With 19 picked on the first day, Californians comprise 26 percent of entire draft class. Percentage dropped by end of the third round, but still finished with 24. We list them all in this post plus update list of all-time No. 1 picks.
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If population was the only reason that California baseball players have tended to do well in the annual Major League Baseball draft, then why does the state’s percentage of high picks almost always exceed its percentage of the national population?
This is because it’s not just about population. It’s about weather, access to all-weather playing fields, great coaching and intense competition whether a player is from the north, south or anywhere in between. It’s because California really is the baseball capital of the world.
California struck gold once again during this week’s MLB Draft. On Thursday evening, pitcher Mark Appel was chosen as the first pick by the Houston Astros. He is a player who was born and spent his childhood in the Houston area, but for purposes of counting we get him for California because he is a graduate of Monte Vista High in Danville.
Appel went to Stanford after finishing at Monte Vista. He is the 12th No. 1 pick from a California high school since the draft began in 1965 and the third in the last five years. (Scroll down to see the updated all-time list.)
Three players who just graduated from California high schools were then taken between the 10th pick and the 16th. Between the 32nd selection and the 61st, there was verifiable run on California players with 11 chosen in that time span.
Here is a list of the California players (including college players from the state’s high schools) who were selected in the first three rounds:
1. Mark Appel (Monte Vista, Danville) RHP
A relief pitcher and starter in high school, he also played basketball for the Mustangs before heading to Stanford. We recall watching him throw as a junior in a game at Livermore.
10. Phil Bickford (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) RHP
Drafted by the Blue Jays, he went 12-1 with a 0.83 ERA and 146 strikeouts as the Lions captured the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship. He reportedly reached 97 mph during that game.
11. Dominic Smith (Serra, Gardena) 1B
After being drafted by the New York Mets, one of the first people to greet Dominic was former Crenshaw of Los Angeles great Darryl Strawberry.
16. J.P. Crawford (Lakewood) SS
Our state freshman of the year four years ago will join former Lancers’ teammate Shane Watson, who was drafted 40th overall by the Phillies last year.
32. Aaron Judge (Linden) OF
Before heading to Fresno State, Aaron was a two-time all-league and all-state small schools’ honoree for the Lions while also playing basketball.
33. Ian Clarkin (Madison, San Diego) LHP
Going for Californians on back to back picks, the New York Yankees selected this lefty pitcher who was 9-2 with a 0.95 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 73.1 innings for the Warhawks.
35. Matt Krook (St. Ignaiuts, San Francisco) LHP
Pitching 53.1 innings with a 1.71 ERA. he also hit .390 with 26 runs batted in for St. Ignatius before being selected by the Miami Marlins.
38. Michael Lorenzen (Fullerton) RHP
Before heading to play in college at nearby Cal State Fullerton, he was a four-time All-Freeway League first team selection for the Indians.
40. Andrew Thurman (Lutheran, Orange) RHP
Drafted with the first pick of the second round by the Astros, he was the Trinity League Pitcher of the Year back in 2010.
42. Ryan McMahon (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 3B
Hit .353 with 11 doubles and four home runs while driving in 23 runs for the Monarchs to earn Trinity League MVP honors.
44. Trevor Williams (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) RHP
The first of two Broncos selected on the first day, he hit .432 and went 10-2 on the mound during his senior season before going to Arizona State.
49. Austin Wilson (Harvard-Westlake, North Hollywood) OF
A three-time all-CIFSS and all-league honoree at Harvard-Westlake, Wilson led Stanford in batting average this season.
51. Blake Taylor (Dana Hills, Dana Point) LHP
He pitched just 49 innings with a 2.57 ERA, but the Pirates scooped up this left-handed pitcher that has hit the mid-90s.
53. Andrew Knapp (Granite Bay) C
Sierra Foothill League MVP back in 2010 then went to Cal where his brother Aaron will join him if he does not sign with the Phillies. Aaron also started at corner last fall for Granite Bay’s D1 state champ football team.
61. Chance Sisco (Santiago, Corona) C
Named to the All-Big VIII team after throwing out 15 base stealers this season. He was considered a surprising first day pick by the Baltimore Orioles.
66. Gosuke Katoh (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego) 2B
Following Trevor Williams at No. 44, the Rancho Bernardo program added Katoh as yet another high draft choice. We highly doubt if there’s another prep coach in the nation with as many top round picks as Rancho Bernardo’s Sam Blalock.
67. Kevin Franklin (Gahr, Cerritos) 3B
Considered to have big-time power potential, he hit .448 with nine home runs and 37 RBI this season for the Gladiators before getting picked by the Reds.
69. Jordan Paroubeck (Serra, San Mateo) OF
After watching him nearly run head-to-head in a scary collision in the CCS championship, we’re just glad Paroubeck is okay. He could have been seriously injured on that play.
70. Alex Balog (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) RHP
The third pick from the mighty West Catholic Athletic League among the first 70 is Balog. He was named to our all-state first-team in 2010 after hitting .407 with 30 RBI while also going 8-2 with a 1.01 ERA before heading to University of San Francisco.
92. Brandon Dixon (Murrieta Valley, Murrieta) 3B
The first from the state to hear his name called on day two of the draft, he hit .292 with eight home runs back in 2010 before heading to college at Arizona.
100. Ryon Healy (Crespi, Encino) 1B
Named to our all-state first-team before heading to Oregon, he played first base and pitched for the Celts back in 2010 as they captured the Mission League and CIFSS D2 titles.
101. Chase Johnson (Fallbrook) RHP
Named to the All-Avocado League first-team, he pitched and played the outfield for the Warriors before heading to play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
102. Carlos Salazar (Kerman) RHP
Clocked at up to 98 mph, he was a bit dissapointed to not be selected in the first two rounds and has said he’ll want top two round money if he’s going to sign and not go to Fresno State.
106. Chris Kohler (Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga) LHP
As the lone supplemental pick of the third round he was chosen by the Oakland A’s after striking out 113 batters in 72 innings and hitting .444 with 22 runs batted in for the Grizzlies.
Note: The fourth player picked in the fourth round (and No. 110 overall) was Stephen Gonsalves from Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. The lefty pitcher went 6-1 with 55 strikeouts in just 48 innings for the Dons this season.
No. 1 Overall Picks in the MLB Draft
From California High Schools
2013 – Mark Appel (Monte Vista, Danville) RHP by Astros
2011 – Gerrit Cole (Lutheran, Orange) RHP by Pirates
2009 – Stephen Strasburg (West Hills, Santee) RHP by Nationals
2004 – Matt Bush (Mission Bay, San Diego) SS by Padres
2003 – Delmon Young (Camarillo) OF by Devil Rays
2000 – Adrian Gonzalez (Eastlake, Chula Vista) 1B by Marlins
1998 – Pat Burrell (Bellarmine Prep, San Jose) OF by Phillies
1992 – Phil Nevin (El Dorado, Placentia) 3B by Astros
1980 – Darryl Strawberry (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) OF by N.Y. Mets
1969 – Jeff Burroughs (Wilson, Long Beach) OF by Senators
1968 – Tim Foli (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) SS by N.Y. Mets
1966 – Steve Chilcott (Antelope Valley, Lancaster) C by N.Y. Mets
Mark Tennis contributed to this report.