Famous Unsigned Draft Picks

Each year, the 30 clubs will select 50 or so players in June's amateur draft, but they only end up signing around 30 of those players. Some are high schoolers that decide to go to college while others are already in college and return to school in an effort to boost their stock. There's about a million other reasons why a player can go unsigned as well.

As you can imagine, there have been several big time players who didn't sign when they were first drafted. If the Yankees had been able to sign Mark Prior when they selected him as the 43rd overall pick in the 1998 draft, might his career have played out differently?

Here's a list of some other famous players who at one point were drafted but declined to turn pro…

  • Daniel Bard: Selected in the 20th round of the 2003 draft by the Yankees.
  • Barry Bonds: Selected in the 2nd round of the 1982 draft by the Giants.
  • David DeJesus: Selected in the 43rd round of the 1997 draft by the Mets.
  • J.D. Drew: Selected by the Giants in the 20th round of the 1994 draft, then second overall by the Phillies in 1997.
  • Rich Harden: Selected by the Mariners in the 38th round of the 1999 draft.
  • Todd Helton: Selected by the Padres in the 2nd round of the 1992 draft.
  • Aaron Hill: Selected by the Angels in the 7th round of the 2000 draft.
  • Luke Hochevar: Selected in the 39th round of the 2002 draft and the supplemental first round of the 2005 draft, both times by the Dodgers.
  • Randy Johnson: Selected in the 4th round of the 1982 draft by the Braves.
  • Matt LaPorta: Selected in the 14th round of both the 2003 and 2006 drafts by the Cubs and Red Sox, respectively.
  • Tim Lincecum: Selected in the 48th round of the 2003 draft by the Cubs, then the 42nd round of the 2005 draft by the Indians.
  • Brian Matusz: Selected by the Angels in the 4th round of the 2005 draft.
  • Mark McGwire: Selected in the 8th round of the 1981 draft by the Expos.
  • Jonathan Papelbon: Selected by the A's in the 40th round of the 2002 draft.
  • David Price: Selected by the Angels in the 19th round of the 2004 draft.
  • Justin Smoak: Selected in the 16th round of the 2005 draft by the A's.
  • Mark Teixeira: Selected by the Red Sox in the 9th round of the 1998 draft.
  • Chase Utley. Selected in the 2nd round of the 1997 draft by the Dodgers.
  • Jason Varitek: Selected in the 23rd round of the 1990 draft by the Astros, and then the 1st round of the 1993 draft by the Twins.
  • Barry Zito: Selected by the Mariners in the 59th round of the 1996 draft, and then the Rangers in the 3rd round of the 1998 draft.

There's countless more examples out there, do you know of any others? 


Full Story | 56 Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

56 Responses to Famous Unsigned Draft Picks Leave a Reply

  1. Mark McGwire was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 8th round of the 1981 amateur draft, but did not sign.

  2. Barry Bonds – 1982 2nd round SF Giants- did not sign, went to Arizona State. He got picked again in 1985, 6th overall by the Pirates.

  3. danielknowsbaseball 5 years ago

    I will always remember the JD Drew situation with Philly and the eventual backlash from Philly fans….stay classy

  4. melonis_rex 5 years ago

    Justin Smoak – drafted by the A’s in the 16th round in 2005, then drafted by Texas in 2008 in the 1st round

  5. Tim Blecher – 1st overall in 1983, did not sign with the Twins,
    Jason Varitek- 21st pick in 1993, Twins opted to return for Senior year, 14th pick in 1994 for the Seattle

  6. Guest 5 years ago

    David DeJesus was drafted by the Mets in the 43rd round of the 1997 draft.

  7. lewisjsl 5 years ago

    Randy Johnson was drafted by the Braves in the 2nd round of the 1983 draft but did not sign him. and two years later he went to the Expos.

  8. Guest 5 years ago

    JD Drew, selected by the Phillies second overall in 1997. Boras told the Phillies he would not sign for less than $10mil. Drew was then selected 5th overall in 1998 by the Cardinals.

  9. cardrob 5 years ago

    Lincecum?

  10. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    Tanner Scheppers was picked by the Pirates in the second round in 2008, and then by the Rangers in the first round last year.

  11. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    Also, Nick Markakis was drafted by the Reds in 2001 and 2002, and then picked in the first round by the Orioles.

  12. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Braves rotation … Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Johnson … wow.

    Happy to see that my Angels did a good job in scouting guys. Extremely disappointed that they sucked at signing them.

  13. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    paul molitor-28th round by the cardinals, later went 3rd overall to milwaukee.

  14. tilbrouck 5 years ago
  15. tilbrouck 5 years ago

    Tom Brady was selected by the Expos in the 18th round – 1995

  16. cardrob 5 years ago

    Olerud went straight to the majors after geting picked by the Blue Jays in the 3rd round but probably would not have had he signed with the mets in 86 as a 27th round pick

  17. tilbrouck 5 years ago

    Tom Brady was selected by the Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 draft

  18. tilbrouck 5 years ago

    Tom Brady was selected by the Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 draft

  19. tilbrouck 5 years ago

    Sorry for my duplicate posts. Errors logging in.

