What a ride, guys. Please direct any concerns/hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For what it’s worth the five best total classes, in order, are 2017, 2019, 2020, 2018, and 2026. The ’26 class will enter the top three at some point next year, and the 2027 class will enter the top five around the same time. Too early to tell with the 2028 and later classes.
1-10, Todd “Fats” Hines (Brooklyn, 2017)
Hines is the best pick of all time. Ummm, spoiler. As far as pitchers go, maybe Machen will keep it up and join the conversation; maybe Coffman will stay healthy, avoid the red dragon, and make an acceptable “what could have been” argument. Or maybe the pre-Dave era was just too different a time in USBA, much like pre-war in MLB, and no one will ever touch his records.
1-9, Kenny Webster (Seattle, 2019)
Kenny Webster has played his entire career with Seattle, consistently throws up good to very good seasons, will lead the franchise in most counting stats for a very long time, and is still trucking in his mid-30s. In just about every way he’s left-handed Bart Lewis.
1-8, Matt “151” Webber (Oakland, 2019)
There are so many things to say about Webber that I’m not sure where to start or end or what the middle might look like. He was USBA Nolan Ryan and involved in two of the more insane trades in our league’s history. This game is one of the 10 most famous games in our league’s history. My book, 151, is coming out this fall.
Honorable mention: sigh, Eric Matson
1-7, David Edwards (Capital District, 2019)
Edwards is currently in his 16th major league season and is 10th all-time in games played. He skipped the minors completely, going straight to the majors upon being drafted. At 37 he’s put up 1.6 WAR for Buckhead and missed one game this season. Like George Frazier he has been traded six times in his career.
Honorable mention: Todd Henry is only 34 and hasn’t played in nearly two seasons. You people are cruel.
1-6, Edison “Grand” Larson (Houston, 2019)
Also traded six times, Larson would look really good in my 2035 rotation. He’s had a fine career and no one is complaining, but though he was selected sixth in the 2019 draft 11 players have put up more WAR than him. I don’t know if that’s out of the ordinary or not.
1-5, EP Weston (Kingston Township, 2024)
2032 #5 pick Kameron Guangorena (Quebec City) looks like he’s going to be very good, but aside from him the number five pick has been a black hole. Sorry EP. Past #5 picks include classics such as Dave Mitchell, Carlos Kramer, Tracy Parker, Marv Bradford, Jeff Green, and Prince Nakamura. I didn’t leave those names unlinked because I’m lazy, I did it out of kindness.
Honorable mention: Cole Shaffer
1-4, Nathan Tanner (Wizarding, 2020)
People used to get so mad at Dan. He had so many top prospects and he would just leave them in AAA forever. Tanner played 231 games in AAA and put up 9.7 WAR, which makes our non-existed USBA player’s rep seethe in anger. A few seasons ago Dan changed his name to Bosma and took over Greenville.
Honorable mention: Hugh Mungus
1-3, Vincent “Brain” Hall (Louisville, 2019)
No, I know. Same reaction. I had to triple check this one, but it’s true. ACKC traded for Hall a year after he was drafted and he was mostly very good for his first seven major league seasons. From 2024-2026 he put up at least 4 WAR every year and only Lucio Sanchez had more WAR for a PL pitcher. Hall was signed by the Pandas in April 2033, released less than a week later, and then signed by the Pandas once again a month later. He retired after that season. So it goes.
Honorable mention: Bob Dickerson
1-2, David “Gobbler” Smith (Thunder Bay, 2017)
Gobbler was a two-way star before two-way stars were possible. He missed basically all of three years of his prime, a lot of mean things were said, and then he didn’t miss a game for six seasons. He’s only 36 now and coming off a season with a .352 wOBA and 125 wRC+, but man he looks done now. Here’s hoping, somehow, his name lives on.
Honorable mention: Walt Coffman
1-1, Wilfred “Swampy” McLaughlin (Seattle, 2018)
Yes, William Hull is the worst top pick of all time. Esteban Gonzalez (2023), Ralph Haggerty (2026), and Lane McCool (2027) are pretty close, though. According to my ratings half of all #1 picks become “elite” picks, making this possibly the most valuable asset in USBA.
If we examined WAR +/- from trades I’m pretty sure the infamous Boston/Grafton trade would be the most lopsided of all time, but the trade of Swampy for Robbie Roach, Juan Valdez, and Chuck Steele is probably right there.