This year, there were nearly 800 college players chosen in the draft. Unsurprisingly, many of those were from traditional powerhouses such as Arizona State, Cal Poly, Long Beach State, and Rice. In addition to a number of players from less powerful Division I schools (including nine (!?) from College of Charleston), 116 selections were made from colleges in Division II, Division III, and the NAIA.
I don't know how this compares to previous years; it might just feel like a lot to me because I followed those programs more closely this season. To take just one data point, 19 Division III players were chosen this year, and 19 D3ers went last year, as well.
The biggest winners in D2 were national champions Mount Olive (five selections) and Sonoma State (four selections). From the NAIA, powerhouses Lewis-Clark State (5 picks) and Azusa Pacific (4 picks) were well represented as well. More players from small college programs will be signed in the next few weeks, but the big names are off the board.
Here's a breakdown of who took whom:
A little surprisingly, every major league team is represented here. The Rays are the laggards, selecting only RHP Matthew Long from Cal State San Bernardino.
The clear leaders are the Mets, with nine selections. They also made the first selection from a NAIA school, taking Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Azusa Pacific at #100.
In many cases, the higher-ranking teams here are ones that are known (or should be known) for their willingness to go off the beaten scouting track. The Red Sox and Cardinals are right up there with 6 and 7 selections, and both fit that description.
As statistical analysis improves and we gain a better understanding of how the level of competition at D2, D3, and NAIA compares to that of Division I, I would imagine that the total number will keep going up. These days, many of these choices are purely "scouting" choices--presumably, the Brewers didn't take Austin Adams of Faulkner (an NAIA school in Alabama) because of his .700 slugging percentage.
Judging players against weak competition will probably remain largely the province of scouts, but I would hope that, over the next several years, analysts will be able to talk about D2, D3, and NAIA numbers with the same confidence that they do D1 statistics.