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Draft Day 1: By the numbers
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06/05/2002 7:03 pm ET 
Draft Day 1: By the numbers
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

Boston tabbed Jason Neighborgall in the seventh round. (Courtesy Walt Unks/The Herald-Sun)
If you had trouble following all of Day 1 of the First-Year Player Draft, you're not alone. After all, there were 22 rounds with 672 players taken in rapid-fire succession.

By now, you've had a chance to take a breath and regroup. While you're just digesting the names that spilled out of Day 2, here's a little closer look at the first day of action.

Pitching, pitching, pitching

Good pitching is awfully hard to find these days, and it looks like more teams decided to use the draft to build up their arms arsenal.

2002 First-Year Player Draft
JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
Draft order | Rules | FAQ

FULL COVERAGE:
Bullington goes first
Drafttracker
Complete Draft coverage

POSITION BREAKDOWN
OF 110
SS 61
C 61
1B 38
3B 31
2B 22
Of the 672 picks on Tuesday, 349 (51.9%) were used for pitching. Here's how the position player breakdown went (chart, left).

Position scarcity definitely played a part in how it played out. There are generally fewer truly talented shortstops and catchers in the draft (or in baseball), so teams tend to gobble them up quickly. Case in point: Eight shortstops were taken in the first round.

And, of course, it wasn't just pitching people wanted. Everyone wants as many southpaws as possible for their future bullpens and rotations. Only approximately 10 percent of the world is left-handed. That didn't stop scouting directors and general managers from taking 116 lefties on Tuesday, or 33% of the pitchers selected in Day 1.

College vs. high school

PICK # COLLEGE HIGH/
NO SCHOOL
1-100 51 49
101-200 58 42
201-300 69 31
301-400 81 19
401-500 76 24
501-600 73 27
601-672 57 15
It's a debate that rages every year come draft time. Depending on a team's philosophy, they'll draft more college players (polished, closer to being ready) or high schoolers (raw, higher upside).

To many executives and draft experts, this year's draft pool was weaker than any in recent memory. The college ranks were particularly depleted, making many think there would be a high school emphasis throughout the draft.

Wrong they were, at least partially. An unofficial count found 465 college players (both four-year and junior college) out of the first 672, while 203 came from high school, and four were not affiliated with any school. That's a whopping 69 percent of Day 1 picks coming from the college ranks.

This doesn't mean, however, that the college pool was much stronger than people thought. It wasn't really until the later rounds that the universities got raided full-steam. In round one, seven of the first eight picks (No. 1 pick Bryan Bullington being the notable exception) were high schoolers. Sixteen of the first round's 30 selections were kids who hadn't yet attended college, and 40 of the first 72 (up until the third round) were from the high school ranks.

A look at the draft shows that as it wore on, teams looked to colleges more frequently (chart, right).

Top 100 Prospects

TOP 100 PROSPECTS
Cubs 7
Indians 5
Rockies 5
Expos 5
A's 5
Phillies 5
Pirates 5
Devil Rays 5
Tigers 5
Any draft fan is at least a little familiar with Baseball America's Top 100 prospect list. It's not an exact replica of what each team's draft board might look like, but it's a pretty good gauge of how baseball ranks the draft-eligible players out there.

At least some of the teams agreed. Here's a list of the teams who snagged the highest amount of Top 100 prospects (chart, right).

The Reds, Yankees, Mets, Cardinals and Rangers each only nabbed one Top 100 prospect through the first 22 rounds.

TOP 100 PROSPECTS
BY ROUND
1 30
2 22
3 13
4 7
5 4
6 1
7 3
8 2
11 1
12 2
13 2
14 1
17 1
18 2
21 1
Just how accurate was the list? Every first-round selection was a Top-100 guy. The first 34 picks came off the list. It wasn't until Oakland took University of Alabama's Jeremy Brown with the 35th pick in Compensation Round A that a non-top 100 guy was taken. In fact, 36 of the first 41 picks (up until the start of the second round) were on the list. Here's a round-by-round breakdown of where the Top 100 prospects went on Day 1 (chart, right). Remember, there are 30 picks per round (not including the sandwich picks).

Travis Ishikawa was the last Top 100 prospect taken on Day 1 when San Francisco used pick number 637 to take him. The only Top 100 guys who were not selected were Matt Farnum (Toronto, 24th round) and Sean White (Montreal, 35th round).

The 'S' words: Signability and slippage

Why did some of these top prospects slide so deep in the draft? While there often are several factors that can contribute to a player's stock slipping, none are more influential than a player's signability.

The biggest example in Day 1 was probably Scott Kazmir, who many projected to go No. 3 to the Reds, but instead slipped to No. 15, much to the Mets' delight. The main reason was probably the fact that Jeff Moorad is Kazmir's agent, and that scared some teams away, fearing they wouldn't be able to afford whatever bonus demands they might have.

Kazmir wasn't alone, of course. Farnum, discussed above, was listed at No. 91 on the Top 100 list. Yet he wasn't taken until pick No. 716, on Day 2 of the draft. Part of that is signability, but Farnum also has some leverage. He's got sophomore eligibility, so if he doesn't like the deal, he can easily go back to college and try it again next year (and the year after).

White is another story, although it's still tied to a team's fear he won't sign. That fear stems mostly from his representative, none other than Scott Boras. Which leads us to our next item. ...

The Boras Factor

SCOTT BORAS' CLIENTS
PLAYER TOP 100 SELECTED
Anthony Reyes 38 380
Jason Neighborgall 11 208
Sean White 60 1037
Bobby Brownlie 9 21
Jeremy Guthrie 10 22
Jeff Baker 19 111
Mark McCormick 23 316
Michael Pelfrey -- 434
Enrique Bengochea -- 322
Chadd Blasko 78 36
Trevor Hutchinson 61 83
Matt Harrington -- 374
Scott Boras represents 12 of the players in this year's draft. Here's a chart of each player, where they ranked on the Top 100 list, and when they were selected on Day 1:

Only one of Boras' players in the Top 100, Chadd Blasko, went earlier than his ranking suggested. Some dropped a little and some, like Neighborgall and McCormick, slipped a great deal. And White nearly fell off the face of the earth.

Now, Scott Boras may not be the only reason for these slides, but it can't be a coincidence, can it? The fact that two of these players -- Guthrie and Harrington -- are re-draftees because they didn't sign with teams that drafted them in previous years (this is Harrington's third go-round, in fact) says that teams go into the draft concerned about the ability to sign a Boras client.

Maybe it's time for Baseball America to take this into consideration when generating their Top 100 lists.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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