The 2014 MLB Draft takes place June 5-7 at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in New York. It is an occasion stirring up feelings of profound hope and regret among baseball front offices. Teams like the Yankees must reckon with the draft picks they lost due to free agent signings (see: Mike Trout), while others like the Astros continue to expect great things ahead for the team’s top pick from 2012.
In a year when so many MLB players and prospects have required Tommy John surgery, there is reason for teams to exercise caution in this pitcher-heavy draft. Former No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg, Mets ace Matt Harvey, and Tampa stud Matt Moore are just three examples of highly touted, young pitchers who had their careers interrupted by the operation and its full year of recovery time.
Nonetheless, it’s difficult not to tap into that spring training hope the MLB Draft can stir up in organizations and their fans. Here are five things to know about the 2014 edition.
5. It’s Houston’s call
In Major League Baseball, you can’t place third in your division and get the top draft pick. There’s no lottery in baseball, so being bad means good things in the draft. The Houston Astros will reap the spoils of futility for the third straight year in 2014. Houston selected Mark Appel at No. 1 in 2013 and Carlos Correa with the top pick in 2012.
While Correa is impressing scouts and fans alike on his way Double A, Appel is disappointing the organization early in his development, which caused General Manager Jeff Luhnow to describe his minor league work as “unsettling” in April. With the third straight No.1 pick, Houston’s front office will have explaining to do if it can’t produce a quality team in the coming years. Washington’s selection of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in consecutive years (2009-2010) gave the team bona fide building blocks that allowed Washington to contend just a few years later.
After Houston at No.1, the top five rounds out with the Marlins (second), White Sox (third), Cubs (fourth), and Twins (fifth.)