Grading Every MLB Team's 2014 Draft Haul 7 Years Later

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2021

Grading Every MLB Team's 2014 Draft Haul 7 Years Later

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    For just the third time in MLB history in 2014, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft did not sign, with left-hander Brady Aiken failing to come to terms with the Houston Astros after questions about the health of his arm arose during his post-draft physical.

    Beyond that, No. 2 overall pick Tyler Kolek has still not reached the majors, and all told, a whopping 13 players selected among the 41 first-round picks have never seen the big leagues.

    With seven years to digest how things have played out, we've gone back through the draft 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.

        

    Previous draft grade articles: 2015

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Touki Toussaint
    Touki ToussaintIcon Sports Wire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Touki Toussaint (1-14)

    Other MLB Players: 2B Isan Diaz (2-70), LHP Zac Curtis (6-180), 1B Kevin Cron (14-420)

    Right-hander Touki Toussaint did not turn 18 years old until after the 2014 draft, making him one of the youngest players in the class. He immediately became one of the top prospects in the Arizona system but was flipped to the Atlanta Braves at the 2015 deadline as a means of offloading Bronson Arroyo's contract.

    His stuff is electric, but he still hasn't carved out a full-time role in the majors. The 25-year-old made 10 starts with the Braves in 2021, posting a 4.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 48 strikeouts in 50 innings.

    Second baseman Isan Diaz was also traded, going first to the Milwaukee Brewers in a five-player deal that brought Jean Segura to Arizona, and then to the Miami Marlins in the Christian Yelich blockbuster.

    Grade: C

Atlanta Braves

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    Robert Gauthier/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Braxton Davidson (1-32)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Max Povse (3-102), RHP Chad Sobotka (4-133), RHP Jacob Webb (18-553)

    The sixth high school bat taken in the 2014 draft, outfielder Braxton Davidson stalled out at the High-A level, where he spent three consecutive seasons. In his final year of affiliated ball in 2018, he slugged 20 home runs but hit just .171/.281/.365 with 213 strikeouts for a staggering 44.3 percent strikeout rate.

    Towering 6'8" Max Povse was eventually used to acquire 2014 first-round pick Alex Jackson from the Seattle Mariners, while Chad Sobotka (50 G, 5.36 ERA, 11.7 K/9) was knocked around in limited action out of the Atlanta bullpen.

    That only real success story here is reliever Jacob Webb, who has used a mid-90s fastball and terrific changeup to post a 2.47 ERA in 78 career appearances. He pitched twice in the 2021 NLCS and is currently projected for a spot in the 2022 bullpen.

    Grade: D

Baltimore Orioles

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    John Means
    John MeansVaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: None

    Other MLB Players: RHP David Hess (5-151), LHP Tanner Scott (6-181), IF Stevie Wilkerson (8-241), LHP John Means (11-331)

    The Orioles did not have a first or second-round pick in the 2014 draft after signing Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez in free agency. They also traded away the No. 37 overall pick in the compensatory round, along with a young Josh Hader and L.J. Hoes to acquire veteran starter Bud Norris at the trade deadline.

    As a result, their first selection didn't come until No. 90 overall when they picked left-hander Brian Gonzalez, who never reached the majors.

    Fourth-round pick Pat Connaughton was the team's No. 11-ranked prospect at the start of the 2015 season after a strong pro debut. However, the hard-throwing right-hander returned to Notre Dame in the fall to finish his basketball career. He went in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft and is currently averaging a career-high 12.5 points per game for the Milwaukee Bucks in his seventh NBA season.

    Despite all of that, the Orioles still managed to find a staff ace in John Means and a solid lefty reliever in Tanner Scott in this draft class.

