<bold>Pitcher, Stanford</bold> Appel was considered a possible top pick in 2012, but Houston initially passed on the hometown kid. He slid to Pittsburgh at No. 8 but turned down a $3.8 million offer and returned to Stanford for his senior season. In 2013, again holding the No.1 pick, the Astros made their move for Appel, a hard-throwing righty with a fastball in the mid-90s (mph). The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Appel inked a $6.35 million deal with the Astros after going 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA as a senior at Stanford. He had pitched 52 innings at Class A or lower as of June 1, 2014, with a career ERA of 6.02 and 48 strikeouts.
2 of 29Pat Sullivan/AP; Cliff Welch/Icon SMI
<bold>Shortstop, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy </bold> The Astros selected 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, making him the highest selection ever to come from Puerto Rico. Correa has an incredibly strong arm and terrific instincts defensively, and the Astros might have found their shortstop of the future. He bested catcher Ramon Castro, who went No. 17 to Houston in 1994, as the highest-drafted Puerto Rican player. Correa hit .320 with nine homers and 86 RBI in 117 games in Single-A ball last season.
3 of 29Cliff Welch/Icon SMI; Christian Petersen/Getty Images
<bold>Pitcher, UCLA </bold> Cole, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior, posted mediocre numbers for the Bruins (6-8, 3.31 ERA) in 2011, but he had what many considered to be the best pure stuff in the draft. He was the first of four straight pitchers to be selected in a first-round dominated by arms. Cole was 5-3 in his first 11 starts in the 2014 season, with a 3.80 ERA and 63 strikeouts.
4 of 29Al Tielemans, Robert Beck/SI
<bold>Outfielder, College of Southern Nevada</bold> The catcher-turned-outfielder with light-tower power made his big-league debut in 2012 at only 19 years old. The story of the 6-3, 205-pounder is well known: He earned his GED after his sophomore year of high school so he could attend junior college for a season and be eligible for the draft a year early. Harper has done relatively well in the big leagues, hitting .273 with 43 homers and 126 RBI in 1,185 at-bats though May 2014.
5 of 29Chuck Solomon, John W. McDonough/SI
<bold>Pitcher, San Diego State </bold> The 6'4" 220-pound right-hander signed a record $15.1 million, four-year contract with the Nationals after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick, and he dazzled immediately. After posting a 1.43 ERA in 10 minor league starts, Strasburg made his major league debut in June 2010 with a 14-strikeout performance against the Pirates. He went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 K's in 12 starts but needed Tommy John surgery after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in August 2010. He recovered fully and has sustained his success, with a 32-23 record, 2.99 ERA and 594 strikeouts in 87 career starts through May 2014.
6 of 29Cliff Welch/Icon SMI
<bold>Shortstop, Griffin High</bold> Beckham has shown flashes of the five-tool talent that made him the top pick in 2008, but he has been inconsistent throughout his minor league career. In 2011, he hit .275 in his time in Double-A Montgomery but only .255 after he was promoted to Triple-A Durham. He drew a 50-day ban in 2012 for a second violation of the minor league drug program. He hit .276 in 122 games in 2013 at Durham but tore his ACL in the offseason and is currently rehabbing.
7 of 29Damian Strohmeyer/SI; Rob Carr/AP
<bold>Pitcher, Vanderbilt University </bold> After tearing up the SEC for three seasons at Vandy, Price quickly made his way to the major leagues. He was called up to the big club in his first professional season, making his debut on Sept. 14, 2008, and making his presence felt during the Rays' magical postseason run to the World Series. In 2010, he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA, earning an All-Star appearance and finishing second in Cy Young voting. His stats fell off some in 2011, when he went only 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA, but he made amends in a big way in 2012, winning the Cy Young Award after finishing first in the AL with a career-best 2.56 ERA and a sterling 20-5 record. The 2014 season has been bumpy -- he's just 4-4 with a 4.27 ERA through May.
8 of 29Damian Strohmeyer/SI; Douglas Jones/Icon SMI
<bold>Pitcher, Fort Worth Cats </bold> The former University of Tennessee star was taken 40th overall in the 2005 draft by the Dodgers, but the right-hander never signed with Los Angeles. He briefly pitched for the Fort Worth Cats in the Independent League before re-entering the draft in 2006. He's had an up-and-down career with the Royals. His best season was 2011, when he went 11-11 with a 4.68 ERA. The Royals took him out of the starting rotation before the 2013 season, using him instead in long relief appearances. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2014.
