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College First Basemen: A Brief History

Broad Conclusions

  • If recent draft trends hold, there will only be 1 or 2 major league quality bats capable of holding down a big league starting job out the entire pool of 2010 college first basemen.
  • An additional 2 or 3 major league quality bench contributors are likely to emerge from the pool of 2010 college first basemen.
  • College first basemen of America, take note: It really helps to be versatile defensively. A quick perusal of the list reveals the vast majority of MLB starting players listed below now play a big league position other than first base.
  • With 6 college first basemen taken in the first 23 overall picks, the 2008 MLB Draft was as much as an abberration as it seemed at the time. That said, the end results (only 1 or 2 major league quality bats capable of holding down a big league starting job) may yet fall in line with recent draft history. I’d personally bet the over, but with far less confidence than I had back in June 2008.
  • Between 40-60 college first basemen will be drafted in 2010.
  • Between 5-15 of those college first basemen will be drafted in the first ten rounds in 2010.

Notes

  • Players are listed according to the position announced at the time of the draft according to the invaluable resource Baseball-Reference.
  • Individual players were not listed from the three most recent MLB Drafts (2007-2009). We’ll let their more recent professional careers breathe a little bit before deciding who will make it as big league ballplayers or not.
  • Designations between “Starters” and “Bench Contributors” (or in some cases, “Potential Bench Contributors”) are subjective in nature; players were given the benefit of the doubt in many cases, with bonus points awarded to guys who have either been a) valued enough by big league teams to receive get big league trials as starters or b) actively pursued via trade or the waiver wire. The most subjective classifications on the list are affixed to players drafted most recently; to remedy this to some degree, please feel free to disregard the mention of Strieby, Robbins, and Cooper as “Future Bench Contributors” if you disagree with those particular assessments.
  • Re-drafted players count twice because each draft year is looked at as one singular entity. This method is less helpful when solely looking back at past drafts, but comes in handy when forecasting future draft outcomes, which is the real goal of the activity.

Breakdown

2002 (46 college 1B total; 13 college 1B in top ten rounds)

  • Starter: Nick Swisher (1-16; Ohio State)
  • Bench Contributor: Brad Eldred (6-163; Florida International)
  • Bench Contributor: Ryan Shealy (11-321; Florida)

Notes: Swisher was highest drafted college 1B; Prince Fielder was highest drafted 1B overall; so-called “Moneyball” draft

2003 (42 college 1B total; 10 college 1B in top ten rounds)

  • Starter: Conor Jackson (1-19; California)

Notes: Michael Aubrey was highest drafted college 1B (1-11; Tulane); Andy D’alessio (who went on to Clemson) was highest drafted high school 1B

2004 (56 college 1B total; 15 college 1B in top ten rounds)

  • Starter: Adam Lind (3-83; University of South Alabama)
  • Bench Contributor: Steven Pearce (10-305; South Carolina)
  • Bench Contributor: Tommy Everidge (10-307; Sonoma State)

Notes: Michael Ferris was highest drafted college 1B (2-60; Miami Ohio); Daryl Jones was highest drafted high school 1B

2005 (48 college 1B total; 7 college 1B in top ten rounds)

  • Future Starter: 33-1007 Tyler Flowers (Chipola JC)
  • Potential Bench Contributor: 5-150 Jeff Larish (Arizona State)
  • Bench Contributor: 8-241 Steven Pearce (South Carolina)
  • Potential Bench Contributor: 8-246 Aaron Bates (North Carolina State)

Notes: Stephen Head was highest drafted college 1B (2-62; Mississippi); Henry Sanchez was highest drafted high school 1B

2006 (44 college 1B total; 11 college 1B in top ten rounds)

  • Starter: Chris Davis (5-148; Navarro College)
  • Starter: Matt LaPorta (14-433; Florida)
  • Potential Bench Contributor: Aaron Bates (3-83; North Carolina State)
  • Potential Bench Contributor: Ryan Strieby (4-112; Kentucky)
  • Potential Bench Contributor: Whit Robbins (4-119; Georgia Tech)
  • Potential Bench Contributor: Craig Cooper (7-213; Notre Dame)

Notes: Mark Hamilton was highest drafted college 1B (2-76; Tulane); Kyle Orr was highest drafted high school 1B

2007 (42 college 1B total; 8 college 1B in top ten rounds)

2008 (51 college 1B total; 11 college 1B in top ten rounds)

Notes: Yonder Alonso, Justin Smoak, Brett Wallace, David Cooper, Ike Davis, Allan Dykstra were all college 1B picked in the top 23 overall selections; the next three four-year college 1B after the sextet of first rounders included luminaries such as Mike Sheridan, Jeremy Hamilton, and Steven Caseres

2009 (54 college 1B total; 10 college 1B in top ten rounds)

Data

  • 46 + 42 + 56 + 48 + 44 + 42 + 51 + 54 = 383
  • There were 383 total college first basemen drafted from 2002-2009 (8 drafts)
  • 383/8 = 47.875
  • Roughly 48 college first basemen were drafted on average in that span
  • 13 +10 + 15 + 7 + 11 + 8 + 11 + 10 = 85
  • There were 85 total college first basemen drafted from 2002-2009 (8 drafts) taken in the first ten rounds
  • 85/8 = 10.625
  • Roughly 10.5 college first basemen were drafted in the first ten rounds on average in that span
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