    Grade: B

Boston Red Sox

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    Michael Kopech
    Michael KopechBoston Globe/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Michael Chavis (1-26), RHP Michael Kopech (1-33)

    Other MLB Players: 1B Sam Travis (2-67), LHP Jalen Beeks (12-374), RHP Chandler Shepherd (13-404)

    Michael Chavis climbed as high as the No. 2 prospect in the Boston Red Sox system, and he made a splash as a rookie in 2019 with 18 home runs in 95 games. However, he failed to develop into an everyday option, and he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Austin Davis at the 2021 deadline.

    Flame thrower Michael Kopech was one of the prospect centerpieces, along with Yoan Moncada, in the blockbuster deal to acquire Chris Sale at the 2016 winter meetings. Kopech is now poised to join the Chicago White Sox rotation in 2022 after a strong debut as a multi-inning reliever.

    In one of the better trades in recent Red Sox history, left-hander Jalen Beeks was flipped to the Tampa Bay Rays at the 2018 deadline in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi, who went on to star in the postseason while helping the team to a World Series title.

    Grade: B

Chicago Cubs

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: C Kyle Schwarber (1-4)

    Other MLB Players: C Mark Zagunis (3-78), LHP Justin Steele (5-139), RHP Dylan Cease (6-169), RHP James Norwood (7-199), SS Jason Vosler (16-469)

    After hitting .358/.464/.659 with 14 home runs and more walks (44) than strikeouts (30) as a junior at the University of Indiana, Kyle Schwarber was the first bat off the board in the 2014 draft.

    He spent just 158 games in the minors before he made his MLB debut on June 16, 2015, and he posted a 113 OPS+ with 121 home runs and 5.8 WAR in six seasons with the team before he was non-tendered prior to the 2021 campaign.

    The other big name in this draft class is Dylan Cease, who inked a $1.5 million bonus as a sixth-round pick. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox along with Eloy Jimenez in the ill-fated move to acquire Jose Quintana, and he enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 with a 3.91 ERA and 226 strikeouts in 165.2 innings.

    Grade: B

Chicago White Sox

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    Carlos Rodon
    Carlos RodonJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Carlos Rodon (1-3)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Jace Fry (3-77), RHP Zach Thompson (5-138), LHP Aaron Bummer (19-558)

    A candidate to go 1-1 in the 2014 draft before an inconsistent junior campaign at NC State, left-hander Carlos Rodon was still the first college arm off the board at No. 3 overall.

    He debuted in 2015 with a 3.75 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 139.1 innings, but injuries kept him from living up to his full potential, and he was non-tendered last winter. The White Sox brought him back on a one-year, $3 million deal, and he exploded for a 2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 132.2 innings to finish fifth in AL Cy Young voting.

    Left-hander Jace Fry (162 G, 29 HLD, 5.04 ERA, 10.9 K/9) was a useful middle reliever for five seasons, while sinkerballer Aaron Bummer (196 G, 60 HLD, 3.13 ERA, 9.7 K/9) is a key setup man who is signed through at least 2024 after inking a five-year, $16 million extension that includes a pair of option years that could lengthen the deal until 2026.

    Grade: B

Cincinnati Reds

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    Tejay Antone
    Tejay AntoneJamie Sabau/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Nick Howard (1-19), SS Alex Blandino (1-29)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Tejay Antone (5-155), 1B Brian O'Grady (8-245)

    The star of this draft class for the Cincinnati Reds is right-hander Tejay Antone, who has a 2.48 ERA, 11.3 K/9 and 3.0 WAR in 36 appearances over the past two seasons. The 28-year-old missed time with a forearm strain last summer and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery, but he was on his way to becoming a bullpen ace.

    Right-hander Nick Howard still hasn't seen the big leagues. He spent 2021 pitching in the upper levels of the minors, where he had a 4.50 ERA and 10.4 K/9 in 42 appearances, but he also walked batters at a 7.4 BB/9 clip and command issues have plagued him throughout his pro career.

    Infielder Alex Blandino hit .310/.397/.531 with 12 home runs as a junior at Stanford to climb into the first-round conversation, but he has seen limited MLB action in a utility role. The 29-year-old signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants earlier this month.

