The MLB draft has statistically, been one of the least successful drafts over the years. The game doesn’t always translate well from level to level, and many picks never even most picks don’t even make the majors. There is one draft spot though, that year after year, produces quality talent. That draft spot is not one, not two, not three, but lucky spot number seven that seems to always pay off for the team picking there.
From Fangraphs, the seventh overall draft spot has produced a total WAR of over 130 since 2002. No other draft spot even has half of that number, and the eight, nine and ten spots combined are still a full 15 points below that total.
Clayton Kershaw, Troy Tulowitzki, Prince Fielder, Matt Harvey, Nick Markakis, Homer Bailey, and Archie Bradley are among those taken seventh since 2002. Want to go back even further? How about Frank Thomas, the most recent addition to the Baseball Hall Of Fame. The White Sox picked Thomas seventh overall back in 1989.
It is an interesting phenomenon. How can one spot have so much for success than every single other spot?
This year the Phillies have the seventh overall pick. Phillies love to take risks on toolsey high school athletes in the first round, they have done so in the last seven years, so it only makes sense they will go for that again. It is a draft deep in pitching, but the Phillies would be wise to address their severe lack of depth in position player prospects. Michael Gettys, from Gainesville High school in Georgia fits the description of the players the Phillies usually target perfectly.
Whether they will be able to turn up a star player like every other team in their position seems to always do is left to be seen. It is an interesting statistic to ponder though.