RBI in 416 plate appearances, but he hit .167/.224/.300 in 99 plate appearances last year before spending all of 2021 at Triple-A.

    The best player of this draft haul has turned out to be left-hander Tyler Alexander, who had a 3.81 ERA in 106.1 innings and 2.0 WAR in 15 starts and 26 relief appearances in 2021.

    Grade: F

Houston Astros

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    Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker
    Alex Bregman and Kyle TuckerRichard Rodriguez/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Alex Bregman (1-2), OF Kyle Tucker (1-5), OF Daz Cameron (1-37)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Thomas Eshelman (2-46), RHP Trent Thornton (5-139), C Garrett Stubbs (8-229), LHP Patrick Sandoval (11-319), OF Myles Straw (12-349), RHP Ralph Garza (26-769), RHP Zac Grotz (28-829)

    The Houston Astros had two of the top five selections in the 2015 draft with the second overall pick awarded as compensation for failing to sign Brady Aiken as the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. They knocked both of those picks out of the park, finding two star-caliber everyday players in LSU shortstop Alex Bregman and prep outfielder Kyle Tucker.

    Daz Cameron has not delivered on his five-tool potential, but the Astros made the most of his value by flipping him to the Detroit Tigers in the Justin Verlander deal.

    The front office also traded Thomas Eshelman (to PHI for Ken Giles in 2015), Patrick Sandoval (to LAA for Martin Maldonado in 2018), Trent Thornton (to TOR for Aledmys Diaz in 2018) and Myles Straw (to CLE for Phil Maton in 2021).

    Those trades have largely worked out well, though Sandoval did take a significant step forward this year with a 3.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 87 innings.

    Grade: A

Kansas City Royals

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    Josh Staumont
    Josh StaumontRon Schwane/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Ashe Russell (1-21), RHP Nolan Watson (1-33)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Josh Staumont (2-64), C Nick Dini (14-429), SS Emmanuel Rivera (19-579)

    The Kansas City Royals went above-slot to sign prep right-hander Ashe Russell. With his mid-90s fastball and projectable 6'4" frame, he had top-of-the-rotation upside. Unfortunately, a variety of injuries limited him to 42.1 innings in seven years before the Royals released him in 2021. He never pitched above rookie ball.

    Fellow first-round pick Nolan Watson is still pitching in the Kansas City system, but he has yet to make his MLB debut. He had a 6.30 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 75.2 innings between High-A and Double-A in 2021.

    The success story is flame-throwing Josh Staumont.

    While his spotty command necessitated a move to the bullpen, he has developed into an overpowering late-inning arm. He made a career-high 64 appearances in 2021 and posted a 2.88 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings with five saves and 16 holds.

    Grade: F

Los Angeles Angels

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    Jared Walsh
    Jared WalshSarah Stier/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: C Taylor Ward (1-26)

    Other MLB Players: OF Jahmai Jones (2-70), SS David Fletcher (6-195), 1B Jared Walsh (39-1,185)

    While Taylor Ward failed to develop into the catcher of the future as hoped, he has turned into a useful bench player for the Los Angeles Angels. He posted a 108 OPS+ with 15 doubles, eight home runs and 33 RBI in 237 plate appearances this year while seeing time at all three outfield spots.

    Likewise, Jahmai Jones failed to deliver on his Top 100 prospect status, and he is now vying for playing time in the Baltimore Orioles system.

    While those two players fell short of expectations, this was still a successful draft thanks to David Fletcher (9.4 career WAR) and Jared Walsh (2021 All-Star).

    The biggest steal in the draft, Walsh was a two-way player at Georgia who was well off the MLB radar when the Angels scooped him up in the 39th round as a senior sign and gave him a $3,000 bonus.

    Grade: B

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Walker Buehler
    Walker BuehlerDaniel Shirey/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Walker Buehler (1-24), RHP Kyle Funkhouser (1-35)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Josh Sborz (2-74), 2B Willie Calhoun (4-132), 1B Edwin Rios (6-192), C Matt Beaty (12-372), OF Kyle Garlick (28-852)

    The Los Angeles Dodgers rolled the dice on Walker Buehler knowing he would need Tommy John surgery before beginning his pro career. He has rewarded them by developing into one of the game's elite young pitchers.

    The 27-year-old went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 212 strikeouts in 207.2 innings this year. With Max Scherzer's departure and Clayton Kershaw likely to leave as well, he is the staff ace for the Dodgers.

