If there was a theme to the first round of the 2016 MLB draft, it was youth.
Three of the first four players selected were taken out of high school, making this the first time since 2002 that three of the top four picks were high school players.
In the first 20 selections, 12 players were drafted out of high school, tied for the most high school players taken in the first 20 picks since 1999.
The top five
The first pick of the draft was Mickey Moniak, taken by the Philadelphia Phillies. Moniak became the fourth left-handed hitting high school outfielder drafted first overall since 1980. Each of the prior three made at least five All-Star teams, as noted in the chart below.
The Phillies are not used to success from their top selections. The highest WAR produced by a Phillies top-five pick came from Lonnie Smith, who played 196 games for the Phillies before finding success with other franchises (38.4 career WAR).
Nick Senzel was taken second overall by the Reds, becoming the highest-ever draft pick out of the University of Tennessee (Luke Hochevar was drafted first overall in 2006 and played at Tennessee, but he was selected out of an independent league in 2006).
Senzel is the eighth player drafted as a third baseman with a top-two selection. Other notable players in that group include Alex Gordon and Kris Bryant.
Ian Anderson, taken third overall by the Atlanta Braves, was the highest-drafted high school player from New York since Shawon Dunston in 1982 (No. 1 overall).
Riley Pint, taken fourth overall by the Colorado Rockies, became the highest-drafted high school player in Kansas history. Pint was the eighth pitcher taken in the top 10 in Rockies history. The most WAR produced by any of the previous picks to date was 9.3 by Jeff Francis.
Corey Ray, selected by the Brewers with the fifth pick, was the highest selection in Louisville history.
Top talent falls
Three notable players ranked in the top 10 on Keith Law’s big board fell out of the top 10. OF Kyle Lewis (No. 11, Mariners), LHP Jason Groome (No. 12, Red Sox) and SS Delvin Pérez (No. 23, Cardinals) could all end up as great value picks.
Lewis, from Mercer University, became the first player from the school taken in the first round in any of the MLB, NHL, NBA or NFL drafts.
Groome fell due to concerns about his signability (the chance of a team being able to negotiate a contract with him after the draft). He was ranked second overall on Keith Law’s big board prior to the draft.
Pérez fell due to a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs leading up to the draft. He is the first player drafted out of Puerto Rico in the first round since Carlos Correa was selected No. 1 overall in 2012.
Pérez is the 591st player drafted out of Puerto Rico in the MLB draft. The island's golden era in the draft occurred between 1989 and 2009, with 20 or more players drafted out of the country in all but three of the 21 drafts in that span. To date, all eight players drafted out of the country with at least 10 career WAR were taken in that span (all between 1992 and 2001).
Pérez will look to change that trend as he and the rest of the first-round picks look to make the majors.