Pro Football and Basketball take pride in the fact that their newly drafted players impact their parent clubs immediately. In fact, teams very much count on the players they draft to provide an impact right away. Baseball is different with the several different levels of minor leagues as well as the fact that they employ way more players in their organizations that any in the other major sports. Baseball draft picks are competing against many players that are coming from overseas as well as many Latin American players that are not subject to the draft. Barring a major injury, a NFL or NBA first round draft pick will at the very least, get into a NFL or NBA game before they are cast away to the curb to start their secondary lifetime career. The percentages of MLB first round draft picks playing even a game in the big leagues are nowhere near the percentages that exist in the NFL and NBA.
No player from the most recent draft class of 2015 has made it to the big show. It will likely change next season, with RHP Carson Fulmer of the White Sox and SS Dansby Swanson of the Diamondbacks the favorites to make the jump. The 2014 draft has made an immediate impact with Cubs OF/ C Kyle Schwarber (4th overall pick), White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon (3rd overall), Mets OF Michael Conforto (10th overall) and Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (7th overall) all not only making it to the big leagues, but making a big difference on the teams they play for. Schwarber and Conforto will also likely make their postseason debuts this season as well.
As for Finnegan, he joins a small group of the 2014 1st round draft class to be traded this season- when he was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds as part of the Johnny Cueto trade. SS Trea Turner (taken 13th overall by the San Diego Padres) was traded this offseason as part of a complicated deal involving Will Myers. After finally being named as the PTBNL in June of 2015, Turner has made his MLB debut for the Nationals, appearing in a handful of games. RHP Jeff Hoffman (9th overall) was taken by Toronto last season and traded to the Rockies as part of the Troy Tulowitzki deal.
How does the impact of players like Schwarber, Conforto, Rodon and Nola change the perception of the previous couple year drafts, if at all? It seems as if the 2014 draft, to this point, has produced more MLB players than the 2013 draft with only Cubs 3B Kris Bryant (2nd overall), Rockies RHP Jonathan Gray (3rd overall), Cardinals LHP Marco Gonzalez (19th) and Rangers RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (23rd) representing the first 37 players drafted by getting up to the major leagues. While the talent of those who have made it up to the big leagues is something worth talking about, so is the ceiling of the class of 2013. Young prospects such as Astros 3B Colin Moran (traded from the Marlins), White Sox SS Tim Anderson and Mariners 3B DJ Peterson had solid seasons in the minor leagues in 2015 and could debut in 2016. Others such as Mets 1B Dominic Smith, Phillies SS JP Crawford and Cubs OF Billy McKinney (acquired from Athletics) look as if they may not be too far behind. 38th overall pick Michael Lorenzen is pitching for the Reds, as is 39th overall pick Corey Knebel with the Tigers. The 2013 postseason will partially be remembered for the impact of Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha, who pitched in big games during the team's NL Pennant and World Series appearance. Unlike Finnegan, Wacha pitched nearly a full season in the minors before making his big league debut with St Louis.However, he was not the first player from the draft class of 2013 to debut in the major leagues. Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (4th overall pick) made his first appearance on June 23, 2013- exactly one week before Wacha (19th overall pick) pitched for the Cardinals for the first time. Slightly less than two weeks later, Mariners C Mike Zunino (3rd overall pick) played in his first game for Seattle. Astros SS Carlos Correa, the first player selected in the draft, has made a huge impact for Houston in 2015. Twins CF Byron Buxton (2nd), Angels LHP Andrew Heaney (traded from Marlins- 9th selection), Cubs SS Addison Russell (traded from Athletics- 11th selection), Dodgers SS Corey Seager (18th selection), Blue Jays RHP Marcos Stroman (22nd overall), Red Sox SS Deven Marrero (24th overall), Rays 3B Richie Shaffer (25th selection), Red Sox LHP Brian Johnson (31st selection), Mets C Kevin Plawecki (35th), Cardinals OF Stephen Piscotty (36th), Rangers 3B Joey Gallo (39th), Astros RHP Lance McCullers (41st), Padres OF Travis Jankowski (44th) and Rockies RHP Eddie Butler (46th) have all made it to the major leagues.
As of right now, the 2012 first round, which consisted of 60 picks, has placed 18 players (30%) in the big leagues. The 2013 first round, which consisted of 39 players- much less than 2012, has placed 6 players (15% in the majors. As for 2014, which saw 41 players taken in the first round, we have now seen 6 players (14%) go to the major leagues. How many will we see at this time next year? The 2012 draft has produced a very solid group of MLB players headed by Correa, Gausman, Russell, Wacha and Stroman and will likely see more out of Buxton, Seager, Gallo and others in the near future. The fact that 60 players were taken in the first round in the 2012 draft makes it even more impressive that 30% of the players are in the big leagues, a number that is expected to rise.
The 2013 draft is the one I spent the most time covering as it was going on. Mark Appel went number one overall to the Astros and he will likely debut in the big leagues next season for Houston. Kris Bryant will likely by the NL Rookie of the Year with the Cubs and Gray, Gonzales and Gonzalez are expected to be part of Colorado's, St Louis' and Texas' starting rotations in 2016. 8 of the first 16 picks of that draft were high school players. Similarly, 10 of the first 16 players taken in the 2012 draft were also from high school with a handful of them debuting in 2015. I would expect to see the same trend with the 2013 class in 2016, led by Moran, Peterson and Crawford as well as OF Austin Meadows (Pirates-9th) and Indians 3B Clint Frazier (5th overall).
The 2014 draft saw just 6 high school players taken among its top 17 picks, though Brady Aiken (Astros- DNS) and Tyler Kolek (Marlins) were taken 1 and 2 in the draft out of high school. Out of the 11 college players taken in the first 17 picks, 6 of them have played in the major leagues already. In case you were wondering, 8 of the first 16 picks in the 2015 draft were out of high school, with the other 8 players coming out of a 4 year college. Looking forward to what makes out of the 2015 class, something we will not know until the distant future.