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Ranking the ultimate all-star lineups in NCAA baseball history

We ranked the top 15 ultimate college baseball lineups, which included alums such as (L-R) Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. ESPN Illustration

College baseball is more popular than ever, with more games on TV and big attendance figures, especially in the SEC -- heck, LSU averaged more fans per home game in 2018 than the Miami Marlins. The rich history of the College World Series includes dynasties, future major league All-Stars and heroes like Warren Morris in 1996:

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On this date: LSU wins title on Morris' walk-off homer

On June 8, 1996, Warren Morris sends a home run over the right field fence with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting LSU to a 9-8 win over Miami (Fla.) for the College World Series title.

I thought it would be fun to go through and pick out the ultimate lineups in NCAA baseball history. I focused on the years 1965 to the present. The first draft was held in 1965, and it makes it much easier to track players to specific schools via the draft results and the database at Baseball-Reference.com. (Plus, there weren't that many college players in the majors prior to then, as college baseball didn't really begin to blossom as a route to the majors until the 1970s.)

For the lineups, I picked 15 players based on their value in the major leagues (not what they did in college): eight position players, a DH, a bench player and five pitchers (current players are bolded). I then used cumulative WAR (note: Stats are current through May 6) to rank the top 15 ultimate college baseball lineups -- with some surprise schools that made it and some perennial powers that did not.


15. Florida State

College World Series appearances: 22 (last in 2017)

Titles: 0

The Seminoles have the third-most College World Series appearances, including 16 under legendary coach Mike Martin, now in his 40th season and the winningest coach in college baseball history. They've made the NCAA tournament every season under Martin and have twice been CWS runner-ups under his helm. The school has produced 19 first-round picks, including No. 1 overall selection Paul Wilson in 1994.

C - Buster Posey (41.4 WAR, 1,174 G, 135 HR, .305 career BA, 2012 MVP)
1B - Doug Mientkiewicz (11.8 WAR, 1,087 G, 66 HR, twice hit .300)
2B - Jody Reed (15.9 WAR, 1,284 G, 27 HR, .270 career BA)
3B - Luis Alicea (11.9 WAR, 1,341 G, 47 HR, 1,031 hits)
SS - Stephen Drew (17.0 WAR, 1,268 G, 123 HR, 1,109 hits)
LF - Johnny Grubb (16.6 WAR, 1,424 G, 99 HR, All-Star in 1974)
CF - Deion Sanders (5.5 WAR, 641 G, 39 HR, 186 SB)
RF - J.D. Drew (44.9 WAR, 1,566 G, 242 HR, .384 career OBP)
DH - Terry Kennedy (21.6 WAR, 1,491 G, 113 HR, four-time All-Star C)
Bench - Paul Sorrento (5.6 WAR, 1,093 G, 166 HR, 31 HR in '97)
P - Roger Bailey (5.2 WAR, 92 G, 18-19, 4.90 ERA)
P - Randy Choate (4.4 WAR, 672 G, 16-14, 3.90 ERA)
P - John Wasdin (3.4 WAR, 328 G, 39-39, 5.28 ERA)
P - Paul Wilson (2.0 WAR, 170 G, 40-58, 4.86 ERA)
P - Luke Weaver (0.1 WAR, 59 G, 18-18, 4.58 ERA)

TOTAL WAR: 207.3

Posey and the underrated J.D. Drew anchor the lineup with power and OBP, and it would be a very good defensive team in the infield. Sanders provides plenty of speed and personality. As successful as the Seminoles have been, it's remarkable that they've produced so few pitchers -- and not a single one with even 10 career WAR.

All-time great: Posey was a drafted out of high school as a pitcher, played shortstop at FSU before converting to catcher (he once played all nine positions in a game) and became the fifth overall pick in 2008 after hitting .463 to win the Golden Spikes Award. A three-time World Series champ with the Giants, he's a six-time All-Star and potential Hall of Famer.

Best current major leaguer: It may be Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver, who came over from the Cardinals in the offseason and is off to a great start, and not Posey, who is off to a slow start after hip surgery.

Guy who didn't make it: Ken Felder. Wilson was a disappointment as the first overall pick by the Mets, but injuries were a big reason why. He missed three seasons of major league action following his rookie season due to a torn labrum and Tommy John surgery. At least he made it to the majors. Felder was a tantalizing power prospect who had also been a backup quarterback on the football team. The Brewers took him 12th overall in 1992 -- even though he'd hit .254 as a sophomore and .268 as a junior. The bat didn't develop due to injuries and strikeout issues. He has become a successful player agent.


14. Arkansas

College World Series appearances: 9 (last in 2018)

Titles: 0

The Razorbacks finished second to Oregon State last season, winning the first game of the finals before dropping the final two, their best result since a runner-up finish in 1979. Arkansas has produced seven first-round picks, including Jeff King, the No. 1 overall pick in 1986.

C - Tom Pagnozzi (7.7 WAR, 927 G, 44 HR, three-time Gold Glover)
1B - Eric Hinske (7.8 WAR, 1,387 G, 137 HR, 2002 Rookie of the Year)
2B - Johnny Ray (24.2 WAR, 1,353 G, 53 HR, .290 career BA)
3B - Jeff King (16.8 WAR, 1,201 G, 154 HR, two 100-RBI seasons)
SS - Logan Forsythe (12.7 WAR, 880 G, 66 HR, currently with Rangers)
LF - Andrew Benintendi (7.5 WAR, 362 G, 41 HR, .281 career BA)
CF - Kevin McReynolds (30.1 WAR, 1,502 G, 211 HR, third in '88 MVP vote)
RF - Craig Gentry (9.7 WAR, 601 G, 7 HR, defensive specialist)
DH - Brian Anderson (4.5 WAR, 210 G, 13 HR, fourth in 2018 ROY vote)
Bench - James McCann (3.3 WAR, 468 G, 43 HR, now with White Sox)
P - Cliff Lee (43.5 WAR, 328 G, 143-91, 3.52 ERA, 2008 Cy Young)
P - Dallas Keuchel (18.3 WAR, 192 G, 76-63, 3.66 ERA, 2015 Cy Young)
P - Drew Smyly (9.5 WAR, 160 G, 31-29, 3.84 ERA)
P - Les Lancaster (6.5 WAR, 323 G, 41-28, 4.05 ERA, 22 saves)
P - Tim Lollar (5.8 WAR, 199 G, 47-52, 4.27 ERA)

TOTAL WAR: 207.9

The strength of the team would be the two Cy Young lefties in the rotation -- proof that good things can come after the first round of the draft. King had a decent major league career but didn't live up to the hype as the No. 1 pick (Matt Williams, Kevin Brown and Gary Sheffield were taken in the next five picks) -- and he abruptly retired in May 1999, just a couple of days after becoming fully vested in the pension plan. McReynolds had a solid run with the Padres and Mets in the '80s, averaging 3.8 WAR from 1984 to 1990. Benintendi and Anderson are a couple of recent graduates of the program who should have long careers.