    Grade: D

Cleveland Guardians

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    Bradley Zimmer
    Bradley ZimmerEmilee Chinn/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Bradley Zimmer (1-21), LHP Justus Sheffield (1-31), OF Mike Papi (1-38)

    Other MLB Players: 1B Bobby Bradley (3-97), LHP Sam Hentges (4-128), RHP Julian Merryweather (5-158), OF Greg Allen (6-188), RHP J.P. Feyereisen (16-488), RHP Cam Hill (17-518)

    This is a real quantity over quality situation.

    While eight players from Cleveland's 2014 draft class have reached the majors, that group has combined for just 2.9 WAR. Outfielder Bradley Zimmer has accounted for the majority of it with 2.7 WAR in 263 games, while three of those nine players check in with a negative WAR figure.

    Top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield and J.P. Feyereisen were traded to the New York Yankees in 2016 in exchange for reliever Andrew Miller, who played a crucial role in the team reaching the World Series that year.

    Slugger Bobby Bradley appears to have the inside track to be the team's starting first baseman in 2022, and he has an .840 OPS with 156 home runs in seven minor league seasons. The 25-year-old hit .208/.294/.445 with 16 home runs and 41 RBI in 74 games in his first extended MLB action in 2021.

    Grade: C

Colorado Rockies

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    Kyle Freeland
    Kyle FreelandMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Kyle Freeland (1-8), 2B Forrest Wall (1-35)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Ryan Castellani (2-48), LHP Sam Howard (3-82), 3B Kevin Padlo (5-143), LHP Harrison Musgrave (8-233), LHP Jerry Vasto (24-713)

    Kyle Freeland soared up draft boards with a dominant junior season at the University of Evansville, going 10-2 with a 1.90 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 128 strikeouts in 99.2 innings.

    He had an 8.3 WAR season and finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting in 2018, but he's been up and down in the years since. The 28-year-old had a 4.33 ERA in 120.2 innings this past season, good for a 2.3 WAR season that ranked fifth among Rockies players.

    Second baseman Forrest Wall has not hit enough to overcome his limited defensive profile, and he spent 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate.

    Grade: C

Detroit Tigers

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    Spencer Turnbull
    Spencer TurnbullGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Derek Hill (1-23)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Spencer Turnbull (2-63), C Grayson Grenier (3-99), RHP Artie Lewicki (8-250), OF Mike Gerber (15-460), RHP Spenser Watkins (30-910), LHP Locke St. John (32-970)

    Center fielder Derek Hill has been slow to develop offensively, but there is still time for him to develop into a solid MLB contributor. The 25-year-old hit .259/.313/.388 with nine extra-base hits and six steals in 49 games in 2021, and if no other outside additions are made, he'll compete with Victor Reyes and Daz Cameron for the starting center field job this spring.

    Spencer Turnbull has been quietly effective with a 4.13 ERA and 112 ERA+ in 50 starts over the past three seasons, but he's currently recovering from Tommy John surgery after going under the knife last July. He had a 2.88 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in nine starts at the time of the injury.

    No one else from this draft class jumps off the page, but they have produced seven big leaguers, and Turnbull still has a chance to be a key part of their future plans.

    Grade: C

Houston Astros

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    Josh James
    Josh JamesTim Warner/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Brady Aiken (1-1), OF Derek Fisher (1-37)

    Other MLB Players: 1B AJ Reed (2-42), 3B J.D. Davis (3-75), RHP Daniel Mengden (4-106), RHP Dean Deetz (11-316), OF Ramon Laureano (16-466), RHP Ryan Thompson (23-676), RHP Josh James (34-1,006)

    The silver lining to the Houston Astros' failure to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken in 2014 is that they received the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft as compensation and selected LSU shortstop Alex Bregman.

    That said, this entire draft was an unmitigated disaster.

