List of first overall Major League Baseball draft picks
The First-Year Player Draft, also known as the Rule 4 Draft, is Major League Baseball's (MLB) primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur baseball clubs to its teams. Unlike most professional sports, MLB does not permit the trading of draft picks, so the draft order is solely determined by the previous season's standings; the team that possesses the worst record receives the first pick. If two teams have identical records, the team with the worse record in the previous season will receive the higher pick. In addition, teams that lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded "compensatory" picks. The first draft took place in 1965; it was introduced to prevent richer teams from negotiating wealthier contracts with top-level prospects and therefore, monopolizing the player market. Originally, three drafts were held each year. The first draft took place in June and involved high-school graduates and college seniors who had just finished their seasons. The second draft took place in January for high school and college players who had graduated in December. The third draft took place in August and was for players who participated in American amateur summer leagues. The August draft was eliminated after two years, and the January draft lasted until 1986.
In 1965, Rick Monday became MLB's first draft pick after being selected by the Kansas City Athletics. Mark Appel is the most recent first overall pick; he was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2013. Overall, 18 of the 45 picks have participated in the All-Star Game, and three (Bob Horner, Darryl Strawberry, and Bryce Harper) have won the Rookie of the Year Award. Twenty of the forty-five picks have been drafted from high schools, one has been drafted out of the Independent American Association, and the others were drafted from universities. To date, Arizona State University has been the only school from which multiple number-one overall draft picks have been chosen. No first overall draft pick has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, though Ken Griffey Jr. (who will be eligible in 2016) and Chipper Jones (who would be eligible in 2018 if he fulfills his announced plan to retire after 2012) are considered to be likely candidates.
In the 48 drafts that have taken place through 2012, 22 of the 30 MLB franchises have had the first pick at least once. The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Reds, Red Sox, and Rockies have never had the first pick. The Expos never had the first pick, but the Nationals have had it twice. The Oakland Athletics have never had the first pick, but the Kansas City Athletics had the very first pick in MLB Draft history. The Mets and Padres have each had the first pick 5 times, and the Mariners, Pirates, and Rays have each had the first pick 4 times.
|៛||Rookie of the Year and All-Star|
|#||Retired without playing a game in MLB|
|Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame|
a Goodwin chose to attend university instead of signing with the Chicago White Sox, and re-entered the draft once he graduated in 1975.
b Wilson has not officially retired, but last played in the Golden Baseball League before being released in June 2008.
c Hochevar played college baseball for the University of Tennessee, and was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005, but did not agree a contract. He re-entered the draft in 2006 after spending the previous year with the independent Fort Worth Cats.
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- Jim Moloney (June 8, 2005). "Trading picks would reshape draft". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 29 November 2008.
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- Simpson, Allan (June 4, 2005). "Bonus Concerns Created Draft; Yet Still Exist". Baseball America. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- Koppett, Leonard (February 28, 1965). "Baseball's New Draft". New York Times. pp. S2.
- "Year Draft Results: Supplemental Phase". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
- Tyler Kepner, Back Where It Began With the Mariners, Griffey Is Retiring, New York Times, Published 2010-06-02, Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- Ken Rosenthal, Chipper Jones has Hall of Fame credentials, Fox Sports, Published 2012-03-22, Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- "Draft Report:1970s". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- "Silver Sox Release Four". Golden Baseball League. June 9, 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2008.