Revisiting the Harper, Machado 2010 draft using career earnings and WAR
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Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have signed contracts that combine to be worth more than the GDP of Dominica, and now it's time to look back at the 2010 draft when the two entered the league.

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh Pirates fans likely remember it as the Jameson Taillon draft. That's not necessarily a terrible thing, as the right-hander is now one of the league's budding aces. However, the Pirates are the one team that had a chance to select Machado once Harper was off the board, and they opted for someone else.

As it turns out, Machado and Harper weren't the only superstars who emerged from the 2010 draft. Beyond them, several other players were destined for stardom.

Here's a breakdown using career earnings and WAR:

2010 draft order

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Pick Player Team
1 Bryce Harper WSH
2 Jameson Taillon PIT
3 Manny Machado BAL
4 Christian Colon KC
5 Drew Pomeranz CLE
6 Barret Loux* ARI
7 Matt Harvey NYM
8 Delino DeShields Jr. HOU
9 Karsten Whitson* SD
10 Michael Choice OAK
11 Deck McGuire TOR
12 Yasmani Grandal CIN
13 Chris Sale CWS
14 Dylan Covey* MIL
15 Jake Skole TEX
16 Hayden Simpson CHC
17 Josh Sale TB
18 Kaleb Cowart LAA
19 Mike Foltynewicz HOU
20 Kolbrin Vitek BOS
21 Alex Wimmers MIN
22 Kellin Deglan TEX
23 Christian Yelich MIA
24 Gary Brown SF
25 Zack Cox STL
26 Kyle Parker COL
27 Jesse Biddle PHI
28 Zach Lee LAD
29 Cam Bedrosian LAA
30 Chevy Clarke LAA
31 Justin O'Conner TB
32 Cito Culver NYY

* - denotes player did not sign

Overall, the 2010 draft contributed to the ongoing thesis that MLB drafts are absolute crapshoots.

Seven teams passed on Christian Yelich in favor of prospects who didn't go on to play in a single major-league game.

Career earnings

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Rank Player Career Earnings
1 Bryce Harper $377.9M
2 Manny Machado $334M
3 Chris Sale $59.9M
4 Andrelton Simmons $57.5M
5 Kevin Kiermaier $51.6M
6 Christian Yelich $48.8M
7 Yasmani Grandal $36.7M
8 Addison Reed $36.2M
9 Jedd Gyorko $35M
10 Cody Allen $32.1M
11 Kole Calhoun $29.9M
12 Jacob deGrom $29.6M
13 Matt Harvey $27.8M
14 Drew Smyly $24.3M
15 Adam Eaton $23M
16 Corey Dickerson $19M
17 James Paxton $16.8M
18 Evan Gattis $16.6M
19 Drew Pomeranz $16.2M
20 Whit Merrifield $16.1M
21 Sam Dyson $14M
22 Taijuan Walker $13.6M
23 Jimmy Nelson $12.7M
24 Robbie Ray $11.1M

* - Includes future earnings

For now, it's Harper and Machado's world. The pair of superstars have guaranteed themselves more career earnings than the other 22 names on this list above combined.

For perspective, Taillon - taken between Machado and Harper - has earned less than $18.5 million, as have the fourth through sixth picks, with Drew Pomeranz doing most of the heavy lifting. Barret Loux, the sixth overall pick, didn't sign, Taillon is still pre-arb, and Christian Colon has bounced around after being taken fourth overall.

However, Chris Sale hasn't hit the open market yet, and he's sure to entertain nine-figure offers next winter. Unlike Harper and Machado, who went year-to-year with their contracts before becoming free agents, Sale agreed to a five-year, $32.5-million extension with the White Sox in 2013.

The Red Sox picked up Sale's $12.5-million option in 2018 and his $13.5-million option in 2019, making him one of baseball's best bargains. While it's unlikely Sale will eclipse the contracts Machado and Harper recently signed when he becomes a free agent, it's a safe bet he'll come close to their career earnings.

Career WAR

Player Pick WAR
Chris Sale 13th 41.8
Bryce Harper 1st 30.7
Manny Machado 3rd 30.2
Christian Yelich 23rd 25.9
Jacob deGrom 272nd 24.9
Andrelton Simmons 70th 23.4
Adam Eaton 571st 16.9
Kevin Kiermaier 941st 15.9
Yasmani Grandal 12th 15.2
Noah Syndergaard 38th 15.0
Matt Harvey 7th 14.6
J.T. Realmuto 104th 14.3
James Paxton 132nd 14.1
Kole Calhoun 264th 13.1
Kevin Gausman 202nd 11.7
Corey Dickerson 260th 10.5
Robbie Ray 356th 9.7
Whit Merrifield 269th 9.5
Jedd Gyorko 59th 9.3
Eddie Rosario 135th 9.1
Drew Pomeranz 5th 8.9
Drew Smyly 68th 8.6
Jimmy Nelson 64th 8.6
Jameson Taillon 2nd 8.4
Nicholas Castellanos 44th 7.7

Remarkably, neither Harper nor Machado have been the most productive players from their draft. Using FanGraphs WAR, Sale is the best player from the 2010 draft, and it's not particularly close.

A margin so negligible it could be considered a rounding error separates Harper and Machado. The latter has been more reliable defensively while consistently playing at a Gold Glove level. Meanwhile, some injuries have held Harper back, but he's one of the best hitters in the game when healthy and has an NL MVP on his resume.

If we combine Harper and Machado through their age-25 seasons, we get a player worth roughly the same WAR as Ryne Sandberg or Pee Wee Reese.

Amazingly, Mike Trout has already been worth more WAR than Harper and Machado combined (64.7). His contract expires after the 2020 season, and Harper's already said he'll try to recruit him to Philadelphia.

Other notable selections

Pick Player Team
59 Jedd Gyorko SD
64 Jimmy Nelson MIL
68 Drew Smyly DET
70 Andrelton Simmons ATL
95 Addison Reed CWS
104 J.T. Realmuto MIA
132 James Paxton SEA
135 Eddie Rosario MIN
260 Corey Dickerson COL
264 Kole Calhoun LAA
269 Whit Merrifield KC
272 Jacob deGrom NYM
480 Cody Allen CLE
704 Evan Gattis ATL
941 Kevin Kiermaier TB

The best advice to glean from this draft? Chasing defensive value with late picks isn't a terrible idea. Andrelton Simmons and Kevin Kiermaier stand out in that area, but Kole Calhoun is no slouch in the outfield either. Even Jedd Gyorko has become a versatile infielder.

It's also notable that pitching can be an incredibly lucrative craft, even if you aren't a household name. Addison Reed wasn't selected until the third round, and he's made $36.2 million. Cody Allen wasn't picked until round 23, and he's earned $32.1 million. Throwing 70 pretty good innings per year is a marketable skill.

Oh, and don't forget, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom wasn't selected until the 272nd pick, proving that it only matters what you do after the draft.

Revisiting the Harper, Machado 2010 draft using career earnings and WAR
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