The MLB Draft is the most difficult draft in professional sports considering there are so many rounds. So naturally, you expect your top pick to become one of the pillars of your franchise for years to come.
The MLB draft is also the only one of the four major sports in North America without around the clock coverage. You don't hear about much dirt being spewed about baseball prospects the way you would for an NFL hopeful. Perhaps it's because these prospects are barely even adults by the time they're drafted. It's a different beast in the majors and remains an inexact science.
From the year 2000-2010 there were thousands of players selected throughout the draft. With that number in mind, only 22 players have been selected either #1 or #2 overall. Some have been major busts, some have just underwhelmed, and some have become MLB All-Stars.
This list comes down to the amount of time they’ve spent in the league, their success, and their future potential. Some of these names you will ask yourself “Who is that?” Other players could be one of your favorite players in the league. So sit down and take a trip down memory lane looking back from 2000 to 2010.
22 Matt Bush, SS
The San Diego Padres selected Bush with the 1st pick in 2004 MLB draft. He is considered one of the biggest busts in draft history. Bush never made it to the majors and what puts him at last on the list was his drinking problem. Other teams gave him a chance to fulfill his potential but he could just never stay out of trouble. He also spent time in prison for driving drunk and hitting a pedestrian. As of now, Bush is currently attempting a comeback with the Texas Rangers.
21 Adam Johnson, SP
The Minnesota Twins selected Johnson with the 2nd pick in the 2000 MLB draft. His career in the pros was very brief compiling a 1-3 record, a 10.75 ERA, and 17 strike outs. Those are some really brutal numbers. Johnson never played for another club following his departure from Minnesota. Things just didn’t work out for him and sometimes that happens. At least he can say that he pitched in the big leagues.
20 Bryan Bullington, SP
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Bullington with the 1st pick in the 2002 MLB draft. His career never took off after bouncing around with four different MLB teams, which besides the Pirates, he never lasted longer than one season. His very disappointing MLB career record of 1-9, 5.62 ERA, and 54 strikeouts certainly makes Pirates fans cringe. Bullington went on to play in five seasons in Japan where he was able to have moderate success.
19 Greg Reynolds, SP
The Colorado Rockies selected Reynolds with the 2nd pick in the 2006 MLB draft. Reynolds had initially been drafted by the Phillies back in 2003, but he decided to forgo a chance at the pros to attend Stanford. Colorado would draft him three years later. His current career MLB stats are a record of 6-11, 7.01 ERA, and 53 strikeouts. After brief stints with the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds, Reynolds is currently in the minor leagues with the Padres organization. Maybe there is some hope that he can work his way back to a major league roster and perform like a top draft pick.
18 Luke Hochevar, SP
The Kansas City Royals selected Luke Hochevar with the 1st pick in the 2006 MLB draft. Right now, he currently has a spot in the Royals bullpen but he has never met his #1 overall expectations. His stats to date are a record of 44-62, a 5.02 ERA, and 662 strikeouts which are very underwhelming numbers. At least has been able to stay in the majors all this time as well as with the team that drafted him. He also has a World Series ring.
17 Tim Beckham, SS
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Beckham with the 1st pick in the 2008 MLB draft. He didn’t make his MLB debut until 2013 and tore his ACL later that year which caused him to miss the 2014 season. In 2015 he was able to play 82 games and is looking to carve out a roll with Rays going forward in 2016. He undoubtedly has talent; he just needs to get in some more games to see how good he can be. It just shows you how much patience you need with prospects.
16 Mark Prior, SP
The Chicago Cubs selected Prior with the 2nd pick in the 2001 MLB draft. He comes in at 16 on the list because although his career was short, there was a time when he was a dominant MLB pitcher. In 2003 he posted an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA, and 245 strikeouts. Injuries were the cause of Prior's downfall which lead him to bounce around with a handful of teams before announcing his retirement in 2013. It's a shame he couldn't stay healthy.
15 Rickie Weeks, 2B
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Weeks with the 2nd pick in the 2003 MLB draft. Weeks has had an up and down career having his best year in 2010 where he had a career high in home runs (29) and RBIs (83). He was an All-Star in 2011 and after finishing his time with the Brewers he had a brief stint with the Seattle Mariners and is now serving a backup/bench role with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
14 Delmon Young, OF
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Young with the 1st pick in 2003 MLB draft. Young has had a fine career with a number of teams including the Rays, Twins, and Tigers. He is currently a free agent and posts a career average of .283, 109 home runs, and 566 RBIs. Young has had some legal trouble during his time in the pros as well. Many know him from famously throwing his bat at the umpire in a minor league game after getting called out on strikes in 2006. He was also arrested in early 2016 for choking a valet attendant.