All-time great: Cliff Lee played one year at Arkansas and posted a 4.45 ERA, splitting time between starting and relieving, but the Expos still drafted him in the fourth round and later traded him to Cleveland, where he became a Cy Young winner and one of the best starters in the game.

Best current major leaguer: Benintendi hit .290 and scored 103 runs for the Red Sox last year -- and won a World Series.

Guy who didn't make it: Zack Cox looked like a prototypical Cardinals first-round college pick in 2010 and was twice a top-100 prospect by Baseball America, but his bat stalled in Triple-A.


13. Cal State Fullerton

College World Series appearances: 18 (last in 2017)

Titles: 4 (last in 2004)

Able to recruit locally in the baseball hotbed of Southern California, Fullerton has never had a losing season since moving up to Division I in 1975. Augie Garrido won three titles in two different stints as coach, while George Horton coached the 2004 champs. The school has produced 14 first-round picks, including Phil Nevin, the first overall pick in 1992 by the Astros (famously, Astros scout Hal Newhouser quit after the team passed on drafting Derek Jeter with the pick).

C - Kurt Suzuki (20.0 WAR, 1,409 G, 116 HR, in 13th big league season)
1B - Tim Wallach (38.5 WAR, 2,212 G, 260 HR, five-time All-Star)
2B - Justin Turner (24.3 WAR, 967 G, 94 HR, two top-10 MVP finishes)
3B - Matt Chapman (13.5 WAR, 262 G, 46 HR, 2018 Gold Glover)
SS - Christian Colon (1.8 WAR, 142 G, 1 HR)
LF - Khris Davis (12.7 WAR, 807 G, 203 HR, three straight 40-HR seasons)
CF - Mark Kotsay (21.3 WAR, 1,914 G, 127 HR, .276 career BA)
RF - Aaron Rowand (20.9 WAR, 1,358 G, 136 HR, All-Star in 2007)
DH - Phil Nevin (15.9 WAR, 1,217 G, 208 HR, 41 HR & 126 RBI in 2001)
Bench - Reed Johnson (10.3 WAR, 1,320 G, 65 G, .279 career BA)
P - Ricky Romero (9.9 WAR, 129 G, 51-45, 4.16 ERA, 2011 All-Star)
P - Mike Harkey (6.3 WAR, 131 G, 36-36, 4.49 ERA, fourth pick in 1987)
P - Chad Cordero (7.3 WAR, 314 G, 20-15, 2.89 ERA, 128 saves)
P - Chris Devenski (5.0 WAR, 172 G, 14-12, 2.82 ERA)
P - Michael Lorenzen (4.1 WAR, 191 G, 18-16, 4.06 ERA)

TOTAL WAR: 211.8

Kotsay was one of the greatest players in college baseball history, twice hitting over .400, with 20-plus home runs each season, while also serving as the closer on the 1995 title team (he was Most Outstanding Player of the CWS that year). Chapman, Oakland's first-round pick in 2014, has developed into one of the best all-around players in the majors. We'll slide Turner over to second base and put Khris Davis in the cleanup spot. The pitching is thin on starters -- Romero was off to a promising start before a sudden inability to throw strikes -- but deep in relievers.

All-time great: Tim Wallach was the Golden Spikes winner in 1979 and led the Titans to the CWS title. The Expos drafted him 10th overall, and he reached the majors the following season. From 1982 to 1990, he averaged 4.0 WAR per season, and was known for his outstanding defense at third base (although he moves to first base in this lineup to accommodate Chapman).

Best current major leaguer: A's third baseman Chapman has gone from late first-round pick to Gold Glove winner and top-10 MVP finisher. In other words: one of the best players in the game.

Guy who didn't make it: The Twins drafted right-hander Adam Johnson second overall in 2000, but he won just one game in the majors.


12. Miami (Fla.)

College World Series appearances: 25 (last in 2016)

Titles: 4 (last in 2001)

The U has long been a college baseball powerhouse, although it's now close to 20 years since its last championship. Ron Fraser coached the program for 30 years, from 1963 to 1992, and won two titles, while Jim Morris won two as well. The school has been better at producing hitters at the major league level than pitchers and has produced 11 first-round picks. Third baseman Pat Burrell was the first overall pick in 1998.

C - Charles Johnson (22.6 WAR, 1,188 G, 167 HR, four-time Gold Glover)
1B - Aubrey Huff (20.4 WAR, 1,681 G, 242 HR, .278 career BA)
2B - F.P. Santangelo (6.7 WAR, 665 G, 21 HR, .364 career OBP)
3B - Mike Pagliarulo (10.6 WAR, 1,246 G, 134 HR, 60 HR in '86-'87)
SS - Alex Cora (7.0 WAR, 1,273 G, 35 HR, .243 career BA)
LF - Greg Vaughn (30.8 HR, 1,731 G, 355 HR, 50 HR in 1998)
CF - Jon Jay (13.9 WAR, 1,131 G, 36 HR, .285 career BA)
RF - Ryan Braun (46.0 WAR, 1,613 G, 328 HR, 2011 NL MVP)
DH - Pat Burrell (18.9 WAR, 1,640 G, 292 HR, four 30-HR seasons)
Bench - Yasmani Grandal (14.2 WAR, 755 G, 119 HR, three 20-HR seasons)
P - Neal Heaton (8.4 WAR, 382 G, 80-96, 4.37 ERA, 1990 All-Star)
P - Danny Graves (5.6 WAR, 518 G, 43-44, 4.05 ERA, 182 saves)
P - Mike Armstrong (1.3 WAR, 197 G, 19-17, 4.10 ERA, 11 saves)
P - Chris Perez (4.7 WAR, 393 G, 16-24, 3.51 ERA, 133 saves)
P - Joe Grahe (4.1 WAR, 187 G, 22-30, 4.41 ERA, 45 saves)

TOTAL WAR: 215.2

This lineup would feature an imposing foursome of sluggers in Braun, Vaughn, Burrell and Huff, but the pitching staff is heavy on relievers. Heaton, who went 18-4 as a sophomore and 16-1 as a junior, is a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. If you want to stretch things, you can include Alex Fernandez on the pitching staff. He played at Miami as a freshman before transferring to Miami Dade CC as a sophomore (he won 107 games in the majors).

