Since 1965, the Draft has served as the most significant opportunity for big league teams to acquire talent.
Not every pick will pan out. That much is certain. But sometimes teams strike gold, selecting cornerstone players who star in the organization for decades.
What follows is a list of the ultimate homegrown players -- the best ever drafted and developed by each Major League team based on the value they accrued for the team that drafted them. And remember: Any player signed before 1965 -- the first year of the Draft -- or who signed internationally will not be included here. The rankings are based on Baseball-Reference's career wins above replacement (WAR). Scroll down to see which player tops your favorite team's rankings.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt -- 2009 (8th round), 40.7 WAR
Goldschmidt was a National League All-Star in each of his final six seasons in Arizona (2013-18), which included three top-three finishes in the NL MVP voting. The first baseman was traded to St. Louis in December 2018, prior to what would have been his final season before free agency.
Honorable mentions: Brandon Webb -- 2000 (8th), 31.1 WAR; A.J. Pollock -- 2009 (1st), 19 WAR
Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones -- 1990 (1st round), 85.3 WAR
One of the best homegrown first-rounders ever, Jones was the top overall pick in 1990 and played 19 seasons for Atlanta.
Honorable mentions: Tom Glavine -- 1984 (2nd), 63.6 WAR; Dale Murphy -- 1974 (1st), 47.3 WAR
Baltimore Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr. -- 1978 (2nd round), 95.9 WAR
Baltimore didn't draft the best player in its history until the second round that year, opting for Robert Boyce in the first round instead.
Honorable mentions: Eddie Murray -- 1973 (3rd), 56.5 WAR; Mike Mussina -- 1990 (1st), 47.8 WAR
Boston Red Sox: Roger Clemens -- 1983 (1st round), 80.8 WAR
Clemens went 192-111 with a 3.06 ERA over 13 seasons with Boston before signing as a free agent with Toronto, tying Cy Young as the franchise's wins leader in the process.
Honorable mentions: Wade Boggs -- 1976 (7th), 71.9 WAR; Dwight Evans -- 1969 (5th), 66.5 WAR
Chicago Cubs: Rick Reuschel -- 1970 (3rd round), 49.1 WAR
The Western Illinois right-hander joined the Cubs' rotation midway through the 1972 season and remained there until a June '81 trade to the Yankees, posting five seasons with at least 5 WAR along the way.
Honorable mentions: Mark Grace -- 1985 (24th), 44.2 WAR; Greg Maddux -- 1984 (2nd), 34.7 WAR
Chicago White Sox: Frank Thomas -- 1989 (1st round), 68.3 WAR
Roughly 14 months after the Sox made him the seventh overall pick out of Auburn, Thomas was in the Majors. He was an immediate force in the lineup, later winning back-to-back American League MVP Awards in 1993-94 and hitting 448 of his 521 homers for Chicago before leaving in 2006.
Honorable mentions: Mark Buehrle -- 1998 (38th), 48.7 WAR; Robin Ventura -- 1988 (1st), 39.4 WAR
Cincinnati Reds: Johnny Bench -- 1965 (2nd round), 75.2 WAR
In the first year of the Draft, Bench was the 36th overall pick as a high school catcher out of Binger, Okla. He generated more career WAR than any other catcher and ranks second in Cincinnati history to Big Red Machine teammate Pete Rose.
Honorable mentions: Barry Larkin -- 1985 (1st), 70.5 WAR; Joey Votto -- 2002 (2nd), 62 WAR
Cleveland Indians: Jim Thome -- 1989 (13th round), 48 WAR
It's amusing to note now that Thome was listed as a shortstop when Cleveland plucked him from an Illinois junior college 12 rounds after Frank Thomas. The left-handed slugger, who returned to the Indians for 22 games in 2011, ranks eighth all-time with 612 homers -- 337 with his original club.
Honorable mentions: Manny Ramirez -- 1991 (1st), 30 WAR; Francisco Lindor -- 2011 (1st), 27.6 WAR
Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton -- 1995 (1st round), 61.8 WAR
Taken eighth overall out of Tennessee, where he also dabbled in football, Helton was the fourth first-round pick in Rockies history, and he went on to become the franchise leader in nearly every major offensive category.
Honorable mentions: Troy Tulowitzki -- 2005 (1st), 39.5 WAR; Nolan Arenado -- 2009 (2nd), 37.5 WAR
Detroit Tigers: Lou Whitaker -- 1975 (5th round), 75.1 WAR
The second baseman formed half of one of baseball's greatest double-play combos with shortstop Alan Trammell, who was selected one year later. Both players spent their entire career with Detroit, and they now rank fourth and fifth, respectively, on the franchise's all-time WAR list, behind only Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Charlie Gehringer.
