The Giants rode a series of quality first-round picks to championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The Cardinals were the most homegrown winner so far, taking the 2011 World Series almost entirely on the strength of a farm system that provided plenty of talent and trade fodder.
The Red Sox went from worst to first in 2013 largely thanks to mid-level free agents. The Royals won it all last year with a blended approach that combined homegrown talent, trades and free agents.
Likewise, this year's 10 postseason clubs were constructed in a variety of ways.
Though any baseball executive will tell you that his preference is to build a team from within, there isn't a single club this year that has a projected Division Series roster with more than 40 percent homegrown talent. Three -- the Giants, Orioles and Rangers -- have 10 players that they either drafted or signed as international free agents.
San Francisco tops all playoff clubs with 10 of its own draftees, and is still getting a lot of mileage out of first-rounders with Madison Bumgarner (2007), Buster Posey (2008) and Joe Panik (2011). Brandon Crawford (fourth round, 2008) and Brandon Belt (fifth, 2009) were mid-round picks.
Baltimore and Cleveland are tied for second with eight drafted players. Most of the Orioles' best players were early-round selections, including Zach Britton (third round, 2006), Matt Wieters (first, 2007), Mychal Givens (second, 2009), Manny Machado (first, 2010), Dylan Bundy (first, 2011) and Kevin Gausman (first, 2012). The Indians not only have had success at the top of the draft with the likes of Jason Kipnis (second round, 2009), Francisco Lindor (first, 2011) and Tyler Naquin (first, 2012), but also have found pitching help in the later rounds with Josh Tomlin (19th, 2006) and Cody Allen (23rd, 2011).
The Rangers split their 10 homegrown players evenly between draftees and international signings. Their international contingent of five ties the Dodgers for the most among postseason clubs. It includes big-ticket purchases Nomar Mazara (Dominican Republic, 2011) and Yu Darvish (Japan, 2012), and bargain signings Martin Perez (Venezuela, 2007) and Rougned Odor (Venezuela, 2011).
On the other end of the homegrown spectrum, the Cubs signed and developed just five of their players, while the Blue Jays managed just seven. Likely National League MVP Kris Bryant is just one of three drafted players on Chicago's roster, which is populated by a playoff-high 14 trade acquisitions. The Theo Esptein/Jed Hoyer regime's first big move was to acquire Anthony Rizzo from the Padres, and it also has dealt for Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Addison Russell, Dexter Fowler and Aroldis Chapman.
Los Angeles and Toronto also assembled the majority of their postseason squads via trades. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has dealt for 12 players in less than two years on the job, including Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal, Chase Utley, Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. (As mentioned earlier, Los Angeles also tied for the largest international group with five, led by Kenley Jansen, Yasiel Puig and Kenta Maeda.)
Three different front-office regimes have bolstered the Blue Jays with trades. J.P. Ricciardi acquired Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion; Alex Anthopoulos swung deals for Marco Estrada, Devon Travis, Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders and Troy Tulowitzki; and Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have added Francisco Liriano and four complementary players to the mix since taking over last offseason.
The Nationals tied for the fewest players acquired by trade with eight, but they also tied for the most free-agent signings (also eight). The Nationals' best position player (Daniel Murphy) and best pitcher (Max Scherzer) both arrived free agency, as did Jayson Werth and Shawn Kelley.
The Mets and Red Sox have taken the most blended approaches to building their postseason clubs. New York would have more of a Draft flavor if Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom weren't injured, but it still has key contributors from the international (Jeurys Familia), trade (Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, Yoenis Cespedes) and free-agent (Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon, Asdrubal Cabrera) sectors.
Boston is one of the more balanced playoff teams, with draftees Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts; international product Xander Bogaerts; trade pickups Rick Porcello, Sandy Leon and Craig Kimbrel; plus free agents David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and David Price.
A month from now, we'll know which approach worked best in 2016.