All-time great: Braun was the fifth overall pick in 2005, and by 2007 was NL Rookie of the Year with the Brewers. He'd win MVP honors in 2011 and finish second in the 2012 voting, but a PED suspension cast a cloud over his greatness.

Best current major leaguer: Grandal is one of the best-hitting catchers in the majors, with three straight seasons of 20-plus home runs.

Guy who didn't make it: The Dodgers drafted shortstop Ross Jones ninth in 1980, but he had just 167 plate appearances in the majors (none with the Dodgers).


11. Michigan

College World Series appearances: 7 (last in 1984)

Titles: 2 (last in 1962)

A surprise team on our top-15 list, given Michigan has a rich baseball history and made the NCAA tournament in 2015 and 2017. Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and pitcher Jim Abbott are the most famous alums, but the school has produced a handful of quality pitchers and churned out several quality big leaguers in the '70s and '80s.

C - Mike Matheny (-0.4 WAR, 1,305 G, 67 HR, four-time Gold Glover)
1B - Hal Morris (13.4 WAR, 1,246 G, 76 HR, .304 career BA)
2B - Ted Sizemore (16.1 WAR, 1,411 G, 23 HR, 1969 Rookie of Year)
3B - Chris Sabo (16.6 WAR, 911 G, 116 HR, three-time All-Star, 1988 ROY)
SS - Barry Larkin (70.4 WAR, 2,180 G, 198 HR, 2,340 H, 1995 MVP)
LF - Rick Leach (3.0 WAR, 799 G, 18 HR, All-American QB as well)
CF - Elliott Maddox (14.9 WAR, 1,029 G, 18 HR, eighth in '74 MVP vote)
RF - Leon Roberts (12.1 WAR, 900 G, 78 HR, .301 with 22 HR in '78)
DH - Jake Fox (-0.8 WAR, 193 G, 20 HR, .237 career BA)
Bench - Chris Getz (1.7 WAR, 459 G, 3 HR, seven seasons in majors)
P - Geoff Zahn (20.3 WAR, 304 G, 111-109, 3.74 ERA, won 18 in 1982)
P - Jim Abbott (19.6 WAR, 263 G, 87-108, 4.25 ERA, third in '91 Cy Young)
P - Rich Hill (12.2 WAR, 272 G, 61-41, 3.90 ERA, 3.09 ERA past three seasons)
P - J.J. Putz (13.1 WAR, 572 G, 37-33, 3.08 ERA, 189 saves)
P - Lary Sorensen (12.9 WAR, 346 G, 93-103, 4.15 ERA, won 18 in '78)

TOTAL WAR: 225.1

The strength here is the pitching staff -- quality major leaguers like Steve Howe, Scott Kamieniecki and Steve Ontiveros would have provided even more depth. Zahn was a craft lefty in the '70s and early '80s and later coached the team for six seasons. Putz had some dominant seasons as a closer and Sorensen was an All-Star in 1978 at 22 -- when he threw 280 innings.

All-time great: Larkin was the fourth overall pick in a loaded 1985 draft. He reached the majors in 1986 and spent 19 seasons with the Reds, making 12 All-Star teams, and was elected to Cooperstown in 2012.

Best current major leaguer: The options are a little slim outside of Dodgers starter Hill, who was drafted way back in 2001 but is still going strong at age 39.

Guy who didn't make it: Rich Stoll. The 14th pick in 1983 by the Expos after leading Michigan to a third-place finish at the CWS, Stoll reached Triple-A. Peter Gammons once reported that the Red Sox were set to take Stoll with the 19th pick, but with him off the board, they settled for another right-hander: Roger Clemens.


10. Auburn

College World Series appearances: 4 (last in 1997)

Titles: 0

The Tigers have had plenty of tournament success, with 19 regional appearances, but it's been more than 20 years since their last CWS trip. The best player in school was Tim Hudson, a two-way star in college. The best pro is Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. The highest-drafted player was Casey Mize, who went first overall last year to the Tigers and is currently tearing up the minors (he'll make this team when we update in the future). The most famous player, however, is Bo Jackson.

C - Andy Merchant (0.1 WAR, 3 G, 0 HR)
1B - Frank Thomas (73.9 WAR, 2,322 G, 521 HR, .301 BA, two-time MVP)
2B - Mark Bellhorn (8.0 WAR, 731 G, 69 HR, 27 HR in '02)
3B - Josh Donaldson (39.9 WAR, 922 G, 188 HR, 2015 MVP)
SS - Tug Hulett (-0.7 WAR, 45 G, 1 HR)
LF - Bo Jackson (8.3 WAR, 694 G, 141 HR, 32 HR in 1989)
CF - Clete Thomas (1.2 WAR, 249 G, 13 HR, .233 career BA)
RF - Gabe Gross (4.6 WAR, 657 G, 40 HR, starting QB in 1998)
DH - Garrett Cooper (0.1 WAR, 33 G, 0 HR)
Bench - Pat Keedy (0.2 WAR, 29 G, 3 HR)
P - Tim Hudson (58.1 WAR, 482 G, 222-133, 3.49 ERA, second in '00 Cy Young)
P - Gregg Olson (12.8 WAR, 622 G, 40-39, 3.46 ERA, 217 saves, '89 ROY)
P - Terry Leach (10.0 WAR, 376 G, 38-27, 3.15 ERA, 10 saves)
P - Scott Sullivan (6.4 WAR, 558 G, 40-28, 3.98 ERA, workhorse reliever)
P - Joe Beckwith (2.9 WAR, 229 G, 18-19, 3.54 ERA, 7 saves)

TOTAL WAR: 225.8

We have two MVP winners to anchor the lineup in Thomas and Donaldson, and if we can add the 1989 version of Bo -- the year he led off the All-Star Game with a home run -- then we have a meaty middle of the order. Given the weakness at the bottom, maybe we'll turn Hudson into a two-way player. He was one of the best in SEC history his junior season, when he went 15-2 with a 2.97 ERA and hit .396 with 18 home runs. The pitching staff is heavy on relievers behind Hudson, including sidearmers Leach and Sullivan. And if a football game breaks out, we have a Heisman winner, a quarterback in Gross and a one-time tight end in Thomas.