    After initially offering Aiken a $6.5 million bonus, the team pulled back due to concerns over his UCL in his post-draft physical. Fifth-round pick Jacob Nix, who initially agreed to a $1.5 million bonus, also failed to sign and later filed a grievance against the team.

    Looking at the guys who did sign, AJ Reed was the 2014 Golden Spikes winner at the University of Kentucky after one of the greatest two-way seasons in college baseball history. He hit .336/.476/.735 with 23 home runs and 73 RBI while also going 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 112 innings on the mound. He showed some intriguing power potential in the minors but could never make the jump.

    Trading Ramon Laureano to the division rival Oakland Athletics for reliever Brandon Bailey is yet another black eye on this draft class.

    Grade: F

Kansas City Royals

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    Brandon Finnegan
    Brandon FinneganAl Tielemans/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Brandon Finnegan (1-17), LHP Foster Griffin (1-28), C Chase Vallot (1-40)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Scott Blewett (2-56), LHP Eric Skoglund (3-92), 1B Ryan O'Hearn (8-243), LHP Eric Stout (13-393), LHP Tim Hill (32-963)

    The Kansas City Royals got an immediate return on investment with TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan, who made just 13 minor league appearances before joining the MLB roster as a September call-up. He had a 1.29 ERA with 10 strikeouts in seven innings down the stretch, then made seven more appearances in the postseason.

    The following year, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the Johnny Cueto deal. He went 10-11 with a 3.98 ERA in 172 innings over 31 starts in 2016, but he hasn't pitched in the majors since 2018.

    The only other player from this class to make an impact is lefty reliever Tim Hill, who had a 3.62 ERA and 19 holds in 78 appearances with the San Diego Padres in 2021. Whiffing on two of three first-round picks drags down this overall grade.

    Grade: D

Los Angeles Angels

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    Sean Newcomb
    Sean NewcombMorry Gash/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: LHP Sean Newcomb (1-15)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Chris Ellis (3-88), RHP Jake Jewell (5-149), RHP Justin Anderson (14-419), LHP Greg Mahle (15-449), LHP Adam McCreery (22-659)

    The real haul of this draft for the Los Angeles Angeles was slick-fielding shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves prior to the 2016 season in exchange for first-round pick Sean Newcomb and third-round pick Chris Ellis.

    Newcomb flashed some potential with the Braves as a starter after debuting in 2017, but command issues ultimately landed him in the bullpen, where he had a 4.73 ERA with 12.0 K/9 and 7.5 BB/9 in 32 appearances in 2021.

    Joe Gatto inked an above-slot $1.2 million bonus as a second-round pick but never advanced beyond Double-A with the Angels. He spent 2021 in the Texas organization, recording a 3.32 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 59.2 innings in the upper levels of the minors, and he'll try to win a spot in the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen this spring as a non-roster invitee.

    Grade: C

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Alex Verdugo
    Alex VerdugoIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Grant Holmes (1-22)

    Other MLB Players: OF Alex Verdugo (2-62), RHP Jeff Brigham (4-129), RHP Brock Stewart (6-189), RHP Trevor Oaks (7-219), LHP Caleb Ferguson (38-1,149)

    The Los Angeles Dodgers generally hold onto their top-tier prospects, but in this case, their top two draft picks have both been traded.

    Alex Verdugo was obviously the centerpiece in the Mookie Betts blockbuster prior to the 2020 season, and he has already racked up 4.3 WAR in his first 199 games in Boston. The sweet-swinging 25-year-old looks like a long-term piece in the Red Sox outfield.

    As for right-hander Grant Holmes, he was shipped to the Oakland Athletics along with Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas in the 2016 trade that brought Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers. He ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the Oakland system at the start of 2021.

    Tip of the cap to left-hander Caleb Ferguson, who at No. 1,149 overall is the latest pick in the 2014 draft class to reach the majors.

