The List: Rangers, Diamondbacks Lead Way In Producing Big Leaguers

When it comes to drafting future big leaguers, no one has been more prolific in recent years than the Diamondbacks.

It might surprise you to hear that, but if you look at Opening Day rosters for the 30 major league teams, Arizona—which ranks 28th in our organization talent rankings—led the way with 26 big leaguers who were originally drafted and signed by the Diamondbacks.

Now a straight count of players isn't a particularly advanced way to look at draft impact–Steve Hathaway counts the same for the Diamondbacks as Paul Goldschmidt for these purposes–but it is a useful look at which teams have scouted and signed big leaguers and which have not.

And the Diamondbacks have more than just numbers. Their draftees include Goldschmidt, but also Adam Eaton, Max Scherzer, Justin Upton, Dansby Swanson, Jake Lamb and A.J. Pollock among its homegrown draftees.

Every Diamondbacks draft from 2004-2015 with the exception of 2014 (which has Touki Toussaint and Isan Diaz still in the minors) has at least one player in the big leagues currently. But the standout draft is the 2009 draft that was run by Tom Allison (now VP of scouting for the Mariners). That year Arizona drafted Pollock (1st round), Matt Davidson (supplemental first round), Chris Owings (supplemental first round), Keon Broxton (third round), Goldschmidt (eighth round) and Chase Anderson (ninth round).

When it comes to scouting the international ranks, the Rangers have landed the most future big leaguers with 14 international signees. And because the Rangers also tied for the fourth-most original draftees, Texas leads the way in homegrown talent with 38 players whose initial pro team was Rangers' red.

Padres general manager A.J. Preller was the Rangers’ director of international scouting in 2008-2009 when the club landed Hanser Alberto, Luis Sardinas and Odubel Herrera. Preller had been promoted and Mike Daly was director of international scouting in 2011 when Texas landed Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor, Jose Leclerc and Leonys Martin.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Padres and Orioles were tied for the fewest homegrown draftees/signees on MLB Opening Day rosters. Both had 22 homegrown players who began the season on major league rosters.

For these purposes, we counted everyone on the Opening Day active rosters plus the 92 players currently on the 10-day disabled list and the lone player (Dillon Overton) on the paternity list on Opening Day.

When it comes to less conventional means of talent acquisition the Angels and Red Sox stood out. The Angels ability to find big leaguers on the non-drafted free agent list is somewhat remarkable. There are six nondrafted free agent on Opening Day rosters. Three of them (Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez and Darren O'Day) signed originally with the Angels.

For all the attention spent on the independent leagues, this year's rosters shows much more success for players who head to the independent leagues after being release by an original team than those who were overlooked initially. The Red Sox signed the only two Opening Day MLB players who got their professional start in the independent leagues (Daniel Nava and Robby Scott). There were 21 other Opening Day big leaguers who have spent some time in the independent leagues.

We looked at which team originally drafted and signed every U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican player on an Opening Day roster.
Team Players
Diamondbacks 26
Blue Jays 25
Nationals 25
Cardinals 24
Rangers 24
Braves 23
White Sox 23
Giants 22
Rockies 22
Athletics 21
Brewers 21
Cubs 21
Pirates 21
Rays 21
Reds 21
Royals 21
Yankees 21
Marlins 20
Mets 20
Red Sox 20
Twins 20
Angels 19
Padres 19
Astros 18
Indians 18
Mariners 18
Orioles 17
Phillies 15
Tigers 15
Dodgers 14

We looked at which team originally signed every player who came to pro baseball through the international market
Int’l MLB Players
Rangers 14
Yankees 13
Mariners 12
Red Sox 12
Braves 11
Mets 11
Dodgers 10
Indians 10
Phillies 10
Cardinals 8
Cubs 8
Tigers 8
Angels 7
Diamondbacks 7
Reds 7
Rockies 7
Twins 7
Astros 5
Athletics 5
Brewers 5
Giants 5
Orioles 5
Rays 5
Royals 5
White Sox 5
Marlins 4
Pirates 4
Blue Jays 3
Nationals 3
Padres 3

Here’s the rundown of how many MLB Opening Day players began their pro careers in each organization
Overall MLB Players
Rangers 38
Yankees 35
Braves 34
Red Sox 34
Diamondbacks 33
Cardinals 32
Mets 32
Mariners 30
Angels 29
Cubs 29
Rockies 29
Blue Jays 28
Indians 28
Nationals 28
Reds 28
White Sox 28
Athletics 27
Giants 27
Twins 27
Brewers 26
Rays 26
Royals 26
Phillies 25
Pirates 25
Dodgers 24
Marlins 24
Astros 23
Tigers 23
Orioles 22
Padres 22