Ahead of the 2020 MLB Amateur Draft next week, theScore's MLB editors imagine a world where trades and free agency don't exist and clubs can only use players they drafted. We assembled teams from the last 20 drafts dating back to 2000 and ranked each from 30-1. Here's Part 2:
Note: Some players were moved to their secondary positions in order to build the best roster.
The A's have enjoyed their fair share of draft success. Gray contended for a Cy Young before he was traded in 2017, Swisher and Blanton had some of their best years in the Bay Area, and Chapman and Olson are two of MLB's brightest stars. It certainly hasn't all been positive over the last two decades, as the Athletics passed on Mike Trout to draft Grant Green in 2009 - handing him a signing bonus that was more than double what the Angels gave Trout - and made a similar mistake the following year by choosing Michael Choice over Chris Sale and Yasmani Grandal.
The Rockies drafted legitimate stars in Tulowitzki and Arenado. The pair are among the best at their respective positions over the last two decades and have been true franchise pillars. The pitching side, however, seems like a never-ending problem. Almost every team would love to have a redo in hindsight, but things could've turned out much differently for the Rockies had they made better use of their top-three picks in 2006, 2013, and 2015. Instead of Greg Reynolds, Brendan Rodgers, and Jon Gray, imagine Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Judge, and Walker Buehler. Of the 12 pitchers listed above, only Will Harris has been named an All-Star.
The Reds have shown a knack for drafting good hitters, and for the most part have reaped the benefits of these players' best years. For more than a decade, Votto has been one of baseball's best hitters, Frazier hit more than half of his 214 career homers in a Reds uniform, and Bruce was a three-time All-Star in Cincinnati. Pitching has been a different story. Cincinnati's best-drafted pitchers by WAR are Leake, who has never been more than an average starter, and Bailey, who was a mixed bag of success during his Reds tenure.
The Mets struck gold in 2001 when they used the 38th pick to draft Wright, who'd become one of the greatest players in franchise history before injuries forced him into early retirement. The Mets might have outdone themselves nine years later when they selected two-time Cy Young winner deGrom in the ninth round. Generally, the Mets have been solid at finding pitching value in the draft, but time will tell if they've improved at selecting hitters. Alonso, Conforto, and McNeil are big parts of the team's current core, but it's too early to gauge whether their success can be sustainable.
The Phillies laid the groundwork for a championship via the draft in the early 2000s. In three consecutive years, they selected Utley, Howard, and Hamels, who were instrumental in helping the club win the 2008 World Series. Philadelphia hasn't been able to replicate that draft success since, although picking Nola seventh overall and Hoskins in the fifth round in 2014 has worked out thus far.
Selecting Trout, the greatest player on the planet, earned the Angels a lot of draft credibility. However, their selections of Weaver, Kendrick, and Calhoun can't be overlooked, as the trio were mainstays for the Angels for several years. The same can't be said for Corbin or Clevinger, who found success at other clubs after being traded away for veteran pitching help. Had L.A. held onto the duo, its perpetual search for starting pitching might not be an issue. Instead, the Angels continue to boast one of baseball's worst rotations.
The Cardinal Way seems to be working in St. Louis. The Cardinals have drafted well over the past 20 years and have also done a fantastic job of developing and keeping their talent. Molina appears on his way to the Hall of Fame, and Carpenter has also panned out pretty well for a 13th-round pick. Trading a stud like Haren, who pitched seven straight 200-plus-inning seasons, could be seen as an error, but he did net them Matt Holliday. Dealing Pham in his prime, however, was clearly the wrong decision.
The Royals have found a tremendous amount of draft success over the past 20 years. Not only did they get seven mostly strong seasons and a Cy Young out of Greinke, but his trade tree netted them multiple players who were integral to their 2015 World Series win (Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Wade Davis). Other players from that squad, including Gordon, Hosmer, and Moustakas were drafted and developed internally, and Holland had a solid three seasons as the team's closer. Four straight years of wasting early first-round picks from 2009-12, however, kept the Royals from being higher on this list.
The draft has been kind to the Dodgers. Martin was arguably baseball's best catcher during his first stint with L.A., Buehler looks like a future ace, and Kershaw and Bellinger have both won MVPs. All of the aforementioned players arrived at Chavez Ravine after developing in the Dodgers' system. While it's rare to see the Dodgers miss with their picks, they were never able to draft someone to man the hot corner. That's a small knock, however, as their success in the draft has played a significant role in their seven straight division titles.
Winning three World Series in five seasons doesn't come easy, but the Giants managed to do it thanks to a solid core of players built through the draft. Until this past offseason, Posey, Bumgarner, Crawford, and Belt had all spent their entire careers in San Francisco, which speaks volumes about the team's ability to find, develop, and invest in a talented core. But, let's not forget just how dominant pitchers Lincecum and Cain were for the Giants, too. If the Giants could draft better outfielders, they might have cracked the top 10.