    Kyle Funkhouser opted to return to Louisville for his senior season and slipped to the fourth round of the 2016 draft. L.A. selected Vanderbilt right-hander Jordan Sheffield with the compensatory pick at No. 36 overall the following year.

    Infielder Willie Calhoun emerged as a top prospect during his time in the Dodgers system, and they used him as part of the trade package to acquire Yu Darvish at the 2017 deadline.

    Grade: A

Miami Marlins

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    Josh Naylor
    Josh NaylorMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: 1B Josh Naylor (1-12)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Cody Poteet (4-116), RHP Chris Paddack (8-236), RHP Kyle Keller (18-536), RHP Ben Meyer (29-866)

    No Canada-born position player has been drafted higher than Josh Naylor, who went No. 12 overall in 2015 out of St. Joan of Arc Catholic in Ontario.

    Miami traded him to the San Diego Padres for Andrew Cashner before he reached the majors, and he was dealt again in the Mike Clevinger blockbuster last summer. Still 24 years old, he will get every chance to win a starting job in Cleveland next spring.

    The Marlins traded Chris Paddack to the Padres a month before Naylor to acquire veteran closer Fernando Rodney. The 6'5" right-hander has spent the last three seasons in the San Diego rotation, though he is still chasing the success he enjoyed as a rookie.

    Cashner and Rodney were both rentals, so the Marlins have nothing to show for the two guys they traded beyond an ill-fated playoff push.

    Grade: C

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Trent Grisham
    Trent GrishamScott Taetsch/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Trent Grisham (1-15), LHP Nathan Kirby (1-40)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Cody Ponce (2-55), RHP Eric Hanhold (6-181)

    Outfielder Trent Grishamwho went by Trent Clark when he began his pro careertook time to develop into the five-tool talent he is today for the San Diego Padres.

    He broke out in 2019 in the upper levels of the minors and made his MLB debut late that year. Milwaukee traded him to San Diego after the season along with Zach Davies in exchange for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer in a deal that does not have a clear winner and loser.

    Between Tommy John surgery, thoracic outlet surgery and a fractured rib, Nathan Kirby has had a tough time getting his pro career off the ground. He had a 1.93 ERA in 17 relief appearances at Double-A to begin the 2021 season before the Brewers traded him to Pittsburgh for infielder Kevin Kramer.

    Fun fact: Cincinnati Reds rookie standout Jonathan India was selected by the Brewers in the 26th round of the 2015 draft out of high school, but he opted to honor his commitment to the University of Florida.

    Grade: C

Minnesota Twins

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    Tyler Jay
    Tyler JayBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Tyler Jay (1-6)

    Other MLB Players: 3B Travis Blankenhorn (3-80), LHP Jovani Moran (7-200), OF LaMonte Wade Jr. (9-260), RHP Cody Stashak (13-380), OF Jaylin Davis (24-710), LHP Andrew Vasquez (32-950)

    Tyler Jay posted a 1.08 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 76-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 66.2 innings for the University of Illinois as a junior, tallying 14 saves in 30 appearances. With power stuff and a starter's repertoire, the belief was that he could make a successful transition to the starting rotation.

    However, things never clicked in the minors, and he failed to advance beyond Double-A. Minnesota traded him to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations in 2019, and that was his final season in affiliated ball.

    Outfielders LaMonte Wade Jr. and Jaylin Davis have both found their way to San Francisco, and Wade was a key contributor for this year's 107-win team in a utility role off the bench.

    Other than that, this has been a wholly disappointing draft class.

    Add in that second-round pick Kyle Cody failed to sign and instead returned to the University of Kentucky, and it goes from bad to worse.

    Grade: F

New York Mets

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    Thomas Szapucki
    Thomas SzapuckiIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: None

    Other MLB Players: LHP Thomas Szapucki (5-149), C Patrick Mazeika (8-239), OF Kevin Kaczmarski (9-269), LHP P.J. Conlon (13-389)

    The New York Mets surrendered the 15th overall pick to sign Michael Cuddyer in free agency after he received a qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies. He retired one season into the two-year, $21 million deal.

    The team's top pick was outfielder Desmond Lindsay at No. 53 overall in the second round. He has played 260 games in six seasons and owns a .233/.339/.363 batting line.

    Left-hander Thomas Szapucki has ranked among the team's top prospects in recent years, but injuries have kept him from developing as hoped. He made his MLB debut June 30, allowing seven hits and six earned runs in 3.2 innings of relief.

    All in all, not a great haul of talent.

