There are more than 300 million people in the United States, and a lot of them play baseball. According to Statista, 15.64 million Americans age six or older played baseball in in 2017. Presumably, this includes Little League, middle school, high school, college, semiprofessional, and professional leagues. As it turns out, baseball is pretty popular!
Of these 15.64 million, only 1,217 were drafted into MLB organizations this week. That’s just 0.007 percent of the total baseball-playing population. Some of them are widely celebrated, such as Adley Rutschman and Bobby Witt, Jr. at the top of the draft. Most will remain relatively anonymous throughout their careers.
However, at least a few of the 900 players chosen on day three (rounds 11-40) will reach the major leagues. None of us have any clue which ones right now, but some of them will inevitably beat the odds.
Here’s a day three player drafted by each team that’s worth following for one reason or another. We’ll try to stick to college players because a lot of high school picks won’t sign.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (Rd. 13): Cam Coursey, 2B Georgia Gwinnett College— Listed at 5’8, 155 lbs., Coursey is one of the smallest players in the draft. Why do tiny guys always seem to play second base?
- Atlanta Braves (Rd. 26): Riley King, 3B Georgia— King hails from Lawrenceville, Georgia, just an hour east of SunTrust Park. He then enrolled at the University of Georgia, which makes this as much of a hometown pick as possible.
- Baltimore Orioles (Rd. 13): Dan Hammer, RHP Pittsburgh— No word on whether or not he throws a vicious curveball, but the nickname possibilities are endless. He also may or may not be this guy, who won the inaugural Pritzker Award. No idea what that is, but it sounds impressive.
- Boston Red Sox (Rd. 40): Garrett Irvin, LHP Riverside Community College (CA)— Irvin is this year’s Mr. Irrelevant— the final player drafted. Can you imagine sitting through 1,216 picks waiting for a phone call, giving up hope, and then finally getting selected with the 1,217th and final pick? What an emotional whirlwind!
- Chicago Cubs (Rd. 14): Ryan Reynolds, 3B Texas—
- Chicago White Sox (Rd. 39): Tom Archer, 2B Lynn University— The White Sox clearly have a type. 13 of their 40 draft picks were under 6’0, culminating with the 5’9 Archer. Other teams wouldn’t find their length satisfactory. (Are we not doing phrasing anymore?)
- Cincinnati Reds (Rd. 32): Danny Sereino, RHP Rowan University— Sereino compiled a 1.98 ERA and 235:80 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over 172 2⁄3 innings in college.
- Cleveland Indians (Rd. 24): Joab Gonzalez, SS New Mexico Junior College— Should he make the majors, Gonzalez would NOT be the first major leaguer named Joab. Joe McManus, born Joab Logan McManus, threw two innings for the 1913 Reds.
- Colorado Rockies (Rd. 22): Fineas Del Bonta-Smith, RHP San Jose State— Oh, to be the stadium PA announcer! This is a moniker worth shouting from the hilltops. “Now pitching, FINNNEAS DELLLLL BONNNNTAAAAAA-SMIIIIITH!”
- Detroit Tigers (Rd. 27): Beau Brieske, RHP Colorado State-Pueblo— Only one major leaguer ever attended Colorado State-Pueblo, but it’s good one: Hall of Famer Rich Gossage. However, Goose was drafted out of high school, so he never played for the university.
- Houston Astros (Rd. 19): Tyler Krabbe, C University of Montevallo (AL)— The University of Montevallo is a liberal arts school with 2,566 undergraduate students and a 7:5 female to male ratio. Roughly one out of every 40 male students is on the baseball team.
- Kansas City Royals (Rd. 14): Justin Hooper, LHP UCLA— Hooper, who towers over the mound at 6’8, was ranked the number seven overall prospect in the 2015 draft by Baseball America. If not for his desire to go to college, he would’ve almost certainly been a first round pick out of high school.
