All Time Top 10 MLB Draft Number One Picks

In honor of this week’s MLB draft, we are rolling out our all-time, top 10 No. 1 picks in MLB draft history.

In a sport where high draft picks can easily become “busts,” evaluating talent becomes an art. Number one picks like Steve Chilcott (1977), Brien Taylor (1991), Bryan Bullington (2002) and Matt Bush (2004) are examples of players who never panned out to their full potential.

Let’s start the list at number 10.

10A. Stephen Strasburg
Washington Nationals – 2009
Right Handed Pitcher
San Diego State University

B. Bryce Harper
Washington Nationals – 2010
College of Southern Nevada

Even though neither player has played a complete season in the big leagues, Strasburg and Harper enter the list at No. 10 purely based on potential. With the Nationals selecting No. 1 in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010, they certainly expect the future to be very bright behind these two players. Both were able to tear through the minor league system very quickly.

9. David Price
Tampa Bay Rays – 2007
Left Handed Pitcher
Vanderbilt University

Price only has four seasons under his belt, but his track record is impressive so far. After making his major league debut in September 2008 at age 22, Price was kept on the Rays’ roster for the postseason. During the 2008 postseason, Price won game 2 of the ALCS and closed out game 7 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox to lead the Rays to their first World Series.

8. Adrian Gonzalez
Florida Marlins – 2000
First Base
Eastlake H.S (CA)

In 2000, the Marlins caught their “big fish” but never realized how big of a fish they caught. Gonzalez stayed in the Marlins farm system for only three years before being dealt to Texas in 2003 and then eventually he was traded to San Diego. “Gonzo” caught his break in San Diego where he had four great seasons from 2007–2010.

7. Harold Baines
Chicago White Sox – 1977
St. Michaels H.S (MD)

Then-White Sox owner Bill Veeck discovered Baines when he was playing little league at age 12. Veeck then made Baines his number one pick in 1977. Baines’ playing career lasted over 20 seasons in which he played for five different teams (including three stints with both the White Sox and Orioles).

6. Joe Mauer
Minnesota Twins – 2001
Cretin-Derham Hall H.S (MN)

Mauer ultimately turned down a football scholarship to play at Florida State. Instead, he was the No. 1 pick by his home-state Twins in 2001. Since his debut in 2004, Mauer has become one of the best catchers ever, both offensively and defensively. He is a “five-tool player” that does just about everything for the Twins.

5. Chipper Jones
Atlanta Braves – 1990
Bolles H.S (FL)

When the Braves used the No. 1 pick in 1990 to take Larry “Chipper” Jones, they didn’t know exactly what they’d be getting. Chipper ended up being their franchise player for over 20 seasons, giving the Braves a World Series title in 1995. Jones has become one of the classiest players in MLB.

4. Darryl Strawberry
New York Mets – 1980
Crenshaw H.S (CA)

Strawberry was undoubtedly one of the best outfielders of the 1980s as he was an All Star for the last six years in the 80s. He played for the Mets for 8 years and made them a contender year in and year out. Strawberry is remembered as a clutch postseason hitter, hitting 9 HR with 22 RBIs and 20 runs scored in 40 postseason games.

3. Josh Hamilton
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 1999
Athens Drive H.S (NC)

Hamilton’s storied past almost didn’t allow him to become one of the game’s best outfielders. When he finally made his major league debut in 2007 with the Reds, Hamilton’s impact on the field was big. Hamilton was then traded to Texas where he would help the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances.

2. Alex Rodriguez
Seattle Mariners – 1993
Westminster Christian H.S (FL)

Fans may hate A-Rod, but he is one of the best players of the last decade. He was a part of the Mariners’ teams that were very exciting to watch in the late 90s – early 2000s. He signed the biggest contract in baseball history (at the time) with the Rangers in 2001 and was eventually traded to the Yankees in 2004.

1. Ken Griffey Jr
Seattle Mariners – 1987
Moeller H.S (OH)

Arguably the best outfielder in the 1990s, Griffey Jr. was a complete “five-tool player.” He could do just about anything. Playing on three different teams over a 22-year playing career, “The Kid” made an impact on every organization he played for. His career will be remember for his playing time in Seattle where he led the Mariners to the postseason twice and was a MVP caliber player every season.

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