Being a first-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft doesn’t usually carry the same public fascination as the made-for-TV spectacles from the NFL and NBA. Part of the reason, of course, is that baseball players typically hit the minors for several years before, if all goes well, making it to the big leagues.
Eleven first-rounders are among the 53 players still in the Texas Rangers’ spring clubhouse, and it’s still a source of pride for them. Brad Snyder, who was the 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft, said it’s something he’ll one day tell his kids about.
“There is a pride for sure,” said Snyder, who hit his first homer of the spring Sunday. “It’s an honor to be selected that high.”
There’s also pressure that goes along with the honor, Snyder said. During his minor league days in the Indians’ organization he couldn’t help but notice when others drafted behind him moved through the system quicker.
“It can eat you up if you let it,” said Snyder, who saw his draft stock soar during an excellent junior season at Ball State. “There were some days it was hard seeing these guys I still felt I was better than playing ahead of me for whatever reason.”
As a first-year player in Rookie ball, Snyder said players, himself included, would check where teammates were drafted. But after moving up to the high levels, including Double A and Triple A, it becomes less of a concern.
“Everybody is kind of in the same mix,” he said. “The talent starts meshing together and you don’t even know who’s who anymore. If you can play, you can play. It just comes down to that. Obviously, there’s a lot of guys that are very successful in this game that weren’t drafted in the first round — the majority.”
First-round draftees in Rangers clubhouse
|Alex Rios||Blue Jays||19th||1999|
|Yu Darvish||NPB draft||1st||2004|
|Daniel Bard||Red Sox||28th||2006|
|J.P. Arencibia||Blue Jays||21st||2007|
|Aaron Poreda||White Sox||25th||2007|
He said it
“The wind was blowing out.” — Rangers catcher J.P. Arencibia on his first home run of the spring, a grand slam in the sixth inning Sunday.
Word from Wash
“I wouldn’t say [A’s GM Billy Beane] was wrong on Michael Choice or he was right on Michael Choice. It’s spring training. He made the deal because he needed what we had and we ended up getting what we needed from him. We needed a young player that we could get something out of as we go forward and hopefully that’s Michael Choice. They needed a guy right now that could help them out in center field and along the outfield and give them some speed on the base paths and they got him in Gentry.” — Manager Ron Washington, on trading Craig Gentry to Oakland for Michael Choice.