Though the expected return on a draft pick after even the first few rounds drops precipitously, there are future big leaguers to be found in the later rounds, even excluding players who drop due to signability reasons. The 11th round of the 2001 draft produced both Geovany Soto and Dan Uggla. In 2004, Tampa Bay drafted Andy Sonnanstine in the 13th round, three rounds before the Diamondbacks snagged Mark Reynolds.
So, who might be the next late-round gem floating around the minors right now?
Weíll exclude draft-and-follows and players who signed from the 10th round and on for bonuses well above slot. Lars Anderson was a great pick for the Red Sox when they drafted him in the 18th round in 2006, but he came with an $825,000 price tag.
Here are five players drafted in the 10th round or later who have a chance to exceed expectations and become quality big leaguers.
Danny Dorn, lf, Reds: Nine hundred fifty three players went off the board in the 2006 draft before the Reds selected Dorn in the 32nd round as a Cal State Fullerton senior. Eight of Dornís Fullerton teammates even went ahead of him the draft. But none of them has performed as well in the professional ranks as Dorn. In a little more than 1,000 professional plate appearances, Dornís career line is a sweet .297/.387/.528, including a .277/.367/.539 showing last year with Double-A Chattanooga. Dorn, 24, surprised some in the Southern League with the way he hit, particularly in the second half, shortening his swing and pulling the ball with more authority. The concerns about about the lefty-hitting Dorn are whether he can replicate his offensive success at higher levels, his lack of physical projection and his defense, which limits him to left field or first base. Heís also battled some physical ailments with his leg and shoulder, but heís already come farther than many expected in 2006.