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Numbers Game: Draft Demographics

What the draft teaches us is that if you want to be selected, be a pitcher. Major league organizations need arms, and they always will.

Of the 1,214 players selected in the 2018 draft, 54 percent were pitchers. Specifically, they were righthanded pitchers, who accounted for 41 percent of all players drafted.

On the other hand, amateur first basemen and second basemen face long odds of being drafted, largely because teams expect that many of their future first and second basemen will begin their professional careers at more difficult defensive positions. Just 33 first basemen were drafted in 40 rounds this year.

Pos                          Drafted     Pct

RHP                             502        41.4

OF                                212        17.5

LHP                             153        12.6

C                                  115          9.5

SS                                 103          8.5

3B                                  51          4.2

2B                                  45          3.7

1B                                  33          2.7

Draftees By State

California continues to be the state that produces the most draftees, but Florida is steadily gaining on the Golden State. This year, 149 players were drafted out of California and 133 were drafted out of Florida. Here are the top 10 most popular states on draft day.

State                          Total         Pct

Calif.                            149          12.3

Fla.                               133          11.0

Texas                          105            8.6

N.C.                                68            5.6

Ga.                                 50            4.1

Ala.                                41            3.4

Tenn.                             38            3.1

S.C.                                 33            2.7

Ariz.                               32            2.6

Miss.                              31            2.6

N.Y.                                31            2.6



Draftees By Source

As is almost always the case, the vast majority of draftees were picked out of four-year colleges. Roughly two out of every three players came from a four-year college.

Type                        Players      Pct

4YR                             805          66.3

HS                                304          25.0

JC                                 103            8.5

Other                               2            0.2

This year’s draft class saw the highest number of four-year college players selected since 2012, which marks the beginning of the “bonus pool allotment” era of the draft. The previous high occurred in 2015, when 776 college players (or 63.9 percent) were taken.

On the flip side, this year saw the fewest high school players picked under the current draft format. The previous low was 312 (or 25.7 percent) in 2017.

But overall, the 2018 draft distribution fell in line with the three-year averages for 2015-17, which were 63 percent college, 26 percent high school, 10 percent junior college and a handful of “other.”

Digging a little deeper, it’s quite clear that high school players are either picked very early (where they will land large signing bonuses) or quite late (where they may or may not sign). In the first and supplemental first rounds of 2018, there were actually more high school players picked (53.5 percent) than college players (46.5 percent).

By the second and third rounds, the preference shifts back to college players, by a margin of 67 percent to 31 percent.

And from the fourth through the 10th rounds, where lower-cost college senior signs become popular, high school draftees are scarce. Collegians account for 81 percent and high schoolers 15 percent during these rounds.

Once the 11th round is reached, where there are no longer any slot allotment penalties, teams start picking high school players again. Some of them will be taken in the 11th-15th rounds to land significant signing bonuses. Others will be picked in the later rounds even though teams know there is very little chance they will sign. There also are occasionally some hidden gems in these rounds who an area scout knows about but no else does. The distribution from rounds 11-40 looks like this:

Type                        Players      Pct

4YR                             581          63.8

HS                                233          25.6

JC                                   94          10.3

Other                               2            0.2

Draftees By College

Kentucky led all schools in 2018 with 13 draftees. Here are the top 20 college programs by number of draftees. Once again, teams show their preference for Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference players.

School                               Draftees

Kentucky                                 13

Arkansas                                 11

Texas Tech                              11

Wichita State                          11

North Carolina                       10

South Carolina                       10

Oklahoma                                  9

Arizona                                      8

Louisville                                   8

Mississippi                                8

Tennessee Tech                      8

Vanderbilt                                 8

Auburn                                      7

Cal State Fullerton                   7

Clemson                                    7

Dallas Baptist                            7

Duke                                           7

Florida                                        7

Florida State                              7

Louisiana State                         7

Mississippi State                      7

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