2014 MLB Draft Order: The Annotated List

Scott Halleran

With Game 163 in the books, the first-round rankings are complete. Here's a handy guide to both the order and each team's recent activity in the June draft.

#

Team

Record

WP

1.

Houston Astros

51-111

.315

The Astros make history by grabbing the first-overall pick for the third year in a row. Prior to 2007, the first-overall pick alternated by league, so no team could monopolize the top spot the way the Astros have done thanks to three straight 100-loss seasons (the first team to hit the century mark three times in a row since the 2004-2006 Royals). The Astros spent their previous two picks on shortstop Carlos Correa and righty starter Mark Appel. North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, currently the consensus top player in the 2014 draft class, may join them next June. Writing in August, John Manuel of Baseball America described Rodon as having a fastball with "robust 92-96 mph velocity, touching higher" and said that his slider evoked comparisons to Steve Carlton.

2.

Miami Marlins

62-100

.383

The race to find the next great player to be drafted and traded by the Marlins is on. The last time the Fish drafted this high was in 2000, when they had the first-overall pick. They selected 18-year-old  first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They gave him 2.5 years to develop, then traded him to the Rangers for 43 games (including posteason) of Ugueth Urbina, who helped them win the World Series that year. Whoever the Marlins take in this slot will be a lot less likely to contribute, however indirectly, to a champion given this season's historically bad offense, something no one trade is going to fix.

3.

Chicago White Sox

63-99

.389

The White Sox just missed their first 100-loss season since 1970, settling instead for just their worst season since 1976, a season infamous for aging managerial great Paul Richards taking two of the best relievers in baseball, Terry Forster and Goose Gossage, and trying to see if they would be just as good in the rotation (surprise: they weren't). That team couldn't hit, which is to say it was far more potent than this year's aggregation. The White Sox haven't had a top-five pick since 1990, when they selected University of Miami right-hander Alex Fernandez with the fourth-overall pick. He made  the majors less than two months after signing and was well on his way to being a solid No. 2 starter, but managers Gene Lamont and Terry Bevington helped pitch his arm off. The White Sox haven't gotten much out of the first round in recent seasons -- Chris Sale, their 2010 first-rounder, and Gio Gonzalez, a supplemental pick in 2004, stand out in a sea of mediocrity.

4.

Chicago Cubs

66-96

.407

The Cubs have had top-10 picks in each of the last three drafts. The early returns have been quite good: Not counting supplemental picks, they've taken (in reverse order) third baseman Kris Bryant (.333/.387/.719 in 36 games), outfielder Albert Almora (.339/.376/.466 in 61 games as a 19-year-old at Kane County despite suffering a broken hamate bone in spring training), and shortstop Javier Baez (37 home runs this year between High-A and Double-A).

5.

Minnesota Twins

66-96

.407

At this writing, it has just been announced that manager Ron Gardenhire is returning to the Twins. Gardenhire isn't John McGraw, but look at this team and try to explain why it lost only 96 games, or why they have stayed under 100 losses for three straight years. That last-minute emergency braking before crashing through the cellar floor isn't necessarily attributable to Gardenhire, but it sure as hell ain't to the credit of the front office that designed this mess either. Their top-10 picks in the last two drafts produced right-handed starter Kohl Stewart and outfielder Byron Buxton, the consensus best-prospect-in-baseball right now.

Mariners 2011 first-rounder Danny Hultzen (H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY)

6.

Seattle Mariners

71-91

.438

The M's have lost between 91 and 101 games in four of six seasons, resulting in four top-10 picks. The last three were spent on 2B/OF Dustin Ackley, whose Seattle future seems dim now that he's an outfielder who hits like a middle infielder (.285/.354/.404 in 68 games after a month of minor-league reeducation); left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen, a top prospect but one now off to see Dr. Andrews about his labrum; and catcher Mike Zunino, seemingly rushed to the majors this year. In between, they air-mailed their 2010 pick to the Angels as the penalty for signing team immortal Chone Figgins. You win some...

7.

Philadelphia Phillies

73-89

.451

The Phillies had not finished under .500 in 12 seasons prior to this year, a terrific accomplishment even if they did mortgage the future to sustain the end of the run. The Phillies last picked in the top-10 in 2001. They took Cole Hamels with the 17th-overall pick in 2002. Since then, they've unearthed some usable players, but with the exception of Domonic Brown (20th round, 2006) and Darin Ruf (20th round, 2009) have scattered them far and wide in trades.  Right now, left-hander Jesse Biddle (1st round, 2010) seems like the best of what they have left. As with the Yankees in 1991, Ruben Amaro's team will be under great pressure to pick the right player here.

8.

Colorado Rockies

74-88

.457

The soft tyranny of low expectations, meet baseball. Despite making it to the 2007 World Series, the Rockies have never won more than 92 games in a season in 21 years of trying (104 other teams have made it in that span, or about five a year, so it's not all that rare), and they've now had three losing years in a row. Their impact has yet to be fully felt in the majors, but recent draft classes have been solid; 2013 first-rounder Jonathan Gray made it to the high-offense California League and still dominated, a good sign for his surviving at altitude.

