For whatever reason, the MLB Draft just doesn't receive the attention, excitement and coverage of the NFL, NHL and NBA Drafts. Is it because there are like 7 million rounds in the MLB Draft? Is it because baseball just isn't as exciting as it was decades ago? Well, there are many reasons.
For one, less than, say, five percent of MLB Draft selections in any given year turn out to be superstars. In the NFL, NBA and NHL, you know more than a handful of future franchise superstars are being drafted each year.
But the MLB Draft is so interesting in many ways, especially in the fact that many of the top stars aren't even on the team that originally drafted them. So many of these players were drafted, struggled to get it going with their team and didn't become a star until years later.
Here is a look at 15 MLB stars and the teams you didn't know that drafted them.
16 R.A. Dickey: Texas Rangers
The infamous knuckleballer had a long journey to the majors. The Texas Rangers drafted Dickey 18th-overall in the 1996 MLB Draft, and he wouldn't make it to the majors for another five years. Dickey took a long time to make a name for himself in the big leagues, but here is the 2012 NL Cy Young winner.
Dickey's legacy will forever be with the New York Mets, where he spent his best years. Though he struggled with the Toronto Blue Jays, he played a part in helping them reach the 2015 and 2016 ALCS. But many people forget that it was in fact the Rangers who drafted Dickey originally.
They're the ones who had faith in him from the get-go, though he didn't get his career on track in the Lone Star State. Easy to forget Texas drafted him...
15 Ben Zobrist: Houston Astros
The three-time All-Star has a legacy as one of the best players in Tampa Bay Rays history, helping this constant losing franchise reach the 2008 World Series. But Zobrist also played an integral part in helping the Kansas City Royals win the 2015 World Series, and everyone remembers him winning the 2016 World Series MVP after helping the Chicago Cubs end their 108-year drought.
But many people don't know that it was the Houston Astros who originally wound up with Zobrist, selecting him 184th-overall in 2004. He was traded to the Rays two years later and has since become one of baseball's better contact hitters.
Winning the World Series with two different teams means Zobrist will have legacies in Kansas City and Chicago. But 20 years from now, few people will remember that he was originally selected by Houston. We're sure they regret trading him.
14 Josh Hamilton: Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Hamilton first-overall in 1999, believe it or not. Sadly, Josh Hamilton struggled with drug and alcohol addictions and never played a game for the Rays. His MLB career didn't begin until 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds. After an up-and-down season there, Hamilton was traded to the Texas Rangers -- where he finally asserted himself as one of baseball's best players.
Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP, helped the Rangers reach the World Series that same year -- though they fell to the San Francisco Giants in five games. A year later, the Rangers fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.
J-Ham has been named to five All-Star teams and is a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Sadly, his career hasn't been the same since he underwent an alcohol relapse a couple of years ago. Though Hamilton has been able to clean it up off the field recently, his storied MLB career may be over.
A career that many forgot started with the Rays.
13 Andrew Miller: Detroit Tigers
The 6-foot-7 giant may be the most dominant setup man of this decade. Andrew Miller's career started slowly with the Detroit Tigers (who drafted him sixth-overall in 2006), and was up-and-down with the Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox. But Miller finally cemented himself as one of baseball's top relievers with the Baltimore Orioles.
The 2016 ALCS MVP is a straight-up strikeout machine these days. Remember his heroics in last year's playoffs against the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays? Miller was a huge addition for the Cleveland Indians at last year's trade deadline.
Miller's ERA from 2014 to now? In order: 2.02, 2.04, 1.05, 0.00. That is straight-up dominance. In case you forgot, the Tigers bullpen cost them aplenty during the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 playoffs. Imagine if Detroit had a little more faith in the reliever they drafted back in 2006...
12 Jose Bautista: Pittsburgh Pirates
The Toronto Blue Jays star is one of the greatest it's-never-too-late stories in MLB history. Jose Bautista was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 20th round way back in 2000, but he never developed into a full-time professional. Three years later, the Baltimore Orioles selected Bautista in the Rule 5 draft.