    Grade: B

Miami Marlins

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    Brian Anderson
    Brian AndersonMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Tyler Kolek (1-2)

    Other MLB Players: 3B Brian Anderson (3-76), LHP Dillon Peters (10-287), RHP Connor Overton (15-437), RHP Jordan Holloway (20-587)

    There's a reason no prep right-hander has ever gone No. 1 overall in the MLB draft. That profile always comes with significant boom-or-bust potential, and Tyler Kolek is the perfect cautionary tale.

    A burly 6'5" right-hander who could touch triple-digits as a Texas high schooler, Kolek checked all the boxes to be a future ace, but he was never able to rein in his command. In five minor league seasons, he had a 5.66 ERA and almost as many walks (124) as strikeouts (134) in 163.2 innings. He failed to advance beyond Single-A and was inactive in 2021.

    Brian Anderson has developed into a solid MLB player with 9.1 WAR in five seasons with the Marlins, including a fourth-place finish in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018. That production is all that saves this draft from receiving an "F" grade.

    Grade: D

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Brandon Woodruff
    Brandon WoodruffPatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: LHP Kodi Medeiros (1-12), SS Jake Gatewood (1-41)

    Other MLB Players: OF Monte Harrison (2-50), RHP Cy Sneed (3-85), OF Troy Stokes Jr. (4-116), RHP Brandon Woodruff (11-326), RHP Jordan Yamamoto (12-356)

    There's a solid case to be made that Brandon Woodruff is currently the best pitcher to come out of the 2014 draft class, with Aaron Nola, Jack Flaherty, John Means, Carlos Rodon and 2021 breakout star Logan Webb also in the conversation.

    As an 11th-round pick, Woodruff was drafted later than all of those guys, aside from Means, who went five picks after him. So if nothing else, the Brewers deserve major props for finding an ace-caliber arm on the third day of the draft.

    They also turned Monte Harrison and Jordan Yamamoto into Christian Yelich, as both prospects were included in the four-player package to acquire him from the Miami Marlins.

    Still, whiffing on both first-round picks makes it impossible to give this draft an "A" grade.

    Grade: B

Minnesota Twins

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    Nick Gordon
    Nick GordonDavid Berding/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Nick Gordon (1-5)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Nick Burdi (2-46), LHP Sam Clay (4-110), RHP Jake Reed (5-140), RHP John Curtiss (6-170), RHP Trevor Hildenberger (22-650)

    The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon, shortstop Nick Gordon was the first high school hitter taken in the 2014 draft after playing alongside Jesse Winker at Olympia High School in Florida.

    Top 100 prospect four years running from 2015 to 2018, his offensive game stalled in the upper levels of the minors, and his stock dropped. The 26-year-old made his MLB debut in 2021, hitting .240/.292/.355 with 14 extra-base hits in 216 plate appearances while serving in a super-utility role.

    Relievers John Curtiss (76 G, 3.63 ERA, 9.0 K/9) and Trevor Hildenberger (134 G, 5.52 ERA, 9.0 K/0) both have multiple years of big league experience, while Jake Reed (10 G, 3.60 ERA, 9.0 K/9) made his MLB debut in 2021 and has spent time with the minor league affiliates of the Angels, Dodgers, Rays and Mets.

    Grade: C

New York Mets

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    Michael Conforto
    Michael ConfortoRich Schultz/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: OF Michael Conforto (1-10)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Brad Wieck (7-205)

    The Mets got the important one right in 2014, hitting on one of the draft's most productive hitters in Michael Conforto with the No. 10 overall pick, but they have little else to show for that draft class.

    Conforto hit .340/.462/.557 as a three-year starter at Oregon State, and he was the second college bat off the board after Kyle Schwarber. He was a 15.7 WAR player in seven seasons with the Mets, earning an All-Star nod in 2017, and now he is one of the top hitters remaining on the 2021-22 free-agent market.

    Left-hander Brad Wieck is the only other player from the class to reach the majors, breaking into the league with the San Diego Padres after he was traded in the deal that brought Alex Torres to the Mets in 2015.

