How have teams fared with their first round picks in the June Amateur Draft

The 2017 MLB June Amateur  Draft is still a long ways off but since my home town Minnesota Twins have the first overall pick in the draft it got me to thinking. I spent some time recently researching how MLB teams have fared with their first round picks in the June Amateur draft that first started in 1965. The very first pick in the very first draft was made by the Kansas City Athletics and they chose Arizona State University outfielder Rick Monday who went on to a nice 19 year career with three teams with two All-Star selection and a career WAR of 33.1 but he was not HOF worthy. Drafting back in 1965 was an inexact science just like it is today, HOF pitcher Nolan Ryan was drafted in round 12 and ended up with a career war of 81.8 and HOF catcher Johnny Bench who ended up with a 75.0 WAR was selected in round two. Other first round picks that year that you might remember were RHP Joe Coleman, catcher Ray Fosse and third baseman Bernie Carbo.

The question becomes how to rank the teams and I decided to rank them in order of career WAR as determined by Baseball-Reference. I looked at how many players were drafted and signed by each team and then totaled the career WAR numbers and then determined an average WAR for each drafted/signed player.

It was a fun exercise looking at the list of players that were drafted and signed as first round picks. Did they deliver on the promise you thought they had when your team announced that they had drafted and signed them? In baseball there are no guarantees that a first round pick from high school or college will make it to the big leagues and wear your teams colors.

The thing to remember here is that I only looked at first round picks. There are many great players drafted in later rounds but the round one picks get all the ink, most of the money and they wear that “first round pick” label for ever. 

Ranked by average WAR per player drafted and signed

Milwaukee Brewers drafted 59 players, 33 (55.9%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 77.0 for Robin Yount and lowest WAR belongs to Dale Sveum at a -2.3. Total WAR = 518.2, an average WAR of 15.70 per player. Drafted HOF Robin Yount with third overall pick in 1973 and HOF Paul Molitor with third overall pick in 1977.

Seattle Mariners drafted 45 players, 33 (73.3%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 117.7 for  Alex Rodriguez and lowest WAR belongs to Marc Newfield at a -1.6. Total WAR = 451.8, an average WAR of 13.69 per player. Drafted HOF Ken Griffey Jr. with first overall selection in 1987.

Pittsburgh Pirates drafted 62 players, 32 (51.6%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 162.4 for Barry Bonds and lowest WAR belongs to Chad Hermansen at a -3.6. Total WAR = 377.3, an average WAR of 11.79 per player.

Baltimore Orioles drafted 64 players, 34 (53.1%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 83.0 for Mike Mussina and lowest WAR belongs to Garrett Olson at a -2.7. Total WAR = 381.6, an average WAR of 11.22 per player.

Detroit Tigers drafted 60 players, 36 (60.0%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 50.2 for Justin Verlander and lowest WAR belongs to Tom Veryzer at a -3.7. Total WAR = 251.0, an average WAR of 10.54 per player.

Oakland/Kansas City A’s drafted 77 players, 48 (62.3%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 73.8 for Reggie Jackson and lowest WAR belongs to Tim Conroy at a -2.5. Total WAR = 489.8, an average WAR of 10.20 per player. Drafted HOF Reggie Jackson with second overall pick in 1966.

Boston Red Sox drafted 75 players, 46 (61.3%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 140.3 for Roger Clemens and lowest WAR belongs to Craig Hansen at a -1.9. Total WAR = 456.6, an average WAR of 9.93 per player.

Tampa Bay Rays drafted 32 players, 14 (43.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 46.4 for Evan Longoria and lowest WAR belongs to Dewon Brazelton at a -3.0. Total WAR = 136.8, an average WAR of 9.80 per player.

Los Angeles Dodgers drafted 63 players, 31 (49.2%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 54.4 for Clayton Kershaw and lowest WAR belongs to Bubba Crosby at a -1.5. Total WAR = 300.4, an average WAR of 9.69 per player.

Atlanta Braves drafted 63 players, 35 (55.6%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 85.0 for Chipper Jones and lowest WAR belongs to Pat Rockett at a -5.5. Total WAR = 325.6, an average WAR of 9.30 per player.

Philadelphia Phillies drafted 53 players, 32 (60.4%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 64.4 for Chase Utley and lowest WAR belongs to John Russell at a -3.1. Total WAR = 294.2, an average WAR of 9.19 per player.

St. Louis Cardinals drafted 81 players, 46 (56.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 50.1 for Ted Simmons and lowest WAR belongs to Joe Edelen and Chris Lambert at a -0.8. Total WAR = 422.2, an average WAR of 9.18 per player.

New York Yankees drafted 54 players, 26 (48.1%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 71.8 for Derek Jeter and lowest WAR belongs to Bill Burbach at a -1.1. Total WAR = 233.7, an average WAR of 8.99 per player.

Cincinnati Reds drafted 63 players, 30 (47.6%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 70.2 for Barry Larkin and lowest WAR belongs to Scott Scudder at a -1.2. Total WAR = 264.0, an average WAR of 8.80 per player. Drafted HOF Barry Larkin as fourth overall pick in 1985.

Toronto Blue Jays drafted 68 players, 40 (58.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 64.6 for Roy Halladay and lowest WAR belongs to Kevin Witt at a -1.6. Total WAR = 350.5, an average WAR of 8.76 per player.

