Regardless of how your favorite team is doing, there are always two dates that bring hope. The first of which is Opening Day, as it signals the birth of a new season, and the opportunity for a team to make strides in their push for the playoffs. The other day is MLB's amateur draft, as it provides teams with the chance to restock its farm system, and build for the future.
Three months have passed since the 2015 draft, and with the minor league regular season over with, it's a good time to look back at how the top 10 picks performed in their first taste of professional baseball.
Dansby Swanson - 1st overall, Arizona Diamondbacks
With the first pick in the draft, the Diamondbacks selected Vanderbilt's shortstop, Dansby Swanson. While his career got off to a rocky start, as he was hit in the face by a pitch from teammate Yoan Lopez, he put up impressive numbers at Low-A.
In 99 plate appearances, Swanson hit .289/.394/.382 with an ISO of .193, a wOBA of .399, and a wRC+ of 145. His walk rate and strikeout rate were an identical 14.1 percent, which is a great sign for a young hitter. Last night, he hit a walk-off single in the 13th inning to help advance his team to the Class-A Northwest League Championship.
Swanson is 21 years old, and with recent high picks like Kyle Schwarber and Michael Conforto making the jump to the big leagues around a year after being drafted, it wouldn't be shocking to see him with the Diamondbacks in 2016.
Alex Bregman - 2nd overall, Houston Astros
With the second overall pick, the Astros selected Alex Bregman out of LSU, and like Swanson, he hit well in his first year of pro-ball. He signed with the team in June, and as a result was able to accrue 311 plate appearances, compared to Swanson's 99.
Bregman played in 29 games at A-Ball before being promoted to High-A, where he hit .319/.364/.475. He also posted an ISO of .156, a wOBA of .366, and a wRC+ of 126. Bregman didn't walk much, but he also kept his strikeout rate under 10 percent, which FanGraphs considers excellent.
Brendan Rodgers - 3rd overall, Colorado Rockies
The Rockies continued the trend of taking shortstops, as they selected a high schooler named Brendan Rodgers with the third pick. He didn't have as much success as Swanson or Bregman, but regardless, he still put up impressive numbers. Rodgers just turned 19, and posted a slash line of .273/.340/.420, with an ISO of .147, a wOBA of .343, and a wRC+ of 95. He'll likely begin the 2016 season somewhere in A-Ball, as he hasn't yet progressed past the rookie level.
Dillon Tate - 4th overall, Texas Rangers
Texas broke the string of shortstops by selecting a starting pitcher by the name of Dillon Tate from UC Santa Barbara. He was a reliever for the first two years with the Gauchos, and was their closer in his sophomore year. In his junior season however, Tate transitioned to the starting role, and posted a 2.26 ERA, along with 111 strikeouts in 103.1 innings.
Tate only threw 9 innings for the Rangers' organization in 2015, and ended with class A Hickory.
Kyle Tucker - 5th overall, Houston Astros
The Astros had two picks in the first five because of their failure to sign Brady Aiken in 2014, and chose to go with Kyle Tucker, a high schooler from Florida with their second first round pick. Tucker is the younger brother of Preston, another Astros player, and posted a line of .258/.306/.391 at Rookie ball.
Tucker also had a .321 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 96. He's just 18 years old, and like Rodgers, will likely begin the 2016 season at some level of A-Ball.
Tyler Jay - 6th overall, Minnesota Twins
The Twins used the 6th pick in the first round on Tyler Jay, a left-handed pitcher from Illinois. He posted an ERA of 1.08 with 76 strikeouts in 66.2 innings, and was mainly used as a closer. He made just two starts in 2015, but he seems to be viewed by the Twins as a starting pitcher.
"We definitely believe he's got a legitimate chance to start. He throws strikes, he's athletic. I'm not going to say he's going to throw 96-98 (mph) like he does out of the pen, but we do believe he's going to have a plus fastball. He's got a plus slider and he's got a feel for the changeup. - Deron Johnson, Twins scouting director.
Jay made 19 appearances with the Twins High-A team, but only as a reliever. He posted an ERA of 3.93, and an FIP of 2.07 in 18.1 innings, while striking out 22.
Andrew Benintendi - 7th overall, Boston Red Sox
With the 7th pick, the Red Sox took Andrew Benintendi from the University of Arkansas. He won a plethora of awards, as he was named by Baseball America and the SEC as player of the year, while also taking home the Golden Spikes Award.
Since joining the Red Sox, Benintendi has performed remarkably well between Low and High-A. In 239 plate appearances, he hit .313/.416/.556, and posted an ISO of .242, a wOBA of .441, and a wRC+ of 177. Benintendi, like Swanson, could be in the majors relatively quickly if he continues to hit at a high level.
Carson Fulmer - 8th overall, Chicago White Sox
Carson Fulmer was perhaps the most talented pitcher in the 2015 draft, and was taken by the White Sox with the eighth pick. Vanderbilt's ace posted a record of 14-2, an ERA of 1.83, and 167 strikeouts in 127.2 innings last season, and immediately became one of Chicago's best prospects.
Fulmer finished the season with High-A, and pitched 22 innings at that level. He struck out 25 batters, posted an ERA of 2.05, and an FIP of 3.66. He was one of the most polished pitchers in the draft, and like Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale, Fulmer could be brought to the major leagues sooner rather than later.
Ian Happ - 9th overall, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have shot up MLB's power rankings in 2015, much of which is due to Chicago's success in the draft. Kris Bryant, and the aforementioned Schwarber have helped the Cubs tremendously on the offensive side of things, and the early returns on Ian Happ, an outfielder from the University of Cincinnati, are quite good.
In 251 PA's between Low and High-A, Happ has hit .259/.356/.466. He also posted an ISO of .207, a wOBA of .378, and a wRC+ of 135. The Cubs don't have a need to rush Happ to the big league level, however if he continues to hit like he has in 2015, they might have to find room for him in the near future.
Cornelius Randolph - 10th overall, Philadelphia Phillies
The final top ten pick in the 2015 draft belonged to the Phillies, and they used it to take Cornelius Randolph, a high school outfielder from Georgia. He was sent to the Rookie league, where he hit .302/.425/.442 in 212 plate appearances. He hit just one home run, but still managed to post an ISO of .140, due to his 15 doubles and three triples.
Randolph was drafted by Philadelphia's old guard, and with Andy MacPhail set to lead the organization, it will be interesting to see how he manages the minor leaguers in his system. Randolph is clearly ready to face better competition, and will likely begin the 2016 season in one of the A-Ball levels.