We take a look at just some of the best overall first round picks in Major League Baseball history.
From Alex Rodriguez to Bryce Harper, scouts are paid well to pick these superstars and grab them at the earliest opportunity. If you end up with the number one pick in the first round of the draft, all eyes are on you to not make an error.
Here we look at the number one picks that have gone on to have a great career.
Alex Rodriguez is a divisive figure in the game of baseball, some people despise him, some adore.
Regardless, he is probably the best ever number one pick of all-time. His 117.5 WAR tops everyone, including Chipper Jones. Rodriguez hit 696 home runs, made 14 All-Star teams, won 10 Silver Slugger awards, three Most Valuable Player awards and two Gold Glove Awards.
The former Texas Rangers shortstop also won a World Series ring in 2009 with the New York Yankees (the last time the Bronx Bombers won the championship).
The Braves very nearly didn’t get Jones as their number one pick. They had wanted pitcher Todd Van Poppel instead. However, Van Poppel has explicitly said that he wouldn’t go to the Braves if selected. Atlanta selected Jones as a shortstop, before he moved to third base and leftfield throughout his career.
Jones’ 85.3 WAR is second among all Number One overall picks, trailing only Alex Rodriguez. He also leads all Braves draftees in that statistical category, while he finished his career with more walks than strikeouts and hit 468 home runs, the most by any National League switch-hitter.
Jones entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018, he also won an MVP in 1999 and a World Series ring in 1995. Jones was part of some great Atlanta Braves teams that dominated the National League East Division, but surprisingly only won the World Series once in his time.
Johnson originally turned down the Atlanta Braves as a fourth-round pick in 1982 before signing with Montreal Expos in 1985, after three seasons at the University of Southern California.
He appeared in 11 Major League games with the Expos before they traded him to the Seattle Mariners as part of a three-player package for Mark Langston in 1989.
The rest is history of course as ‘the big unit’ became a five-time Cy Young Award winner, including four straight awards with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Johnson is a 10-time All-Star and a World Series MVP with Arizona in 2001. He threw a no-hitter and a perfect game during his 22-year career and ranks second in MLB History in strikeouts with 4,875 and 22nd in wins with 303.
Harper has been a star with the Nationals and now since leaving Washington with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is desperate to win a World Series and the season after leaving the Nationals, Washington won it for the first time in 2019.
Harper was drafted in 2010, he won rookie of the year in 2012 and the National League Most Valuable Player in 2015. He’s made six All-Star appearances in eight full seasons and signed a 13-year $330 million contract with the Phillies.
Currently injured and maybe out for the season, the left-handed bat was having an impressive year, he was hitting .318 with 15 home runs in 242 at-bats with 77 hits. He has a career average of .287 with 282 home runs to date.
Gonzalez never made it to the big leagues with Miami, but had a fantastic career with more than 300 home runs, two Silver Slugger awards and four Gold Gloves.
Miami took Gonzalez in the first round of the 2000 draft, where he played three seasons in the Marlins system before being traded to the Texas Rangers in a deal with two other players. Gonzalez didn’t become a major star until he reached the San Diego Padres after the 2005 season.
Gonzalez received three of his five All-Star awards with San Diego and recorded eight Top 20 finishes in the MVP voting across 15 seasons, leading the Majors in hits in 2011 and RBI’s in 2014 during his career.
The Mexican native, finished his career with the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, he played a final season in the Mexican League in 2021, before announcing his retirement.