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How Often Do First-Rounders Make The Big Leagues?


Image credit: A general view of the stage as Sean Sullivan is announced as a second round pick by the Colorado Rockies during the MLB Draft presented by Nike at Lumen Field on Sunday, July 9, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

This is a story Baseball America has produced through our partnership with Pramana and the use of Pramana’s Shift tool. The content was gathered by using the Shift tool to query Baseball America’s databases.

Here are some of the notable firsts, first-in-a-long-time and other items of note from Sunday’s first day of the 2023 MLB Draft.

Unless otherwise noted below, all studies look at the entirety of the regular draft, but do not include any secondary or other drafts.

So what are the chances your favorite team drafted a big leaguer last night? In the first round, 81.3% of signed pitchers have recorded at least one MLB strikeout. So good news, if your team picked a pitcher, there’s a greater than 80% chance they’ll reach the majors.

But what are the chances they’ll have a significant career? Only 14.3% of them will record 1,000 MLB strikeouts.

If we shift the focus to round two, the number of pitchers who record an MLB strikeout drops to 64.2%. The number who reach 1,000 strikeouts drops to 7.2%.

Looking at hitters, the percentages are somewhat similar. Just like the pitchers, 81% of drafted and signed first round hitters get an MLB hit, while 22.5% get 1,000 MLB hits. For the second round, 63.2% get an MLB hit, while 8.8% reach 1,000 MLB hits.

Now, let’s switch to position by position. What percentage of first-rounders reach the majors to play at least one game by position:

Pos.1st Round HS1st Round 4YR2nd Round HS2nd Round 4YR

And what about pitchers? Here are the percentages of picks who have started one game in the majors.

Pos.1st Round HS1st Round 4YR2nd Round HS2nd Round 4YR

What about at least a season of starts? Here’s the percentages of pitchers who make 25 starts.


Some other notable tidbits from the first two rounds:

  • At 6-foot-6, Paul Skenes is tied for the second tallest pitcher ever taken at No. 1 overall. He’s tied with 1988 No. 1 pick Andy Benes. Fellow LSU Tiger and 1989 No. 1 pick Ben McDonald is 6-foot-7.
  • The Nationals selected Dylan Crews with the No. 2 pick in the first round. The only other time the Nationals franchise has selected a college outfielder in the first round was Terry Francona in 1980.
  • When the Rangers selected Florida’s Wyatt Langford with the fourth pick, following Crews and Tigers No. 3 pick Max Clark, it marked the first time ever that three of the top four picks in the draft were outfielders. When the Twins selected Walker Jenkins with the fifth pick, it also marked the first time four outfielders had been taken in the top five. The four straight picks of outfielders was the longest outfielder run in a while. The longest ever is six straight at picks 15-20 in the 1968 June Draft.
  • The Royals’ selection of Blake Mitchell is only the second time in franchise history they’ve selected a high school catcher in Round 1. The only other time was Rex Goodson in 1970.
  • Noble Meyer was the only high school pitcher selected in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft, setting a new record for fewest ever selected in the first round.
  • The 11 shortstops taken in the first round is a new MLB draft record. The previous record was 10 set in 2021. The last four drafts are the top four years for shortstops taken in the first round. In 2021, there were 10 shortstops, there were nine in 2019 and there were eight in 2022, which tied 2015 and 1971 for the fourth most. 
  • Sean Sullivan out of Wake Forest was the only college lefthander selected through the end of the second round. That’s the fewest since 1978 when there wasn’t a four-year college lefthander selected until pick 58 in the third round. 

Pramana Labs, Inc., creates AI products that leverage the power of natural language processing and natural language generation, allowing users from all industries to ask questions of their data with simplicity and consume new insights naturally. Pramana’s flagship application, Pramana SHIFT, provides seamless access to information in free text, while also generating prose narratives from dynamic datasets as new information arrives. Additional information available at

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