    Grade: B

New York Yankees

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    Jordan Montgomery
    Jordan MontgomerySarah Stier/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: None

    Other MLB Players: LHP Jacob Lindgren (2-55), LHP Jordan Montgomery (4-122), RHP Jonathan Holder (6-182), OF Mark Payton (7-212), 1B Chris Gittens (12-362), RHP Joe Harvey (19-572), RHP Matt Wotherspoon (34-1,022)

    Left without a first-round pick after signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran in free agency, the New York Yankees still managed to find seven big league players in the 2014 draft.

    The best of the bunch by a wide margin has been left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who moved quickly through the minors to debut in 2017. The University of South Carolina product posted a 3.83 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 162 strikeouts in a career-high 157.1 innings in 2021.

    Reliever Jacob Lindgren went 6-1 with a 0.81 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 55.1 innings out of the Mississippi State bullpen in 2014. He was one of the first players from the 2014 class to reach the majors, debuting on May 25, 2015, but his seven appearances that year stand as his only big league experience.

    Grade: B

Oakland Athletics

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    Matt Chapman
    Matt ChapmanIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: 3B Matt Chapman (1-25)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Daniel Gossett (2-65), RHP Brett Graves (3-101), RHP Heath Fillmyer (5-162), 1B John Nogowski (34-1,032)

    Matt Chapman is one of just three players from the 2014 draft class with at least 20 WAR for his career, trailing only Trea Turner (24.7) and Aaron Nola (24.2) with 23.2 WAR in 573 games.

    The Cal State Fullerton product hit just 13 home runs in 162 games in college, but he quickly developed into a serious power threat in the minors with a 36-homer season in 2019. The 28-year-old had back-to-back 7-WAR campaigns in 2018 and 2019, and he is one of the bigger names on the trade market this winter.

    Daniel Gossett went 4-14 with a 5.91 ERA in 23 starts between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and he spent this past season with the Boston Red Sox Triple-A squad after he was released by Oakland.

    Grade: B

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Aaron Nola
    Aaron NolaMike Stobe/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Aaron Nola (1-7)

    Other MLB Players: 1B Rhys Hoskins (5-142), LHP Brandon Leibrandt (6-172), LHP Austin Davis (12-352)

    Here's a quick look at the WAR leaders among pitchers from the 2014 draft class:

    • Aaron Nola: 24.2
    • Kyle Freeland: 15.0
    • Brandon Woodruff: 12.3
    • Carlos Rodon: 11.5
    • John Means: 9.9
    • Jack Flaherty: 8.8
    • Jordan Montgomery: 6.8
    • Spencer Turnbull: 4.3

    It was slim pickings, but the Phillies managed to walk away with a staff ace.

    They also snagged slugger Rhys Hoskins in the fifth round. He has a 126 OPS+ and 118 home runs in five seasons, joining Kyle Schwarber (153), Michael Conforto (132), Matt Chapman (111) and Trea Turner (103) as the only players from the 2014 class with at least 100 career home runs.

    A slam dunk first-round pick and a second impact player is enough to make this the best haul in a thin draft.

    Grade: A

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Cole Tucker
    Cole TuckerJustin Berl/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: SS Cole Tucker (1-24), OF Connor Joe (1-39)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Mitch Keller (2-64), OF Jordan Luplow (3-100), C Taylor Gushue (4-131), RHP Alex McRae (10-311), RHP Montana DuRapau (32-971)

    Glorious flowing hair and celebrity girlfriend aside, Cole Tucker has not made much of an impact yet with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 25-year-old is a .217/.272/.330 hitter with a 61 OPS+ and minus-1.3 WAR in 136 career games.

    Meanwhile, Connor Joe was traded to the Atlanta Braves for utility infielder Sean Rodriguez in 2017, and he's since gone to the Dodgers, Reds, Giants, and back to the Dodgers before finally finding a home with the Colorado Rockies. He hit .285/.379/.469 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 63 games and should have a shot at the starting left field job this spring.

