What makes the MLB draft unique from say the NFL or NBA is that most fans are unfamiliar with even the top picks. In addition no player has ever gone directly from the draft to the majors and in most cases it can be years before we see first round picks get called up. However, with the benefit of hindsight, the MLB draft is similar in that like any other league it has its share of stars and busts. Below is a look back at every number one pick from the past ten years:
2016: Mickey Moniak, OF, Phillies
The consensus on Moniak is that he wasn't the best player in the draft but would sign cheap and give the Phillies budget flexibility later on. As a high school prospect he is years away from making an impact at the big league level but if all goes well will be ready to contribute once the team is close to finishing the rebuilding process, which is off to a surprisingly nice start.
2015: Dansby Swanson, SS, Diamondbacks
In an attempt to win now the Diamondbacks made a very puzzling decision this past offseason and traded Swanson to the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller. This was the fastest a number one pick had ever been traded and was just the third to be dealt before making his MLB debut. Arizona hoped Miller would speed up their path to contention but instead he has pitched to a 1-6 record with a 7.09 ERA while Swanson has already progressed to AA.
2014: Brady Aiken, LHP, Astros
This was one of the stranger picks of the decade. At the time of the draft Aiken was considered one of the best players available but when it came time to sign him the Astros thought there was problem with his elbow, which ended contract negotiations. He became the first number one pick not to sign since 1983 and sure enough went on to have Tommy John surgery over the offseason. He was then selected 17th overall by the Indians in last year's draft and is expected to make his minor league debut sometime later this season.
2013: Mark Appel, RHP, Astros
Appel was considered one of the most big league ready pitchers in a long time when Houston took him first overall. After a disappointing three seasons in their farm system the Astros sent him to Philadelphia as part of the Ken Giles trade this past winter. Appel has not fared much better in his new surroundings and has a career minors ERA of 5.04.
2012: Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
Correa's selection was the blueprint for the Phillies drafting Moniak this year. By not picking the "best available player" the Astros were able to use some of their draft budget later on. However, it is starting to look as if Correa was in fact the best player from this draft. In 160 games at the major league level Correa has hit .271 with 30 home runs, 100 RBI, and 22 stolen bases. The 21-year-old was last season's AL rookie of the year award winner despite playing in just 99 games.
2011: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates
Cole was widely considered the best player from his class and the Pirates did the right thing by taking him. Last season was the first time the 25-year-old made over 30 starts and he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and over 200 strikeouts. While his K/9 has dipped from 8.7 last year to 7.1 this year Cole has still managed an impressive 2.85 ERA.
2010: Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
Slam dunk number one pick for the Nationals here. Harper was considered a generational talent coming out of high school and has done nothing to disappoint so far. In 2015 at just 22-years-old he became the youngest unanimous MVP in baseball history. The only concern now for Washington is whether they can keep him around when his contract expires in two and a half years.
2009: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals
The Nationals really picked the right two years to pick first. Strasburg has overcome Tommy John early in his career to become everything the Nationals could have hoped for. So far this season he is having a career year while going 9-0 with a 2.85 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 79 innings. Last month he signed the largest long term contract ever for a pitcher who had Tommy John.
2008: Tim Beckham, SS, Rays
Beckham and Appel are the two biggest busts on this list. What is surprising about Beckham's career is that he is still with the Rays organization. He survived a 50 game suspension for a positive drug test and a torn ACL to make it to the majors as a part time bench player. In 109 major league games he is hitting just .216.
2007: David Price, LHP, Devil Rays
Luckily for Tampa Bay they hit on one of their back to back number one picks. The highlight for Price's tenure with the Rays came in 2012 when he won the AL Cy Young award by going 20-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 211 innings. Price made four all star teams with Tampa Bay before they sent him to the Tigers at the 2014 trade deadline as part of a three way deal that netted them Drew Smyly and prospects.