All-time great: The Big Hurt hit .403 with 19 home runs, 73 walks and 25 strikeouts his draft season in 1989, yet fell to seventh in the draft. Less than two years later, he finished third in the MVP voting and would then win back-to-back MVP awards in 1993 and 1994.

Best current major leaguer: It's still Donaldson, at least until Mize arrives in the majors. Last year's first overall pick has overmatched minor leaguers in 2019, including a no-hitter.

Guy who didn't make it: The Angels drafted Chris Bootcheck 20th overall in 2000, but the tall, lanky right-hander never put it all together and won just three games in the majors.


9. Minnesota

College World Series appearances: 5 (last in 1977)

Titles: 3 (last in 1964)

That's right, back in the ancient history era of college baseball, the Golden Gophers were a national power, winning titles in 1956, 1960 and 1964 under College Baseball Hall of Famer Dick Siebert (an 11-year major leaguer). His most famous team was one that didn't win it all, the 1973 team with two-way star Dave Winfield. The Gophers haven't made the CWS since 1977, but have made 20 tournament appearances since then. The school has produced six first-round picks, including Hall of Famers Winfield (fourth pick in 1973) and Paul Molitor (third pick in 1977), who help the Gophers crack the top 10.

C - Dan Wilson (12.9 WAR, 1,299 G, 88 HR, All-Star in 1996)
1B - Robb Quinlan (1.3 WAR, 458 G, 25 HR, .276 career BA)
2B - Brent Gates (5.5 WAR, 685 G, 25 HR, hit .290 as a rookie)
3B - Terry Steinbach (28.0 WAR, 1,546 G, 162 HR, three-time All-Star C)
SS - Jack Hannahan (6.5 WAR, 614 G, 29 HR, mostly 3B in MLB)
LF - J.T. Bruett (0.2 WAR, 73 G, 0 HR)
CF - Paul Molitor (75.7 WAR, 2,683 G, 234 HR, .306 BA, 3,319 hits)
RF - Dave Winfield (64.2 WAR, 2,973 G, 465 HR, .283 BA, 3,110 hits)
DH - Greg Olson (2.2 WAR, 414 G, 20 HR, 1990 All-Star)
Bench - Mike Sadek (-0.1 WAR, 383 G, 5 HR)
P - Denny Neagle (22.4 WAR, 392 G, 124-92, 4.24 ERA, 20 W in '97)
P - Glen Perkins (8.7 WAR, 409 G, 35-25, 3.88 ERA, 120 saves)
P - Jim Brower (3.0 WAR, 354 G, 33-32, 4.67 ERA, 5 saves)
P - Jerry Ujdur (-0.6 WAR, 53 G, 12-16, 4.78 ERA)
P - Bryan Hickerson (-1.0 WAR, 209 G, 21-21, 4.72 ERA)

TOTAL WAR: 228.0

Obviously, this roster is top heavy, with Molitor and Winfield, plus we have to shift guys around a little bit. Steinbach was a third baseman in college and started a few games there in the majors, but he made his mark as the catcher on the Bash Brothers A's clubs. Molitor did play one season in center field for the Brewers. Hannahan was an excellent third baseman in the majors with the range to fill in at shortstop. In a tournament, the lack of depth would be an issue.

All-time great: Molitor and Winfield were both local kids, Molitor from Cretin-Derham High School in St. Paul (also the school of Hannahan and Joe Mauer) and Winfield from St. Paul Central. Molitor has the higher career WAR (Baseball-Reference doesn't like Winfield's defensive metrics), but let's call this one a tie.

Best current major leaguer: No current major leaguers, although pitchers Ben Meyer and D.J. Snelten both had time in the bigs in 2018.

Guy who didn't make it: Winfield was a baseball and basketball star at Minnesota, but Noel Jenke was a three-sport star, playing baseball, football and hockey. The Vikings drafted him in football, and the Blackhawks tried to sign him to play hockey (Jenke is apparently considered the first college player to use a curved stick), and the Red Sox drafted the outfielder 13th overall in 1969. He signed with Boston but never made the majors and later had a four-year career as a linebacker in the NFL.


8. Georgia Tech

College World Series appearances: 3 (last in 2006)

Titles: 0

Danny Hall has coached the Yellow Jackets since 1994, but his first team remains his best. With a loaded lineup featuring Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek and Jay Payton, the team reached the CWS championship, losing to Oklahoma in the title game. Garciaparra and Varitek were first-round picks that year, with Payton a supplemental first-rounder and pitcher Brad Rigby going in the second round. The highest pick in school history is catcher Joey Bart, drafted second overall last season by the Giants. Tech has had 10 first-round picks and another seven supplemental first-round choices.

C - Jason Varitek (24.2 WAR, 1,546 G, 193 HR, three-time All-Star)
1B - Mark Teixeira (51.8 WAR, 1,862 G, 409 HR, second in 2009 MVP vote)
2B - Eric Patterson (-0.2 WAR, 226 G, 10 HR)
3B - Derek Dietrich (5.8 WAR, 647 G, 70 HR, now with Reds)
SS - Nomar Garciaparra (44.2 WAR, 1,434 G, 229 HR, .372 BA in 2000)
LF - Darren Bragg (8.9 WAR, 916 G, 46 HR, .255 career BA)
CF - Charlie Blackmon (16.6 WAR, 959 G, 149 HR, three-time All-Star)
RF - Jay Payton (15.4 WAR, 1,259 G, 119 HR, .279 career BA)
DH - Matt Wieters (18.0 WAR, 1,094 G, 136 HR, four-time All-Star)
Bench - Matt Murton (3.3 WAR, 346 G, 29 HR, .297 in 2006)
P - Kevin Brown (67.8 WAR, 486 G, 211-144, 3.28 ERA, two-time ERA champ)
P - Micah Owings (3.3 WAR, 138 G, 32-33, 4.86 ERA, .283, 9 HR)
P - Blake Wood (1.0 WAR, 270 G, 16-16, 4.47 ERA)
P - Jim Poole (0.9 WAR, 431 G, 22-12, 4.31 ERA)
P - Marc Pisciotta (0.8 WAR, 75 G, 4-5, 4.24 ERA)

TOTAL WAR: 261.9

As with Minnesota, if we ran this team out in a pretend tournament format, the lack of pitching and lineup depth would probably hurt them. But that's a fun top of the lineup. We forget how amazing peak Garciaparra was, winning back-to-back batting titles with marks of .357 and .372 in 1999 and 2000. As with Teixeira, injuries later in their careers ended their Hall of Fame chances. You have two good catchers in Varitek and Wieters, and Blackmon is still going strong.

