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Arizona Diamondbacks among best in MLB in draft pick production

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners play during the fifth inning of a baseball game in an empty Chase Field, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves ranked among the top teams in MLB when it comes to the return on investment from recent draft picks.

That’s the takeaway from analytics site Prep Baseball Report, which ranks the D-backs seventh in the 30-team league in Wins Above Replacement for draft picks between 2015-18, at 9.7.

Arizona ranks eighth in the league in terms of total WAR per million spent on the aforementioned draft classes, with the D-backs spending $3.65 million for each Win Above Replacement earned.

The D-backs spent a total of $35.44 million on its draft picks during the four classes that PBR studied for the article, which ranks 18th in the MLB during that time frame.

Arizona has received a decent return on investment when it comes to the number of major leaguers they’ve turned out during those drafts, ranking in a tie with the Detroit Tigers for 11th in the league in that category, with 11 players from the four classes reaching the majors during the four-year period.

According to Baseball Reference, only two of the top picks by the D-backs between 2015-18 have made the majors — Dansby Swanson (2015) and Pavin Smith (2017).

Swanson was traded to the Atlanta Braves as part of the Shelby Miller deal shortly after getting drafted by Arizona in 2017.

He has since put up a career WAR of 7.5 with 50 home runs and 227 RBIs with the Braves.

Smith had a career WAR of 0.2, producing 10 hits in 37 career at-bats with the D-backs in his rookie campaign in 2020.

A total of 11 players from those draft classes have played at the MLB level, with D-backs southpaw Alex Young and right-handed starter Taylor Clarke posting the next-highest career WAR of 0.4 apiece.

Two members of that 2018 draft class played for the D-backs in 2020, in Smith and outfielder/catcher Daulton Varsho, with the two combining for a 0.2 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.


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