13 Melvin Upton Jr. - OF
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Upton with the 2nd pick in the 2002 MLB draft. Upton had a good run with the Rays where he had his best year in 2007 where he hit .300, 24 home runs, and 82 RBI’s. He also had three seasons where he stole more than 40 bases. His career took a hit when he went to the Braves for two seasons where he had the two worst seasons of his career hitting .184 and .208. He is now in his second year with the Padres where he is looking to turn his career around.
12 Dustin Ackley, INF/OF
The Seattle Mariners selected Ackley with the 2nd pick in the 2009 MLB draft. Ackley started out his career nicely in 2011 where he batted .273 for the season after getting called up in June. Unfortunately, his career never seemed to get much better and was eventually traded to the Yankees in 2015. He comes in at 12 on the list because their still seems potential in his game and can still improve. Ackley hit .288 during his time with the Yankees and is currently serving as a utility player for them since he can play both infield and outfield.
11 Mike Moustakas, 3B
The Kansas City Royals selected Moustakas with the 2nd pick in the 2007 MLB draft. Moustakas or “Moose” as they call him comes in at 11 because he is coming off his best year in the league where he hit .284, 22 home runs, and 82 RBIs. He was also selected to his first All-Star game and was a pivotal player for the Royals to reach the World Series in back to back years and ultimately winning it this past season. Moose looks to build on his success last season this upcoming season for the champs.
10 Jameson Taillon, SP
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Taillon with the 2nd pick in the 2010 MLB draft. He starts off the top 10 with some controversy because he has still never played in the majors. Taillon cracks the top 10 because his potential is still as high as can be. He’s 6’5 with a fastball that touches 99 and has a nasty curve ball. Unfortunately, he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 which cost him all of the 2014 season as well as the 2015 season. Taillon is still regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball even with his injury set back. Although, once he makes it to the big club, he has all the tools to be an All-Star for years to come.
9 Pedro Alvarez, 3B/1B
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Alvarez with the 2nd pick in the 2008 MLB draft. Alvarez certainly hasn’t had a problem hitting home runs since he’s been in the league. He’s had two 30 home run seasons and even had 100 RBIs in 2013. His career batting average is only .236 and is now beginning his first season with the Baltimore Orioles. If Alvarez keeps his home run totals up and his strike outs down, he will be able to be solid player for years to come since he just turned 29 this past February.
8 Justin Upton, OF
The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Upton with the 1st pick in the 2005 MLB draft. The older brother of the #13 player on the list Melvin, Justin has certainly had the better career of the two. Upton is a 3x All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger award winner. In 2013 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves where he was able to play with his little brother. After two fine years with the Braves he was traded to the Padres in a move to rebuild the franchise. His numbers took a little bit of a hit in San Diego playing in such a pitcher friendly park. However, this year, he signed a $132 million contract with the Detroit Tigers to join Miguel Cabrera in the heart of their line up.
7 Stephen Strasburg, SP
The Washington Nationals selected Strasburg with the 1st pick in the 2009 MLB draft. I certainly would’ve expected Srasburg to be higher on the list but he hasn’t quite earned that yet. He currently boasts a career record of 54-37, 3.09 ERA, and 901 strike outs. Coming out of San Diego State University he was regarded as the best pitching prospect in years. After he had one of the most anticipated MLB debuts in history where he pitched 7 innings with 14 strike outs, the future looked like it would take off. However, injuries have set him back early in his career.
In August 2010 he had Tommy John surgery and only made five starts in 2011. In 2012 he posted a strong 15-6 record but was sadly shut down towards the end of the season to conserve his arm. This past year he was troubled by injuries again only pitching 127 innings. With that being said, Strasburg has elite talent, he just needs to remain healthy.
