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MLB Draft: A look back at the top picks of the 2000s

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Who’s No. 1? Let’s take a look back at the No. 1 picks since the calendar flipped to this century.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 MLB Draft is upon us. While the Minor League Ball community did its first four rounds of mocking on Saturday, the MLB executives prepare for tomorrow’s big day.

Almost everyone has the Detroit Tigers taking another Tiger No. 1, as Auburn’s Casey Mize seems to be the general assumption for top pick. Who else has gone No. 1 this century? Let’s take a look at some of the facts and figures behind that No. 1 pick.


Year Player Team Position
Year Player Team Position
2000 Adrian Gonzalez Florida Marlins 1B
2001 Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins C
2002 Brian Bullington Pittsburgh Pirates RHP
2003 Delmon Young Tampa Bay Devil Rays OF
2004 Matt Bush San Diego Padres SS
2005 Justin Upton Arizona Diamondbacks SS
2006 Luke Hochevar Kansas City Royals RHP
2007 David Price Tampa Bay Devil Rays LHP
2008 Tim Beckham Tampa Bay Devil Rays SS
2009 Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals RHP
2010 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals OF
2011 Gerrit Cole Pittsburgh Pirates RHP
2012 Carlos Correa Houston Astros SS
2013 Mark Appel Houston Astros RHP
2014 Brady Aiken Houston Astros LHP
2015 Dansby Swanson Arizona Diamondbacks SS
2016 Mickey Moniak Philadelphia Phillies OF
2017 Royce Lewis Minnesota Twins SS
2018 ???? Detroit Tigers ????

Some interesting picks there. Now, while MLB is quite different than other sports in that there is some financial strategy in picks, and not so much a draft for need mentality, there are still some doozies in there.

1 One Cy Young Award winner dons the list. That was David Price in 2012.

2 Two players have earned the Rookie of the Year Award, one from each league. Bryce Harper won it in 2012, just two years after being drafted. Carlos Correa won it in 2015, three years after going No. 1. Harper is one of two MVPs on the list, with Joe Mauer winning the other.

3 The list is dominated by six clubs, as the Tampa Bay Rays (then with the Devil), Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros make up 14 of the 18 picks. The Astros, who had three consecutive picks, and Rays have the most with three picks each. The other four teams mentioned had two apiece.

3 Another three makes the list, as three of these picks were Golden Spikes winners. David Price won in 2007, Stephen Strasburg won in 2009 and Bryce Harper won in 2010.

8 Eight of the players have become MLB All Stars.

10 Ten of the picks came directly out of high school.

11 Eleven of the players that were drafted were bats. Of course one of them, Matt Bush, is now a pitcher for the Texas Rangers.

The lack of importance in hitting on the top pick is prevalent with the Astros. They completely miscalculated, whether it be in talent or contract, on Mark Appel and Brady Aiken, yet still have one of the better farm systems and a big league club stacked with young talent to contend for quite a few years.

Bullington may be the least memorable of the bunch, widely considered a “signability” pick after a dominating career at Ball State. To be fair, the next four picks in that draft (B.J. Upton, Chris Gruler, Adam Loewen, and Clint Everts) weren’t going to make this a better pick.

The curious case of Moniak continues. While it is entirely too early to label him a bust, he is certainly not filling the bill and has looked lost at the plate pretty much since his full-season debut. That 2016 MLB Draft was the Moniak vs. Blake Rutherford debate, and thus far, Rutherford has looked much more the potential big leaguer than Moniak.

What do you think? Who was the best No. 1 of the 2000s? Who was the worst? Both are pretty good debates. How about which team seemed to have the most success? Does the Astros hitting on a potential Hall of Fame superstar eliminate the blunders of Appel and Aiken?

I’ll leave that for you to decide.