9 of 29Brad Mangin/SI; AP
<bold>Shortstop, Great Bridge High </bold> Three years after his brother, B.J., was taken second overall, Justin went No. 1, featuring a skill set that scouts drool over. He motored through the minors and made his big league debut in 2007 at the age of 19. After an up-and-down 2008 campaign, Upton's enjoyed a breakout season in '09, hitting .300 with 26 homers, 86 RBIs and 20 steals. He took a step back in 2010 but rebounded by finishing fourth in MVP voting in 2011, when he hit .289 with 31 homers and 21 steals. He tied for second in the league in runs scored in 2012 and was traded to the Braves in 2013, where his brother also plays. He was hitting .301 with 13 home runs through May 2014.
10 of 29John Cordes/Icon SMI
<bold>Shortstop, Mission Bay High </bold> San Diego's selection of Bush was strictly based on signability, and the Padres have paid for their frugality. Jeff Niemann, Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver were all more hyped, but the Padres' didn't want to pay a hefty bonus, so they decided to go with a local high school shortstop. Bush was a complete flop. He couldn't hit a lick, so the Padres converted him to a pitcher, but he blew out his arm. And after multiple run-ins with the law, Bush was sent to Toronto for either a player to be named later or cash considerations. Toronto eventually released Bush for violating a zero tolerance behavioral policy. He attempted to restart his career as a pitcher in the Rays system but is now out of professional baseball.
11 of 29Chuck Solomon/SI; AP
<bold>Outfielder, Adolfo Camarillo High </bold> Young immediately tore up the minor leagues after going No. 1 to the Rays, but he struggled to contain his temper. In April 2006, Young threw his bat at an umpire after being called out on strikes and was suspended for 50 games. Young was named MVP of the 2012 ALCS, in which he hit .353 with two homers and six RBI as the Tigers eliminated New York in four games. He signed with the Phillies in 2013 and was released, signing with the Rays later that season and with his current team, the Orioles, in the offseason. He had 21 hits in 77 at-bats through May 2014, with six RBI.
12 of 29AP
<bold>Pitcher, Ball State University </bold> In 2002 at Ball State, Bullington went 11-3 with a 2.86 ERA and 139-to-18 strikeout-to-walk differential. The Pirates took him first because they figured they had a better chance to sign him than a number of more hyped prospects, including B.J. Upton, Prince Fielder, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels and Nick Swisher. Bullington was a complete bust. He logged 81.2 innings pitched with the Pirates, Indians, Blue Jays and Royals, holding a career record of 1-9 with a 5.62 ERA. After the 2010 season, he headed to Japan to continue his baseball career.
13 of 29AP; Peter Gregoire, Gary Bogdon/SI
<bold>Catcher, Cretin-Derham Hall High </bold> Mauer was a star in both baseball (catcher) and football (quarterback) at Saint Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall High, receiving numerous national awards in both sports. He ultimately turned down a football scholarship from Florida State to enter the draft, and he quickly became one of the game's best all-around players. Owning one of the sweetest swings in baseball, Mauer won batting titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He also earned MVP honors in 2009 when he hit .365, smacked 28 homers and drove in 96 runs. But injuries slowed him, including 2011, when he only played 82 games. Mauer bounced back, hitting .319 in 2012 and .324 in 2013. The Twins recently moved him to first base full-time, where he was hitting .267 through May 2014.
14 of 29AP; Robert Beck/SI; Mitch Stringer/Icon SMI
<bold>First baseman, Eastlake High </bold> Adrian Gonzalez went first overall to the Marlins, but after the slugging first baseman suffered a wrist injury, Florida flipped him to Texas in a deal for Ugueth Urbina. Gonzalez never amounted to much with the Rangers and was traded to San Diego for Chris Young and Terrmel Sledge. Even though the Padres play in one of the worst hitters' park in baseball (PETCO Park), Gonzalez hit .288 with 161 home runs in his five seasons there. Gonzalez thrived in 2011, his first season with the Red Sox, when he hit .338 with 27 home runs. He's currently enjoying a resurgent season with the Dodgers, batting .269 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI in his first 57 games.
