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2018 Rosters Show Late-Round Draft Picks Have Some Hope

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(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Whenever a late-round pick steps into a batter’s box or onto the mound, it may seem like we’re all watching a surprising success story.

But have heart late-round picks, because there are a lot more of you than one might believe. Looking at MLB 2018 Opening Day active rosters, there was at least one player picked and signed out of all but three of the 40 rounds of the current draft. Only the 24th, 37th and 39th rounds aren’t represented on Opening Day rosters.

The first round is where the largest number of players are drafted, as you would expect, with 120 of the 559 draftees on Opening Day rosters. More than one out of every five big league draftees is a first-round pick.

But there are seven different rounds from rounds 20 or later that have at least four current big leaguers. There are 55 players drafted in the 20th round or later who are on current active rosters.

Most of the later-round picks are relievers, but there are equal smatterings of outfielders and catchers as well. Infielders fare much more poorly in the later rounds. Three first baseman–Justin Bour (25th round), Matt Adams (23rd round) and Logan Morrison (22nd round) are the only players picked in the 20th round or later who play in the dirt.

Rays third baseman Matt Duffy (18th round) is the latest-drafted player to play shortstop, third or second base. The only other two players taken after the 15th round who play second, third or shortstop are Ian Kinsler (17th round) and Scooter Gennett (16th round).

There are also seven players picked in rounds that no longer exist that are in the big leagues. The lowest-drafted player on a current roster is D-backs outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Dyson was a 50th-round pick of the Royals in 2006.

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How Did 2018 Gold Glove Winners Fare As MiLB Fielders?

As expected, the best defenders in the big leagues showed up plenty in our "Best Tools" series as minor leaguers.

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