Bautista then went to Tampa Bay, and then to the Kansas City Royals, and then to the New York Mets and then back to the Pirates. The Blue Jays then made a franchise-changing move, shipping away prospect Robinzon Diaz in exchange for Joey Bats. So here is Bautista, who is second all-time in Blue Jays home runs. He's led the majors in home runs twice and played a big role in helping Toronto reach the ALCS in 2015 and 2016.
His entire legacy will be linked to the Blue Jays, but he was originally a Pirate...
11 Chris Davis: New York Yankees
Chris Davis came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the best sluggers in all of baseball. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 50th round back in 2004. Davis never played for the organization and went to college. In the 2005 draft, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim drafted Davis. He also didn't join them, and was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2006.
Davis played four seasons with the Rangers before getting traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. He broke out in 2012 with 33 home runs, guiding the O's to the postseason. A year later, Davis crushed 53 home runs -- a career best. He hit 26, 47 and 38 home runs over the following three seasons.
The Yankees are called the Bronx Bombers for a reason. Davis would strongly fit the Yankees identity as a big home run hitter. Too bad they weren't able to keep him in Pinstripes after drafting him.
10 Jake Arrieta: Cincinnati Reds
Here's another late bloomer.
The Cincinnati Reds drafted Jake Arrieta 918th-overall back in 2004, when George W. Bush was President, Batista was on his way to becoming one of the top superstars in the WWE and Shrek 2 was released!
But Arrieta chose not to join the Reds and instead went to college. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005, but decided to continue his post-secondary education. The Orioles drafted Arrieta in 2007, and he spent his first four seasons in the majors there.
Baltimore then made a terrible move in trading Arrieta to the Chicago Cubs in 2013. He won the 2015 NL Cy Young and helped Chicago win the World Series in 2016. Three teams originally drafted Arrieta before he became a stud with the Cubs, and it all started with Cincinnati.
9 Edwin Encarnacion: Texas Rangers
And another late bloomer!
The Texas Rangers surely didn't think they would regret passing up on Edwin Encarnacion. But once the 2015 playoffs rolled around, they did come to regret it. That's because they drafted the Dominican slugger 274th-overall in the 2000 MLB Draft. Of course, Encarnacion helped the Blue Jays defeat Texas in the 2015 and 2016 ALDS. Encarnacion joined the Rangers, but was traded to the Cincinnati Reds -- where he spent the first 4.5 seasons of his career.
Encarnacion was then traded to theBlue Jays in 2009, where he grew into one of baseball's top hitters. Over the past five seasons, Encarnacion has hit 42, 36, 34, 39 and 42 home runs. The Cleveland Indians now own Encarnacion, who remains one of baseball's most feared home run hitters.
7 Corey Kluber: San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres didn't know it at the time, but they drafted a future Cy Young winner in Corey Kluber (134th-overall), back in 2007. Kluber was never able to get out of the Padres' farm system and was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2010. Little did anyone know it was a trade that would change the MLB landscape.
Kluber won the 2014 AL Cy Young with an 18-9 record, 2.44 ERA, 7.4 WAR and 269 strikeouts. He was also a key piece of the Indians 2016 AL pennant-winning team, going 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA.
There are few pitchers as consistently dominant as Kluber, and the Padres made a big mistake giving up on him so easily. While the Padres continue to work on this long-term rebuild, Kluber is helping Cleveland reign supremacy in the A.L.
6 Ian Kinsler: Arizona Diamondbacks
Ian Kinsler is known today as one of baseball's premier second basemen, but the expectations for him were fairly low -- as evidenced by the Arizona Diamondbacks waiting until the 29th round to select him in 2000. Kinsler never got it going in the desert, and would be drafted again by the Texas Rangers in 2003. Kinsler finally broke through and reached the majors in 2006.
And now, here is Kinsler, who has asserted himself as one of the top hitters in baseball. The four-time All-Star and 2016 Gold Glover led Texas to the AL Pennant in 2010 and 2011, though they failed to win the World Series both years.
