Stanford is top baseball factory


Over the past 10 MLB drafts, more than 15,000 amateur talents have been selected, and more than 300 came off the board in Round 1. More than half of those 300 are products of the college game, and a handful of programs have produced more first-round picks than the rest of the field.

One might imagine that traditional powerhouses, such as Southern California and Wichita State, would be right there at the top, but that's not the case. So, maybe the leaders of the pack are Georgia Tech, Long Beach State and Florida State? Wrong again.

While the aforementioned schools each had five first-round selections between 1999 and last year's draft, the first round has been dominated recently by the likes of Rice, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Texas, Miami and North Carolina, all of whom have had at least six players go in the initial rounds.

The king of the past decade, however, is surprisingly none of the above schools. It's not Arizona State (OF Travis Buck, 2005; 3B Brett Wallace, 2008; 1B Ike Davis, 2008), Oklahoma State (3B Josh Fields, 2004; OF Corey Brown, 2007, 3B Matt Mangini, 2007), LSU (SS Aaron Hill, 2003; 3B Mike Fontenot, 2001; RHP Kurt Ainsworth, 1999; OF Todd Linden, 2001), UCLA (RHP Gerrit Cole 2008; LHP David Huff 2006, 2B Chase Utley, 2000) or Georgia (SS Gordon Beckham, 2008; RHP Joshua Fields 2008).

Rather, the Stanford Cardinal lead the pack with 10 first-round picks in the past 10 drafts, including C Jason Castro, the No. 10 overall pick last June, and RHP Greg Reynolds, the No. 2 pick in 2006. Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, a mainstay in the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation, was the Cleveland Indians' first-round pick in 2002 and OF Carlos Quentin, a high-quality bat with the Chicago White Sox, was the Arizona Diamondbacks' first-round pick in 2003. Add to that SS Jed Lowrie, OF Joe Borchard, RHPs Justin Wayne and Jeremy Bleich, 1B Danny Putnam and OF John Mayberry, and you have a consistent talent-producer. Stanford should add another first-rounder Tuesday in RHP Drew Storen.

Arizona State (RHP Mike Leake), Georgia (1B Rich Poythress) and USC (SS Grant Green) each should add another first-rounder to their tally, as well. The Sun Devils are the all-time leader in No. 1 overall picks produced, with three, but have had none since 1978 (Bob Horner).

Rice is known for its pitchers, from right-handers Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend and Philip Humber (each from the 2004 class) to southpaw Joe Savery (2007) and closer David Aardsma (2003).

Vanderbilt LHP David Price was the top pick in 2007, while 3B Pedro Alvarez went No. 2 overall last June. The Commodores tallied five total first-round picks over the last 10 drafts.

North Carolina's run of seven is highlighted by the 2006 draft class of right-hander Daniel Bard, who is now pitching high-leverage innings in relief for the Boston Red Sox, and left-hander Andrew Miller (2006), who was considered the top talent in the entire draft.

Tennessee's alumni run seven deep too, including right-hander Luke Hochevar (No. 1 overall in 2006), who was recalled to the big leagues on Wednesday, outfielder Julio Borbon (2007), catcher J.P. Arencibia (2007) and infielder Chris Burke (2001) of the San Diego Padres.

Texas' own seven is led by Huston Street (2004), who has already experienced high levels of success as the closer for the Oakland Athletics and now the Colorado Rockies, while Drew Stubbs (2006) is knocking on the door to The Show in the Cincinnati Reds' system.

Miami's crop of seven would be boosted by Pat Burrell's presence if we went back an extra year, but OF Ryan Braun (2005), RHP Chris Perez, 1B Yonder Alonso (2008) and 2B Jemile Weeks (2008) comprise a strong group that could be even better if OF Dennis Raben (2008) and RHP Carlos Gutierrez (2008) develop.

Long Beach State has had five go off the board in Round 1 since 1999, including shortstops Bobby Crosby (2001) and Troy Tulowitzki (2005), RHP Jered Weaver (2004) and 3B Evan Longoria (2007).

Texas, Florida State and Miami are set to produce multiple first-round talents in 2010 and 2011, but aren't likely to do so this time around, nor is Tennessee, UCLA, Rice or Florida State. North Carolina likely will have two top-15 picks in 1B/OF Dustin Ackley and RHP Alex White, with RHP Matt Harvey expected to be a first-round pick next June.

Georgia Tech (Mark Teixeira, 2001; Matt Wieters, 2008) is dry this year but could have two top picks next year with SS Derek Dietrich and RHP Deck McGuire.

Stanford, however, likely will take a year off from Round 1 next season, as most of their top talents are sophomores-to-be or incoming freshmen.