Breakdown of #1 picks in the First-Year Player Draft


Monday:  Picked first in the first.

In one week, the 2009 First-Year Player Draft will take place.  This year, the Washington Nationals will have the top the top pick. 

How ‘bout some interesting facts/trivia about the very top picks in the 44 year history of the major league rookie draft?

Breakdown of High School/College?

Since Rick Monday was picked #1 by the A’s in 1965, 24 top picks were drafted out of high school and 20 were drafted out of college.  That’s more coming out of the hallowed halls of learning than I thought, quite honestly. 

Arizona State University had some good mojo going as far as the top pick goes.  They are the only institution (high school or university) that has the honor of more than one #1 pick… and they have three!  Monday, Floyd Bannister, who went to the Astros in 1976 and Bob Horner who got picked by Atlanta two years later all came from ASU.

Who are the only #1 picks that never made the majors?

LHP Brien Taylor picked by the Yanks in 1991 and Steve Chilcott who was chosen by the Mets in 1966 (the second year of the draft) never made it to the bigs.  I’m giving Tim Beckham and Matthew Bush (2006 and 2004 picks respectively) a mulligan here.  Let’s give them a chance. 

Which #1 pick has played the most in the majors?

Whether you’re judging on games or at-bats, 1977 pick Harold Baines wins on both counts with 2830 games and 9908 at-bats.  Ken Griffey comes in at a close second (2559 games, 9446 at-bats). 

Among pitchers, Seattle’s first round pick in 1981, Mike Moore pitched in 450 major league games and won 161 games. 

What position was picked the most as the top pick?

Not surprisingly, pitchers were high on the list,

  • C- 5
  • 1B- 4
  • SS- 10
  • 3B- 4
  • OF- 9
  • P- 13 (4 lefties, 9 righties)

Interestingly, no players were drafted as secondbasemen.  Keep in mind that these figures are the positions they were drafted at not necessarily where they ended up playing.  B.J. Surhoff at short? Hah!

Which teams had the most first picks since 1965?

No, it’s not the Rays (who had four).  The San Diego Padres and New York Mets tied for this honor with five apiece. 

How many top picks eventually became major league All-Stars?

Among the 44 first picks to date, twenty have appeared in a major league All-Star game.  At this point, no first pick has gotten in the Hall of Fame but for my money, Ken Griffey Jr and Chipper Jones both have a good chance to make it. (update- Arod too, if voters forget about the PED thing).

One Response to “Breakdown of #1 picks in the First-Year Player Draft”

  1. Brien Taylor was a very talented lefty out of the Tampa Bay area, hurt his arm. Matt Bush is just plain bad. ARod was also a pretty good #1 pick.

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