Honorable mentions: Trammell -- 1976 (2nd), 70.7 WAR; Justin Verlander -- 2004 (1st), 55.6 WAR
Houston Astros: Craig Biggio -- 1987 (1st round), 65.5 WAR
The 22nd overall pick out of Seton Hall, Biggio spent his entire 20-year career with Houston and ranks 25th all-time with 3,060 hits, and he is one of six players to collect at least 400 steals and 250 homers. Only longtime collaborator Jeff Bagwell (79.6), acquired from the Red Sox as a Minor Leaguer, has more WAR in Astros history.
Honorable mentions: Lance Berkman --1997 (1st), 48.1 WAR; Roy Oswalt --1996 (23rd), 46.1 WAR
Kansas City Royals: George Brett -- 1971 (2nd round), 88.6 WAR
Brett has almost twice as much WAR as any other player in Royals history, having spent his entire 21-year career in Kansas City, while producing 3,154 hits.
Honorable mentions: Kevin Appier -- 1987 (1st), 47 WAR; Willie Wilson -- 1974 (1st), 42.4 WAR
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout -- 2009 (1st round), 72.8 WAR
Trout reached the top of not only the home-grown WAR list for the Angels, but the overall career WAR list for the franchise by just his seventh full Major League season. The 28-year-old is a three-time American League MVP and finished as the runner-up in four other seasons.
Honorable mentions: Chuck Finley -- 1985 (1st), 51.8 WAR; Tim Salmon -- 1989 (3rd), 40.6 WAR
Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw -- 2006 (1st round), 67.9 WAR
Kershaw is on the verge of passing Pee Wee Reese (68.2) for the Dodgers' all-time WAR lead. It's difficult to fathom now, but the left-hander was the seventh player and sixth pitcher off the board in 2006.
Honorable mentions: Ron Cey --1968 (3rd), 47.7 WAR; Orel Hershiser -- 1979 (17th), 44.4 WAR
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton -- 2007 (2nd round), 35.7 WAR
A total of 75 players were drafted before the Marlins grabbed Stanton out of a Southern California high school. The 6-foot-6 right fielder posted a .914 OPS and smacked 267 homers before he was traded to the Yankees.
Honorable mentions: Josh Johnson -- 2002 (4th), 25.7 WAR; Christian Yelich -- 2010 (1st), 17.5 WAR
Milwaukee Brewers: Robin Yount -- 1973 (1st round), 77.3 WAR
The Hall of Famer played a grand total of 64 Minor League games, at Class A, before starting for Milwaukee on Opening Day 1974. A shortstop and center fielder, Yount finished with 3,142 hits and won the AL MVP Award in 1982 and '89.
Honorable mentions: Paul Molitor -- 1977 (1st), 60 WAR; Ryan Braun -- 2005 (1st), 46.8 WAR
Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer -- 2001 (1st round), 55.3 WAR
The hometown prospect drafted No. 1 overall, Mauer is fourth in career WAR in franchise history. The six-time All-Star and three-time batting champion won the AL MVP Award in 2009, when he produced one of the best offensive seasons for a catcher in MLB history.
Honorable mentions: Kirby Puckett -- 1982 (1st), 51.1 WAR; Bert Blyleven -- 1969 (3rd), 48.9 WAR
New York Mets: David Wright -- 2001 (1st round), 49.2 WAR
The Mets nabbed Wright 38th overall, with a supplemental pick gained when pitcher Mike Hampton left for the Rockies. Wright is the Mets' career leader in at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, total bases, walks and RBIs. He trails only Tom Seaver -- whom the Mets lucked into signing as an amateur free agent -- on the franchise's all-time WAR list.
Honorable mentions: Dwight Gooden -- 1982 (1st), 46.4 WAR; Darryl Strawberry --1980 (1st), 36.6 WAR
New York Yankees: Derek Jeter -- 1992 (1st round), 71.3 WAR
There is no shame in trailing the quartet that Jeter does on the Yankees' all-time WAR list: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, all of whom debuted well before the Draft.
Honorable mentions: Andy Pettitte -- 1990 (22nd), 51.1 WAR; Ron Guidry -- 1971 (3rd), 47.8 WAR.
Oakland A's: Rickey Henderson -- 1976 (4th round), 72.7 WAR
The stolen-base king's placement here carries an asterisk, as only 34.1 WAR came during the first of his four stints with Oakland, prior to his December 1984 trade to the Yankees. In his second go-round with the A's, Henderson won the 1989 World Series and then the AL MVP Award the following year.
