Ranking The Best Draft Classes Of The 2010s

Image credit: Christian Yelich (Photo by Ron Elkman/Getty Images)

It’s no secret that drafting well is a critical element of success in Major League Baseball. Even amidst a run of poor drafts, one great draft class can completely alter a franchise’s outlook.

As the 2010s comes to a close, we look back at the best draft classes of the decade, many of which set the stage for their franchises to become playoff participants or, in some cases, World Series champions.

Only players who were drafted AND signed counted toward a team’s draft class for this ranking. Both the number of major leaguers who signed in an individual class and the quality of those major leaguers were taken into account.

It is important to note that many of the draft classes still have years to be sorted out, especially those in the second half of the decade. As such, a full accounting of the true best draft classes of the 2010s may not fully be known for another 10 years or more.

In addition to ranking the top 10 draft classes of the decade based on the information we have now, we have also provided some of draft classes from 2016-19 that show particular promise, and that may very well rise above the teams currently on this list.

Note: “No. of major leaguers” does not include unsigned players.



1. 2010 Marlins

Scouting director: Stan Meek

No. of major leaguers: 8

Notable picksChristian Yelich (1), J.T. Realmuto (3)

Finding a franchise player in the draft is every team’s dream. The Marlins found two despite not picking toward the end of each round in 2010. The Marlins drafted a future MVP in Yelich with the 23rd overall pick and grabbed an All-Star catcher in Realmuto in the third round. They also found a solid contributor in Mark Canha (7). As strong as the Marlins’ draft haul was, it would have been even stronger. They failed to sign Blake Treinen (23), as well as Andrew Toles (4) and Seth Maness (41).

2. 2011 Red Sox

Scouting director
: Amiel Sawdaye

No. of major leaguers: 8

Notable picksJackie Bradley Jr., (1s), Mookie Betts (5), Travis Shaw (9)

The Red Sox found a future MVP (Betts), an All-Star center fielder (Bradley) and an everyday third baseman who would produce back-to-back 30-home run seasons (Shaw) in their fruitful 2011 draft, not to mention accomplished relievers Matt Barnes (1) and Noe Ramirez (4). Betts, Bradley and Barnes would all play key roles on the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series championship team, while Williams Jerez (2) was used in the trade to acquire Ian Kinsler for the stretch run.

3. 2011 Pirates

Scouting director
: Greg Smith

No. of major leaguers: 6

Notable picksGerrit Cole (1), Josh Bell (2), Tyler Glasnow (5)

The Pirates nabbed six big leaguers in the 2011 draft, fewer than many other teams on this list, but their hits were big. Cole and Glasnow became two of baseball’s most dominant pitchers by the end of the decade, while Bell blossomed into a premium power threat and an All-Star. Alex Dickerson (3), Colten Brewer (4) and Clay Holmes (9) have all carved out careers, as well. If the Pirates had signed Trea Turner (20) as a high school pick, their draft might have been one for all-time.

4. 2015 Astros

Scouting director: Mike Elias

No. of major leaguers: 8

Notable picksAlex Bregman (1), Kyle Tucker (1), Trent Thornton (5)

The Astros found either starpower (2011, 2012) or depth (2010, 2014) in their previous drafts of the decade, but they found both in 2015. Bregman became one of baseball’s best players and Tucker is a key part of the Astros’ future after years as an elite prospect. Garrett Stubbs (8) and Myles Straw (12) have contributed in complementary roles, while the rest of the class has provided tremendous value in trades. Daz Cameron (1), Tom Eshelman (2), Trent Thornton (5) and Patrick Sandoval (11) were all used in key trades for veterans, helping the Astros establish American League supremacy.

5. 2016 Dodgers

Scouting director: Billy Gasparino

No. of major leaguers: 5

Notable picksGavin Lux (1), Will Smith (1), Dustin May (3)

In a few years, this may very well jump the field for the best draft class of the decade. Smith took over as Dodgers’ everyday catcher last summer while Lux, May and Tony Gonsolin (9) are all Top 100 prospects who have reached the majors. Mitchell White (2), DJ Peters (4) and Zach McKinstry (33) are positioned for their first callups in 2020, and the Dodgers have additionally reaped significant rewards from the class in trades. Devin Smeltzer (5) and Luke Raley (7) were used in the trade for Brian DozierAndre Scrubb (8) brought back Tyler White, A.J. Alexy (11) was part of the Yu Darvish deal and Dean Kremer (14) went to Baltimore in the Manny Machado trade. To recap, that’s an everyday catcher, three major league-ready Top 100 prospects, three likely future big leaguers and four veterans acquired in trades from the class—all in three years.


6. 2010 Nationals

Scouting director: Kris Kline

No. of major leaguers: 7

Notable picksBryce Harper (1), Robbie Ray (12)

The Nationals kicked off the decade by drafting Harper No. 1 overall, but he wasn’t their only hit. They drafted and signed seven big leaguers in 2010, including a future All-Star lefthander in Ray and accomplished relievers Matt GraceSammy Solis and Aaron Barrett.

7. 2012 Athletics

Scouting director: Eric Kubota

No. of major leaguers: 7

Notable picksAddison Russell (1), Matt Olson (1s), Max Muncy (5)

The A’s pulled off an impressive feat by drafting two All-Star position players in the same year in Russell and Muncy. They will likely have a third in Olson, who has yet to make an All-Star Game but has won two Gold Gloves. Daniel Robertson (1s) and Ryan Dull (32) have logged multi-year careers, as well.

8. 2010 Mets

Scouting director: Rudy Terrasas

No. of major leaguers: 7

Notable picksMatt Harvey (1), Jacob deGrom (9)

Teams are lucky to find one frontline starter every couple of drafts. The Mets found two in one draft. deGrom won his second straight Cy Young Award last season, while Harvey had a 2.53 ERA over his first 65 career starts before thoracic outlet syndrome sidetracked his career. Adam Kolarek (11), Erik Goeddel (24) and Josh Edgin (30) all went on to pitch more than 100 games in the majors, as well.

9. 2011 Blue Jays

Scouting director: Andrew Tinnish

No. of major leaguers: 9

Notable picksJoe Musgrove (1s), Daniel Norris (2), Kevin Pillar (33)

The Blue Jays failed to sign top pick Tyler Beede and still found three future starters in Musgrove, Norris and Anthony DeSclafani (6) in the 2011 draft. Drafting Pillar in the 33rd round is one of the great late-round finds of the decade while Jon Berti (18) and Taylor Cole (29) provide two more third-day picks the franchise can be proud of. The Jays’ draft could have been even stronger: they drafted both Luke Weaver (19) and Aaron Nola (22) out of high school but didn’t sign them.

10. 2012 Cardinals

Scouting Director
: Dan Kantrovitz

No. of major leaguers: 8

Notable picksMichael Wacha (1), Stephen Piscotty (1s), Carson Kelly (2)

The Cardinals received both short-term and long-term value from their 2012 draft. Wacha raced to the majors and won NLCS MVP just one year later before settling into the Cardinals rotation for most of the decade. Piscotty and Kelly have each had seasons as standout regulars, while Kyle Barraclough (7) and Rowan Wick (9) are currently in big league bullpens. Every player from class is still in their 20s, giving them time to add to their resumes and make the class look even stronger with time.

Honorable Mention

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