9.

Toronto Blue Jays

74-88

.457

Low expectations II: The Jays post some variation on this record every single year, rarely getting much better or much worse. Their average record since the strike years is 80-82. They are the sugar-free vanilla yogurt of baseball. Weak performance in the draft has been a big part of that in a self-reinforcing cycle: Since they've rarely fallen to the absolute bottom of the standings, they've only had two top-10 picks in this century. Conversely, they haven't selected many impact players in the first round, so they haven't gotten much better. Among their notable flameouts have been Travis Snider, Rickey Romero, and J.P. Arencibia, all of whom have reached the majors (an accomplishment in itself), but haven't proved they should stay there. Arencibia probably had  the highest ratio of self-righteous whining to hits in major league history. Until such time as Noah Syndergaard puts in a few good years for the Mets, the last Jays first-rounder to have any sustained success in the majors was Aaron Hill, taken 10 years ago.

10.

New York Mets

74-88

.457

The Mets grabbed the last of the protected picks, meaning they can sign a free agent who has been tendered a qualifying offer without forfeiting a draft pick. Despite five straight losing seasons, the Mets will be making just their second top-10 pick of this phase of their existence. The last time they were up so high they snagged Matt Harvey with the seventh-overall pick of the 2010 draft. The two top-10 picks before him were Mike Pelfrey (2005, ninth overall) and Phil Humber (2004, third overall).

11.

Toronto Blue Jays

This is Toronto's compensation for failing to sign their 2013 first-rounder, righty Phil Bickford, who was the 10th-overall pick. This is very depressing. Even though the Jays pick up an extra first-rounder here, that's a year of development that they might have gotten under the belt of some other player who, in an alternate reality, signed and did things that portended being a part of the next great Jays team.

12.

Milwaukee Brewers

74-88

.457

Does anyone really know what the Brewers will do in any given year? In the last four seasons they've bounced from 85 losses to 96 wins and then back down to 88 losses again. Real consistency would probably require that their best player not be Ryan Braun. There's a separate post to be written about the Brewers' history of first-round dysfunction post-Paul Molitor, which was a very long time ago. They've had some good picks, only a few of whom have starred for the Brewers, and a great many misses.

13.

San Diego Padres

76-86

.469

Three straight losing seasons and they pretty clearly overachieved this year given the quality of their pitching. That's a nice note for Bud Black and the players, but bad for one's standing in the draft. It has arguably been more than 20 years since the Padres drafted an impact player, or even a mild-splash player, in the first round unless you want to count Khalil Greene or someone like that.

Giants 2009 first-round draft-pick Zack Wheeler (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports )

14.

San Francisco Giants

76-86

.469

This is the Giants’ highest draft position since 2007-2009, when they scored with Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Zack Wheeler (and even Conor Gillaspie, if you want to be fair about things).

15.

Los Angeles Angels

78-84

.481

This seems like scant reward for a miserable season, but you know who they got lower than this? Mike Trout, that's who. Unfortunately, the players they got around this spot in the last couple of drafts (C.J. Cron, 17th overall in 2011, and Kaleb Cowart, 18th overall in 2010) haven't been nearly as successful. They skipped to the first two rounds in 2013 to cover free-agent signings. This isn't a protected pick, so they could always do it again.

16.

Arizona Diamondbacks

81-81

.500

Average pitching, average hitting, average finish for the second year in a row. The products of the farm are starting to make themselves felt, though, with Chris Owings and Matt Davidson coming up late, and Archie Bradley expected to compete for a rotation spot in spring training. In an ideal world Justin Upton would be here to obviate their need for an impact bat in the outfield, but as the Rolling Stones sang, "You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get Martin Prado."


Orioles 2007 first-round draft-pick Matt Wieters (USA TODAY Sports)

17.

Baltimore Orioles

85-77

.525

Outside of the odd Matthew Hobgood, the Orioles have made good use of their high picks in recent seasons, so there's hope.

18.

New York Yankees

85-77

.525

The draft order will be further changed between now and next June by whatever free agent activity takes place during the offseason. This pick, for example, could go to the Cardinals in return for Carlos Beltran. Alternatively, the Yankees will retain the pick but spend it on something like a shortstop from Poughkeepsie that no one has ever heard of.

19.

Kansas City Royals

86-76

.531

To paraphrase scripture, what does it profit a ballclub if it gaineth third place but droppeth out of the top half of the draft (and lose Wil Myers in the process)? It's not like Bud Selig had moved contraction back to the top of his agenda, so there's no time limit on these things.

20.

Washington Nationals

86-76

.531

They didn't have a 2013 first-rounder due to signing Rafael Soriano, which isn't necessarily a bad thing -- most of your first-round picks are not going to turn into a reliever with a 2.82 career ERA. Still, if this season showed one thing, it's that there's not a lot in the system behind the famous young guys and they need to reload.

