Like Cork Gaines, I am annoyed by the lazy suggestion that the 2008 Rays owe all of their success to first-round draft picks. To further Cork’s research, I decided to determine which of the ten playoff teams/contenders were built with first-round picks.
I tallied up each team’s Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) for players that were drafted in the first round by that team or acquired via trade for first-rounders. The results:
- The Mets have gotten 30.9 wins (above replacement) this year due to first round picks. David Wright, Mike Pelfrey, and Aaron Heilman were Mets first-rounders. Johan Santana, Brian Schneider, and Ryan Church were acquired using first-round picks Philip Humber and Lastings Milledge.
- Brewers – 29.9 wins. They drafted Ryan Braun, Ben Sheets, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks in the first round. The Crew added C.C. Sabathia via first-rounder Matt LaPorta.
- Phillies – 26.9 wins. They drafted Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Pat Burrell, and Brett Myers. They also used Adrian Cardenas to get Joe Blanton.
- Rays - 23.2 wins. The Rays have gotten significant contributions from B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria. They also added Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for first-rounder Delmon Young.
- Twins – 18.2 wins. They drafted Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Glen Perkins, and Michael Cuddyer.
- Angels – 16.7 wins. They drafted Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver, and used Casey Kotchman to get Mark Teixeira.
- The Red Sox, White Sox, and Cubs do not owe much of their ’08 success to their own first-round picks (less than 10 wins). Jacoby Ellsbury and Kerry Wood are the significant first-rounders here.
- You can download my spreadsheet with info by team here. Please let me know if you find any errors or omissions.