All-time great: The fourth overall pick in 1986, Kevin Brown debuted in the majors with the Rangers that season and went on to 211 wins and had a 2.53 ERA from 1996 to 2001. When he appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2011, however, he received just 12 votes. With an adjusted ERA equal to Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling, Tom Seaver and Justin Verlander, he should have received stronger consideration.

Best current major leaguer: The Rockies drafted Charlie Blackmon in the second round in 2008, and he's made three All-Star teams. He's on his way to scoring 100 runs for the fourth season in a row (he led the NL the past two years).

Guy who didn't make it: A switch-hitting second baseman and star on the 1988 gold medal-winning Olympic team, Ty Griffin was the ninth overall pick in 1988 by the Cubs. With Ryne Sandberg entrenched at second, the Cubs passed on Robin Ventura -- who went 10th to the White Sox -- with the plan of moving Griffin to third base. He was plagued by shoulder issues and never reached the majors, and now coaches high school baseball in Tampa.


7. Long Beach State

College World Series appearances: 4 (last in 1998)

Titles: 0

The "Dirtbags" are another team with the wealth of baseball talent in California at their disposal. Under Dave Snow, they reached four CWS between 1989 and 1998. Evan Longoria is the school's highest overall pick -- third in 2006 -- and the school has produced six first-round picks (and three supplemental first-rounders).

C - Brad Davis (0.4 WAR, 33 G, 3 HR)
1B - Jason Giambi (50.5 WAR, 2,260 G, 440 HR, 2000 AL MVP, 2001 runner-up)
2B - Danny Espinosa (7.5 WAR, 872 G, 98 HR, twice hit 20 HRs)
3B - Evan Longoria (52.4 WAR, 1,596 G, 283 HR, three-time AS, four 30-HR seasons)
SS - Troy Tulowitzki (44.2 WAR, 1,291 G, 225 HR, five-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves)
LF - Jeff McNeil (4.1 WAR, 101 G, 5 HR, off to great start with the Mets)
CF - Jeremy Reed (1.9 WAR, 483 G, 12 HR)
RF - Shane Peterson (0.8 WAR, 125 G, 4 HR)
DH - Bobby Crosby (5.4 WAR, 747 G, 62 HR, 2004 Rookie of Year)
Bench - Matt Duffy (8.7 WAR, 406 G, 21 HR, 4.7 WAR in 2015)
P - Jered Weaver (34.4 WAR, 331 G, 150-98, 3.63 ERA, second in 2011 Cy Young vote)
P - Steve Trachsel (25.1 WAR, 420 G, 143-159, 4.39 ERA, 1996 All-Star)
P - Jason Vargas (15.7 WAR, 275 G, 93-92, 4.30 ERA, 18 wins in 2017)
P - Marco Estrada (12.5 WAR, 283 G, 62-68, 4.29 ERA, 2016 All-Star)
P - Jared Hughes (8.3 WAR, 470 G, 26-20, 2.75 ERA, 11 saves)

TOTAL WAR: 271.9

The Dirtbags have a pretty impressive foursome to build around in Giambi, Longoria, Tulowitzki and Weaver. Weaver had one of the greatest college seasons ever in 2004, going 15-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 213 K's in 144 innings. He fell to 12th in the draft only because of his bonus demands. The rest of the lineup after the big three is a little weak, although Jeff McNeil might end up having a nice career. The pitching staff has depth, and the school has produced several good relievers, including Bryan Shaw, Randy Moffitt and Nick Vincent.

All-time great: You could go with any of the big three. Tulo was once regarded as the best all-around player in the game, although he never finished higher than fifth in MVP voting, and injuries derailed what would have been an even better career. I'll go with Longoria over Giambi, a nod to his two-way ability, although peak Giambi was amazing, hitting .330/.462/.634 from 2000 to 2002.

Best current major leaguer: With Longoria in decline, the nod goes to Mets infielder/outfielder McNeil, a late bloomer who is hitting well over .300 in his first full season in the majors.

Guy who didn't make it: The ninth pick in 1989, the Angels drafted Kyle Abbott the year after they had drafted Jim Abbott. Kyle went 4-17 in his big league career.


6. Stanford

College World Series appearances: 16 (last in 2008)

Titles: 2 (last in 1988)

Under Mark Marquess, the Stanford coach from 1977 to 2017, the Cardinal built a powerhouse program that won back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988, and was the runner-up in 2000, 2001 and 2003. The school has made just one CWS trip since that 2003 runner-up finish, however. New Hall of Famer Mike Mussina was a freshman starter on the '88 title team, while Jack McDowell was the ace of the '87 squad. Mark Appel was the first overall pick in 2013, as Stanford has had 24 first-round picks, including eight top-five selections.

C - Bob Boone (27.4 WAR, 2,264 G, 105 HR, four-time All-Star, 8 Gold Gloves)
1B - Mike Aldrete (8.8 WAR, 930 G, 41 HR, hit .325 in 1987)
2B - Jed Lowrie (17.6 WAR, 1,109 G, 104 HR, 2018 All-Star)
3B - Steve Buechele (16.5 WAR, 1,334 G, 137 HR, career-high 22 HR in '91)
SS - Frank Duffy (10.4 WAR, 915 G, 26 HR, traded for George Foster)
LF - Carlos Quentin (10.4 WAR, 834 G, 154 HR, fifth in 2008 MVP vote)
CF - Jeffrey Hammonds (8.6 WAR, 957 G, 110 HR, 2000 All-Star)
RF - Stephen Piscotty (8.1 WAR, 516 G, 70 HR, 27 HR with A's in '18)
DH - Jody Gerut (7.2 WAR, 574 G, 59 HR, .279/22 HR as rookie in '03)
Bench - Jason Castro (11.9 WAR, 764 G, 78 HR, All-Star in 2013)
P - Mike Mussina (82.8 WAR, 537 G, 270-153, 3.68 ERA, eight top-6 Cy Young votes)
P - Jack McDowell (27.8 WAR, 277 G, 127-87, 3.85 ERA, 1993 Cy Young)
P - Rick Helling (20.2 WAR, 301 G, 93-81, 4.68 ERA, won 20 in 1998)
P - Jeremy Guthrie (17.8 WAR, 306 G, 91-109, 4.42 ERA, 15 wins in '13)
P - Drew Storen (4.9 WAR, 470 G, 29-18, 3.45 ERA, 99 saves)

TOTAL WAR: 280.4

This lineup is built more around depth than star power, although Mussina and McDowell provide a nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. For years, scouts talked about the "Stanford swing," a flat, level swing often tailored to hit to the opposite field. That swing -- and almost all of their hitters employed this style -- worked in college, but a lot of high-profile Stanford hitters failed to adjust to the pros or develop enough power (like first baseman David McCarty, the third overall pick in 1991). Still, Stanford has produced enough solid major leaguers to rank sixth on our list.

