This article will be a continuation off of Part 1, which covered the catcher, first base, second base, and shortstop positions. This second part will cover the third base, outfield, and pithing positions. As a reminder, I compiled draft data between 2000 and 2020 from Baseball-Reference. Then I looked into a couple criteria that will be used in my rankings including the number of draft picks, draft round, and MLB longevity.
A couple disclaimers that I mentioned in my previous article include that Baseball-Reference data may not be 100% accurate but that it should serve its purpose for these rankings. Also, I will only be focusing on players who signed when drafted, thus not including undrafted players as well as those who did not sign into these rankings. Another disclaimer is that I’ll be using the position listed on Baseball-Reference for when they were drafted. My data is through MLB games on June 27th, 2021.
Here is my point system for the rankings that will be listed below:
DRAFT POSITION (*Had to Sign*)
1st Round: 6 points
2nd & 3rd Round: 4 points
4th & 5th Round : 3 points
6th through 10th Round: 2 points
11th Round or Lower: 1 point
MLB GAMES PLAYED (*Had to Sign*)
1000-plus: 10 points 501 to 999: 7 points
301 to 500: 5 points
101 to 300: 3 points
51 to 100: 2 points
1 to 50: 1 point
200 or more: 10 points 151 to 199: 7 points
101 to 150: 5 points
51 to 100: 3 points
21 to 50: 2 points
1 to 20: 1 point
MLB AWARDS (*Had to Sign*)
MVP: 5 points
ROY: 2 points Cy Young: 5 points
Third Baseman Rankings
1. Miami (47 Points)
The University of Miami will receive the title of “Third Baseman University”, or 3BU for short. This now gives Miami multiple top positions in these rankings, joining the catcher position from Part 1. Ryan Braun (1766 G) is the main reason why the Hurricanes are on top, winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP during his career. Although Braun played 112 games at third base during his rookie season, he would never play there again. Danny Valencia (864 G) is the other Hurricane third baseball to make it the major-league level.
2. Tennessee (35)
Tennessee makes their first appearance in these rankings, finishing second at the third base position. The Volunteers had three players make into the MLB. They are Chase Headley (1436), Nick Senzel (163), and Matt Duffy (11).
3. Oklahoma State (31)
The Cowboys had the most third baseman drafted during this time span, with nine individual players signing. Both first round picks of Josh Fields (217 G) and Matt Mangini (11) made the major leagues. Joining them from Oklahoma State were Rusty Ryal (134) and Matt Hague (43).
4. Arkansas (28)
Arkansas becomes the second SEC team to rank in this position, joining Tennessee. The Razorbacks had two first round picks at this position, including Logan Forsythe (970 G). Matt Reynolds (130) is the other Razorback to make his major league debut.
5. Cal. State University Long Beach (25)
After finishing in the top spot for the shortstop position, the Dirtbags finish fifth in the other left-side infield position. One of the greatest players to come out of Long Beach State was drafted third overall in the 2006 draft, and his name is Evan Longoria (1792 G). Longoria also won Rookie of the Year in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Joey Terdoslavich (92) also played in the majors.
1. Arizona State (100 Points)
Arizona State University caps off their fourth straight finish in these rankings by capturing the “Outfield University” crown. The Sun Devils had twenty seven outfielders who were drafted signed during this time span, the most by any 4-year college in the country. One third of those players made it to the major leagues including Andre Ethier (1455 G), Jason Kipnis (1165), Kole Calhoun (1033), Travis Buck (253), Chris Duffy (212), Jeff Duncan (69), Colin Curtis (31), Mel Stocker (9), and Mitch Jones (88). They also have a 2019 first round pick in Hunter Bishop.
2. Stanford (97)
Stanford now has ranked in their fourth position so far, joining catcher, second base, and shortstop. Their four first round picks at this position are tied for most by a 4-year college with Tennessee. All four of those players made it to the MLB and they are Carlos Quentin (834 G), John Mayberry (574), Joe Borchard (301), and Danny Putnam (11). The other Cardinal’s to make it to the top level include Sam Fuld (598), Austin Slater (271), and Michael Taylor (37).
3. LSU (87)
The Tigers have now earned their third placement in these positional rankings , along with second base and shortstop. They have seven outfielders to make it the MLB, including first round picks Mikie Mahtook (291 G) and Todd Linden (270). The other four players are JaCoby Jones (352), Andrew Stevens (193), Nick Stavinoha (147), Jake Fraley (47), and Sean Barker (3).
4. Oregon State (66)
Oregon State becomes the third Pac-12 program to rank in the outfield position. All three of their firs round selections have made it to the major leagues: Jacoby Ellsbury (1235 G), Michael Conforto (669), and Trevor Larnach (40). Cole Gillespie (221), Daniel Robertson (148), and Tyler Graham (10) joined the other Beavers at the top level.