6 Alex Gordon, OF
The Kansas City Royals selected Gordon with the 2nd pick in the 2005 MLB draft. Gordon is known by many as the best defensive left fielder in baseball. He’s a 4x gold glove award winner, 3x All-Star. With the bat, he is a career .269 hitter with 134 home runs and 524 RBIs. This past offseason the Royals resigned him for $72 million keeping him in KC for years to come. His glove is as good as it gets and his hitting can be even better as well. At the age of 32 he’s certainly not a kid anymore. However, he is one of the main reasons why the Royals are World Champions and he’s one of the main reasons why they can contend for another title this year as well.
5 Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
The Miami (then Florida) Marlins selected Gonzalez with the 1st pick in the 2000 MLB draft. Gonzalez never actually played for the Marlins and actually made his MLB debut for the Texas Rangers in 2004. He played 59 games for the Rangers before ultimately getting traded to the Padres where his career began to take off. Between the Padres, Boston Red Sox, and his current team the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gonzalez is a 5x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger, and 4x Gold Glove award winner. He boasts a career batting average of .291, 1,792 hits, 290 home runs, and 1,056 RBIs.
Throughout his career Gonzalez has been as consistent as they come at the 1st base position. His best year came in 2011 with the Red Sox where he hit .338, 27 home runs, and 117 RBIs. At 33 years of age he can certainly be an All-Star caliber player for the Dodgers for years to come.
4 Joe Mauer, C
The Minnesota Twins selected Mauer with the 1st pick in the 2001 MLB draft. Ever since the Twins selected the hometown kid Mauer, he has been one of the best if not the best catcher in the majors. Throughout his career, Mauer has been a 6x All-Star, 3x AL batting champion, 3x Gold Glove award winner, and a 5x silver slugger award winner. His biggest accomplishment in his spectacular career is winning the American League MVP award in 2009 where he hit .365, 28 home runs, and 96 RBIs.
Mauer certainly makes a case for the Hall of Fame with a career batting average of .313, 119 home runs, and 755 RBI’s as a catcher. He’s coming off two disappointing seasons by his standards and can now be found playing 1st base. That doesn’t take away all of the tremendous success that Mauer has had during his career.
3 Justin Verlander, SP
The Detroit Tigers selected Verlander with the 2nd pick in the 2004 MLB draft. Verlander has been one of baseballs premier pitchers ever since he entered the league. A 6x All-Star, AL rookie of the year, 2x MLB wins leader, and 3x MLB strike out leader. Those are great numbers by itself. He has also pitched two no hitters to go along with an AL Cy Young Award and AL MVP award in 2011 where he posted a record of 24-5, 2.40 ERA, and 250 strike outs. These past few years Verlander has struggled. In 2015 he had a 5-8 record and 3.38 ERA. At 33 years of age he certainly has time to find his filthy stuff again. Even with his recent struggles, he deserves a spot in the top 3.
2 David Price, SP
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Price with the 1st pick in the 2007 MLB draft. Price has been an elite pitcher for years and will continue to do so for years. He currently has a career record of 104-56, 3.09 ERA, and 1,372 strike outs. As a 5x All-Star, 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, and 2x AL ERA leader, Price has been dominating ever since he debuted back in 2008. After spending five full seasons with the Rays, he is currently on his 3rd team in 3 years.
During his Cy Young year in 2012, he posted a 20-5 record, 205 strike outs, and a 2.56 ERA. The reason that Price is ahead of Verlander is that he is still on the top of his game where as Verlander is struggling some. This past offseason Price signed a $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. Price will look to continue his dominance making his return to the AL East division.
1 Bryce Harper, OF
The Washington Nationals selected Harper with the 1st pick in the 2010 MLB draft. Putting Harper at #1 was a no brainer. Harper has the potential to be one of the game's all time greats and has already made his presence known during his brief time in the league. Harpers name has been relevant since he was a 16-year-old kid in high school. No matter what level Harper has played at he has been the best, and that has shown in the MLB as well. He is coming off an MVP season at the age of 22. During that year he hit .330, 42 home runs, and 99 RBIs.
The one thing that has held Harper back is that he has had some injury issues. However, it's no coincidence that Harper's first full healthy year is his first MVP year. Harper along with fellow super star Mike Trout are the young faces of baseball. People are already talking about how large Harper’s contract will be once he reaches free agency in a couple years. At the age of 23, Harper isn’t even in his prime yet. His potential is infinite as we get to watch him play for the next 15-plus years. Bryce Harper has rightfully earned the top spot on the list.