Draft Rule #12: College first basemen are the most valuable group of draft picks by an enormous margin. College first basemen selected in the first round have gone on to have Hall of Fame-caliber careers approximately one-third of the time.
Over the course of the entire draft study, college first basemen have returned a ridiculous +144% in draft value. Thirteen first basemen were selected in the first 30 picks between 1984 and 1999, including Frank Thomas, Mark McGwire, Will Clark, Todd Helton, and Lance Berkman. John Olerud was a first-round talent who slipped to the third round because he was considered a tough sign.
Draft Rule #13: Among college hitters, after first basemen there is almost no difference between the other infield positions, including catcher. Collegiate outfielders trail all other positions by a significant margin, probably because of an overemphasis on “tools” guys with great athleticism but underdeveloped bats.
Here’s the chart for college position players:
1984 – 1999 1992 - 1999
Pos Overall Pos Overall
COL 1B +155.3% COL 1B +113.1%
COL 2B + 41.0% COL 2B + 55.6%
COL SS + 37.9% COL 3B + 55.2%
COL 3B + 24.4% COL C + 49.8%
COL C + 12.5% COL SS + 45.1%
COL OF + 12.5% COL OF - 5.3%