Ken Griffey Jr., the 1987 first overall draft pick

The first-year player draft, also known as the Rule 4 Draft, is the primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur baseball clubs to Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Unlike most professional sports, MLB does not permit the trading of draft picks.[1] Since 2023, the first six selections are determined by a lottery; the previous season's standings determine the remaining selections.[2] If two teams have identical records, the team with the worse record in the previous season will receive the higher pick.[2] In addition, teams that lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded "compensatory" picks.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] The August draft was eliminated after two years, and the January draft lasted until 1986.[5]

In 1965, Rick Monday became MLB's first draft pick after being selected by the Kansas City Athletics. Paul Skenes is the most recent first overall pick; he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2023. Overall, 23 of the 50 picks before 2015 have participated in the All-Star Game, and four (Bob Horner, Darryl Strawberry, Bryce Harper, and Carlos Correa) have won the Rookie of the Year Award. Twenty-five of the fifty picks before 2015 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 , Vanderbilt University , and Louisiana State University are the only schools from which multiple number-one overall draft picks have been chosen. No first overall pick was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame until 2016, when Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted with a record 99.3 percent of votes cast.[6] Griffey has since been joined by three other top picks: Chipper Jones, inducted in 2018;[7] Harold Baines, elected in December 2018 and inducted in July 2019,[8] and Joe Mauer, inducted in 2024.[9]

In the 58 drafts that have taken place through 2022, 22 of the 30 MLB franchises have had the first pick at least once. The Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, and Colorado Rockies have never had the first pick. The Montreal Expos never had the first pick, but the Nationals, their successor, have had it twice. The Oakland Athletics have never had the first pick, but the Kansas City Athletics, their predecessor, had the first pick in MLB draft history. The Pittsburgh Pirates have had the first overall pick a record six times, while the New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and Houston Astros have each had the first overall pick five times.


Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
* All-Star
Rookie of the Year and All-Star
# Retired without playing a game in MLB
° Player did not sign
Italics Active player

First overall picks

Rick Monday, the 1965 first overall pick
Harold Baines, the 1977 first overall pick
Chipper Jones, the 1990 first overall pick
Alex Rodriguez, the 1993 first overall pick
Pat Burrell, the 1998 first overall pick
Joe Mauer, the 2001 first overall pick
Year Player Team Position Club/School
1965 Rick Monday* Kansas City Athletics Outfielder Arizona State University
1966 Steve Chilcott# New York Mets Catcher Antelope Valley High School
(Lancaster, California)
1967 Ron Blomberg New York Yankees First baseman Druid Hills High School
(Druid Hills, Georgia)
1968 Tim Foli New York Mets Shortstop Notre Dame High School
(Sherman Oaks, California)
1969 Jeff Burroughs* Washington Senators Outfielder Woodrow Wilson Classical High School
(Long Beach, California)
1970 Mike Ivie San Diego Padres Catcher Walker High School
(Atlanta, Georgia)
1971 Danny Goodwin° Chicago White Sox Catcher Peoria High School
(Peoria, Illinois)
1972 Dave Roberts San Diego Padres Third baseman University of Oregon
1973 David Clyde Texas Rangers Left-handed pitcher Westchester High School
(Houston, Texas)
1974 Bill Almon San Diego Padres Shortstop Brown University
1975 Danny Goodwin [a] California Angels Catcher Southern University
1976 Floyd Bannister* Houston Astros Left-handed pitcher Arizona State University
1977 Harold Baines* Chicago White Sox Outfielder St. Michaels Middle/High School
(St. Michaels, Maryland)
1978 Bob Horner Atlanta Braves Third baseman Arizona State University
1979 Al Chambers Seattle Mariners Outfielder John Harris High School
(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
1980 Darryl Strawberry New York Mets Outfielder Crenshaw High School
(Los Angeles, California)
1981 Mike Moore* Seattle Mariners Right-handed pitcher Oral Roberts University
1982 Shawon Dunston* Chicago Cubs Shortstop Thomas Jefferson High School
(Brooklyn, New York)
1983 Tim Belcher° Minnesota Twins Right-handed pitcher Mount Vernon Nazarene University
1984 Shawn Abner New York Mets Outfielder Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School
(Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania)
1985 B.J. Surhoff* Milwaukee Brewers Catcher University of North Carolina
1986 Jeff King Pittsburgh Pirates Third baseman University of Arkansas
1987 Ken Griffey Jr.* Seattle Mariners Outfielder Moeller High School
(Cincinnati, Ohio)
1988 Andy Benes* San Diego Padres Right-handed pitcher University of Evansville
1989 Ben McDonald Baltimore Orioles Right-handed pitcher Louisiana State University
1990 Chipper Jones* Atlanta Braves Shortstop Bolles High School
(Jacksonville, Florida)
1991 Brien Taylor# New York Yankees Left-handed pitcher East Carteret High School
(Beaufort, North Carolina)
1992 Phil Nevin* Houston Astros Third baseman California State University, Fullerton
1993 Alex Rodriguez* Seattle Mariners Shortstop Westminster Christian High School
(Palmetto Bay, Florida)
1994 Paul Wilson New York Mets Right-handed pitcher Florida State University
1995 Darin Erstad* California Angels Outfielder University of Nebraska–Lincoln
1996 Kris Benson Pittsburgh Pirates Right-handed pitcher Clemson University
1997 Matt Anderson Detroit Tigers Right-handed pitcher Rice University
1998 Pat Burrell Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder University of Miami
1999 Josh Hamilton* Tampa Bay Devil Rays Outfielder Athens Drive High School
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
2000 Adrián González* Florida Marlins First baseman Eastlake High School
(Chula Vista, California)
2001 Joe Mauer* Minnesota Twins Catcher Cretin-Derham Hall High School
(St. Paul, Minnesota)
2002 Bryan Bullington Pittsburgh Pirates Right-handed pitcher Ball State University
2003 Delmon Young Tampa Bay Devil Rays Outfielder Adolfo Camarillo High School
(Camarillo, California)
2004 Matt Bush San Diego Padres Shortstop Mission Bay Senior High School
(San Diego, California)
2005 Justin Upton* Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop Great Bridge High School
(Chesapeake, Virginia)
2006 Luke Hochevar Kansas City Royals Right-handed pitcher Fort Worth Cats [b]
2007 David Price* Tampa Bay Rays Left-handed pitcher Vanderbilt University
2008 Tim Beckham Tampa Bay Rays Shortstop Griffin High School
(Griffin, Georgia)
2009 Stephen Strasburg* Washington Nationals Right-handed pitcher San Diego State University
2010 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals Outfielder/Catcher College of Southern Nevada
2011 Gerrit Cole* Pittsburgh Pirates Right-handed pitcher University of California, Los Angeles
2012 Carlos Correa Houston Astros Shortstop Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School
2013 Mark Appel Houston Astros Right-handed pitcher Stanford University
2014 Brady Aiken# Houston Astros Left-handed pitcher Cathedral Catholic High School
(San Diego, California)
2015 Dansby Swanson* Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop Vanderbilt University
2016 Mickey Moniak Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder La Costa Canyon High School
(Carlsbad, California)
2017 Royce Lewis Minnesota Twins Shortstop JSerra Catholic High School
(San Juan Capistrano, California)
2018 Casey Mize Detroit Tigers Right-handed pitcher Auburn University
2019 Adley Rutschman* Baltimore Orioles Catcher Oregon State University
2020 Spencer Torkelson Detroit Tigers Third baseman Arizona State University
2021 Henry Davis Pittsburgh Pirates Catcher University of Louisville
2022 Jackson Holliday Baltimore Orioles Shortstop Stillwater High School (OK)
2023 Paul Skenes Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Louisiana State University
2024 Cleveland Guardians

