Top-of-the-draft philosophy: Take the hitter! 

June, 5, 2011
My philosophy on building a baseball team is the same as most. I would begin with five No. 1 starting pitchers, all capable of 20 wins and an ERA under 2.00 with WHIPs under 1.00, followed by three impact hitters in the middle of the order who would have an OPS over 1.100 with 140-RBI potential who would also win Gold Glove awards at catcher, shortstop and center field, an impact closer who converts every save opportunity, and a leadoff hitter with a .400 OBP who could steal 50 bases and score 120 runs. I would take the proven ace pitcher over the best hitter every time. If we could all implement this philosophy, world championships would follow.

This blueprint is pretty simple. There are 30 teams that would like to carry out this plan. Logic says that when it comes to the first five selections in the draft, clubs should choose starting pitchers. History, however, says that is high risk and usually not successful.

In fact, since 1990, the only top pitchers taken in the top five of the draft who lived up to the scouting reports were Mark Mulder, Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, David Price and Stephen Strasburg (who is now injured). That's exactly five pitchers out of a possible 105 draft picks.