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? 


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56 Comments on "Famous Unsigned Draft Picks"


5 years 3 months ago

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

5 years 3 months ago

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.

danielknowsbaseball
5 years 3 months ago

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

melonis_rex
5 years 3 months 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 years 3 months ago

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

Guest
5 years 3 months ago

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

5 years 3 months ago

Slow Day.

lewisjsl
5 years 3 months 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.

Guest
5 years 3 months 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.

cardrob
5 years 3 months ago

Lincecum?

Ian_Smell
5 years 3 months 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.

Ian_Smell
5 years 3 months ago

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

bjsguess
5 years 3 months 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.

Ferrariman
5 years 3 months ago

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

tilbrouck
5 years 3 months ago
tilbrouck
5 years 3 months ago

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

cardrob
5 years 3 months 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

tilbrouck
5 years 3 months ago

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

tilbrouck
5 years 3 months ago

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

tilbrouck
5 years 3 months ago

Sorry for my duplicate posts. Errors logging in.