    Former top prospect Mitch Keller is still trying to find his footing in the big leagues, while Jordan Luplow has developed into a solid platoon outfielder since he was traded to Cleveland for infielder Erik Gonzalez.

    Grade: C

San Diego Padres

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    Trea Turner
    Trea TurnerJohn Locher/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: SS Trea Turner (1-13)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Kyle McGrath (36-1,077)

    Cringe.

    Just six months after taking NC State shortstop Trea Turner with the No. 13 overall pick, the Padres agreed to trade him to the Washington Nationals in a three-team, 11-player deal that brought Wil Myers to San Diego.

    However, since trades of drafted players were still not allowed at that point until they spent one calendar year with their organization, he was a lame duck in the San Diego system for the first half of 2015. In 58 games with the team's Double-A affiliate before he could officially be traded, he hit .322/.385/.471 with 21 extra-base hits and 11 steals, and it quickly became clear the front office had made a mistake.

    Left-hander Kyle McGrath made 21 appearances in 2017 and 2018, posting a 3.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 7.8 K/9 in 23 innings. That's more than anyone could have expected from a 36th-round pick.

    Grade: F

San Francisco Giants

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    Logan Webb
    Logan WebbWally Skalij/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Tyler Beede (1-14)

    Other MLB Players: C Aramis Garcia (2-52), RHP Logan Webb (4-118), RHP Sam Coonrod (5-148), OF Austin Slater (8-238)

    This draft class took a significant step up the grading scale in 2021, thanks to a breakout season from fourth-round pick Logan Webb.

    The 25-year-old went 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 158 strikeouts in 148.1 innings, and he got stronger as the season went on, hinting at his future as the ace of the staff.

    Tyler Beede showed some flashes of being a potential long-term rotation piece before missing all of 2020 and the bulk of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old could get a shot at the No. 5 starter job or a multi-inning bullpen gig in 2022.

    Aramis Garcia and Sam Coonrod have moved on to other teams, while Austin Slater quietly posted a 101 OPS+ with 12 home runs, 32 RBI and 15 steals in a 1.4-WAR season last year. He is penciled in as the team's fourth outfielder.

    Grade: B

Seattle Mariners

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    Alex Jackson
    Alex JacksonElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    First-Round Picks: OF Alex Jackson (1-6)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (4-111), RHP Dan Altavilla (5-141), RHP Vinny Nittoli (25-741)

    "He'll have an impact bat no matter where he plays, so a team could fast-track him by putting him in right field," wrote Baseball America in their pre-draft profile of then-catcher Alex Jackson.

    The Mariners did just that, and he began the 2015 season as the No. 20 prospect in baseball. However, those loud offensive tools were nowhere to be found during his time in the Seattle farm system, and he was eventually traded to the Braves. Still just 25 years old, he is now with the Marlins and back behind the plate.

    Second-round pick Gareth Morgan also flopped after signing an above-slot $2 million bonus, and soft-tossing lefty Ryan Yarbrough has turned out to be the most productive player from this draft class by a landslide. Unfortunately, he was traded to Tampa Bay in 2017 in exchange for Drew Smyly.

    Grade: D

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jack Flaherty
    Jack FlahertyEd Zurga/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Luke Weaver (1-27), RHP Jack Flaherty (1-34)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Austin Gomber (4-135), RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (9-285)

    The St. Louis Cardinals have always done a solid job developing pitching, and in a thin draft class, they managed to produce three MLB starters.

    Jack Flaherty is the standout of the group, and while he has not yet matched his 2019 success, he was solid when healthy in 2021 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 85 strikeouts in 78.1 innings.

    Luke Weaver was one of the centerpieces of the trade package to acquire Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks, while Austin Gomber went to the Colorado Rockies in the Nolan Arenado deal, so they ultimately used this draft class to bolster their lineup.

