While the NFL draft is a highlight of the league’s calendar, and the NBA’s version remains a noteworthy event, only recently has MLB’s amateur draft quietly risen to prominence.
Monday marks the beginning of the three-day event — Day 1 featuring the first two rounds, followed by Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and 11-40 Wednesday.
The Yankees and Mets each own both of their first- and second-round picks for Monday. The Bombers will select 16th and 54th, and the Amazin’s hold Nos. 20 and 59.
But with 40 rounds to acquire players, good scouting and a bit of luck can unearth special talent from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico or any other U.S. territory at any round of the draft.
For an idea of which round the game’s top players came from, amNewYork examined the last three years of MLB All-Stars (173 total players) and broke them down by draft spot — as well as separating those who were international signings and one undrafted American (Darren O’Day). Because players can be selected multiple times, only their final draft position was counted.
Not surprisingly, a whopping 52 All-Stars (30.1%) were former first-round picks. That includes six top selections (Bryce Harper, David Price) and 10 more from picks 2-5 (Kris Bryant, Mark Teixeira). The Yankees took Derek Jeter No. 6 in 1992, while the Mets selected Scott Kazmir 15th in 2002. The Mets’ Jay Bruce and Noah Syndergaard were selected in Round 1 by other clubs.
An additional 13 (7.5%) went in the second round. This group includes former Yankees and Mets All-Star Carlos Beltran (No. 49 in 1995 out of Puerto Rico), as well as stars Giancarlo Stanton, Freddie Freeman and Jon Lester.
The current Day 2 rounds produced 41 All-Stars (23.7%), proof there’s plenty of future studs available later on. The Yankees snagged Brett Gardner in Round 3 (2005), Dellin Betances in Round 8 (2006), and Tyler Clippard (2003) and Mark Melancon (2006) in Round 9. The Mets found A.J. Burnett (1995) in Round 8 and Jacob deGrom (2010) in Round 9.
The deeper reaches of the draft produced 19 diamonds in the rough (11%). The most notable find by the New York teams was Daniel Murphy, the Mets’ 13th-round pick in 2006, but the biggest steal may have been Albert Pujols (Round 13, 1999, Cardinals). Stunningly, five-time All-Star Mark Buehrle was chosen in the 38th round.
The bulk of the 47 players (27.2%) hail from Latin America, with 20 natives of the Dominican Republic (Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro). Seven are Cuban defectors (Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman), and 12 are natives of Venezuela (former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez). Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka is one of three from Japan.