    Grade: F

New York Yankees

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    James Kaprielian
    James KaprielianRobbie Rogers/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP James Kaprielian (1-16), SS Kyle Holder (1-30)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Chance Adams (5-153), LHP Josh Rogers (11-333), OF Trey Amburgey (13-393), RHP Brody Koerner (17-513), RHP Cody Carroll (22-663)

    James Kaprielian pitched his way into the first-round conversation by going 10-4 with a 2.03 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 106.2 innings during his junior season at UCLA. Injuries interrupted the start of his pro career, though, and New York traded him to the Oakland Athletics in the Sonny Gray blockbuster in 2017.

    After missing all of 2017 and 2018 recovering from Tommy John surgery, he carved out a spot in the big leagues this year. The 27-year-old rookie went 8-5 with a 4.07 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 119.1 innings, and he should go into next spring with a spot in the Oakland rotation.

    The rest of this draft class is filled with guys who have seen limited MLB action and made little impact.

    Chance Adams was viewed as a top prospect for a brief time after he went 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 127.1 innings between High-A and Double-A in 2016, but his stuff has not translated against top-tier competition. The Yankees traded him to Kansas City in 2019.

    Grade: D

Oakland Athletics

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    Seth Brown
    Seth BrownAlika Jenner/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Richie Martin (1-20)

    Other MLB Players: OF Skye Bolt (4-128), 1B Seth Brown (19-578)

    A first-round pick on the strength of his glove at shortstop, Richie Martin enjoyed a breakout season offensively at Double-A in 2018. He hit .300/.368/.439 with 43 extra-base hits and 25 steals, and the Baltimore Orioles snagged him in the Rule 5 draft that offseason.

    He has hit just .215/.262/.312 with minus-2.0 WAR in 157 games in the big leagues.

    Outfielder Seth Brown had a breakout rookie season in 2021, posting a 107 OPS+ with 20 home runs and 48 RBI in 111 games. He is controllable through the 2026 season and should serve as a low-cost power source.

    Oakland signed right-hander Dakota Chalmers, a third-round pick, for an above-slot $1.2 million bonus. The A's traded him to Minnesota in 2018, and he spent 2021 pitching in both the Twins' and the Chicago Cubs' minor league systems.

    Grade: F

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Scott Kingery
    Scott KingeryMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Cornelius Randolph (1-10)

    Other MLB Players: 2B Scott Kingery (2-48), SS Luke Williams (3-83), LHP Bailey Falter (5-144), LHP Tyler Gilbert (6-174)

    One of the top prep bats in the 2015 class, Cornelius Randolph hit .302/.425/.442 with 19 extra-base hits in 53 games in rookie ball after signing. That earned him the No. 88 spot on the Baseball America Top 100 prospect list.

    That success has not translated to the upper levels of the minors, and after lackluster performances at Double-A in 2018 and 2019, he hit .234/.323/.386 in 48 games at Triple-A this year.

    The prize appeared to be infielder Scott Kingery, who tore through the minors and signed a six-year, $24 million extension before making his MLB debut. He had a 101 OPS+ with 34 doubles, 19 home runs, 15 steals and 2.6 WAR in 2019, but he has played in just 51 games the past two seasons, and the Phillies designated him for assignment and sent him to the minors in June.

    Tyler Gilbert was traded to the Dodgers for outfielder Kyle Garlick and then chosen by the D-backs in the 2020 Rule 5 draft. He threw a no-hitter this year in his first MLB start.

    Grade: D

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Ke'Bryan Hayes
    Ke'Bryan HayesDylan Buell/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Kevin Newman (1-19), 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes (1-32)

    Other MLB Players: SS Kevin Kramer (2-62), LHP Brandon Waddell (5-157), RHP JT Brubaker (6-187), RHP Tanner Anderson (20-607), C John Bormann (24-727), RHP James Marvel (36-1,087), LHP Daniel Zamora (40-1,207)

    The Pittsburgh Pirates don't have many building blocks, but third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes looks like a superstar in the making.

    He has racked up 4.2 WAR in 120 games in the big leagues, and it looks like he'll be a perennial Gold Glove candidate at third base.

    Kevin Newman has also developed into an everyday shortstop, albeit with little offensive value. He was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop with terrific defensive metrics (7 defensive runs saved, 7.6 UZR/150), but his 56 OPS+ ranked last among qualified hitters.

    Props to the scouting department on finding four MLB players in the 20th round or later, even if they are not impact players.