All-time great: The Orioles drafted Mike Mussina in the 11th round out of high school, but he went to Stanford and the Orioles redrafted him in the first round (20th overall) in 1990. Known for his knuckle-curve and excellent control, Mussina never won a Cy Young Award nor led in ERA, but he was consistently great for a long time and won 20 games his final season in the majors. He was finally elected to Cooperstown in January on his sixth year on the ballot.

Best current major leaguer: A supplemental first-round pick in 2012, Piscotty moved from third base to the outfield as a pro and has two 20-homer seasons so far.

Guy who didn't make it: The Pirates drafted Appel eighth overall in 2012, but he returned to school, and the Astros took him first overall in 2013 -- famously, just ahead of Kris Bryant. He had a good fastball but was always hittable in the minors and retired last year without reaching the majors, unfortunately making him one of the biggest busts in draft history.


5. San Diego State

College World Series appearances: 0

Titles: 0

The Aztecs are another surprise entry in our top 10 given that they've never reached the College World Series in their 14 tournament appearances (including 2017 and 2018). Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn boosts the overall WAR total, but the school also produced Graig Nettles in the first draft back in 1965, and his career WAR almost matches Gwynn's. The school has also produced enough pitching -- including No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg -- to help them get this high in the rankings.

C - Jason Phillips (-1.7 WAR, 465 G, 30 HR, hit .298 in 2003)
1B - Mark Grace (46.4 WAR, 2,245 G, 173 HR, .303 BA, 2,445 hits)
2B - Al Newman (2.5 WAR, 854 G, 1 HR, eight seasons as utility guy)
3B - Graig Nettles (68.0 WAR, 2,700 G, 390 HR, six-time All-Star)
SS - Bobby Meacham (3.9 WAR, 457 G, 8 HR, eighth overall pick in 1981)
LF - Jeff DaVanon (5.2 WAR, 528 G, 33 HR, .349 career OBP)
CF - Tony Gwynn Jr. (5.2 WAR, 685 G, 7 HR, eight years in majors)
RF - Tony Gwynn (69.2 WAR, 2,440 G, 135 HR, .338 career BA, 3,141 hits)
DH - Travis Lee (7.2 WAR, 1,099 G, 115 HR, second pick in 1996)
Bench - Chris Gwynn (-1.4 WAR, 599 G, 17 HR, 10 seasons in majors)
P - Stephen Strasburg (28.1 WAR, 213 G, 97-53, 3.15 ERA, third in '17 Cy Young vote)
P - Bud Black (20.9 WAR, 398 G, 121-116, 3.84 ERA, won 17 in 1984)
P - Aaron Harang (20.0 WAR, 387 G, 128-143, 4.26 ERA, led NL in W, SO in '06)
P - Dave Smith (11.7 WAR, 609 G, 53-53, 2.67 ERA, 216 saves, two-time All-Star)
P - Justin Masterson (10.3 WAR, 258 G, 64-74, 4.31 ERA, All-Star in 2013)

TOTAL WAR: 295.5

The top of the lineup would be fun, with Gwynn and Grace hitting line drives, but outside of Nettles, there isn't much power here. Lee lasted nine seasons in the majors, but a career .256/.337/.408 line was a disappointment given his draft position. The rotation is solid, with Strasburg, Black and Harang. Smith was one of the best relievers in the '80s with the Astros.

All-time great: In the same draft that teammate Bobby Meacham went eighth overall, the Padres selected Tony Gwynn in the third round. Gwynn had hit .416 with 11 home runs and just nine strikeouts in 52 games, but one reason he fell: The same day the Padres selected him, the Clippers took him in the NBA draft following a stellar career as a point guard. In fact, Gwynn would join the baseball team at SDSU only after basketball season ended. He chose baseball as a pro, however, and he reached the majors barely a year after getting drafted. Eight batting titles later, he was a first-ballot inductee to Cooperstown.

Best current major leaguer: Strasburg is approaching 100 career wins and has never had a season with an ERA above 3.75.

Guy who didn't make it: Eric Christopherson. A first-round pick (19th overall) in 1990, the catcher spent 10 years in the minors, including five in Triple-A, but never got even a cup of coffee in the big leagues.


4. Texas

College World Series appearances: 36 (last in 2018)

Titles: 6 (last in 2005)

The all-time leader in CWS appearances and tied with LSU for the second-most titles, Bibb Falk, Cliff Gustafson and Augie Garrido each won two championships. The Longhorns have produced 19 first-round picks plus another eight supplemental first-round picks. The school has always been better at producing pitchers than position players: 18 of those 27 first-round picks were pitchers. Greg Swindell, the second overall pick in 1986, is the highest pick in school history, while Roger Clemens is responsible for 45 percent of the cumulative WAR of our Texas roster.

C - Bob Kearney (3.9 WAR, 479 G, 27 HR, .233 career BA)
1B - Brandon Belt (22.9 WAR, 962 G, 117 HR, All-Star in 2016)
2B - Shane Halter (6.4 WAR, 690 G, 45 HR, played all nine positions in 2000)
3B - Dave Chalk (8.5 WAR, 903 G, 15 HR, two-time All-Star)
SS - Spike Owen (12.5 WAR, 1,544 G, 46 HR, 1,211 hits)
LF - Calvin Murray (2.1 WAR, 288 G, 8 HR, two-time first-round pick)
CF - Drew Stubbs (8.3 WAR, 911 G, 92 HR, 22 HR/30 SB in 2010)
RF - Brooks Kieschnick (1.4 WAR, 257 G, 16 HR, 74 G, 4.59 ERA as P)
DH - Keith Moreland (3.5 WAR, 1,306 G, 121 HR, .307/106 RBI in '85)
Bench - Ron Gardenhire (0.8 WAR, 285 G, 4 HR, longtime manager)
P - Roger Clemens (139.2 WAR, 709 G, 354-184, 3.12 ERA, seven Cy Young awards)
P - Burt Hooton (35.6 WAR, 480 G, 151-136, 3.38 ERA, second in '78 Cy Young vote)
P - Greg Swindell (30.5 WAR, 664 G, 123-122, 3.86 ERA, 18 W in 1988)
P - Shane Reynolds (17.8 WAR, 305, 114-96, 4.09 ERA, won 19 in 1998)
P - Huston Street (14.4 WAR, 665 G, 42-34, 2.95 ERA, 324 saves)

