Best Southern California MLB Draft Classes By Decade
Since the advent of the draft in 1965, Southern California has been the preeminent region clubs mine for amateur talent.
Even in SoCal’s worst years for draft talent, an all-star or two can usually be found. But we’re here to focus on the most talent-rich draft classes in the region’s history, the ones that set the standard, fair or not, by which future classes from the region will be measured.
We highlight one draft class per decade from the 1960s to the 2010s. An asterisk (*) indicates that a player did not sign. HOF denotes Hall of Fame. Players listed in order of wins above replacement, according to.
Blyleven won 287 games and ranks fifth all time with 3,701 strikeouts. Evans was a three-time all-star who won eight Gold Gloves. Burroughs won the 1974 AL MVP award.
This class is the cream of the crop. In addition to two Hall of Famers, this group boasted an MVP award winner (Lynn), a four-time all-star (Clark), a 20-game winner (Krukow) and a six-time Gold Glove center fielder (Murphy)
The remarkable Gwynn won eight NL batting titles. McGwire bashed 583 home runs and held the single-season record with 70. Fielder twice led the AL in home runs and RBIs.
Glaus went No. 3 overall to the Angels out of UCLA. Utley wound up with the Bruins after he didn’t sign with the Dodgers as a second-rounder. Both became World Series champions.
Strasburg went No. 1 overall, but it’s Arenado who has proven to be the leading light from this class.
It’s early for this draft class, but UCLA teammates Cole and Bauer went first and third overall in this draft. Each has Cy Young Award-caliber stuff.