    Grade: B

San Diego Padres

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    Ty France
    Ty FranceDenis Poroy/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: None

    Other MLB Players: RHP Jacob Nix (3-86), C Austin Allen (4-117), RHP Trevor Megill (7-207), RHP Brett Kennedy (11-327), RHP Trey Wingenter (17-507), RHP Phil Maton (20-597), 3B Ty France (34-1,017)

    The San Diego Padres forfeited their first-round pick in 2015 by signing James Shields in free agency. Without that signing, there would have been no trade of Shields to the Chicago White Sox for a young infield prospect named Fernando Tatis Jr. less than two years later, so it was a worthwhile series of events.

    The best of the bunch among the seven players who have reached the majors from this draft class is first baseman Ty France. He didn't get a shot at regular playing time in San Diego but broke out with a 4.3-WAR season this year as the Seattle Mariners' starting first baseman.

    Right-hander Phil Maton has also developed into a quality middle reliever with a 4.76 ERA and 10.5 K/9 in 209 appearances.

    Grade: C

San Francisco Giants

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    Phil Bickford
    Phil BickfordMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Phil Bickford (1-18), 1B Chris Shaw (1-31)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Andrew Suarez (2-61), OF Steven Duggar (6-186)

    Seeing Phil Bickford pitch well out of the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen this year had to be a bummer for the San Francisco Giants, who failed to develop the young right-hander as a starter. That said, they maximized his value by using him to acquire reliever Will Smith at the 2016 deadline.

    Slugger Chris Shaw never made the necessary adjustments to handle big league pitching, while Andrew Suarez had a solid rookie season in 2018 (29 GS, 4.49 ERA, 160.1 IP) before fading. The left-hander spent 2021 in the KBO and had a 2.18 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 115.1 innings, so don't be surprised if he resurfaces in MLB.

    The only real contributor to the Giants is center fielder Steven Duggar, who has shuttled between Triple-A and the majors the past several seasons and posted 2.6 WAR in 242 games.

    Grade: D

Seattle Mariners

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    Art Warren
    Art WarrenMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: None

    Other MLB Players: RHP Nick Neidert (2-60), RHP Andrew Moore (2-72), OF Braden Bishop (3-94), SS Drew Jackson (5-155), LHP Anthony Misiewicz (18-545), RHP Art Warren (23-695), RHP Ljay Newsome (26-785)

    The addition of slugger Nelson Cruz in free agency cost the Seattle Mariners their first-round pick in 2015, but they still did a respectable job of scooping up a number of MLB contributors.

    Right-hander Nick Neidert emerged as one of the team's top pitching prospects before Seattle traded him to Miami in the Dee Strange-Gordon deal in 2017, while Andrew Moore went to Tampa Bay in a trade that brought back Alex Colome and Denard Span in 2018.

    Anthony Misiewicz (66 G, 4.61 ERA) and Ljay Newsome (7 G, 7.98 ERA) both pitched out of the Seattle bullpen in 2021, while Art Warren (26 G, 1.29 ERA, 14.6 K/9) enjoyed a breakout with the Cincinnati Reds.

    The lack of a first-round pick is a major hurdle in having a successful draft class, but this was a decent haul.

    Grade: C

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Harrison Bader
    Harrison BaderQuinn Harris/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Nick Plummer (1-23), RHP Jake Woodford (1-39)

    Other MLB Players: OF Harrison Bader (3-100), RHP Jordan Hicks (3-105), SS Paul DeJong (4-131), RHP Ryan Helsley (5-161)

    In classic St. Louis Cardinals fashion, the gems of this draft class came after the first round, and they came away with multiple impact players despite whiffing on the No. 23 overall pick.

    Outfielder Nick Plummer opted for minor league free agency this offseason after seven years in the St. Louis farm system, during which he hit .221/.363/.358 in 1,819 plate appearances. He is still 25 years old, and he hit .280/.415/.479 with 20 doubles, 15 home runs and 54 RBI in 117 games in the upper levels of the minors last year, so he could be a late-blooming contributor.

    However, the big hit for St. Louis is center fielder Harrison Bader, who is fresh off a 3.9-WAR season and a Gold Glove award.

    Shortstop Paul DeJong and hard-throwing reliever Jordan Hicks have seen their stock dip from a few years ago, but they have also made an impact in the majors, and DeJong earned an All-Star nod during a 5.3-WAR season in 2019.

