Proof of Draft's late finds plentiful in KC
Jacobs, Farnsworth examples of astute picks panning out
CLEVELAND -- You don't always have to be a high Draft choice to make in the Major Leagues.
In Tuesday night's First-Year Player Draft, there were three rounds and 111 players taken. The odds are pretty good for those players making it.
Of the 31 current Royals on the roster or disabled list, for example, 11 would have fallen under those parameters when drafted. There are, however, nine drafted players on the big league roster who were taken after the first 111 selections. (The other 11 were foreign players not draft-eligible.)
Designated hitter Mike Jacobs was taken in the 38th round of the 1999 Draft by the New York Mets. He was the 1,156th player selected.
"Some people just kind of peak at high school level or college level, and you see a lot of those guys that get drafted in the first couple of rounds that don't make it," Jacobs said.
"I would think more people drafted in the later rounds make it than people in the early rounds, to be honest with you. You don't have to be taken in the early rounds to do it. The biggest thing is you've got to stay healthy in the Minor Leagues and you've got to put up numbers. If you don't, you're not going to make it. If you do, you're going to make it."
Jacobs, who signed as a catcher, broke in with the Gulf Coast Mets and batted .333 and showed good power.
"I had a really good year my first year. If you're a low Draft choice and you don't perform right away, you're not going to have as many chances. If you're a guy that's a high-round Draft pick and you don't perform right away, they're going to give you chance after chance after chance."
The other Royals who were drafted after the first three rounds were Mike Aviles (round 7), John Bale (5), Brian Bannister (7), John Buck (7), Coco Crisp (7), Kyle Davies (4), Kyle Farnsworth (47) and Ron Mahay (18). Only Aviles was selected by the Royals, reaching the Majors in his sixth pro season.
The Royals themselves made five first-round choices that are currently with the club -- Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Zack Greinke, Luke Hochevar and Mitch Maier, plus David DeJesus, a fourth-round choice, though the 104th player taken. Other early choices taken by other clubs were Mark Teahen, Gil Meche, Willie Bloomquist, Doug Waechter and Jamey Wright.
After 111 picks on Day 1 -- including Round One, Compensation Round A, Round Two, Round Three and Compensation Round B -- and Day 2's coverage of Rounds Four through 30, the Draft will resume with exclusive coverage on MLB.com at 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds.
MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.
Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.
The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.
In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft).
Farnsworth, now in the Royals' bullpen, began his odyssey as an even lower Draft selection than Jacobs. Farnsworth was the 1,290th player taken in 1994, when he was selected by the Chicago Cubs.
He was a "draft-and-follow" player, meaning he wasn't signed until later, after the Cubs had scouted him some more. He didn't consider that to be a disadvantage.
"No, I didn't think about it at all," Farnsworth said. "I just went out and believed in my ability to do whatever. A lot of people who are drafted higher get more chances, but I knew if I went out there and just pitched and showed my ability, I'd be fine."
Like Jacobs, Farnsworth made a good initial showing in 1995 with a 3-2 record and 0.87 ERA in 16 relief outings in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.
"I outlasted some people, being in the 47th round. But [Mike] Piazza is another example that if you just go out there, day in and day out, and do the best you can, you can make it."
Piazza, in 1988, was drafted in the 62nd round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No matter what the round and how late a player is drafted, he can get to the Majors if he's determined and talented enough.
"It was definitely something I wanted to do, and I didn't let anything get in my way," Farnsworth said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.