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MLB Draft: A look back at the 2011 MLB Draft

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A look back at the best and worst players who were selected and how they have impacted the league.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 MLB Draft begins on June 12 and teams are hoping to come away with future franchise players while avoiding any busts that can set back their organizations. Before this year’s draft takes place, let’s revisit the 2011 MLB Draft’s 10 biggest successes and its 10 biggest busts and how they have impacted the league:

Biggest Successes:

1. Mookie Betts, OF (5th Round, 172nd overall - BOS)
.302/.355/.500 with 61 HR and 60 SB in 395 MLB games (19.4 bWAR)
Betts established himself as one of the league’s best outfielders with a 31 HR, 113 RBI showing in 2016 en route to his first All-Star selection in San Diego. The 2016 Silver Slugger led the major leagues in total bases last season, also took home his first Gold Glove. At just 24 years old, Betts has already become the face of a new-look Boston franchise in the post-David Ortiz era.

2. Gerrit Cole, SP (1st Round, 1st Overall - PIT )
49-35, 3.24 ERA through 104 MLB starts (11.0 bWAR)
Taken first overall in 2011, Cole wasted little time cementing himself on Pittsburgh’s major league roster. Cole, 26, is already pitching his fifth season atop the Pirates’ rotation, including an All-Star selection and fourth-place Cy Young finish in 2015. Despite a somewhat disappointing 2016 campaign, Cole appears to have returned to his dominance with a 3.36 ERA and a 4.00 K/BB ratio in hist first ten outings in 2017.

3. Francisco Lindor, SS (1st Round, 8th Overall - CLE)
.301/.353/.464 with 223 XBH in 300 MLB games (11.7 bWAR)
Drafted as an 18-year-old, the Indians took their time moving Lindor through the minor league system. The Puerto Rican proved he was ready for the big leagues in 2015, hitting .313 with 22 doubles and 12 stolen bases in 99 games for Cleveland, earning him a second-place selection in the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting. His strong range and dependable bat led the Indians to the World Series in 2016.

4. Jose Fernandez, SP (1st Round, 14th Overall - MIA)
38-17, 2.58 ERA, 11.2 K/9 in 76 MLB starts (14.1 bWAR)
Fernandez’ career was tragically cut short by a freak boating accident last September. However, it is undeniable that the Cuban’s four big league seasons were special. The two-time All Star and NL Rookie of the Year went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA in his first season in the bigs, and his passion and excitement has left a lasting impression on Major League Baseball.

5. George Springer, OF (1st Round, 11th Overall - HOU)
.257/.352/.456 with 74 HR and 248 R in 382 MLB games (11.9 bWAR)
Springer features an impressive power/speed combo, making his impact felt at the top of the lineup and in center field for the Astros. One of the cornerstones of Houston’s future going forward, the 27-year-old has shown flashes of stardom with his bat, homering in Game 1 of the 2015 ALDS. He finished third in AL right field assists in 2016 with 12, and has produced an OPS+ above 115 in each of his four big league seasons.

6. Cody Allen, RP (23rd Round, 698th Overall - CLE)
2.56 ERA, 104 SV, 420 K in 324.0 MLB innings pitched (8.1 bWAR)
Allen is one of the league’s premier relievers, compiling consecutive 30-save seasons in 2015 and 2016. The 28-year-old has just 14 career blown saves in 335 big league appearances at the backend of the Indians’ devastating bullpen. Paired with Andrew Miller, Allen helped vault the Indians into the playoffs in 2016 with a 2.51 ERA in 68.0 innings.

7. Sonny Gray, SP (1st Round, 18th Overall by OAK)
39-32, 3.44 ERA through 102 MLB appearances (9.9 bWAR)
Derailed by a plethora of injuries recently, Gray has regressed on his Cy Young-level numbers he put up between 2013-2015. A rough 2016 in which Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA is an outlier in his five seasons in the majors. Gray may have a change of scenery in his future, with the Athletics struggling to contend under always-active General Manager Billy Beane.

8. Kyle Hendricks, SP (8th Round, 264th overall - TEX)
34-19, 3.35 ERA, 133 ERA+ through 84 MLB starts (10.1 bWAR)
Hendricks was traded to from the Rangers’ organization to Chicago in 2012 for Ryan Dempster, and has solidified himself in the Cubs rotation. In 2016, his third season in Chicago, Hendricks pitched to the tune of a 2.13 ERA and a third-place Cy Young finish. The 27-year-old has been phenomenal in the Postseason as well, including nine innings of one-run ball in the 2016 World Series.