Houston Astros drafted 64 players, 34 (53.1%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 65.1 for Craig Biggio and lowest WAR belongs to Brian Williams at a -4.0. Total WAR = 290.9, an average WAR of 8.56 per player. Drafted HOF Craig Biggio as 22nd overall pick in 1987. Check out round 1 that year.

Cleveland Indians drafted 66 players, 33 (50.0%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 69.2 for Manny Ramirez and lowest WAR belongs to Jack Heidemann at a -6.1. Total WAR = 279.7, an average WAR of 8.48 per player.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim drafted 63 players, 46 (73.0%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 57.9 for Frank Tanana and lowest WAR belongs to Brandon Wood at a -3.7. Total WAR = 384.3, an average WAR of 8.35 per player.

Kansas City Royals drafted 63 players, 41 (65.1%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 56.0 for Johnny Damon and lowest WAR belongs to Dee Brown at a -2.9. Total WAR = 341.6, an average WAR of 8.33 per player.

New York Mets drafted 65 players, 46 (70.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 53.2 for Dwight Gooden and lowest WAR belongs to Billy Beane at a -1.6. Total WAR = 374.4, an average WAR of 8.14 per player.

Chicago White Sox drafted 70 players, 43 (61.4%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 73.7 for Frank Thomas and lowest WAR belongs to Rocky Biddle at a -3.1. Total WAR = 347.1, an average WAR of 8.07 per player. Drafted HOF Frank Thomas seventh overall in 1989.

Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos drafted 70 players, 38 (54.3%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 38.3 for Tim Wallach and lowest WAR belongs to Terry Francona at a -2.8. Total WAR = 304.1, an average WAR of 8.00 per player.

Minnesota Twins drafted 72 players, 38 (52.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 50.0 for Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter and lowest WAR belongs to Dave McCarty at a -2.0. Total WAR = 300.5, an average WAR of 7.91 per player.

Florida Marlins drafted 31 players, 21 (67.7%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 43.8 for Adrian Gonzalez and lowest WAR belongs to Ryan Tucker at a -1.3. Total WAR = 157.3, an average WAR of 7.50 per player.

Texas Rangers/Washington Senators drafted 70 players, 47 (67.1%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 68.3 for Kevin Brown and lowest WAR belongs to Mike Olt at a -1.5. Total WAR = 348.9, an average WAR of 7.42 per player.

Colorado Rockies drafted 37 players, 23 (62.2%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 61.2 for Todd Helton and lowest WAR belongs to Eddie Butler at a -2.6. Total WAR = 160.5, an average WAR of 6.98 per player.

Chicago Cubs drafted 63 players, 39 (61.9%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 71.6 for Rafael Palmeiro and lowest WAR belongs to Scot Thompson at a -5.5. Total WAR = 253.5, an average WAR of 6.50 per player.

San Francisco Giants drafted 72 players, 51 (70.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 56.2 for Will Clark and lowest WAR belongs to Johnnie LeMaster at a -5.4. Total WAR = 331.4, an average WAR of 6.50 per player.

San Diego Padres drafted 73 players, 45 (60.0%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 63.8 for Dave Winfield and lowest WAR belongs to Ray Hayward at a -1.8. Total WAR = 278.6, an average WAR of 6.19 per player. Drafted HOF Dave Winfield as fourth overall pick in 1973.

Arizona Diamondbacks drafted 33 players, 25 (75.8%) signed and played in the majors. Highest WAR is 38.0 for Max Scherzer and lowest WAR belongs to Aaron Blair at a -1.8. Total WAR = 143.4, an average WAR of 5.70 per player.

 

Summary

Most round 1 selections – St. Louis Cardinals with 81

Fewest round 1 selections – Florida Marlins with 31

Most round 1 players that were signed and played in the majors – San Francisco Giants 51

Fewest round 1 players that were signed and played in the majors – Tampa Rays with 14

Highest round 1 signing percentage of players picked – Arizona Diamondback with 75.8%

Lowest round 1 signing percentage of players picked – Tampa Rays 43.8%

Highest WAR for round 1 selection for position player – 162.4 Barry Bonds by the Pirates

Highest WAR for round 1 selection for a pitcher – 140.3 Roger Clemens by the Red Sox

Highest round 1 overall WAR – 518.2 Milwaukee Brewers

Lowest round 1 overall WAR – 136.8 Tampa Rays

Highest average WAR for players drafted and signed – 15.70 Milwaukee Brewers

Lowest average WAR for players drafted and signed – 5.70 Arizona Diamondbacks

Round 1 HOF picks: Robin Yount (1973) and Paul Molitor (1977) by the Milwaukee Brewers, Ken Griffey Jr. (1987) by the Seattle Mariners, Reggie Jackson (1966) by the Oakland A’s, Barry Larkin (1985) by the Cincinnati Reds, Craig Biggio (1987) by the Houston Astros, Frank Thomas (1989) by the Chicago White Sox and Dave Winfield (1973) by the San Diego Padres. And believe me, there are more on the way.

So what do you think? Did your team rank about where you thought they would or were you surprised? 

This entry was posted in MLB Draft and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How have teams fared with their first round picks in the June Amateur Draft

  1. Oldgoat_MN says:

    23rd out of 30.
    We’re not very good at this…

    Great article. Thank you.

Comments are closed.