TOTAL WAR: 307.8

It's remarkable how few big major league hitters the Longhorns have produced. Belt is easily the career leader in WAR among position players, and only he and Moreland have hit 100 home runs. In a tournament, however, a rotation of Clemens, Hooton and Swindell would be pretty tough, with Street closing. Hooton had an excellent 10-year run from 1972 to 1981 with the Cubs and Dodgers, including three 5-WAR seasons.

All-time great: Undrafted out of high school, the Mets selected Roger Clemens in the 12th round in 1981 out of San Jacinto JC, but Clemens instead pitched two seasons at Texas, leading the Longhorns to the 1983 national title (although fellow pitcher Calvin Schiraldi was the Most Outstanding Player of the CWS). Somehow, Clemens fell to 19th in the 1983 draft -- the 11th pitcher selected.

Best current major leaguer: Belt was drafted out of high school and junior college as a pitcher, but he wanted to hit. Good decision. He's in his ninth season in the majors.

Guy who didn't make it: Kevin Garner. A two-way threat his junior season, the Padres selected him 10th overall as a pitcher in 1987, but he hurt his elbow in 1988 and moved to the outfield. Injuries and illness stalled his development, and he peaked at Triple-A.


3. UCLA

College World Series appearances: 5 (last in 2013)

Titles: 1 (2013)

The Bruins have produced a long list of major leaguers, but surprisingly have reached just five College World Series -- although three of those have come since 2010. The title run in 2013 was a shocker after finishing third in the Pac-12, and they became the first team since 1966 to win the title without hitting a home run in the CWS. Pitcher Adam Plutko was the Most Outstanding Player. The Bruins have produced 12 first-rounders, including four picks in the top three: Gerrit Cole (No. 1 in 2011), Tim Leary (No. 2 in 1979), Troy Glaus (No. 3 in 1997) and Trevor Bauer (No. 3 in 2011).

C - Don Slaught (19.3 WAR, 1,327 G, 77 HR, .283 BA, 1,151 hits)
1B - Chris Chambliss (27.5 WAR, 2,175 G, 185 HR, .279 career BA)
2B - Chase Utley (65.4 WAR, 1,937 G, 259 HR, six-time All-Star)
3B - Troy Glaus (38.0 WAR, 1,537 G, 320 HR, four-time All-Star)
SS - Brandon Crawford (22.9 WAR, 1,138 G, 88 HR, three-time Gold Glover)
LF - Jeff Conine (19.5 WAR, 2,024 G, 214 HR, 1,982 hits)
CF - Shane Mack (21.6 WAR, 923 G, 80 HR, .309 BA from '90 to '94)
RF - Eric Byrnes (10.5 WAR, 963 G, 109 HR, 21 HR/50 SB in 2007)
DH - Todd Zeile (19.4 WAR, 2,158 G, 253 HR, 90+ RBIs five times)
Bench - Mike Gallego (17.0 WAR, 1,111 G, 42 HR, known for defense)
P - Gerrit Cole (17.5 WAR, 166 G, 76-51, 3.39 ERA, two top-5 Cy Young votes)
P - Trevor Bauer (15.7 WAR, 167 G, 63-48, 3.87 ERA, 2.21 ERA in '18)
P - Tim Leary (12.0 WAR, 292 G, 78-105, 4.36 ERA, 17 W/2.91 ERA in '88)
P - Dave Schmidt (8.7 WAR, 376 G, 54-55, 3.88 ERA, 50 saves)
P - Casey Janssen (7.4 WAR, 437 G, 31-29, 3.63 ERA, 90 saves)

TOTAL WAR: 322.4

The Bruins rank high based more on impressive depth than pure star power -- we couldn't even fit quality major leaguers like Eric Karros and Dave Roberts on the roster. This would be a good defensive team with Crawford and Utley up the middle and has a lot of high-average hitters in guys like Utley, Mack, Conine and Slaught. Glaus (two 40-homer seasons) can hit in the cleanup spot. Teammates Cole and Bauer head the rotation and both appear to have plenty of great seasons ahead of them.

All-time great: If we included the pre-draft era, we could turn to Jackie Robinson, who reportedly hit .097 for the UCLA baseball team in 1940. Instead, we go to another second baseman in Utley, who may have been the second-best player in the majors from 2005 to 2009, when he averaged 7.9 WAR per season (trailing only Albert Pujols).

Best current major leaguer: Cole went first in the 2011 draft, and Bauer third. They finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in last year's AL Cy Young vote, but Bauer may have won it if he hadn't been hit by a line drive and fractured his leg.

Guy who didn't make it: Josh Karp. The sixth pick in 2001, Karp had elite stuff but never dominated in college or in the minors before a shoulder injury ended his career.


2. Arizona State

College World Series appearances: 22 (last in 2010)

Titles: 5 (last in 1981)

The Sun Devils were a power in the 1960s under Bobby Winkles and then for more than two decades under Jim Brock, with five runner-up finishes to go with their five championships. The first player ever drafted was Sun Devils outfielder Rick Monday by the Kansas City Athletics, and in 1976, 13 Sun Devils were drafted, including No. 1 overall pick Floyd Bannister (although ASU was upset in the College World Series that year). Bob Horner was a third Sun Devil drafted first overall (Reggie Jackson was famously drafted second in 1966 behind a catcher named Steve Chilcott), and they've had 20 first-round picks.