By franchise

Franchise Total picks Most recent year
Arizona Diamondbacks 2 2015
Atlanta Braves 2 1990
Baltimore Orioles 3 2022
Boston Red Sox 0
Chicago Cubs 1 1982
Chicago White Sox 2 1977
Cincinnati Reds 0
Cleveland Guardians 1 2024
Colorado Rockies 0
Detroit Tigers 3 2020
Houston Astros 5 2014
Kansas City Royals 1 2006
Los Angeles Dodgers 0
Los Angeles Angels 2 1995
Miami Marlins 1 2000
Milwaukee Brewers 1 1985
Minnesota Twins 3 2017
New York Mets 5 1994
New York Yankees 2 1991
Oakland Athletics 1 1965
Philadelphia Phillies 2 2016
Pittsburgh Pirates 6 2023
San Diego Padres 5 2004
San Francisco Giants 0
Seattle Mariners 4 1993
St. Louis Cardinals 0
Tampa Bay Rays 4 2008
Texas Rangers 2 1973
Toronto Blue Jays 0
Washington Nationals 2 2010


a Goodwin chose to attend university instead of signing with the Chicago White Sox, and re-entered the draft once he graduated in 1975.[10]
b Hochevar played college baseball for the University of Tennessee, and was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005, but did not agree to a contract. He re-entered the draft in 2006 after spending the previous year with the independent Fort Worth Cats.

See also


  1. "Baseball Draft:First overall picks in the June Draft". October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
  1. ^ Jim Moloney (June 8, 2005). "Trading picks would reshape draft". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "First Year Player Draft FAQ". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
  3. ^ Simpson, Allan (June 4, 2005). "Bonus Concerns Created Draft; Yet Still Exist". Baseball America. Retrieved February 16, 2007.
  4. ^ Koppett, Leonard (February 28, 1965). "Baseball's New Draft". New York Times. pp. S2.
  5. ^ "Year Draft Results: Supplemental Phase". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  6. ^ "Ken Griffey Jr. (99 percent of vote), Mike Piazza head to Cooperstown". news services. January 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Baseball Hall of Fame adds four new members". January 24, 2018. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "Lee Smith, Harold Baines Elected to Hall of Fame by Today's Game Era Committee" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 9, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  9. ^ Gonzalez, Alden (January 23, 2024). "Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton, Joe Mauer into Baseball Hall of Fame". ESPN. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  10. ^ "Draft Report:1970s". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved January 1, 2009.