    Grade: A

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brandon Lowe
    Brandon LoweIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Garrett Whitley (1-13)

    Other MLB Players: 2B Brandon Lowe (3-87), OF Joe McCarthy (5-148), 2B Jake Cronenworth (7-208), RHP Ian Gibaut (11-328)

    A toolsy outfielder with plus speed and a raw overall game, Garrett Whitley is the type of athlete teams roll the dice on every year. He hit .229/.338/.444 with 34 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 88 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021, and he still has a chance to carve out a role as a fourth outfielder.

    The star is obviously Brandon Lowe, who has developed into one of baseball's best offensive second basemen. He had a 142 OPS+ with 31 doubles, 39 home runs and 99 RBI in a 4.7-WAR season this year, and he has three years left on a team-friendly six-year, $24 million extension.

    Lowe vaults this class to one of the higher grades since he's a top-five player from this draft, and the same might be said of Jake Cronenworth, even though his success is coming in another uniform.

    A two-way standout at the University of Michigan who pitched a bit in the minors, Cronenworth went to San Diego in the Tommy Pham-Hunter Renfroe swap. He finished runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season before earning an All-Star nod and tallying 4.8 WAR this year.

    Grade: B

Texas Rangers

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    Pete Fairbanks
    Pete FairbanksMichael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: RHP Dillon Tate (1-4)

    Other MLB Players: SS Dylan Moore (7-198), RHP Pete Fairbanks (9-258), OF Scott Heineman (11-318), 1B Curtis Terry (13-378), RHP Demarcus Evans (25-738), RHP Jeffrey Springs (30-888), LHP CD Pelham (33-978)

    The first pitcher selected in 2015, UC Santa Barbara ace Dillon Tate went 8-5 with a 2.26 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 103.2 innings during his junior season while showcasing electric stuff, as Baseball America noted:

    "Tate's high-energy delivery, fast arm and athletic body deliver plus fastballs, sitting 94-96 mph and touching 97-98, especially early in games. They have some arm-side life that make his hard, plus slider even more effective. It's his strikeout pitch, missing bats with late life and upper-80s velocity, scraping 89 mph. Tate's changeup has improved the more he's used it, and his cutter gives him a another wrinkle to throw at hitters from the same release point."

    Amid a rocky pro debut, but still possessing significant upside, Texas traded him to the New York Yankees at the 2016 deadline in a package for Carlos Beltran. He was traded again in 2018 in the deal that sent Zack Britton out of Baltimore, and he has a 4.61 ERA in 105.1 innings over the past three seasons with the Orioles.

    The Rangers used hard-throwing reliever Pete Fairbanks to acquire Nick Solak from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019, while a number of others from this class have seen time on a fluid Rangers roster.

    Grade: C

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Jon Harris
    Jon HarrisIcon Sports Wire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Jon Harris (1-29)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Travis Bergen (7-212), LHP Tayler Saucedo (21-632)

    This is not good.

    Jon Harris went 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 103 innings during his junior season at Missouri State, but he has struggled to miss bats in the minors with 7.1 K/9 and a 4.58 ERA in 517.1 career innings. He moved to the bullpen in 2021 and may yet deliver value as a middle reliever.

    The only other players to see the majors from this class are lefty reliever Travis Bergen, who has a 3.96 ERA in 38.2 career innings, and Tayler Saucedo, who had a 4.56 ERA in 29 appearances out of the Toronto bullpen as a rookie in 2021.

    To make matters worse, the Blue Jays failed to sign right-hander Brady Singer with the 56th overall pick in the second round.

    Grade: F

Washington Nationals

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    Andrew Stevenson
    Andrew StevensonMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: None

    Other MLB Players: OF Andrew Stevenson (2-58), LHP Taylor Hearn (5-164), RHP Koda Glover (8-254), LHP Taylor Guilbeau (10-314), 2B Max Schrock (13-404)

    The Washington Nationals' first-round pick was well spent as compensation for signing Max Scherzer in free agency, and they grabbed LSU outfielder Andrew Stevenson with their first selection at No. 58 overall.

    Stevenson has found a spot on the MLB roster thanks to his outfield defense, but he hasn't shown enough offensive upside to be an everyday player.

    Koda Glover flashed closer stuff but struggled to stay healthy, while the Nationals traded Taylor Guilbeau to the Seattle Mariners in the 2019 deal for Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland.

    They also traded left-hander Taylor Hearn, who went to Pittsburgh in the Mark Melancon trade and then on to Texas in the Keone Kela deal.

    All in all, not much of value for the Nationals, though the Scherzer deal made it well worth it.

    Grade: D


    All stats and draft information courtesy of Baseball Reference.