30 Biggest Steals in MLB Draft History

MLB Draft 560x280On June 8th 2016, Major League Baseball celebrated the 50th anniversary of their annual Rule 4 Draft. It began in 1965 when the Kansas City Athletics selected Outfielder Rick Monday. Prior to the 1965 season, players were allowed to sign with any team they chose through Free Agency. For the novice baseball fans who always wondered how the Yankees, Cardinals, Giants, and Dodgers always won back in the early 1900’s, this is why.

Imagine what Major League Baseball would be like today if every player could pick out which team they wanted to play for? It would get out of hand fast with the Yankees tossing out blank checks to anyone who wanted to earn some paper. But thanks to the brilliance of the draft, the league began to level out and teams that dominated for so long began to feel what it was like to lose. Eventually, all teams in the Majors would have the same chances to build a roster worthy of a World Series title. And they would do it by scouting, gambling, and hoping for the best.

Every now and then, players would slip through the cracks and end up being drafted much further down the order than you would expect. And we found them all. Just for you. Here is a list of the top MLB players who played well above their draft position.

30) Jorge Posada, C

Jorge Posada 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1990
  • Round: 24th
  • Overall: 629th
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Career Stats: .273 Batting Average (AVG), 275 Home Runs (HR), 1,065 Runs Batted In (RBI)
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 5x Silver Slugger
  • Titles: 4 (1998, 1999, 2000, 2009)

29) Brett Butler, OF

Brett Butler 560x399

  • Year Drafted: 1979
  • Round: 23rd
  • Overall: 573rd
  • Team: Atlanta Braves
  • Career Stats: .290 AVG, 2,375 Hits (H), 578 RBI, 558 Stolen Bases (SB)

28) Mark Grace, 1B

Mark Grace 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1985
  • Round: 24th
  • Overall: 622nd
  • Team: Chicago Cubs
  • Career Stats: .303 AVG, 2,445 H, 173 HR, 1,146 RBI
  • Awards: 3x All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves
  • Titles: 1 (2001)

27) Don Mattingly, 1B/OF

Don Mattingly 560x336

  • Year Drafted: 1979
  • Round: 19th
  • Overall: 493rd
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Career Stats: .307 AVG, 222 HR, 1,099 RBI
  • Awards: 6x All-Star, 9 Gold Gloves, 3x Silver Slugger, 1985 AL MVP

26) Fred McGriff, 1B

Fred McGriff 560x373

  • Year Drafted: 1981
  • Round: 9th
  • Overall: 233rd
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Career Stats: .284 AVG, 2,490 H, 493 HR, 1,550 RBI
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 3x Silver Slugger, 1994 All-Star Game MVP
  • Titles: 1 (1995)

25) Jack Clark, 1B/OF

Jack Clark 560x463

  • Year Drafted: 1973
  • Round: 13th
  • Overall: 294th
  • Team: San Francisco Giants
  • Career Stats: .267 AVG, 340 HR, 1,180 RBI
  • Awards: 4x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger

24) Orel Hershiser, RHP

Orel Hershiser 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1979
  • Round: 17th
  • Overall: 440th
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Career Stats: 204 Wins (W), 3.48 Earned Run Average (ERA), 2,014 Strikeouts (K)
  • Awards: 3x All-Star, 1988 NL Cy Young, 1988 World Series MVP, 2x LCS MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, MLB Record of 59 Consecutive Scoreless Innings
  • Titles: 1 (1988)

23) Andre Dawson, OF

Andre Dawson 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1975
  • Round: 11th
  • Overall: 250th
  • Team: Montreal Expos
  • Career Stats: .279 AVG, 2,774 H, 438 HR, 1,591 RBI
  • Awards: 8x All-Star, 8 Gold Gloves, 4x Silver Slugger, 1977 NL Rookie of the Year, 1987 NL MVP