21.

Cincinnati Reds

90-72

.556

It's been a very good run for the Reds, with three 90-win seasons in the last four campaigns. A good deal of that is attributable to how well they've done in the first round in recent years, a turnaround from the early part of the decade when they seemingly tanked a couple of picks to avoid paying large bonuses. Beginning in 2004 they took Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs (who was redeemed for Shin-Soo Choo), Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco, Yonder Alsonso and Yasmani Grandal (included in the package for Mat Latos), and Mike Leake. Perhaps they haven't nailed any future Hall of Famers, but when you hit on quality players consistently you don't need to.

22.

Texas Rangers

91-72

.558

With five straight seasons over .500, the Rangers have been punished with low draft positions. Their official first-round picks haven't worked out all that well (let Justin Smoak be emblematic). They've done better in the supplemental phase a little further down, picking up Tanner Scheppers, Mike Olt (swapped as part of the Matt Garza deal), and slugging third baseman Joey Gallo (38 homers in the Sally League this year). The Rangers have more than made up for any shortfall with an excellent Latin American operation.

23.

Tampa Bay Rays

92-71

.564

They don't have a championship (yet) but with five seasons over 90 wins in six tries, all in the dog-eat-dog AL East, all without spending $200 million a year, this is one of the great sustained runs of modern baseball history. Since taking Tim Beckham first overall (and probably blowing the pick) in 2008, they've largely been confined to the draft's lower reaches. Finding more supermen on the order of 2006 and 2007 first-rounders Evan Longoria and David Price is harder to do when you sit out the first 25 or so picks, but when other teams are willing to deal you a Wil Myers, things have a way of working out.

Indians 2006 supplemental first-rounder David Huff (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY)

24.

Cleveland Indians

92-70

.568

Despite some high picks, the Indians have done a borderline-disastrous job in the first round in this century. Jeremy Sowers, Trevor Crowe, David Huff, come on down. Two picks, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz (2009 and 2010) went to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal, which the latter paid off with a spectacular second half. Unfortunately, that leaves the Indians with Francisco Lindor and not a great deal else in the high minors.

25.

Los Angeles Dodgers

92-70

.568

Bouncing all over, the Dodgers have used the first round to take Clayton Kershaw up at No. 7(2006) and top prospect Zach Lee at No. 28 (2010). Buying a player away from a football commitment, as they did with the latter, is harder in the era of capped draft budgets. Then again, they might sign someone like Robinson Cano and punt the pick... And still have dough leftover to pluck another future great out of Cuba.

26.

Detroit Tigers

93-69

.574

With five consecutive winning seasons and seven of eight, as well as some punitive free-agent signings, the Tigers have rarely seen a good drafting position in recent years. Nick Castellanos fell to them in 2010's supplemental phase, and they snagged Rick Porcello in 2007 when he hung around longer than expected. Jacob Turner and Chance Ruffin were dealt as part of deals for Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, respectively, which is one way to maximize the value of a so-so pick.

27.

Pittsburgh Pirates

94-68

.580

The last time the Pirates picked this far down in the draft, George H.W. Bush was president.

28.

Oakland A's

96-66

.593

A series of weak finishes from 2007 through 2011 gave Oakland strong draft positions for awhile, and they used the corresponding first-rounders on Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, Michael Choice, Sonny Gray, and Addison Russell. Weeks and Green haven't panned out (the latter was dealt for Alberto Callaspo in July), but the other three look good, as does 2013 first-rounder Billy McKinney, selected at No. 24.

29.

Atlanta Braves

96-66

.593

With good records for most of the last 20-plus seasons, the Braves have had good draft position only a couple of times in recent years, taking Jayson Heyward (14th overall, 2007) and Mike Minor (7th overall) in 2007 and 2009, respectively. The only thing you can say about this pick is that given their history of staying local, there's a good chance he'll be from Georgia.

30.

Boston Red Sox

97-65

.599

With the exception of this year's seventh-overall pick, the result of last season's debacle, the Sox haven't seen the top half of the draft since 1995. It hasn't held them back at all, as they've consistently found great talent in the later rounds.

31.

St. Louis Cardinals

97-65

.599

They've had one losing record this century, winning over 90 games in eight of 14 seasons. They've still been fairly successful in the first round, most recently with Shelby Miller (19th, 2009), Kolten Wong (22nd, 2011), and Michael Wacha (19th, 2012). They were also able to turn misses like Brett Wallace and Zack Cox into, respectively, Matt Holliday and Edward Mujica. As with the Red Sox, they haven't let poor drafting positions punish them overmuch.

More from SB Nation MLB:

Rays win Game 163, advance to AL Wild Card

Brisbee: An open letter to the Cincinnati Reds

Bucs Dugout: Thoughts on the Pirates and the playoffs

Who should be the next Cubs manager?

Closing Time: A Mariano Rivera retrospective

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