Even the very top of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft is a crapshoot. Looking back at the top 10 picks from 2010, you’ll see some players who have evolved into superstars, some who have turned into decent contributors, some who didn’t sign with their teams and have since washed out of the game, and others who simply busted. Take a look…
1.) Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals:
- This was an easy pick for the Nationals, who selected one of the most hyped prospects in the history of the game. Harper delivered in Washington, where he slashed .279/.388/.512 (30.5 fWAR) with 184 home runs, 75 stolen bases, an NL MVP and six All-Star nods from 2012-18. The Nationals lost Harper to the division-rival Phillies before 2019 on a 13-year, $330MM contract – both record numbers for a free agent – but the Nats still went on to win their first World Series last fall.
2.) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates:
- Considering who went next, the Pirates might regret this pick, but Taillon has been a solid major league starter when healthy. The 28-year-old owns a 3.67 ERA/3.55 FIP with 8.09 K/9 and 2.26 BB/9 in 466 innings since making his debut in 2016. However, luck has not been on his side. He overcame cancer in 2017, but he missed most of last season as he dealt with arm problems. Taillon underwent Tommy John surgery last August, so odds are he won’t pitch in 2020 even if a season happens.
3.) Manny Machado, SS/3B, Orioles:
- Machado joined Harper in cashing in prior to 2019 – the infielder inked a 10-year, $300MM pact with the Padres – but only after a marvelous run in Baltimore. As a member of the Orioles, Machado batted .283/.335/.487 (120 wRC+) with 162 homers, 47 steals, 27.7 fWAR and four All-Star appearances over parts of seven seasons. The Orioles, knowing they wouldn’t sign Machado when he became a free agent, traded him to the Dodgers in July 2018.
4.) Christian Colon, INF, Royals:
- This is the first pick so far that hasn’t gone well with respect to regular-season production, but at least Colon’s responsible for one of the biggest playoff hits in Royals history (video here). He played with the club from 2014-17 and hit .263/.323/.329 (80 wRC+) with only one home run and 0.7 fWAR. Colon has since been with a few other organizations (the Marlins, Braves, Mets and Reds), but he has totaled a mere 56 at-bats since his Kansas City tenure ended.
5.) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Indians:
- Pomeranz never even pitched for Cleveland, which sent him to Colorado in a 2011 blockbuster that delivered righty Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians. Jimenez didn’t perform well in Cleveland, though, and nor did Pomeranz in Colorado. Pomeranz did enjoy a nice run as a reliever/starter for the A’s, Padres and Red Sox from 2014-17, but he had an awful time in Boston and San Francisco during the prior two seasons. However, Pomeranz reinvented himself out of Milwaukee’s bullpen late last season, leading one of his previous teams – San Diego – to hand him a four-year, $34MM contract this past winter.
6.) Barret Loux, RHP, Diamondbacks:
- Loux failed his physical with the Diamondbacks because of shoulder and elbow problems, thereby stopping the club from signing the former Texas A&M Aggie after spending a top 10 pick on him. While Loux went on to spend time with the Rangers and Cubs organizations from 2011-16, he never reached the majors. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks got a compensatory pick in 2011 (No. 7) for not signing Loux. They used it on righty Archie Bradley.
7.) Matt Harvey, RHP, Mets:
- Harvey was magnificent in New York at the outset of his career, as he logged a 2.50 ERA/2.54 FIP with 9.28 K/9 and 1.66 BB/9 over his first 367 2/3 innings from 2012-15. His career has trended in the opposite direction since then, though, owing in large part to major injuries. As a Met, Red and Angel from 2016-19, the Dark Knight combined for 400 frames and stumbled to the majors’ third-worst ERA (5.65) among qualified starters. Harvey, now 31 and still a free agent, is hoping some team will take a chance on him once the game’s freeze on transactions is lifted.
8.) Delino DeShields, OF, Astros:
- A highly disappointing pick for the Astros, with whom DeShields never played a big league game. They lost him to the rival Rangers in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft. DeShields didn’t make much of a mark in Texas, but it was able to use him to acquire righty Corey Kluber from the Indians over the winter.
9.) Karsten Whitson, RHP, Padres:
- Whitson didn’t join the Padres, instead deciding to reject their $2MM offer after the draft. Injuries ended up tanking the former Florida Gator’s stock in the ensuing years, and though the Red Sox did draft Whitson in the 11th round in 2014, that wound up as his only season of pro pitching. As for the Padres, they used their 2011 compensatory choice (No. 10) on infielder Cory Spangenberg, who rarely rose above replacement level with the club from 2014-18. He’s now a member of Japan’s Seibu Lions.
10.) Michael Choice, OF, Athletics:
- In hindsight, this is yet another regrettable pick (or, in this case, choice). Choice totaled 19 PA with the Athletics (all in 2013) before they traded him to Texas in a deal for outfielder Craig Gentry and righty Josh Lindblom. He failed to establish himself as a Ranger from 2014-15, though Choice has since raked at times in Korea, Mexico and the Brewers’ minor league system. The 30-year-old signed a minors deal with the Rockies this past January.
Here’s a painful reality for the above teams that didn’t hit on their selections: In the next baker’s dozen picks, Yasmani Grandal (No. 12) Chris Sale (13), Mike Foltynewicz (19) and Christian Yelich (23) came off the board. It’s yet another bit of proof that you never know how a draft will pan out.