In 1999, the St. Louis Cardinals in the 13th round drafted a slow junior college shortstop with, as one scout put it, a "heavy, bulky" body. Twenty-two years later, Albert Pujols is still playing in the major leagues, making him the player from the oldest draft still active. (Rich Hill also was drafted in 1999, although he didn't sign until drafted out of college in 2002.)
As much as scouts and teams will dream of landing a franchise player when the 2021 draft commences on July 11, star players are rare -- so rare, in fact, that for some organizations you have to go back more than a decade to find one they drafted.
With the 2021 draft just a couple of weeks away, I wanted to find the most recent star player each franchise has taken -- whether or not he became a star with that team. Original draft team is all we're considering (and we're focusing only on drafted players).
My definition of "star": Is this a player who could be the best player on a championship team? That's a little non-specific, more intuitive than anything, but I think it serves our purposes better than trying to define a hard criteria. In general, I would suggest this is a player who consistently earns at least a five WAR per season over a few seasons (eliminating the fluke star seasons).
In honor of Pujols, I will also include the best player each team has drafted since 1999. A designation of 1.3, for example, means the third pick in the first round. WAR totals from Baseball-Reference.
Below are three categories: the last star player selected, the best player over the past decades, and a next hope from recent drafts for all 30 teams.
Jump to a team:
BAL | BOS | CHW | CLE | DET | HOU | KC | LAA | MIN | NYY | OAK | SEA | TB | TEX | TOR
ARI | ATL | CHC | CIN | COL | LAD | MIA | MIL | NYM | PHI | PIT | SD | SF | STL | WSH