    Grade: A

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Casey Gillaspie
    Casey GillaspieBrian Blanco/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: 1B Casey Gillaspie (1-20)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Brent Honeywell Jr. (2-72), LHP Brock Burke (3-96), OF Braxton Lee (12-367), LHP Kyle Bird (35-1,057)

    For a Tampa Bay Rays team that has done a fantastic job drafting and developing players, this was a rare dud.

    Casey Gillaspie looked like one of the safest picks in the first round after hitting .394/.524/.692 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in 58 games as a junior at Wichita State. He hit well in his first taste of the upper minors in 2016 and began the following year as the No. 74 prospect in baseball, but he quickly regressed from there and has spent the last three years in independent ball.

    Injuries have kept Brent Honeywell Jr. from living up to his top prospect status, and he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations last month. Brock Burke was traded to the Texas Rangers in the three-team deal that brought Emilio Pagan to Tampa Bay prior to the 2019 campaign.

    If they were set on a college bat with their first pick, Matt Chapman was still on the board.

    Grade: D

Texas Rangers

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    Jose Trevino
    Jose TrevinoMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Luis Ortiz (1-30)

    Other MLB Players: LHP Brett Martin (4-126), LHP Wes Benjamin (5-156), 3B Jose Trevino (6-186), RHP Erik Swanson (8-246), RHP Reed Garrett (16-486)

    Luis Ortiz was a top 100 prospect in 2016 and 2017, and he was traded twice before he made his MLB debut, going to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade and then to the Baltimore Orioles in the Jonathan Schoop deal. He has pitched a grand total of 5.2 innings in the big leagues, and his career came full circle in 2021 as he spent the year with the Rangers Triple-A affiliate.

    Brett Martin had a team-high 66 appearances for the Rangers this past season with a 3.18 ERA and 11 holds, while Wes Benjamin also saw time in the big league bullpen.

    Meanwhile, Jose Trevino moved from third base to catcher midway through his first pro season, and he split time with Jonah Heim as the team's starting backstop in 2021.

    Grade: C

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Jordan Romano
    Jordan RomanoMark Blinch/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Jeff Hoffman (1-9), C Max Pentecost (1-11)

    Other MLB Players: RHP Sean Reid-Foley (2-49), OF Lane Thomas (5-144), RHP Justin Shafer (8-234), RHP Jordan Romano (10-294), 1B Ryan McBroom (15-444)

    The Blue Jays had the No. 9 overall pick based on their record and the No. 11 pick as compensation for failing to sign Phil Bickford the previous year, but they still didn't come away with an impact player.

    Jeff Hoffman was one of the pieces used to acquire Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies, and he was a Top 100 prospect three times, but things never clicked in Colorado. He spent last season with the Cincinnati Reds, posting a 4.56 ERA in 73 innings spanning 11 starts and 20 relief appearances.

    The gem here turned out to be reliever Jordan Romano, who enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 when he posted a 2.14 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 with 23 saves in 24 chances. The 28-year-old is controllable through the 2025 season and now ranks among the game's elite bullpen arms.

    Grade: C

Washinton Nationals

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    Erick Fedde
    Erick FeddeDylan Buell/Getty Images

    First-Round Picks: RHP Erick Fedde (1-18)

    Other MLB Players: C Jakson Reetz (3-93), RHP Austen Williams (6-184), RHP James Bourque (14-424)

    After going 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 76.2 innings during his junior season at UNLV, Erick Fedde was the eighth college pitcher off the board in the 2014 draft.

    He pitched a career-high 133.1 innings in 2021, posting a 5.47 ERA and 1.44 WHIP for a floundering Nationals team. With three more years of club control, he'll likely be asked to chew up innings while the team rebuilds.

    Second-round pick Andrew Suarez did not sign, and he went in the second round again the following year to the San Francisco Giants.

    Austen Williams and James Bourque both saw limited action in the Nationals bullpen. Catcher Jakson Reetz saw a two-game cup of coffee in 2021 before signing with the Milwaukee Brewers as a minor league free agent this offseason.

    Grade: D

         

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

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