Building through the draft is something that every team thrives to do. Some do better than others, obviously. But I've been curious to see exactly what kind of team you could throw together for each franchise using just the draft. So over the next couple weeks, I'm going to throw together lineups and rotations for every organization using only players drafted and signed by that team. We're not looking at projection here, though; this is about finding the best present-day players among draftees of the club.
And to throw a bit of a twist into things, we're only going to look at drafts since 2000, to get a better idea of what teams have been doing lately. We're going to start today with the A's, and move alphabetically from there. And just remember that if a team drafted him but didn't sign him, that player doesn't count. You don't get bonus points for being smart enough to draft a player, but not smart enough to pay him.
1) SS Cliff Pennington - 2005 1st Round Pick (21st overall)
The lead-off options aren't great here, but Pennington's .324 career OBP isn't horrid and he's one of the better shortstops in the AL thanks to a quality glove.
2) RF Nick Swisher - 2002 1st Round Pick (16th overall)
He's settled in as a quality 3.5-4.5 WAR player for the Yankees, and he's pretty much a lock for 25+ homers and a quality on-base percentage.
3) 1B Dan Johnson - 2001 7th Round Pick
The numbers are ugly this year, but it's hard to send him back to Triple-A after he hit .303/.430/.624 with 30 homers in 98 games and more walks than strikeouts with Durham last year.
4) DH Andre Ethier - 2003 2nd Round Pick
He's a poor defender in right field, so he slides over to DH here, but the bat is well above average. Trading Ethier for Milton Bradley is one of Billy Beane's worst moves.
5) 3B Mark Teahen - 2002 1st Round Pick (39th overall)
The glove is below-average and the bat has been as well over the past couple years, but the 29-year-old is off to a hot start this year.
6) C Kurt Suzuki - 2004 2nd Round Pick
He brings most of his value defensively, but a .263/.322/.389 career line from a plus defensive catcher is still pretty good.
7) LF Travis Buck - 2005 1st Round Pick (36th overall)
Buck hasn't hit in the majors since his breakout 2007, but he's on Cleveland's bench this year after battling some injuries. At 27, he's still young enough to recapture some of his past success.
8) CF Corey Brown - 2007 1st Round Pick (59th overall)
Traded to Washington in the Josh Willingham deal over the winter, Brown hasn't hit at the Triple-A level yet in limited action at the level. But the 25-year-old has a .298/.387/.496 line in Double-A, and has potential if he can harness the strikeouts.
9) 2B Bobby Crosby - 2001 1st Round Pick (25th overall)
In 2005, Crosby put up 4.3 WAR in 84 games. In the other 663 games he's played in the majors, he's accumulated just 0.8 WAR. That monster 2005 is pretty far in the rear-view mirror, though, and at this point Crosby's not likely to be more than a seldom-used utility infielder.
1) RHP Trevor Cahill - 2006 2nd Round Pick
Cahill's already one of the better pitchers in the AL at 23- he's a core part of Oakland's newest Big Three along with Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez.
2) LHP Dallas Braden - 2004 24th Round Pick
He may top out at 88 MPH with his fastball, but a great change-up and good command have enabled the 27-year-old finesse lefty to excel in Oakland's pitcher-friendly park.
3) RHP Joe Blanton - 2002 1st Round Pick (24th overall)
He's overshadowed by Philadelphia's other starters, but he's got a 3.95 xFIP over the past two seasons and doesn't miss many starts.
4) RHP Vin Mazzaro - 2005 3rd Round Pick
He's going to join Kansas City's rotation soon after netting Oakland a new outfielder in David DeJesus, and the Royals expect him to stick in their rotation for a while.
5) RHP Tyson Ross - 2008 2nd Round Pick
Only 2 of the 23-year-old's 28 MLB appearances have been starts and he's currently relieving for the A's, but they likely expect him to convert to starting at some point given his stuff and strong performance as a starter in the upper minors.
Set Up: Ryan Webb - 2004 4th Round Pick
Webb's been traded twice already- in 2009 from Oakland to San Diego in the Scott Hairston deal, and over the winter to Florida in exchange for Cameron Maybin. The 25-year-old has powerful stuff, though, led by a mid-90's fastball with some serious sink, and should become Florida's closer at some point.
Closer: Huston Street - 2004 1st Round Pick (40th overall)
The 27-year-old has been one of the game's better relievers for a while, with a 2.99 ERA (and a matching 2.98 FIP) along with 155 saves. His velocity is down a lot this year, though; after averaging 91.3 MPH on his heater last year, which is right in line with his career mark, he's sitting 89.1 this year.
DISTRIBUTION OF PICKS
2000: 0; 2001: 2; 2002: 2; 2003: 1; 2004: 4; 2005: 4; 2006: 1; 2007: 1; 2008: 1; 2009: 0
6th or later: 2