Every franchise's march to a title, in a significant way, begins in a Draft room. Scouts scour talent for months and management identifies projections -- all in pursuit of every club's most coveted commodity:
The homegrown star.
Every general manager is looking to select the next Mike Trout, develop that player through the Minors, then watch that player blossom into a franchise cornerstone. And every fan who follows along the way, from Draft day to debut and beyond, finds it all the more rewarding to say they've watched from the beginning. That's the fun we can anticipate during the 2020 MLB Draft, which begins on Wednesday.
With that in mind, we polled our beat reporters this week to seek their takes on each club's best homegrown star. Here are those in the National League West:
D-backs: Archie Bradley
Bradley has had a major impact on the D-backs franchise, just maybe not in the way he was expected to when selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. At that time, Bradley was a high school fireballer who was projected to be a top-end big league starter. But when the D-backs needed length in the bullpen to start the 2017 season, Bradley was shifted to the 'pen and he quickly worked his way into high-leverage situations. In '19, he took over as the team’s closer, a role he is expected to fill again once the D-backs resume playing. -- Steve Gilbert
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw
In the 2006 Draft that Tim Lincecum and Max Scherzer went later in the first round, the Dodgers spent the No. 7 overall pick on the best high school arm available, and Clayton Kershaw continues to make that decision look genius. At the time, scouting director Logan White was also considering Bryan Morris (whom they drafted later) and outfielder Tyler Colvin. Area scout Calvin Jones told Tommy Lasorda that, after playing with or against Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux, Kershaw had the best arm he’d ever seen. At the time of the Draft, White compared Kershaw to Dave Righetti, while Kershaw said that he patterned himself after Johan Santana. One of the reasons Kershaw was still available when the Dodgers were on the clock was because Luke Hochevar re-entered the Draft after failing to sign with the Dodgers the previous year. Hochevar was taken first overall by Kansas City in '06. -- Ken Gurnick
Giants: Buster Posey
The No. 5 overall pick of the 2008 Draft out of Florida State, Posey has been worth 52.7 Wins Above Replacement since debuting with the Giants in 2009, the most of any catcher in franchise history, according to FanGraphs. He served as the backbone of the Giants’ three World Series titles in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14, emerging as an anchor for the pitching staff and a steadying influence in the clubhouse. A former winner of the National League MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards, Posey’s résumé also includes six All-Star selections, four Silver Slugger Awards, a Gold Glove Award and a batting title. -- Maria Guardado
Padres: MacKenzie Gore
GM A.J. Preller has begun to reap the benefits of his early Draft classes, with Joey Lucchesi and Cal Quantrill having emerged as important pitching pieces. But Gore seems poised to ascend to a different level. The No. 3 overall selection in the 2017 Draft, Gore is ranked as the best pitching prospect in baseball. He owns a 2.56 ERA with 12 strikeouts per nine innings over three Minor League seasons. The 21-year-old left-hander is destined to ascend toward the front of the Padres’ rotation in the not-too-distant future. -- AJ Cassavell
Rockies: Charlie Blackmon
It's a great story of how Blackmon went from an athletic but slow-developing left-handed pitcher to a star hitter as a senior at Georgia Tech in 2008. It's an even better story how area scout Alan Matthews and cross-checker Danny Montgomery (now a special assistant to Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich) quietly scouted him and pushed for a second-round Draft slot. Blackmon has developed into one of the best players in club history, with four All-Star Game selections in nine seasons. -- Thomas Harding