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Daniel Wilco | | July 12, 2021

Colleges with the most first-round MLB draft picks

Vanderbilt aces, Rocker and Leiter, lead Commodores into Omaha

The 2021 MLB draft began Sunday, July 11 in Denver, Colorado, in conjunction with the 2021 MLB All-Star game. The draft will run through July 13. 

The first amateur Major League Baseball draft took place in 1965. Since then, 1,616 players have been drafted in the first round of the MLB draft.

Of those, around 700 came from an NCAA school. 

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And no school is more represented on that list than Stanford. Nico Hoerner, drafted No. 24 by the Chicago Cubs in 2018, became the Cardinal’s 24th player taken in the first round — more than any other college.

But Arizona State isn't far behind — the Sun Devils' Spencer Torkelson went No. 1 overall in 2020.

Vanderbilt leaped into the top 4 in 2021, tying Florida State, after Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker were selected No. 2 and No. 10, respectively, overall.

There are almost 100 other NCAA schools that have had at least two players taken in the first round. Here’s a look at the top 20:

Rank College First round draft picks No. 1 overall picks Conference
1 Stanford 24 1 Pac-12
2 Arizona State 23 4 Pac-12
3 Texas 21 0 Big 12
T4 Florida State 20 1 ACC
T4 Vanderbilt 20 2 SEC
6 North Carolina 17 1 ACC
T7 Southern California 15 0 Pac-12
T7 UCLA 15 1 Pac-12
T8 Rice 14 1 C-USA
T8 Florida 14 0 SEC
T8 Mississippi State 14 0 SEC
T11 Cal State Fullerton 13 1 Big West
T11 Clemson 13 1 ACC
T14 Wichita State 12 0 American
T14 Fresno State 12 0 MWC
T14 Arizona 12 0 Pac-12
T17 Louisiana State 11 1 SEC
T17 Oklahoma State 11 0 Big 12
T17 Georgia Tech 11 0 ACC
T17 South Carolina 11 0 SEC

Three of the top seven schools hail from the Pac-12, but it's actually the SEC that holds the record for most first round draft picks with 128, ahead of the ACC at 122. The Pac-12 follows at 118.

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Those three conferences account for close to half of all NCAA first-round draftees since 1965.

With Louisville's Henry Davis going No. 1 in 2021, the ACC tied the Pac-12 for the most top overall draft picks, just ahead of the SEC.

Only 28 of the No. 1 draft picks since 1965 have been from NCAA schools, and the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 combine for 17 of them.

But no individual school has more No. 1 overall picks than Arizona State.

The very first player ever taken in the amateur draft was Arizona State outfielder Rick Monday, drafted No. 1 overall in 1965 by the Kansas City Athletics. In 1976, the Houston Astros selected pitcher Floyd Bannister, and in 1978, the Atlanta Braves took outfielder Bob Horner, both Sun Devils. Torkelson then joined the list in 2020 after the Detroit Tigers choose the ASU first baseman with the top pick.

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Vanderbilt is the only other school to have more than one player taken first overall. In 2007, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took pitcher David Price, and in 2015, the Arizona Diamondbacks picked shortstop Dansby Swanson.

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