22) Bret Saberhagen, RHP

Bret Saberhagen 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1982
  • Round: 19th
  • Overall: 479th
  • Team: Kansas City Royals
  • Career Stats: 167 W, 3.34 ERA, 1,715 K
  • Awards: 3x All-Star, 2x AL Cy Young, Gold Glove, 1985 World Series MVP
  • Titles: 1 (1985)

21) Darrell Evans, 1B/3B

Darrell Evans 560x380

  • Year Drafted: 1967
  • Round: 7th
  • Overall: 132nd
  • Team: Kansas City Athletics
  • Career Stats: .248 AVG, 2,223 H, 414 HR, 1,354 RBI
  • Awards: 2x All-Star, 1985 AL HR Leader
  • Titles: 1 (1984)

20) Willie Randolph, 2B

Willie Randolph 560x420

  • Year Drafted: 1972
  • Round: 7th
  • Overall: 167th
  • Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Career Stats: .276 AVG, 2,210 H, 687 RBI
  • Awards: 6x All-Star, Silver Slugger
  • Titles: 2 (1977, 1978)

19) Jim Edmonds, CF

Jim Edmonds 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1988
  • Round: 7th
  • Overall: 169th
  • Team: California Angels
  • Career Stats: .284 AVG, 393 HR, 1,199 RBI
  • Awards: 4x All-Star, 8 Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger
  • Titles: 1 (2006)

18) Ron Cey, 3B

Ron Cey 560x405

  • Year Drafted: 1968
  • Round: 3rd
  • Overall: 53rd
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Career Stats: .261 AVG, 316 HR, 1,139 RBI
  • Awards: 6x All-Star, 1981 World Series MVP
  • Titles: 1 (1981)

17) Jeff Kent, 2B

Jeff Kent 560x373

  • Year Drafted: 1989
  • Round: 20th
  • Overall: 523rd
  • Team: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Career Stats: .290 AVG, 2,461 H, 377 HR, 1,518 RBI
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 4x Silver Slugger, 2000 NL MVP

16) Mark Buehrle, LHP

Mark Buehrle 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1998
  • Round: 38th
  • Overall: 1,139th
  • Team: Chicago White Sox
  • Career Stats: 214 W, 3.81 ERA, 1,870 K, 1.28 WHIP
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves
  • Titles: 1 (2005)

15) Andy Pettitte, LHP

Andy Pettitte 560x441

  • Year Drafted: 1990
  • Round: 22nd
  • Overall: 577th
  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Career Stats: 256 W, 3.85 ERA, 2,448 K
  • Awards: 3x All-Star, 2001 ALCS MVP
  • Titles: 5 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009)

14) Buddy Bell, 3B/OF

Buddy Bell 560x373

  • Year Drafted: 1969
  • Round: 16th
  • Overall: 373rd
  • Team: Cleveland Indians
  • Career Stats: .279 AVG, 2,514 H, 201 HR, 1,106 RBI
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 6 Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger

13) Jim Thome, 1B/3B

Jim Thome 560x398

  • Year Drafted: 1989
  • Round: 13th
  • Overall: 333rd
  • Team: Cleveland Indians
  • Career Stats: .276 AVG, 2,328 H, 612 HR, 1,699 RBI
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, Silver Slugger, 2006 AL Comeback Player of the Year,2002 Roberto Clemente Award

12) Kenny Lofton, OF

Kenny Lofton 560x425

  • Year Drafted: 1988
  • Round: 17th
  • Overall: 428th
  • Team: Houston Astros
  • Career Stats: .299 AVG, 2,428 H, 130 HR, 622 RBI
  • Awards: 6x All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves, 5x AL Stolen Base Leader

11) Ryne Sandberg, 2B

Ryne Sandberg 560x420

  • Year Drafted: 1978
  • Round: 20th
  • Overall: 511th
  • Team: Philadelphia Phillies
  • Career Stats: .285 AVG, 2,386 H, 282 HR, 1,061 RBI
  • Awards: 10x All-Star, 9 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Slugger, 1984 NL MVP

