1.) Dansby Swanson, SS, Diamondbacks:
- Swanson never appeared in a game for Arizona, which made the widely panned decision to trade him in a package for then-Braves righty Shelby Miller in the same year it drafted him. As MLBTR’s George Miller wrote several weeks, the Braves have indeed gotten far more value from the trade than the D-backs. For his part, the light-hitting Swanson hasn’t been great. However, he has been a passable, inexpensive regular. Not a ringing endorsement, but it’s at least more than can be said for some other No. 1 picks.
2.) Alex Bregman, 3B/SS, Astros:
- The Astros were only in position to select Bregman because they received a compensatory pick for failing to sign Brady Aiken, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft. What a break. Bregman made his debut just over a year after the Astros drafted him and has since evolved into one of the game’s elite players. The 26-year-old is now coming off his second straight MVP-level season, in which he batted .296/.423/.592 (168 wRC+), swatted 41 home runs, drew 119 unintentional walks against 83 strikeouts, and piled up 8.5 fWAR.
3.) Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, Rockies:
- Rodgers’ first taste of big league action didn’t go well in 2019, when he took 81 trips to the plate and batted .224/.272/.250 (25 wRC+) without a home run before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in July. None of that sounds good, but there remains plenty to like about Rodgers. He’s still just 23, still a high-end prospect (MLB.com ranks him No. 29), and coming off a year in which he destroyed Triple-A pitching. In 160 plate appearances at that level, Rodgers slashed .350/.412/.622 with nine homers. Even in the offensively charged Pacific Coast League, that line amounted to a wRC+ of 147.
4.) Dillon Tate, RHP, Rangers:
- Tate, 26, made his major league debut in 2019 with 21 innings of 6.43 ERA ball, but not before being part of two notable trades in preceding years. The Rangers sent Tate to the Yankees in a 2016 deal for Carlos Beltran, and then New York sent the hurler to Baltimore in 2018 to acquire Zack Britton.
5.) Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros:
- Tucker hasn’t gotten much of a chance in Houston (he totaled 72 plate appearances in each of the previous two seasons), but he remains a touted 23-year-old whom the franchise has been loath to surrender in a trade. If a 2020 season does happen, Tucker could get a better opportunity to establish himself. It should at least come by 2021, as Houston’s entire starting outfield of George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are all due to become free agents during the upcoming winter.
6.) Tyler Jay, LHP, Twins:
- Injuries have helped cut down Jay’s career so far. Jay never pitched for the Twins, who traded the 26-year-old to the Reds last season, nor has he reached the majors. He spent most of 2018-19 as a reliever in Double-A, where he has logged a 4.22 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 136 1/3 frames.
7.) Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox:
- By measure of wRC+, Benintendi has only been a league-average hitter in two of his three full seasons; nonetheless, he has been a productive piece for Boston, and is clearly one of the most successful members of his draft class.
8.) Carson Fulmer, RHP, White Sox:
- As MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently noted, Fulmer was regarded as a sure bet to succeed in the majors during his time as a prospect. Unfortunately, though, he has been a flop in the bigs. The 26-year-old owns a 6.56 ERA/6.44 FIP with 7.89 K/9 and 6.08 BB/9 across 94 2/3 innings (44 appearances, 15 starts). He ran up a 6.00-plus ERA last season, mostly from Chicago’s bullpen.
9.) Ian Happ, INF/OF, Cubs:
- Happ has given the Cubs plenty of versatility in the field while chipping in above-average offense in each of the three years he has appeared in the majors. Strikeouts were a major problem for Happ during his first two years, but he made enormous strides in that area a season ago, slashing his K rate from 36.1 percent in 2018 to 25 percent. That drastic cut helped Happ to a career-best line of .264/.333/.564 (127 wRC+), though he started 2019 in Triple-A after a miserable spring training and only appeared in 58 of Chicago’s games.
10.) Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phillies:
- The 23-year-old Randolph hasn’t played above Double-A, where he hit .247/.324/.399 with 10 homers in 389 plate appearances last season. Randolph failed to earn a ranking from Baseball America, FanGraphs or MLB.com in any of their most recent Phillies prospects lists.
Combined fWAR of this bunch: 36.5. Bregman has clearly been the rising tide lifting the other boats…
- 1.) Bregman: 20.5
- 2.) Benintendi: 9.0
- 3.) Happ: 4.8
- 4.) Swanson: 3.9
- 5.) Tate: 0.0
- 6.) Tucker: minus-0.2
- 7.) Rodgers: minus-0.6
- 8.) Fulmer: minus-0.9
Left off: Jay and Randolph, who haven’t played in the league.