  20. tilbrouck 5 years ago

    Sorry for my duplicate posts. Errors logging in.

  21. Yankee_Baal 5 years ago

    Roger Clemmens was drafted by the Mets in ’82, did not sign.

  22. Guest 5 years ago

    Brett Wallace was selected by the Jays in 2005 and ended up with them too.

  23. Guest 5 years ago

    Brett Wallace was selected by the Jays in 2005 and ended up with them too.

  24. ivdown 5 years ago

    I believe Price was also drafted by the Dodgers, I just don’t know what year that was.

  25. menaceiisobriety 5 years ago

    Nomar Garciaparra was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 5th round of the 1991 draft, but did not sign.

  26. menaceiisobriety 5 years ago

    Nomar Garciaparra was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 5th round of the 1991 draft, but did not sign.

  27. Garyoldman 5 years ago

    Oh man I didn’t know Chase Utley was drafted somewhere else first, that was a close one.

    • ivdown 5 years ago

      Freakin Utley should be a Dodger :( He decided to go to UCLA instead.

    • ivdown 5 years ago

      Freakin Utley should be a Dodger :( He decided to go to UCLA instead.

  28. Garyoldman 5 years ago

    Oh man I didn’t know Chase Utley was drafted somewhere else first, that was a close one.

  29. det9lover 5 years ago

    Fred Lynn drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1970 amateur draft.

  30. det9lover 5 years ago

    Fred Lynn drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1970 amateur draft.

  31. det9lover 5 years ago

    Fred Lynn drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1970 amateur draft.

  32. det9lover 5 years ago

    Fred Lynn drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1970 amateur draft.

    • det9lover 5 years ago

      Sorry for the multiple posts. it kept telling me it was not going through!

    • det9lover 5 years ago

      Sorry for the multiple posts. it kept telling me it was not going through!

  33. det9lover 5 years ago

    Fred Lynn drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1970 amateur draft.

  34. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    Brett Wallace was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 42nd round in 2005, but did not sign. Drafted in 2008 by the Cards in 2008, 1st round, and look who has him now..

  35. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    Brett Wallace was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 42nd round in 2005, but did not sign. Drafted in 2008 by the Cards in 2008, 1st round, and look who has him now..

  36. Pedro Alvarez was drafted and not signed by the Red Sox before the Pirates took him

  37. jdub220 5 years ago

    Michael Vick was drafted in the 30th round of the 2000 draft by Colorado.

  38. jdub220 5 years ago

    Michael Vick was drafted in the 30th round of the 2000 draft by Colorado.

  39. jonalba 5 years ago

    Tino Martinez was drafted by the Red Sox before he went over to Tampa University.

  40. jonalba 5 years ago

    Tino Martinez was drafted by the Red Sox before he went over to Tampa University.

  41. glenmiller 5 years ago

    Troy Glaus was a 2nd round pick of the Padres out of local Carlsbad High before he went to UCLA. Ultimately he was drafted in round 1 by the Angels. I don’t remember which year it was but the Padres could have had Helton and Glaus at the corner IF positions ahd they signed those guys.

  42. glenmiller 5 years ago

    troy Glaus was a 2nd round pick by the Padres out of Carlsbad High School. He didn’t sign and went to UCLA instead. The Friars could have had Helton and Glaus had they signed both players.

  43. cardinaljohn 5 years ago

    Will Clark June 7, 1982: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 4th round of the 1982 amateur draft, but did not sign.
    link to baseball-reference.com

  44. cardinaljohn 5 years ago

    Will Clark June 7, 1982: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 4th round of the 1982 amateur draft, but did not sign.
    link to baseball-reference.com

  45. Trious 5 years ago

    Have to still laugh at Tim Limp’s draft position.

    Everyone said the same thing….his throwing motion will mean he never will succeed!

    • And now they eat their words as he clears mantle space for his third soon-to-be Cy Young.

    • And now they eat their words as he clears mantle space for his third soon-to-be Cy Young.

  46. hockeyman4 5 years ago

    Stephen Drew was selected by the Pirates in the 11th round of the 2001 Draft, but did not sign.

  47. hockeyman4 5 years ago

    Stephen Drew was selected by the Pirates in the 11th round of the 2001 Draft, but did not sign.

  48. Jman1213 5 years ago

    Mark Prior was selected in the first round by the Yankees in 1998. He wanted $1.5 million, the Yanks only offered $750,000. I wonder what would’ve happened to him if he had signed with the Yanks. It’s doubtful Torre would’ve worked him like a galley slave like ol’ Dusty did. Perhaps Prior would’ve reached the promise of his early career.

  49. Just_MLB 5 years ago

    John Elway – Kansas City Royals – 1979 draft 18th round
    Deon Sanders – Kansas City Royals – 1985 draft 6th round
    Bo Jackson – NY Yankees – 1982 draft 2nd round
    Bo Jackson – California Angels – 1985 20th round

    footnote: Bo Jackson was drafted 5 times in 2 sports

    Bo Jackson – Tampa Bay Bucs – 1st pick 1st round 1986
    Bo Jackson – LA Raiders – 183rd pick 7th round 1987

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