The stars of any draft mostly come from the first round picks. You usually get about a 40 percent from every year that have good MLB careers and only a handful become All-Stars.
The 2014 draft brought a trio of Washington Nationals together, each picked by a different team. The fourth overall pick was Kyle Schwarber by the Cubs, thirteenth overall was Trea Turner by the Padres, and eighteenth overall was Erick Fedde by the Nationals. That particular draft has only seen one high school kid emerge and that was Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals at thirty-four in the first round. That year the first-rounders were evenly split 20-20 between college and high school players. The failure rate for high school kids is much higher.
It does not mean that the Nats first round pick, Brady House, out of Widner-Barrow High School is already destined to be a failure. The 2012 draft in the first round had an abundance of riches from high school players like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Matt Olson, Byron Buxton, Joey Gallo, Lucas Giolito (Nationals), Addison Russell, Jose Berrios, Lance McCullers, Max Fried, Zach Eflin, and Jesse Winker. That was a strong high school class that year. There were also 60 first round picks that year.
With the second round of the draft starting shortly, the Nats have kind of been awful in the second round picking players. They do have Andrew Stevenson in the system, but overall only Jordan Zimmermann from the 2007 draft became a star. That year produced not only JZim in the second round, but also Giancarlo Stanton and Freddie Freeman.
The Nats did not pick in the second round in 2005. In 2006, they picked two players and one didn’t sign, and the other was Stephen Englund. Who? Exactly. In 2007, they got JZim and Jake Smolinski. In 2008, the team went after the toolsy athlete Destin Hood who turned out to be a bust. The 2009 draft in the second round produced Patrick Corbin, Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu, Billy Hamilton, Steven Matz and Michael Givens. The Nats had the first pick of the round in 2009 and passed on all of those star players and their best answer: Jeff Kobernus.
In 2010, the Nats chose first in the second round and got Sammy Solis while passing on Andrelton Simmons, Drew Smyly, Jedd Gyorko, Vince Velasquez, Jimmy Nelson, Brandon Workman, and others. The Nats didn’t have a pick in the 2011 second round as they forfeited the pick after signing Jayson Werth. The Nats chose Tony Renda in the second round of 2012 and that was a weak second round draft. In 2013, the best Rizzo could up with was Jake Johansen who was one of the quickest busts in Nats history.
As you can see, there is great value that can be found in the second round. The Nationals will be picking 11th this morning and that is the 47th pick overall. There have been some great players chosen 47th overall in MLB history. Tom Glavine, John Candelaria, Albert Belle, and Matt Olson highlight that list. Remember, some years that 47th pick has been in the first round like with Olson. So yes, you can sometimes find first round talent in the second round and some real gems.
Maybe general manager Mike Rizzo can find a Glavine today or ring a Belle.