9. Michael Fulmer, SP (Comp. Round A, 44th Overall - NYM)
16-9, 2.92 ERA through 35 MLB starts (6.6 bWAR)
Fulmer is a bit different than the other names on this list, having just broken into the major leagues in 2016. Fulmer has shined on the big stage since being promoted last April, and his 3.06 ERA in 26 starts earned him AL Rookie of the Year honors. At 24 years old, Fulmer might quickly become the face of Detroit’s franchise as the Tigers head into a crucial 2017 trade deadline.

10. Javier Baez, SS (1st Round, 9th Overall - CHC)
.247/.291/.407 with 31 HR and 37 2B in 260 MLB games (3.5 bWAR)
Initially drafted as a shortstop out of high school, Baez has found his home at second base for the reigning-champion Cubs. Although the Puerto Rican has struggled with consistency offensively in his first two full seasons, Baez is a highlight-reel defensive asset for Chicago. The 24-year old took home the 2016 NLCS MVP award, and added a home run in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series to cap off an impressive postseason run.

Biggest Busts

1. Danny Hultzen, SP (1st Round, 2nd Overall - SEA)
Hultzen was unable to overcome several shoulder issues that derailed his initially-impressive professional career. The left-hander was named the #29 overall prospect by Baseball America entering the 2013 season, but after missing all of 2014 on the disabled list, Hultzen never returned to form, retiring after throwing 2 minor league innings in 2016.

2. Chris Reed, SP (1st Round, 16th Overall - LAD)
Drafted out of Stanford, Reed struggled to stay afloat in the minor leagues with an ugly 4.16 ERA in 141 appearances. He managed to reach the major leagues briefly with the Marlins in 2015, but allowed seven baserunners in just four ineffective innings.

3. Jed Bradley, SP (1st Round, 15th Overall - MIL)
The 26-year-old struggled out of the gates in his professional career in Milwaukee’s organization and never found a groove. Despite a 4.47 career ERA in the minors, Bradley was a September call-up with the Orioles in 2016 and earned a victory in his first appearance. The left-hander is still pitching, albeit ineffectively, with Baltimore’s minor league affiliates.

4. Bubba Starling, OF (1st Round, 5th Overall - KC)
The Royals drafted well in the 2000s, with first round selections like Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer— but Starling was one of Kansas City’s draft whiffs.
Lacking plus power, Starling’s career .232 average in the minors has been ineffective, as he has yet to crack a major league roster. Starling is currently hitting .222 at Triple-A Omaha.

5. Levi Michael, SS (1st Round, 30th Overall - MIN)
Considered a strong defensive player, Michael struggled a shortstop in the Twins’ organization, eventually shifting to second base. Through parts of six years, Michael’s single-season high in home runs is just 5, and his career OPS of .685 is less than pedestrian. Currently in Double-A, Michael is hitting .259/.382/.341 in 28 games.

6. Kevin Matthews, SP (1st Round, 33rd Overall - TEX)
The left-hander drafted out of high school did not last long in the minor leagues. He scuffled through a 5.35 ERA in his first full season in 2012, and was released by Texas in 2015.

7. Jake Hager, SS (1st Round, 32nd Overall - TB)
Although Hager features a strong defensive skill set, his bat has not been consistent enough to push his way onto a major league club. In six seasons, the 24-year-old has a career .260 average, has yet to show any flashes of sustainable power. Hager is currently at Triple-A Durham, hitting .230 through 112 plate appearances.

8. Alex Meyer, SP (1st Round, 23rd Overall - MIN)
Meyer, 27, cracked the Angels’ Opening Day rotation as the fifth starter in 2017, and has a 5.79 ERA through his first five starts. The right-hander actually threw well in the minor leagues in 2016, but he’s been ineffective at the big league level across parts of three seasons in the show. Meyer’s opportunity with the Angels has given him a shot at revitalizing his career, but for now, we’ll call him a bust.

9. Brandon Nimmo, OF (1st Round, 13th Overall - NYM) — A top 50 prospect by Baseball America as recently as 2015, Nimmo reached the majors last season and hit .274 in 80 plate appearances, although he collected just two extra-base hits. Without a spot in New York’s future, the former first-rounder is currently at AAA Las Vegas (NYM), where he’s batting a lowly .194 through 82 PAs.

10. Trevor Bauer, SP (1st Round, 3rd Overall - AZ)
It’s somewhat unfair to put Bauer on this list of names; he’s not a conventional “bust” in the true definition of the term. Yet, as the third overall selection in 2011, Bauer’s career 34-36, 4.58 ERA though 108 games has been uninspiring, disappointing, and frustrating. The right-hander has flashed the talent that drove him to the top of the draft board six years ago, but it’s come in brief doses. However, at just 26 years old, Bauer has both the time and the opportunity with the Indians to turn his young career around.