Honorable mentions: Sal Bando -- 1965 (6th), 52.1 WAR; Reggie Jackson -- 1966 (1st), 48.1 WAR
Philadelphia Phillies: Mike Schmidt -- 1971 (2nd round), 106.9 WAR
Schmidt holds the distinction of having accrued the most WAR for the club that drafted him. In one of baseball's great coincidences, he was selected 30th overall, immediately after the Royals took George Brett, a fellow Hall of Fame third baseman.
Honorable mentions: Chase Utley -- 2000 (1st), 62 WAR; Jimmy Rollins -- 1996 (2nd), 47.6 WAR
Pittsburgh Pirates: Barry Bonds -- 1985 (1st round), 50.3 WAR
Picked sixth overall out of Arizona State, Bonds played only seven seasons in Pittsburgh before leaving for San Francisco, but he won two of his record seven MVP Awards during that time.
Honorable mentions: Andrew McCutchen -- 2005 (1st) 40.4 WAR; Dave Parker --1970 (14th), 34.8 WAR
San Diego Padres: Tony Gwynn -- 1981 (3rd round), 69.2 WAR
No other player in Padres history has reached even half of Gwynn's WAR total with the franchise.
Honorable mentions: Dave Winfield -- 1973 (1st), 32 WAR; Jake Peavy -- 1999 (15th), 26.8 WAR
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey -- 2008 (1st round), 41.8 WAR
Posey passed Will Clark as the homegrown player with the highest WAR in franchise history in 2017. The catcher was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2012 NL MVP, and helped lead the Giants to three World Series titles in 2010, '12 and '14.
Honorable mentions: Madison Bumgarner -- 2007 (1st), 36.8 WAR; Clark -- 1985 (1st), 35.8 WAR
Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. -- 1987 (1st round), 70.6 WAR
Griffey was in the Majors by age 19, less than two years after he was the top overall pick. Starting the next season, he made 10 straight All-Star teams and won 10 straight Gold Glove Awards with Seattle.
Honorable mentions: Alex Rodriguez -- 1993 (1st), 38.1 WAR; Kyle Seager -- 2009 (3rd), 32.5 WAR
St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols -- 1999 (13th round), 86.6 WAR
In one of the Draft's biggest oversights, 401 picks came and went before the Cardinals took a certain third baseman from Kansas City's Maple Woods Community College.
Honorable mentions: Ted Simmons -- 1967 (1st), 45 WAR; Yadier Molina -- 2000 (4th), 40.1 WAR
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria -- 2006 (1st round), 51.8 WAR
Two years after Tampa Bay took him third overall out of Long Beach State, Longoria won the AL Rookie of the Year Award, helping the team reach the World Series. He left the Rays in a trade to San Francisco as the franchise leader in not only WAR, but also doubles, homers and RBIs.
Honorable mentions: Carl Crawford -- 1999 (2nd), 35.6 WAR; Kevin Kiermaier -- 2010 (31st), 25.7 WAR
Texas Rangers: Ian Kinsler -- 2003 (17th round), 35 WAR
Texas got a huge bargain when it selected the Missouri product 496th overall. At the time Kinsler was traded to Detroit after the 2013 season, he ranked fourth on the franchise's WAR list, behind only Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Buddy Bell.
Honorable mentions: Jim Sundberg -- 1973 (1st), 34.7 WAR; Kenny Rogers -- 1982 (39th), 31.4 WAR
Toronto Blue Jays: Dave Stieb -- 1978 (5th round), 56.8 WAR
Toronto's all-time WAR leader was drafted 106th overall out of Southern Illinois and debuted in the Majors the following June. Stieb pitched all but four of his 443 games in a Jays uniform, and he still ranks first in franchise history in starts, complete games, shutouts, innings, wins and strikeouts.
Honorable mentions: Roy Halladay -- 1995 (1st), 48 WAR; Jimmy Key -- 1982 (3rd), 29.6 WAR
Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman -- 2005 (1st round), 38.5 WAR
If we include the franchise's Expos years, then Gary Carter vaults to the top with 55.8 WAR, followed by Tim Raines and Andre Dawson. But going only back to the move to D.C. in 2005, we have Zimmerman, the fourth overall pick from the loaded Draft that same year.
Honorable mentions: Stephen Strasburg -- 2009 (1st), 33.5 WAR; Anthony Rendon -- 2011 (1st), 29.1 WAR