athletes The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever  

Ann Casano
449 votes 117 voters 2k views 15 items Follow Embed
The MLB team with the worst record gets the first overall draft pick. You would think that would mean striking gold but history has shown otherwise. Since the MLB draft first started in 1965, there have been more busts than jackpots. In fact, Ken Griffey Jr. became just the first overall pick to be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he was enshrined in 2015. That means for every Chipper Jones, there is a Steve Chilcott, who was drafted first by the Mets in 1966, and never played a single game at the Major League level. However, there are still plenty of MLB picks that go on to have productive careers in the Bigs. Here are the best #1 baseball draft picks.

Although Griffey is the only player currently on this list in Cooperstown, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be others. Chipper Jones is certain to make the cut when he is eligible in 2018. And although Alex Rodriguez is statistically the best overall player on this list, baseball has yet to figure out what to do with players who are inextricably linked to performing enhancing drugs.

Guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, and David Price may or may not finish their careers with the prestigious numbers needed to get into the Hall, but all three have had excellent careers, with plenty of time left to prove their mettle. There may be no player on this list of best first round draft picks with more raw talent than Darryl Strawberry, if not for his off the field issues, his solid career could have been one of the best ever.

There are a couple of guys on this list that are just getting their feet wet in the Majors but are already on the right road to Cooperstown. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are as good as any offensive player and pitcher currently in the game, and could lead the Washington Nationals all the way to the World Series. However, it takes more just talent to be labelled one of the best ever, they both need to find a way to avoid injury, and stay productive for at least another ten years.

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Ken Griffey, Jr.


Ken Griffey, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Rennett Stowe/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Ken Griffey, Jr., AKA "the Kid," was drafted by the Seattle Mariners to play center field in 1987. He stayed with the Mariners for 13 seasons before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000. The 13-time All-Star played in the majors for 22 years and finished with 630 home runs, the 6th most in MLB history. Griffey was not just a prolific homer run hitter, he also won ten Gold Glove awards, along with the AL MVP in 1997. Griffey was voted in to Hall of Fame in 2016, the first year that he became eligible. He received 99.3% of the vote, the highest percentage in Hall of Fame history.

More About

Position: Designated hitter, Outfielder, Left fielder

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Donora, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Bats: Left-handed

Teams: Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds

Also Ranked

#6 on The Greatest Left Handed Baseball Players of All Time

#1 on The Best Seattle Mariners of All Time

#21 on The Greatest Baseball Players of All Time

#16 on The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

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Alex Rodriguez


Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Bradley Park/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Alex Rodriguez, A. Rod, was drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners to play short stop in 1993. The 14-time All-Star played with the Mariners for 7 years before signing with the Texas Rangers, who traded A. Rod to the New York Yankees in 2004. The three-time American League MVP is signed with the Bombers through 2017. He was on the 2009 Yankee team that won the World Series. Rodriguez is part of the 3,000 hit club, 500 home run club, and also has two Gold Glove awards. A. Rod is the best statistical player on this entire list, however, his name is linked with illegal performance enhancing drugs and the Biogenesis scandal. It will be interesting to see how history treats Rodriguez.

More About

Position: Shortstop, Third baseman

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Washington Heights, New York City, New York, United States of America

Bats: Right-handed

Teams: Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees

Also Ranked

#8 on The Best Seattle Mariners of All Time

#19 on Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

#61 on Athletes Who Should Get a Reality Show

#29 on The Greatest New York Yankees of All-Time

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Bryce Harper


Bryce Harper is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Richard Martin/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
Bryce Harper was selected by the Washington Nationals to play the outfield in the 2010 draft. Harper has only been in the Majors for four years but has already appeared in three All-Star games. He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012, and was the unanimous selection for the NL MVP Award in 2015, at just 22 years old. Obviously, Harper still has a lot to prove, but if he can stay healthy and productive, he is on track for Cooperstown.