5. Georgia Tech (61)
The Yellow Jackets have now appeared for the second time, also finishing in second for the catcher position. Georgia Tech is led by long time Rockies player Charlie Blackmon (1191 G), who is joined by Matt Murton (346), Brandon Boggs (130), and Jason Perry (4) in those that made the MLB. They also had two outfielders selected in the shortened 2020 MLB draft.
1. Vanderbilt (241 Points)
There is no surprise in the fact that Vanderbilt is “Pitcher University”, as they have had eleven first round picks at this position during this time span, most by any school. They are led by Cy Young Award winner and 1st overall pick David Price (343 G). The other first round picks to make it to the MLB include Mike Minor (264), Sonny Gray (207), Walker Buehler (85), Carson Fulmer (74), Jeremy Sowers (72), Tyler Beede (26), Kyle Wright (210, and Jordan Sheffield (19). Other Commodores to reach the MLB include Jensen Lewis (161), Drew VerHagen (127), Sam Selman (41), Caleb Cotham (35), Ben Bowden (21), Nick Christiani (13), Taylor Hill (9), Drew Hayes (6), and Matt Buschman (3).
2. UCLA (207)
The Bruins have had 60 pitchers drafted and signed during this time span, tied for second-most with Texas A&M. They have four first rounders who made it to the MLB and they are Trevor Bauer (221 G), Gerrit Cole (219), David Huff (120), and James Kaprielian (10). They are joined by Casey Janssen (437), Josh Roenicke (190), Matt Grace (181), Erik Goeddel (141), Hector Ambriz (96), Adam Plutko (76), Griffin Canning (42), Rob Rasmussen (30), Cody Poteet (7), Charles Brewer (4), Wes Whisler (3), Zack Weiss (1), and Tyson Brummet (1).
3. Rice University (199)
The Owls become the first Conference-USA program to appear in these rankings. They had fifty eight pitchers drafted and signed during this time span, including eight players in the first round. They have had fifteen pitchers make it to the MLB and here they are: David Aardsma (221 G), Tyler Duffey (221), Tony Cingrani (216), Lucas Luetge (139), JT Chargois (105), Jeff Niemann (97), Philip Humber (97), Joe Savery (44), Josh Geer (24), Joe Duplantier (19), Lance Pendleton (15), Matt Langewell (13), Bryan Price (3), Marcus Gwyn (3), and Philip Barzilla (1).
4. UT Austin (197)
The Longhorns appear in these ranking for the first time, thanks to 57 different pitchers being drafted and signed from their program. Five of their seven first round picks at this position made it to the MLB and they are Huston Street (668 G), J.P. Howell (547), Corey Knebel (247), Taylor Jungman (30), and Chance Ruffin (24). Eight other Texas players made it to the big leagues: James Russell (394), Brandon Workman (228), Brad Halsey (88), Hoby Milner (83), John Curtiss (62), Dillon Peters (31), Andrew McKirahan (27), and Phil Seibel (2).
5. Texas A&M (193)
Just over 100 miles away from UT Austin are the Aggies of Texas A&M. They reached the 60 pitcher mark when it comes to pitchers drafted and signed during this time span. The Aggies have had thirteen pitchers make the MLB, including two first round picks. Those players include Alex Wilson (303 G), Michael Wacha (186), A.J. Minter (172), Ross Stripling (160), Logan Kensing (157), Brooks Raley (67), Daniel Mengden (60), Ryan Hendrix (24), Zach Jackson (22), Corbin Martin (10), Robert Ray (7), Kevin Welan (3), and Kyle Martin (2).
This ranking system is still one in the works and is definitely not the end all be all. This is the first such rankings I have seen on the internet and so I did not have much to go off. I based my criteria and point values off of the college football ranking systems I had seen previously. If I were to spend more time on this (I’ve already spent way too much time), I would include undrafted players as well as look further into player evaluation. I think looking into more of how each player has been valuable in the major leagues (WAR) could factor in more to these rankings.
I also know that the positions listed on Baseball-Reference may not be accurate to the positions the players played in the MLB. I also know that some people would want me to incorporate players who did not sign into the rankings as well. When I work to update these rankings in the future, I will be sure to spend more time looking at those players I did not include in these rankings.
I know it was even more difficult to rank the pitchers because I was unable to separate MLB relievers from MLB starters and thus explains that the longevity is in the favor of relievers. In the future, I would work to separate the two groups to make the rankings more fair for those positions.
If you have any suggestions or critiques for what should be valued in these rankings, please feel free to send me a DM via Twitter (@BetweenTheNums). Thanks again to Baseball-Reference for their draft data!