Top MLB Picks -- Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now (Part Two)

Check out our MLB First Round Picks: Where Are They Now? (Part One).

Welcome back to the conclusion of our series about what happened to the last ten Major League baseball drafted number one prospects. We saw that the first five years were kind of hit and miss with three of the five going on to make good contributions in the Majors. Now we will look at the years 2006 through 2010 and how those selected individuals have turned out since being selected.

The Kansas City Royals had the first selection in 2006 and the Royals decided to go with University of Tennessee pitcher Luke Hochevar. Luke seems to have one of the strangest stories in what all led up to him being selected number one in the 2006 draft. Luke was originally selected out of high school in the 39th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002, but chose to bypass the pros and go into college. You are allowed to attend college and can re-enter the draft after three years and Luke took this route. Luke was a stellar college pitcher and set the strikeout record in his junior year and also was named SEC pitcher of the year. This was only a prelude to going professional however.

Luke did indeed re-enter the draft in 2005 and was again selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers this time in the first round as the 40th selection. After desperate and bitter negotiations between the sides, an agreement on a contract couldn't be settled and Luke chose to pitch in an independent league instead. Luke re-entered the draft again in 2006, for the third time, and was then selected with the first selection by the Kansas City Royals. After spending months in the minors, Luke Hochevar made his Major League pitching debut for the Kansas City Royals on September 8, 2007. Luke went on to start 20 plus games a season for the Royals in both 2008 and 2009, but had his best season in 2010 when he went 6-6 with a 4.81 ERA for the Royals. Luke Hochevar goes into the 2011 season as the ace pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.

Luke Hochevar
Royals starter Luke Hochevar delivers a pitch to the plate during the game between the Kansas City Royals and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Left handed pitcher David Price has a story similar in ways to Luke Hochevar. Both were selected out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers and both chose to bypass the pros at that time and attend college and both attended SEC schools and went onto stellar college careers. David attended Vanderbilt and in his junior season went 11-1 and took home all kinds of awards as well as setting the record for strikeouts at 194 in only 133 and a third innings. David was selected as the number one pick in the 2007 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

David spent almost all of his 2008 season in the minors before being called up to make his Major League debut in September. David went onto to pitch out of the bullpen for the Devil Rays all the way through their playoff run and even earned a save in game 7 of the ALCS. David became a full-time starter for the Devil Rays in 2009 and won 10 of the 23 games he started in Tampa that season. David's breakout season would come in 2010 though, as he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA, and was selected as a starter in the 2010 ALL-Star game for the American League and David also went on to finish second in the Cy Young award voting that season.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays also had the number one selection in the 2008 MLB draft and this time they chose to go with a high school athlete named Tim Beckham. Beckham played shortstop in high school and in his senior season he batted .500 with 5 homeruns and 31 RBI's while swiping 16 bases in only 24 games played. Tim is 6'1"� and weighs 190 pds and bench presses 280 lbs. as well as running the 60 yard dash in 6.35 seconds. Tim has spent the past couple of seasons in the minors still preparing and awaiting his future Major League debut. The Devil Rays have high hopes for this prized prospect.

David Price
David Price of the Rays looks in for the signals during the American League Division Series game #1 between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

In 2009, the Washington Nationals possesed the number one pick and they selected the most coveted prospect in years when they selected pitcher Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State University. Strasburg had a stellar college career and was highly coveted in the draft. Stephen signed a record 15.1 million contract with the Nationals, and after a stint in the minors, he made his highly anticipated Major League debut on June 8, 2010 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stephen would become the first pitcher ever to strikeout at least 11 batters without issuing any walks during his MLB debut.

Stephen finished the game with 14 strikeouts which was just one short of a record for a pitchers MLB debut appearance. Stephen Strasburg was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated after just his second Major League start. Stephen blitzed through the season going 5-3 for the Nats with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts before injury cut his 2010 short. Sadly, In August, the Nationals organization announced that Strasburg would require Tommy John surgery and would miss the next 12 to 18 months with rehab.

The 2010 draft saw the Washington Nationals with the number one selection again and they were hoping to strike gold again. Gold for the Nationals this season would mean selecting Catcher Bryce Harper with the number selection in the 2010 MLB draft. Bryce was a 6'3"� 225 prospect, who attended Southern Nevada junior college and batted .443 with 31 homeruns and 98 RBI's in just 66 games. Bryce won the 2010 Golden Spikes award which goes to the best amateur baseball player selected by USA baseball. Bryce is currently in the Nationals minor league system, where he has been switched from catcher to outfield to speed up his development and provide a quicker way into the Majors. It usually takes catchers longer to rise through the systems than outfielders.

Stephen Strasburg
Washington Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg warms up with running exercises with teammate pitchers prior to working on Spring Training drills at the Carl Barger Baseball Complex in Viera, Florida.

So, in conclusion of what we have learned, Kansas City seems to have found a good, if not yet great pitcher, to anchor its staff and Tampa Bay has found and really good ace in left handed David Price and is still awaiting the outcome of athlete Tim Beckham while the Nationals struck gold with Stephen Strasburg before an injury dampened his career and are still developing and awaiting the outcome on outfielder Bryce Harper. I'd have to say the last five picks have been really good selections.

Although, we still await the outcome of how positon players Beckham and Harper turn out. Pitchers Strasburg, Price and Hochevar, even though its taking him a little longer to develop, have been great selections. Not any busts to report, so far, in these last five years. It should be fun to see how the next ten years go.

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