- Los Angeles Angels (Rd. 18, 29, and 35): Ryan Smith, LHP Princeton, Matthew Woods, CF Rowan University, and Vincent Bianchi, RHP Red Bank Catholic HS— Having success drafting from the Garden State in the past, the Angels selected three Jersey boys this year.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (Rd. 15): Joe Vranesh, OF St. Mary’s (CA)— There has never been a major leaguer whose surname begins with “Vr-,” as long as you don’t count Cole De Vries or Jim St. Vrain.
- Miami Marlins (Rd. 34): Brock Love, RHP Alabama— If “Brock Love” wasn’t an awesome enough name, his Twitter handle is @Brockuhdile. Doesn’t tweet much though.
- Milwaukee Brewers (Rd. 28): Andre Nnebe, CF Santa Clara— Nnebe is listed at 6’6, 230 lbs. The only two players in MLB to play at least five games in center who were as large as him were Corey Hart and John Mayberry, Jr.
- Minnesota Twins (Rd. 16): Ryan Shreve, RHP University of the Pacific— Shreve threw a no-hitter against Santa Clara on April 14.
- New York Mets (Rd. 26): Mitchell Senger, RHP Stetson— The last Stetson player to reach the majors was also drafted by the Mets: Jacob deGrom.
- New York Yankees (Rd. 29): Chase Illig, C West Virginia— Do you like switch-hitters? Of course you do! Then get acquainted with Illig— the only switch-hitter drafted by the Yankees this year.
- Oakland Athletics (Rd. 19 and 20): Jared McDonald, C Western Oregon, and Jack Weisenburger, RHP Michigan— If these two back-to-back picks form a battery, it would be called McDonald’s burger. No, this is not an acceptable joke.
- Philadelphia Phillies (Rd. 38): Josh Hendrickson, LHP University of San Diego— Hendrickson is from Perth, Australia, which is interesting. He enjoys watching Netflix in his free time, which is not.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (Rd. 14): Aaron Shackelford, SS The Master’s University (CA)— Along with daleks and cybermen, The Master is one of the great recurring villains of Doctor Who. The Master’s baseball team finished 34-17-1 this season.
- San Diego Padres (Rd. 27): Tyler Malone, C Oregon State— It’s a great year to draft an Oregon State catcher! If you’re going to draft a backup catcher, he may as well have caddied for the first overall pick in the draft.
- San Francisco Giants (Rd. 14): Nick Morreale, RHP Georgetown— Tim Adleman is the only Georgetown Hoya to reach the major leagues in the last 20 years. By contrast, the school has sent nine players to the NBA in that time, including four top ten picks.
- Seattle Mariners (Rd. 29): Utah Jones, SS North Greenville University (SC)— Jones’ hometown is Stillwater, Oklahoma, which is decidedly not part of Utah. Very original of the Jones parents to name their son after a state.
- St. Louis Cardinals (Rd. 13): Tommy Jew, CF UC-Santa Barbara— L’Chaim! He should wear number 18. Players don’t get drafted in the thirteenth round; they become bar mitzvah, accepted as adults into the game of baseball.
- Tampa Bay Rays (Rd. 12): Nick Sogard, SS Loyola Marymount— Yes, he’s Eric Sogard’s younger brother. The Sogards are also nephews of Steve and Dave Sax.
- Texas Rangers (Rd. 15): Randon Hostert, RHP Bonnesville HS (ID)— Hostert is the one and only player selected from the state of Idaho this year.
- Toronto Blue Jays (Rd. 26 and 29): Jean-Christophe Masson, OF Cardinal Roy SS (QC), and Owen Diodati, C Stamford Collegiate HS (ON)— In addition to third round pick Dasan Brown, the Blue Jays selected two more Canadians: Masson and Diodati. There were 22 Canadians drafted in total this year.
- Washington Nationals (Rd. 37): Trei Cruz, SS Rice University— Nothing personal, but it’s probably best if this player is traded before he reaches the majors. We certainly don’t need another Cruz from Texas in Washington.
Daniel R. Epstein is an elementary special education teacher and president of the Somerset County Education Association. In addition to BtBS, he writes at www.OffTheBenchBaseball.com. Tweets @depstein1983