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
|2004||6||Jeremy Sowers, LHP||Indians|
|2007||1||David Price, LHP||Devil Rays|
|2007||8||Casey Weathers, RHP||Rockies|
|2009||7||Mike Minor, LHP||Braves|
|2011||18||Sonny Gray, RHP||Athletics|
|2014||14||Tyler Beede, RHP||Giants|
|2015||8||Carson Fulmer, RHP||White Sox|
|2015||24||Walker Buehler, RHP||Dodgers|
|2017||5||Kyle Wright, RHP||Braves|
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
|2012||31||Brian Johnson, LHP||Red Sox|
|2013||20||Jonathan Crawford, RHP||Tigers|
|2016||6||A.J. Puk, LHP||Athletics|
|2016||29||Dane Dunning, RHP||Nationals|
|2017||18||Alex Faedo, RHP||Tigers|
|2018||18||Brady Singer, RHP||Royals|
|2018||33||Jackson Kowar, RHP||Royals|
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
|2000||5||Justin Wayne, RHP||Expos|
|2002||22||Jeremy Guthrie, RHP||Indians|
|2006||2||Greg Reynolds, RHP||Rockies|
|2009||10||Drew Storen, RHP||Nationals|
|2011||16||Chris Reed, LHP||Dodgers|
|2013||1||Mark Appel, RHP||Astros|
|2016||8||Cal Quantrill, RHP||Padres|
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
|2001||11||Kenny Baugh, RHP||Tigers|
|2003||22||David Aardsma, RHP||Giants|
|2004||3||Philip Humber, RHP||Mets|
|2004||4||Jeff Niemann, RHP||Devil Rays|
|2005||8||Wade Townsend, RHP||Devil Rays|
|2007||19||Joe Savery, LHP||Phillies|
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
|2006||6||Andrew Miller, LHP||Tigers|
|2006||28||Daniel Bard, RHP||Red Sox|
|2009||15||Alex White, RHP||Indians|
|2010||7||Matt Harvey, RHP||Mets|
|2017||15||J.B. Bukauskas, RHP||Astros|
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.