Carlos Correa of the Astros, Gerrit Cole of the Pirates, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals, and Tim Beckham of the Rays have the honor of being the last five players drafted first overall. Outfielder Byron Buxton was drafted after Correa last year by the Twins, yet was regarded as the draft's best player by both Baseball America and ESPN's Keith Law. BA and Law both had Correa second. 2012 marked the first draft with MLB's firm slot values, and the Astros were allotted $7.2MM to sign their first overall pick and $11.2MM in total.
In what Baseball America's Jim Callis described as "a perfect storm for Houston," Correa was "a legitimate top-of-the-draft talent" who nonetheless would have been expected to last until the sixth or seventh pick, which had slot values of $3MM and $3.25MM, respectively. Since the slot values are not firm for each pick but rather part of a team's pool for their first ten picks, the Astros were able to sign Correa for $2.4MM under slot (still worthwhile for him), and use the savings to draft and sign Lance McCullers, Jr. and Rio Ruiz to over-slot deals.
This year, Callis believes the top tier of the draft is limited to college pitchers Jonathan Gray and Mark Appel, and college third baseman Kris Bryant. In BA's mock draft Friday, Callis mentioned the Astros have narrowed their field to those three plus college third baseman Colin Moran and presumably high school outfielder Clint Frazier. BA and Law both see Gray and Appel as the draft's top two talents. The Astros probably wouldn't admit it if they take one of the position players instead, but if that happens, they will seemingly be employing last year's strategy again with their bonus pool money. That leads us to today's poll question: