List of first overall Major League Baseball draft picks

List of first overall Major League Baseball draft picks

Ken Griffey, Jr., the 1987 first overall pick

The First-Year Player Draft, also known as the Rule 4 Draft, is Major League Baseball's (MLB) primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur baseball clubs to its teams. Unlike most professional sports, MLB does not permit the trading of draft picks,[1] so the draft order is solely determined by the previous season's standings; the team that possesses the worst record receives the first pick.[2] If two teams have identical records, the team with the worse record in the previous season will receive the higher pick.[2] In addition, teams that lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded "compensatory" picks.[2] The first draft took place in 1965; it was introduced to prevent richer teams from negotiating wealthier contracts with top-level prospects and therefore, monopolizing the player market.[3] Originally, three drafts were held each year. The first draft took place in June and involved high-school graduates and college seniors who had just finished their seasons. The second draft took place in January for high school and college players who had graduated in December. The third draft took place in August and was for players who participated in American amateur summer leagues.[4] The August draft was eliminated after two years, and the January draft lasted until 1986.[5]

In 1965, Rick Monday became MLB's first draft pick after being selected by the Kansas City Athletics. Dansby Swanson is the most recent first overall pick; he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015. Overall, 23 of the 50 picks have participated in the All-Star Game, and three (Bob Horner, Darryl Strawberry, and Bryce Harper) have won the Rookie of the Year Award. Twenty-five of the fifty picks have been drafted from high schools, one has been drafted out of the Independent American Association, and the others were drafted from universities. To date, Arizona State University and Vanderbilt University are the only schools from which multiple number-one overall draft picks have been chosen. No first overall draft pick has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, though Ken Griffey Jr. (who will be eligible in 2016) and Chipper Jones (who will be eligible in 2018) are considered to be likely candidates.[6][7]

In the 49 drafts that have taken place through 2013, 22 of the 30 MLB franchises have had the first pick at least once. The Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, and Colorado Rockies have never had the first pick. The Montreal Expos never had the first pick, but the Nationals have had it twice. The Oakland Athletics have never had the first pick, but the Kansas City Athletics had the very first pick in MLB Draft history. The New York Mets, San Diego Padres have each had the first pick 5 times, and the Astros, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Tampa Bay Rays have each had the first pick four times.


  • Key 1
  • Draft 2
  • Footnotes 3
  • References 4


Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
 *  All-Star
   Rookie of the Year and All-Star
 #  Retired without playing a game in MLB
 °  Player did not sign
italics Active player


Harold Baines, the 1977 first overall pick
Chipper Jones, the 1990 first overall pick
Alex Rodriguez, the 1993 first overall pick
Pat Burrell, the 1998 first overall pick
Joe Mauer, the 2001 first overall pick
Year Player Team Position Club/School
1965 Monday, RickRick Monday* Kansas City Athletics Outfielder Arizona State University
1966 Chilcott, SteveSteve Chilcott# New York Mets Catcher Antelope Valley High School
(Lancaster, California)
1967 Blomberg, RonRon Blomberg New York Yankees First baseman Druid Hills High School
(Druid Hills, Georgia)
1968 Foli, TimTim Foli New York Mets Shortstop Notre Dame High School
(Sherman Oaks, California)
1969 Burroughs, JeffJeff Burroughs* Washington Senators Outfielder Woodrow Wilson Classical High School
(Long Beach, California)
1970 Ivie, MikeMike Ivie San Diego Padres Catcher Walker High School
(Atlanta, Georgia)
1971 Goodwin, DannyDanny Goodwin° Chicago White Sox Catcher Peoria High School
(Peoria, Illinois)
1972 Roberts, DaveDave Roberts San Diego Padres Third baseman University of Oregon
1973 Clyde, DavidDavid Clyde Texas Rangers Left-handed pitcher Westchester High School
(Houston, Texas)
1974 Almon, BillBill Almon San Diego Padres Shortstop Brown University
1975 Goodwin, DannyDanny Goodwin [a] California Angels Catcher Southern University
1976 Bannister, FloydFloyd Bannister* Houston Astros Left-handed pitcher Arizona State University
1977 Baines, HaroldHarold Baines* Chicago White Sox Outfielder St. Michaels Middle/High School
(St. Michaels, Maryland)
1978 Horner, BobBob Horner Atlanta Braves Third baseman Arizona State University
1979 Chambers, AlAl Chambers Seattle Mariners Outfielder John Harris High School
(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
1980 Strawberry, DarrylDarryl Strawberry New York Mets Outfielder Crenshaw High School
(Los Angeles, California)
1981 Moore, MikeMike Moore* Seattle Mariners Right-handed pitcher Oral Roberts University
1982 Dunston, ShawonShawon Dunston* Chicago Cubs Shortstop Thomas Jefferson High School
(Brooklyn, New York)
1983 Belcher, TimTim Belcher° Minnesota Twins Right-handed pitcher Mount Vernon Nazarene University
1984 Abner, ShawnShawn Abner New York Mets Outfielder Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School
(Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania)
1985 Surhoff, B.J.B.J. Surhoff* Milwaukee Brewers Catcher University of North Carolina
1986 King, JeffJeff King Pittsburgh Pirates Third baseman University of Arkansas
1987 Griffey, Jr., KenKen Griffey, Jr.* Seattle Mariners Outfielder Moeller High School
(Cincinnati, Ohio)
1988 Benes, AndyAndy Benes* San Diego Padres Right-handed pitcher University of Evansville
1989 McDonald, BenBen McDonald Baltimore Orioles Right-handed pitcher Louisiana State University
1990 Jones, ChipperChipper Jones* Atlanta Braves Shortstop Bolles High School
(Jacksonville, Florida)
1991 Taylor, BrienBrien Taylor# New York Yankees Left-handed pitcher East Carteret High School
(Beaufort, North Carolina)
1992 Nevin, PhilPhil Nevin* Houston Astros Third baseman California State University, Fullerton
1993 Rodriguez, AlexAlex Rodriguez* Seattle Mariners Shortstop Westminster Christian High School
(Palmetto Bay, Florida)
1994 Wilson, PaulPaul Wilson [b] New York Mets Right-handed pitcher Florida State University
1995 Erstad, DarinDarin Erstad* California Angels Outfielder University of Nebraska–Lincoln
1996 Benson, KrisKris Benson Pittsburgh Pirates Right-handed pitcher Clemson University
1997 Anderson, MattMatt Anderson Detroit Tigers Right-handed pitcher Rice University
1998 Burrell, PatPat Burrell Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder University of Miami
1999 Hamilton, JoshJosh Hamilton* Tampa Bay Devil Rays Outfielder Athens Drive High School
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
2000 Gonzalez, AdrianAdrian Gonzalez* Florida Marlins First baseman Eastlake High School
(Chula Vista, California)
2001 Mauer, JoeJoe Mauer* Minnesota Twins Catcher Cretin-Derham Hall High School
(St. Paul, Minnesota)
2002 Bullington, BryanBryan Bullington Pittsburgh Pirates Right-handed pitcher Ball State University
2003 Young, DelmonDelmon Young Tampa Bay Devil Rays Outfielder Adolfo Camarillo High School
(Camarillo, California)
2004 Bush, MattMatt Bush# San Diego Padres Shortstop Mission Bay Senior High School
(San Diego, California)
2005 Upton, JustinJustin Upton* Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop Great Bridge High School
(Chesapeake, Virginia)
2006 Hochevar, LukeLuke Hochevar Kansas City Royals Right-handed pitcher Fort Worth Cats [c]
2007 Price, DavidDavid Price* Tampa Bay Rays Left-handed pitcher Vanderbilt University
2008 Beckham, TimTim Beckham Tampa Bay Rays Shortstop Griffin High School
(Griffin, Georgia)
2009 Strasburg, StephenStephen Strasburg* Washington Nationals Right-handed pitcher San Diego State University
2010 Harper, BryceBryce Harper Washington Nationals Outfielder/Catcher College of Southern Nevada
2011 Cole, GerritGerrit Cole* Pittsburgh Pirates Right-handed pitcher University of California, Los Angeles
2012 Correa, CarlosCarlos Correa Houston Astros Shortstop Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School
2013 Appel, MarkMark Appel Houston Astros Right-handed pitcher Stanford University
2014 Aiken, BradyBrady Aiken° Houston Astros Left-handed pitcher Cathedral Catholic High School
2015 Swanson, DansbyDansby Swanson Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop Vanderbilt University


a Goodwin chose to attend university instead of signing with the Chicago White Sox, and re-entered the draft once he graduated in 1975.[8]
b Wilson has not officially retired, but last played in the Golden Baseball League before being released in June 2008.[9]
c Hochevar played college baseball for the University of Tennessee, and was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005, but did not agree a contract. He re-entered the draft in 2006 after spending the previous year with the independent Fort Worth Cats.


  1. "Baseball Draft:First overall picks in the June Draft". Sports Reference LLC. October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  1. ^ Jim Moloney (June 8, 2005). "Trading picks would reshape draft". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "First Year Player Draft FAQ". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  3. ^ Simpson, Allan (June 4, 2005). "Bonus Concerns Created Draft; Yet Still Exist". Baseball America. Retrieved February 16, 2007. 
  4. ^ Koppett, Leonard (February 28, 1965). "Baseball's New Draft". New York Times. pp. S2. 
  5. ^ "Year Draft Results: Supplemental Phase". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved February 18, 2007. 
  6. ^ Tyler Kepner, Back Where It Began With the Mariners, Griffey Is Retiring, New York Times, Published 2010-06-02, Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  7. ^ Ken Rosenthal, Chipper Jones has Hall of Fame credentials, Fox Sports, Published 2012-03-22, Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  8. ^ "Draft Report:1970s". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved January 1, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Silver Sox Release Four". Golden Baseball League. June 9, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.