More About

Position: Outfielder, Left fielder

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

Bats: Left-handed

Teams: Washington Nationals

Also Ranked

#75 on The Athletes That Millennials Love the Most

#34 on Overhyped Athletes Who Still Performed

#3 on The Top Current Baseball Players

#5 on The Best Washington Nationals of All Time

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Chipper Jones


Chipper Jones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones was drafted as a short stop by the Atlanta Braves in 1990. In an era when very few guys stay with one team their entire career, Jones never wore anything other than a Braves jersey. The switch hitter had some injury issues as he approached 40, but still managed to win a batting title at the age of 36 in 2008 by hitting .364. The eight-time All-Star hit for both average and power, finishing his career with 468 home runs and a .303 lifetime batting average. In 1995, the year the Braves won the World Series, Jones finished second in the Rookie of the Year balloting. He should be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2018.

More About

Position: Outfielder, Left fielder, Third baseman

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: DeLand, Florida, United States of America

Bats: Ambidexterity

Teams: Atlanta Braves

Also Ranked

#60 on The Greatest Baseball Players of All Time

#2 on The Best Atlanta Braves of All Time

#57 on The Best Baseball Players NOT in the Hall of Fame

#43 on The Best Hitters in Baseball History

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Darryl Strawberry


Darryl Strawberry is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: *Hajee/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Daryl Strawberry was drafted by the New York Mets in 1980 to play right field. Strawberry stayed with the Mets for eight seasons and was a big contributor to the 1986 team that won the dramatic World Series against the Red Sox. He was also a part of three New York Yankee World Championship teams in 1996, 1998, and 1999. During his prime, there were not many hitters who were more feared than Strawberry, with his picturesque and smooth, left-handed power swing. The eight-time All-Star certainly had the ability and talent to be a Hall of Fame player, however, he received three separate suspensions for substance abuse.

More About

Position: Right fielder, Outfielder

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Teams: San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, New York Mets

Also Ranked

#68 on The Greatest Left Handed Baseball Players of All Time

#19 on The Greatest Right-Fielders of All Time

#54 on The Best Los Angeles Dodgers of All Time

#54 on The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

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Joe Mauer


Joe Mauer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0
Joe Mauer signed with the Minnesota Twins as a catcher in 2001. He is the only catcher to win three batting titles and only catcher to ever win the MVP award in the American League. Mauer also has three Gold Gloves. The six-time All-Star is signed with the Twins through the 2018 season, after he inked a $184 million contract in 2011, which was the biggest contract for a catcher ever. Injuries have slowed Mauer down over the past few years, and the Twins even moved him to first base in hopes that it would keep him healthy.

More About

Position: Outfielder, Catcher, First baseman

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

Bats: Left-handed

Teams: Minnesota Twins

Also Ranked

#62 on The Greatest First Basemen of All Time

#38 on The Greatest Left Handed Baseball Players of All Time

#16 on The Greatest Catchers of All Time

#81 on The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

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Adrián González


Adrian Gonzalez is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

More About

Position: Right fielder, First baseman

Nationality: United States of America, Mexico

Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America

Bats: Left-handed

Teams: Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

Also Ranked

#46 on The Greatest First Basemen of All Time

#34 on The Greatest Left Handed Baseball Players of All Time

#53 on The Best Hispanic Athletes

#36 on The Best Los Angeles Dodgers of All Time

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Harold Baines


Harold Baines is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best First Overall MLB Draft Picks Ever
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
Harold Baines was drafted by the Chicago White Sox to pay outfield in 1977. The story goes that White Sox owner Bill Veeck saw Baines play Little League baseball and that helped him make the decision to draft Baines as the first pick, even though he was rated as the fifth best player in the draft in 1977.

The six-time All-Star played for several different teams throughout his 22 year career, but played for 14 seasons (on and off) for the White Sox. He finished with 384 home runs and became known as one of the best clutch hitters in the game, smashing 13 grand slams, ten of them being of the walk off variety. Baines hit .324 in post season play and batted over .300 in eight different MLB seasons. Baines played most of his career as a DH (1,652 games) and is near the top in that position in almost every category.

More About

Position: Designated hitter, Right fielder

Nationality: United States of America

Birthplace: Easton, Maryland, United States of America

Teams: Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics Cleveland Indians

Also Ranked

#52 on The Best Oakland Athletics of All Time

#55 on The Greatest Right-Fielders of All Time

#42 on The Best Baseball Players NOT in the Hall of Fame

#57 on The Greatest Left Handed Baseball Players of All Time

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