C - Paul Lo Duca (17.9 WAR, 1,082 G, 80 HR, four-time All-Star)
1B - Alvin Davis (20.0 WAR, 1,206 G, 160 HR, 1984 Rookie of Year)
2B - Jason Kipnis (21.3 WAR, 1,017 G, 106 HR, two-time All-Star)
3B - Sal Bando (61.5 WAR, 2,019 G, 242 HR, three top-4 MVP votes)
SS - Dustin Pedroia (51.7 WAR, 1,512 G, 140 HR, .299 BA, 2008 MVP)
LF - Barry Bonds (162.8 WAR, 2,986 G, 762 HR, 1.051 OPS, 7 MVPs)
CF - Rick Monday (33.1 WAR, 1,986 G, 241 HR, two-time All-Star)
RF - Reggie Jackson (74.0 WAR, 2,820 G, 563 HR, '73 MVP, Mr. October)
DH - Bob Horner (21.9 WAR, 1,020 G, 218 HR, 1978 Rookie of Year)
Bench - Andre Ethier (21.2 WAR, 1,455 G, 162 HR, .285 career BA)
P - Floyd Bannister (26.3 WAR, 431 G, 134-143, 4.06 ERA, '82 All-Star)
P - Larry Gura (21.4 WAR, 403 G, 126-97, 3.76 ERA, twice won 18)
P - Mike Leake (15.5 WAR, 276 G, 95-90, 4.05 ERA, went straight to MLB)
P - Craig Swan (12.7 WAR, 231 G, 59-72, 3.74 ERA, '78 ERA champ)
P - Gary Gentry (6.1 WAR, 157 G, 46-49, 3.56 ERA, 13 W for '69 Mets)

TOTAL WAR: 567.4

Wow, there is some serious firepower in this lineup. The nine starters bashed 2,512 career home runs, including two of the greatest sluggers in the game's history in Bonds and Jackson. We had to cheat a little bit and moved Pedroia over to his college position, but we'll sacrifice defense to get his bat in the lineup. The roster is so deep that eight players with at least 10 career WAR couldn't even make the team. The pitching staff isn't as dominant, but Bannister and Gura had long careers and Gentry had a promising start to his career before injuries. Trevor Williams of the Pirates is an up-and-coming starter who will soon surpass Gentry in career WAR.

All-time great: The Giants drafted Barry Bonds in the second round out of high school, but he didn't sign and the Pirates then took him sixth overall in 1985. The first four picks all had long MLB careers -- B.J. Surhoff, Will Clark, Bobby Witt and Barry Larkin -- but the fifth pick was a high school catcher named Kurt Brown by the White Sox. He never made the majors.

Best current major leaguer: Williams, the Pirates' starter, has blossomed the past two seasons, even though he's not a big strikeout guy. But he gets ground balls and weak contact with excellent movement on his fastball.

Guy who didn't make it: Mike Kelly. He was a power-speed threat in college, and the Braves drafted Kelly second overall in 1991, right as their dynasty began. He did get 749 plate appearances in the majors but struggled with breaking balls and hit .241 in his career.


1. USC

College World Series appearances: 21 (last in 2001)

Titles: 12 (last in 1998)

USC has twice as many CWS titles as the next-best schools (LSU and Texas), but it's been nearly two decades since the Trojans were last seen in Omaha. Under the legendary Rod Dedeaux, the Trojans won six championships in seven years from 1968 to 1974. The Trojans have had 15 first-round picks, plus a slew of high picks back when the secondary phases of the draft existed. Two of the greatest pitchers of all time played for the Trojans, and the roster is so deep that Mark Prior, the No. 2 pick in 2001 and the highest-drafted Trojan, can't crack the team.

C - Dave Engle (3.8 WAR, 594 G, 31 HR, All-Star in 1984)
1B - Mark McGwire (62.2 WAR, 1,874 G, 583 HR, 70 HR in 1998)
2B - Bret Boone (22.8 WAR, 1,780 G, 252 HR, third in 2001 MVP vote)
3B - Jeff Cirillo (34.6 WAR, 1,617 G, 112 HR, .296 career BA)
SS - Roy Smalley (27.9 WAR, 1,653 G, 163 HR, four 20-HR seasons)
LF - Steve Kemp (19.5 WAR, 1,168 G, 130 HR, 100 RBIs in '79, '80)
CF - Fred Lynn (50.2 WAR, 1,969 G, 306 HR, MVP/ROY in 1975)
RF - Geoff Jenkins (21.9 WAR, 1,349 G, 221 HR, .303/34 HR in 2000)
DH - Dave Kingman (17.2 WAR, 1,941 G, 442 HR, 48 HR in 1979)
Bench - Aaron Boone (13.5 WAR, 1,152 G, 126 HR, All-Star in 2003)
P - Tom Seaver (109.9 WAR, 656 G, 311-205, 2.86 ERA, three Cy Youngs)
P - Randy Johnson (101.1 WAR, 618 G, 303-166, 3.29 ERA, five Cy Youngs)
P - Barry Zito (31.9 WAR, 433 G, 165-143, 4.04 ERA, 2002 Cy Young)
P - Jim Barr (30.7 WAR, 454 G, 101-112, 3.56 ERA, 3.08 ERA '72-'76)
P - Bill Lee (22.0 WAR, 416 G, 119-90, 3.62 ERA, won 17 three times)

TOTAL WAR: 569.2

The Trojans come close to Arizona State's power -- the starting nine hit 2,240 home runs -- but they have Seaver and Johnson, two Hall of Famers who are at the top of any discussion of the greatest pitchers in major league history. With impressive pitching depth behind those two, USC inches past ASU's Bonds-and-Reggie-led lineup for the most cumulative WAR among our 15-man rosters. Seaver and Johnson versus Bonds and Reggie? That would be fun to play out. (For the record: Bonds hit .306/.452/.551 against Johnson with three home runs in 62 PAs; Reggie was .226/.351/.581 off Seaver in 37 PAs, all late in their careers.)

All-time great: The Hall of Famer Seaver had one of the more unusual paths from amateur to professional. The Dodgers drafted him in 1965, but he didn't sign. The Braves then drafted him in the secondary phase of the January draft in 1966, and he agreed to a $40,000 bonus. However, since the USC season had already started, the commissioner nullified the contract. But the NCAA ruled him ineligible for college, so MLB set up a special lottery for Seaver's rights, with the condition the bonus be at least $50,000. The Mets beat out the Phillies and Indians, and the rest is history.

Best current major leaguer: Originally drafted in the first round by the Yankees in 2006, Ian Kennedy is having a resurgent season out of the bullpen for the Royals.

Guy who didn't make it: The Mariners drafted power-hitting catcher Jeff Clement third overall in 2005 -- ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki and Andrew McCutchen, who all went in the top 11 picks -- but his knees went, and he hit just 14 home runs in the majors.