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A reminder of the great depth of talent as we preview the MLB draft: Diamonds and busts


We are just a couple weeks away from the start of the Major League Baseball season. The college baseball season is now in full swing as teams start their conference schedules. Student athletes are trying to put together a great season and impress the teams that could be drafting them come July. Even though the MLB teams are preparing and fine tuning during spring training, the MLB scouts are in midseason form. They have to fill twenty rounds of MLB draft picks.

The Underdogs

In a baseball universe where it is so easy to focus on the huge names and top picks, you should never forget the underdogs. Names from the past like Gerrit Cole, Manny Machado and the future like JJ Wetherholt and Jac Caglione are exciting to talk about. But, when you think about former National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt, who was an 8th round pick, or Hall of Famer John Smoltz, who was picked in the 22nd round, you can see that great talent is found at all levels of the draft.


There are a multitude of ways for players to make it to the top once they are drafted. Former Rookie of the Year and two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob Degrom was selected in the 9th round out of Stetson University. At Stetson, he was a primary shortstop. He was drafted by the Mets who converted him to a pitcher. He is now known as a top five pitcher in the sport. This proves that in college players just need to show enough raw talent to be selected. Once they are in a pro organization the real work begins. 

The Gamble of the draft

As sports fans we automatically assume the top draft picks will be good and don’t expect much from the late round guys. In most other sports that is the case. But, baseball has a unique system. When athletes are drafted, they enter the minor leagues and grind their way to the big leagues . Top picks are usually given more patience. A player like Trevor Richards has just as much chance at making the majors as Mark Appel.

Mark Appel was the first overall pick in the 2013 draft class. At one point, Appel retired from the game of baseball before ever making it to the show. He eventually battled back to have a short stint with the Philadelphia Phillies. To date, he has only appeared in six MLB games.

Trevor Richards went undrafted in 2015 and had to play in the semi-professional Frontier League. Richards pitched a year and a half for the Gateway Grizzlies before even getting a chance in Minor League Baseball. Richards has pitched in 235 Major League Baseball games and counting. The duality of these two pitchers is the perfect example of baseball and its draft. 

The many levels of college baseball

There is endless talent from NCAA D1 to NAIA to JuCo to even high school. Scouts must do their due diligence to find talent across the world to fill an organization. 

Next time you check out your favorite Major League team’s draft class, don’t sneeze at the 20th round selection from Antelope Valley. He may just end up in the middle of the order. Be patient with each and every player, and let them show their true potential. 

Join in on the conversation!
Can you think of a time your favorite team drafted a star in the later rounds?

Look back at the history and I would bet it's happened more than you think. The draft may be a few months away, but baseball season is back! We can all rejoice in that.


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