10) Lou Whitaker, 2B

Lou Whitaker 560x331

  • Year Drafted: 1975
  • Round: 5th
  • Overall: 99th
  • Team: Detroit Tigers
  • Career Stats: .276 AVG, 2,369 H, 244 HR, 1,084 RBI
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 1978 AL Rookie of the Year, 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Slugger
  • Titles: 1 (1984)

9) Mike Piazza, C

Mike Piazza 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1988
  • Round: 62nd
  • Overall: 1,390th
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Career Stats: .308 AVG, 427 HR, 1,335 RBI
  • Awards: 12x All-Star, 10 Silver Sluggers, 1993 NL Rookie of the Year

8) Keith Hernandez, 1B

Keith Hernandez 560x380

  • Year Drafted: 1971
  • Round: 41st
  • Overall: 783rd
  • Team: St.Louis Cardinals
  • Career Stats: .296 AVG, 2,182 H, 162 HR, 1,071 RBI
  • Awards: 5x All-Star, 1979 NL MVP, 11 Gold Gloves, 2x Silver Slugger
  • Titles: 2 91982, 1986)

7) John Smoltz, RHP

John Smoltz 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1985
  • Round: 22nd
  • Overall: 574th
  • Team: Detroit Tigers
  • Career Stats: 213 W, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 K, 154 Saves (S)
  • Awards: 8x All-Star, 1996 NL Cy Young, 1992 NLCS MVP, Silver Slugger, NL Rolaids Relief Man of 2002, Roberto Clemente Award winner
  • Titles: 1 (1995)

6) Ozzie Smith, SS

Ozzie Smith e1470194899372 560x463

  • Year Drafted: 1976
  • Round: 7th
  • Overall: 146th
  • Team: Detroit Tigers
  • Career Stats: .262 AVG, 2,460 H, 28 HR, 793 RBI, 580 SB
  • Awards: 15x All-Star, 1985 NLCS MVP, 13 Gold Gloves
  • Titles: 1 (1982)

5) Wade Boggs, 3B

Wade Boggs 560x417

  • Year Drafted: 1976
  • Round: 7th
  • Overall: 166th
  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Career Stats: .328 AVG, 3,010 H, 118 HR, 1,014 RBI
  • Awards: 12x All-Star, 8x Silver Slugger, 2 Gold Gloves
  • Titles: 1 (1996)

4) Rickey Henderson, LF

Rickey Henderson 560x424

  • Year Drafted: 1976
  • Round: 4th
  • Overall: 96th
  • Team: Oakland Athletics
  • Career Stats: .279 AVG, 3,055 H, 2,295 Runs (R), 297 HR, 1,115 RBI, 1,406 SB
  • Awards: 10x All-Star, 12x AL Stolen Base Leader, 4 MLB Records
  • Titles: 2 (1989, 1993)

3) Albert Pujols, 1B

Albert Pujols 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1999
  • Round: 13th
  • Overall: 402nd
  • Team: St.Louis Cardinals
  • Career Stats (as of July 7th, 2016): .309 AVG, .394 On-Base Percentage (OBP), 2,731 H, 1,629 R, 574 HR, 1,746 RBI
  • Awards: 10x All-Star, 3x NL MVP, 2004 NLCS MVP, 6x Silver Slugger, 2 Gold Gloves, 2001 NL Rookie of the Year
  • Titles: 2 (2006, 2011)

2) Tom Seaver, RHP

Tom Seaver 560x467

  • Year Drafted: 1965
  • Round: 10th
  • Overall: 190th
  • Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Career Stats: 311 W, 2.86 ERA, 3,640 K
  • Awards: 12x All-Star, 3x NL Cy Young, 1967 NL Rookie of the Year
  • Titles: 1 (1969)

1) Nolan Ryan, RHP

Nolan Ryan 560x315

  • Year Drafted: 1965
  • Round: 12th
  • Overall: 226th
  • Team: New York Mets
  • Career Stats: 324 W, 3.19 ERA, 5,714 K
  • Awards: 8x All-Star, 2x NL ERA Leader, 11x Strikeout Leader
  • Titles: 1 (1969)