15 of 29Chuck Solomon/SI; Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
<bold>Outfielder, Athens Drive High </bold> Hamilton's well-documented journey to stardom is one of the most fascinating stories in the game today. The high school phenom was regarded as one of baseball's top prospects until a car accident prior to the 2001 season. After the accident, Hamilton started on a downward spiral into drug addiction. He was suspended for violating the MLB's drug policy and did not play baseball from 2004 to '06, going in and out of rehab attempts. The Reds scooped him up through the Rule 5 Draft in 2006. In 2007, he hit .292 with 19 homers and 47 RBIs in 90 games, but Cincinnati traded him to Texas. Hamilton continued to realize his immense potential in 2008, making his first All-Star Game (putting on an unforgettable show during the Home Run Derby), and 2010, winning the AL MVP award and batting title. In 2012, he got off to an otherworldly start: hitting .379 with a league-best 18 home runs and 49 RBI through May 23. He cooled considerably, but not enough that his free agent value waned?the Angels signed him to a five-year, $125-million deal. He hit just .250 in Los Angeles in 2013 and as of June 2 was sidelined with a thumb injury.
16 of 29AP; Al Tielemans/SI(2)
<bold>Outfielder, University of Miami </bold> "Pat the Bat" made a name for himself at Miami, where he was MVP of the 1996 College World Series and won the 1998 Golden Spikes Award. In nine years for the Phillies, Burrell averaged 27 homers and 91 RBIs. In 2008, he helped the Phillies win their second World Series title (and first since 1980). After signing with Tampa Bay after the World Series win, he was shipped to San Francisco in 2010, just in time to help the Giants win a title. Burrell officially retired in May after signing a one-day contract with the Phillies to end his career with the team.
17 of 29V.J. Lovero/SI
<bold>Pitcher, Rice University </bold> Anderson dominated the Southwest Conference during his time at Rice, posting a 1.82 ERA in his final season and setting multiple records. He enjoyed a solid rookie season in 1998, going 5-1 out of the bullpen with a 3.27 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 44 innings (thanks in large part to a triple-digit fastball). But Anderson's career took a tragic turn when he participated in an octopus-throwing contest in an effort to win Detroit Red Wings playoff tickets. Anderson tore a muscle in his right armpit, losing his electric fastball forever. He last appeared in 2005 with the Rockies, when he posted a 12.60 ERA in 12 games.
18 of 29David Seelig/Getty Images
<bold>Pitcher, Clemson University </bold> Although he enjoyed a few good seasons with the Pirates, Benson is probably best known for the outlandish antics of his wife, Anna. Kris, the ACC Male Athlete of the Year in 1996 at Clemson, accumulated a 70-75 major league record with a 4.42 ERA in nine seasons with the Pirates, Mets, Orioles, Rangers and Diamondbacks. His best year was probably 2000, his second in the big leagues. He went 10-12 for the Pirates, posting a career bests in ERA (3.85), innings pitched (217.2) and strikeouts (184).
19 of 29Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
<bold>Outfielder, University of Nebraska </bold> Not only did Erstad star on the diamond at Nebraska, but also he excelled on the gridiron. As the starting punter for the Cornhuskers football team, Erstad won a national title in 1994, averaging 42.6 yards per punt that season. He spent his first 11 major league seasons with the Angels, earning two All-Star nods and three Gold Gloves and winning a World Series in 2002. His best season came in 2000, when he hit .355 with 25 homers, 100 RBIs and 121 runs. He also suited up for the White Sox and Astros before retiring in 2009.
20 of 29Brian Bahr/AFP/Getty Images
<bold>Pitcher, Florida State </bold> Wilson never came close to living up to the hype built around him at Florida State. In seven major league seasons with the Mets, Devil Rays and Reds, Wilson went 40-58 with a 4.86 ERA. His best season came with the Reds in 2004, when he had a 4.36 ERA and 11-6 record in 29 starts.
