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5 Best Colleges At Producing First-Round Pitchers In The 2000s



While Vanderbilt position players Dansby Swanson, Pedro Alvarez and JJ Bleday were drafted first, second and fourth overall, the program is best known as a pitching factory.

No college program has produced more first-round pitchers than Vanderbilt since 2000. What’s astonishing is that the Commodores’ pitcher pipeline was first established in 2004, when the Indians drafted Jeremy Sowers with the sixth overall pick.

That means that under coach Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt has produced a remarkable nine first-round pitchers in the past 16 drafts.

Here are the five best schools at producing first rounders over the last 20 years.

Vanderbilt -- 9

YearNoPlayer, PosTeam
20046Jeremy Sowers, LHPIndians
20071David Price, LHPDevil Rays
20078Casey Weathers, RHPRockies
20097Mike Minor, LHPBraves
201118Sonny Gray, RHPAthletics
201414Tyler Beede, RHPGiants
20158Carson Fulmer, RHPWhite Sox
201524Walker Buehler, RHPDodgers
20175Kyle Wright, RHPBraves

The quantity and quality of Vanderbilt’s first-round pitchers is astounding. Price put the program on the map when he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He went on to win the AL Cy Young Award in 2012 and a World Series ring in 2018. Buehler, Gray and Minor have all made an all-star team, while Wright is currently a Top 100 Prospect. The only real misfires have been Weathers and (to this point) Fulmer.

Florida -- 7

YearNoPlayer, PosTeam
201231Brian Johnson, LHPRed Sox
201320Jonathan Crawford, RHPTigers
20166A.J. Puk, LHPAthletics
201629Dane Dunning, RHPNationals
201718Alex Faedo, RHPTigers
201818Brady Singer, RHPRoyals
201833Jackson Kowar, RHPRoyals

Florida’s rise as a national power coincides with the program’s success at developing pitchers. Granted, the program’s pitchers tend to be middle or late first-round picks rather than top 10 selections. While no first-round Gator has busted through in the big leagues, Puk is poised to do so as an Athletics rookie in 2020.

Stanford -- 7

YearNoPlayer, PosTeam
20005Justin Wayne, RHPExpos
200222Jeremy Guthrie, RHPIndians
20062Greg Reynolds, RHPRockies
200910Drew Storen, RHPNationals
201116Chris Reed, LHPDodgers
20131Mark Appel, RHPAstros
20168Cal Quantrill, RHPPadres

Guthrie didn’t break through as a rotation mainstay until age 28, but he stuck around long enough to amass 91 career wins. Quantill made his major league debut in 2019 and could be a key cog in the Padres’ resurgence. Just as notable: top-five-overall picks Appel, Reynolds and Wayne failed to impact the majors.

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RICE -- 6

YearNoPlayer, PosTeam
200111Kenny Baugh, RHPTigers
200322David Aardsma, RHPGiants
20043Philip Humber, RHPMets
20044Jeff Niemann, RHPDevil Rays
20058Wade Townsend, RHPDevil Rays
200719Joe Savery, LHPPhillies

Rice’s storied pitching tradition resulted in a mini-dynasty in the 2000s, but not one Owls ace developed into an impact major league starter. The ballyhooed trio of Humber, Niemann and Townsend never achieved sustained big league success, though Aardsma racked up 69 career saves.

NORTH CAROLINA -- 5

YearNoPlayer, PosTeam
20066Andrew Miller, LHPTigers
200628Daniel Bard, RHPRed Sox
200915Alex White, RHPIndians
20107Matt Harvey, RHPMets
201715J.B. Bukauskas, RHPAstros

Miller and Bard helped UNC break through in Omaha and establish the program as title contenders. Miller won Player of the Year honors and was in play as the possible No. 1 overall pick in 2006. He has carved out a career as a relief ace.

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