The MLB Draft is Sunday, and while it can sometimes feel like the Draft is a trailer for a movie you won’t watch for several years, these players will be here faster than you think. It seems like Andrew Vaughn was just picked third overall, and now here he is, patrolling the outfield for the White Sox. The future is nearer than you think.
So, today at The Thirty, we look at the best player currently on each team who was drafted by the team. This ignores free-agent signees, international free agents or players acquired by trade. The best player, right now, on each roster, who was selected by his current team in the Draft. When we do this again in a few years … you’ll see the list include names announced next week.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Bo Bichette, SS
2nd round (66th overall), 2016 Draft
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was an amateur free agent, so Bichette -- who is having a better year than you might realize -- is the pick here. Did you know his Baseball Reference WAR this season nearly matches his dad's single-season career high?
Orioles: Cedric Mullins, CF
13th round, 2015 Draft
Feel free to go with Trey Mancini, but Mullins is the one with a chance to start in the All-Star Game.
Rays: Brandon Lowe, 2B
3rd round, 2015 Draft
Lowe and Kevin Kiermaier are actually the only Rays Draft picks in the regular starting lineup. Wander Franco was an amateur free agent, and everyone else came in a trade.
Red Sox: Matt Barnes, RHP
1st round (19th overall), 2011 Draft
The Red Sox actually traded away most of their drafted stars, though maybe Bobby Dalbec or Michael Chavis gets hot and takes over this spot.
Yankees: Aaron Judge, RF
1st round (32nd overall), 2013 Draft
Don’t forget that Judge will turn 30 within the next year.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Cleveland: Shane Bieber, RHP
4th round, 2016 Draft
He’s on the injured list now, but this is still a truly dominant starter … one the team got in the fourth round in 2016.
Royals: Whit Merrifield, 2B
9th round, 2010 Draft
You could also go with Danny Duffy, who was taken in the third round way back in 2007. Merrifield fell even lower in 2010, all the way to the ninth round.
Tigers: Casey Mize, RHP
1st round (1st overall), 2018 Draft
The Tigers don’t have a single drafted player in their regular lineup, but those three starters atop the rotation are more than making up for it.
Twins: Byron Buxton, CF
1st round (2nd overall), 2012 Draft
Every game he plays, he looks like the second overall pick he was. But only every game he plays.
White Sox: Carlos Rodón, LHP
1st round (3rd overall), 2014 Draft
He has been the ace starter this year, their most consistent guy even without the no-hitter, though Tim Anderson will always feel like the emotional pick here.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Mike Trout, CF
1st round (25th overall), 2009 Draft
Even on the injured list, it’s obviously him.
A’s: Matt Olson, 1B
Competitive Balance Round A (47th overall), 2012 Draft
He has almost the exact same service time as Matt Chapman, even though he was drafted two years earlier. (He’s almost a full year younger.)
Astros: Carlos Correa, SS
1st round (1st overall), 2012 Draft
The real question now is whether the Astros will be able to hang onto him after this year.
Mariners: Kyle Seager, 3B
3rd round, 2009 Draft
With Kyle Lewis and Evan White on the IL, Seager is the only Mariners regular who was drafted by the team.
Rangers: Joey Gallo, RF
Competitive Balance Round A (39th overall), 2012 Draft
He might not ever become the superstar they once wanted him to be, but he’s still a productive player … and potential trade chip.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B
2nd round (78th overall), 2007 Draft
The reigning MVP has been a part of the organization since being drafted back when John Smoltz was still starting 32 games for them.
Marlins: Trevor Rogers, LHP
1st round (13th overall), 2017 Draft
Would you believe he’s one of only two players on the Marlins’ current 26-man roster who was drafted by the team?
Mets: Jacob deGrom, RHP
9th round, 2010 Draft
Even the rosiest scenarios -- even his wildest dreams -- never saw anything like what he is now doing.
Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
1st round (4th overall), 2005 Draft
It is absolutely wild that the only drafted position player on the roster right now was drafted … right after they left Montreal.
Phillies: Aaron Nola, RHP
1st round (7th overall), 2014 Draft
Apologies to Rhys Hoskins, but Nola is a first-round pick who is panning out, and might even just be getting started.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Brandon Woodruff, RHP
11th round, 2014 Draft
Or Corbin Burnes, take your pick, you cannot go wrong with either one. The Brewers sure can’t.
Cardinals: Yadier Molina, C
4th round, 2000 Draft
It’s Yadi, drafted 21 years ago now, until further notice. (Though watch for Dylan Carlson and Jack Flaherty soon.)
Cubs: Kris Bryant, LF
1st round (2nd overall), 2013 Draft
Will he or fellow Draft pick Javier Báez still be here next year? How about in August?
Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
1st round (32nd overall), 2015 Draft
The Pirates have gotten more out of their lineup than many could have expected this year, but Hayes is still the present and future of this whole enterprise.
Reds: Jesse Winker, LF
Competitive Balance Round A (49th overall), 2012 Draft
He may end up starting in the All-Star Game … which might not have been as difficult as finally surpassing Joey Votto for this spot.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Pavin Smith, RF
1st round (7th overall), 2017 Draft
It, uh, hasn’t been the best season in Phoenix, but Smith, their first-round pick four years ago, is beginning to show why they chose him so high.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
1st round (7th overall), 2006 Draft
It has been 15 years since the Dodgers chose this tall lefty out of Texas.
Giants: Buster Posey, C
1st round (5th overall), 2008 Draft
Two years after he was drafted, he had a World Series ring. He’d have another in two years, and two years after that. Could he get another 13 years later?
Padres: Ryan Weathers, LHP
1st round (7th overall), 2018 Draft
Incredibly, he is the only Padres Draft pick on this roster at the moment.
Rockies: Trevor Story, SS
Competitive Balance Round A (45th overall), 2011 Draft
He'll be the subject of a ton of trade rumors between now and the Trade Deadline, but he's still the answer at the moment.