21 of 29Damian Strohmeyer, Jeffery A. Salter/SI
<bold>Shortstop, Westminster Christian High </bold> A-Rod enjoyed a spectacular career at Miami's Westminster Christian High, winning a national championship as a junior and being named USA Baseball Junior Player of the Year as a senior. Rodriguez quickly became one of the game's best players with the Mariners, and he signed a then-record $252 million as a free agent before the 2001 season. A-Rod was traded to the Yankees in February of 2004 in a deal for Alfonso Soriano. In December 2007, he signed a 10-year, $275 million contract with New York. His career has since been tainted by a bombshell steroid report by SI.com (which Rodriguez admitted shortly thereafter), and he's currently serving a 162-game suspension for the entire 2014 season. Statistically, the three-time MVP is still up there with the greats, hitting .299 with 654 home runs and 1,969 RBI in his 20-year career.
22 of 29Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
<bold>Third baseman, Cal State Fullerton </bold> Nevin won the Golden Spikes Award in 1992, leading Cal State Fullerton to a runner-up finish in the College World Series. He was taken first overall in the 1992 draft, five picks before Derek Jeter. Over a 12-year career, Nevin played for seven teams (Astros, Tigers, Angels, Padres, Rangers, Cubs and Twins), hitting .270 with 208 homers. He was an All-Star in 2001, setting career highs in batting average (.306), home runs (41) and RBIs (126).
23 of 29AP
<bold>Pitcher, East Carteret High </bold> Taylor is one of the bigger flops in MLB draft history, as he's best known as being just the second amateur player to be taken first overall and never reach the majors (Steve Chilcott was first). Taylor flourished in the minor leagues, quickly ascending the Yankees' farm system. But he suffered a torn labrum while defending his brother in a fistfight in a North Carolina trailer park and he was never the same pitcher again.
24 of 29Ronald C. Modra/SI
<bold>Shortstop, Bolles School </bold> The Braves wanted to draft pitcher Todd Van Poppel with the first overall pick, but Van Poppel stated that he would not sign with the team. Lucky break. Instead, the Braves received one of the most consistent offensive forces of his generation. An eight-time All-Star, Jones won the National League MVP in 1999 -- smacking a career-high 45 homers -- and a batting title in 2008 with a .364 average. He retired after the 2012 season hitting .303 for his career with 468 home runs and 1,623 RBI.
25 of 29John Iacono/SI
<bold>Pitcher, LSU </bold> McDonald won the Golden Spikes Award at LSU and led Team USA to a Gold Medal in 1988. The 6-foot-7 right-hander played nine major league seasons with the Orioles and Brewers, accumulating a 78-70 record and 3.91 ERA. McDonald logged a career-high 14 wins (to seven losses) for Baltimore during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.
26 of 29Scott Halleran/Getty Images
<bold>Pitcher, University of Evansville </bold> Benes spent less than a year in the minors before making his presence felt on the big squad. Over his 14-year career, Benes played for the Cardinals, Mariners, Padres and Diamondbacks, piling up a 155-139 record and respectable 3.97 ERA. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound right-hander won at least 10 games in 10 different seasons.
27 of 29V.J. Lovero(2), Richard Mackson/SI
Ken Griffey Jr.
<bold>Outfielder, Moeller High </bold> "The Kid" was taken No. 1 overall straight out of high school. With his beautiful, majestic swing and spectacular defense in center ield, Griffey quickly became one of the game's most celebrated players. He retired in the middle of his 22nd season, after enjoying a Hall of Fame career (though injuries marred the second half of it). The 13-time All-Star ranks fifth all time with 630 homers. He won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves and the AL MVP in 1997.
28 of 29Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
<bold>Third baseman, University of Arkansas </bold> King spent parts off 11 seasons in the majors, logging 1,201 games and finishing with a .256 career batting average to go along with 154 games. King played a key role in Pittsburgh's three division championship teams in 1990, '91 and '92.
29 of 29Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images
<bold>Catcher, University of North Carolina </bold> After winning ACC Male Athlete of the Year and playing for Team USA in the 1984 Olympics, Surhoff went first overall to the Brewers. A very versatile player who spent time all over the field, Surhoff went on to enjoy a very productive, 19-season career, finishing with a .282 batting average, 2,326 hits and 1,153 RBIs.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!