If Arizona managed to hold onto Kinsler all this time, we can only imagine how much pitchers would fear a duo of him and Paul Goldschmidt. But like every other player on this list, Kinsler wasn't given a chance by the team that originally drafted him.
5 Adrian Gonzalez: Florida Marlins
Everyone knows Adrian Gonzalez played for the San Diego Padres, and they remember him being traded to the Boston Red Sox -- where he spent 1.5 seasons. And yes, everyone knows that he's by far the top hitter on the Los Angeles Dodgers. But a lot of people aren't aware that the Florida Marlins were the team that originally drafted Gonzo, taking him first-overall in 2000.
Gonzalez struggled with injuries and never flashed with the Marlins, so he was traded to the Texas Rangers (where he spent his first two MLB seasons). Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, has since showed the Marlins they were silly for letting go of him so early.
Could you imagine if he and Giancarlo Stanton were clubbing home runs together in Miami? That would be something.
4 Max Scherzer: St. Louis Cardinals
Max Scherzer is arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball right now. The 2013 and 2016 Cy Young winner and three-time wins leader started his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008. Scherzer then became a force with the Detroit Tigers in 2012, as he guided them to the AL pennant. Scherzer then joined the Washington Nationals on a seven-year deal worth $210 million, and he's earned every penny of it so far.
But many don't know that Scherzer was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals 1,291st-overall in 2003. Scherzer actually chose to play college baseball and didn't join the Cardinals, who have to be shaking their heads to this day about not getting a deal done.
Scherzer was drafted again by the Diamondbacks (11th overall), in 2006. We can only wonder what would have happened to the Cardinals if they had Scherzer and Adam Wainwright on the mound together. That would have been something else.
3 Anthony Rizzo: Boston Red Sox
One of baseball's best first basemen is also a guy the Boston Red Sox wrongfully let go of. They drafted Anthony Rizzo in the sixth round back in 2007, but he was packaged in a deal that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Beantown -- which sent Rizzo over to the San Diego Padres. Considering how many question marks the Red Sox have had at first base since trading Gonzalez in 2012, it's safe to say they really regret trading him.
But the Padres didn't do much better in keeping Rizzo -- trading him away to the Chicago Cubs in 2012. Rizzo is now one of baseball's absolute best players, being named to the last three All-Star Games while taking home the 2016 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. Boston drafted him, and Chicago made him.
2 Josh Donaldson: Chicago Cubs
There are a lot of late bloomers in sports, and 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson is one of them. The Cubs drafted Donaldson 48th-overall in 2007 (as a catcher, interestingly enough). And here he is today, one of the top-10 players in baseball.
Donaldson first broke into the majors in 2010 with the Oakland Athletics, but he didn't emerge as a star until 2013, batting .301 with 24 home runs and 93 RBI as he guided his team to an AL West title. Now, Donaldson is on the Blue Jays -- thanks to former general manager Alex Anthopolous -- who gave up prospects and the inconsistent Brett Lawrie in the deal.
Donaldson helped the Blue Jays win the AL East in 2015 and guided them to consecutive ALCS appearances. Interesting enough that the Cubs drafted a future MVP winner, though he never played for them.
1 Kris Bryant: Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays have Donaldson. The Cubs originally drafted Donaldson. The Cubs have Kris Bryant. The Jays originally drafted Bryant.
As a long-time Toronto Blue Jays fan, this may be the most frustrating entry I've ever had to write here at TheSportster. Kris Bryant is only 25 years of age, yet one of the top-five hitters in all of baseball. My Toronto Blue Jays had the 2016 NL MVP in their hands -- drafting him 546th-overall in the 2010 Draft. Yeah, Bryant was drafted that late. What a great find from the Blue Jays!
But Bryant never signed with the Blue Jays and went to the University of San Diego. The Chicago Cubs then drafted Bryant second-overall in 2013. He's already won the NL MVP and is a World Series champion.
The Blue Jays could have had the next big thing in baseball lining up at third base right now. There, now this entry is done with. Congratulations to the Cubs on taking Bryant. Shame on you, Blue Jays!
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