- Matt Meyers, ESPN.com
Once upon time, the Philadelphia Phillies were awful at the draft. It's hard to overstate this. In the 1980s, their first-round picks were Henry Powell, Johnny Abrego, John Russell, Ricky Jordan, Pete Smith, Trey McCall, Brad Brink, Pat Coombs and Jeff Jackson. You could do a better job if you had a subscription to Baseball America and a set of darts. A decade later, under the guidance of former scouting director Mike Arbuckle, the Phils had finally turned things around. They were not only hitting on first-round picks such as Pat Burrell, Brett Myers and Chase Utley, but also unearthing late-round gems; one of those finds has developed into the most valuable pick in recent draft history.
Matt Meyers of ESPN Insider uses the WAR metric and signing bonuses to determine the most valuable MLB draft pick of recent years. Ryan Howard is the primary winner here -- which helps correct some awful drafting by the Phillies in the 1980s.