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5 Best Colleges At Producing First-Round Pitchers In The 2000s

While Vanderbilt position players Dansby Swanson, Pedro Alvarez and JJ Bleday were drafted first, second and fourth overall, the program is best known as a pitching factory.

No college program has produced more first-round pitchers than Vanderbilt since 2000. What’s astonishing is that the Commodores’ pitcher pipeline was first established in 2004, when the Indians drafted Jeremy Sowers with the sixth overall pick.

That means that under coach Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt has produced a remarkable nine first-round pitchers in the past 16 drafts.

Here are the five best schools at producing first rounders over the last 20 years. 

Vanderbilt -- 9


Year No Player, Pos Team
2004 6 Jeremy Sowers, LHP Indians
2007 1 David Price, LHP Devil Rays
2007 8 Casey Weathers, RHP Rockies
2009 7 Mike Minor, LHP Braves
2011 18 Sonny Gray, RHP Athletics
2014 14 Tyler Beede, RHP Giants
2015 8 Carson Fulmer, RHP White Sox
2015 24 Walker Buehler, RHP Dodgers
2017 5 Kyle Wright, RHP Braves


The quantity and quality of Vanderbilt’s first-round pitchers is astounding. Price put the program on the map when he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He went on to win the AL Cy Young Award in 2012 and a World Series ring in 2018. Buehler, Gray and Minor have all made an all-star team, while Wright is currently a Top 100 Prospect. The only real misfires have been Weathers and (to this point) Fulmer.

Florida -- 7


Year No Player, Pos Team
2012 31 Brian Johnson, LHP Red Sox
2013 20 Jonathan Crawford, RHP Tigers
2016 6 A.J. Puk, LHP Athletics
2016 29 Dane Dunning, RHP Nationals
2017 18 Alex Faedo, RHP Tigers
2018 18 Brady Singer, RHP Royals
2018 33 Jackson Kowar, RHP Royals


Florida’s rise as a national power coincides with the program’s success at developing pitchers. Granted, the program’s pitchers tend to be middle or late first-round picks rather than top 10 selections. While no first-round Gator has busted through in the big leagues, Puk is poised to do so as an Athletics rookie in 2020.

Stanford -- 7


Year No Player, Pos Team
2000 5 Justin Wayne, RHP Expos
2002 22 Jeremy Guthrie, RHP Indians
2006 2 Greg Reynolds, RHP Rockies
2009 10 Drew Storen, RHP Nationals
2011 16 Chris Reed, LHP Dodgers
2013 1 Mark Appel, RHP Astros
2016 8 Cal Quantrill, RHP Padres


Guthrie didn’t break through as a rotation mainstay until age 28, but he stuck around long enough to amass 91 career wins. Quantill made his major league debut in 2019 and could be a key cog in the Padres’ resurgence. Just as notable: top-five-overall picks Appel, Reynolds and Wayne failed to impact the majors.


Yankees Get Sonny Gray, Athletics Get Mateo, Fowler, Kaprielian

Yankees give up three prospects for righthander Sonny Gray.

RICE -- 6


Year No Player, Pos Team
2001 11 Kenny Baugh, RHP Tigers
2003 22 David Aardsma, RHP Giants
2004 3 Philip Humber, RHP Mets
2004 4 Jeff Niemann, RHP Devil Rays
2005 8 Wade Townsend, RHP Devil Rays
2007 19 Joe Savery, LHP Phillies


Rice’s storied pitching tradition resulted in a mini-dynasty in the 2000s, but not one Owls ace developed into an impact major league starter. The ballyhooed trio of Humber, Niemann and Townsend never achieved sustained big league success, though Aardsma racked up 69 career saves.



Year No Player, Pos Team
2006 6 Andrew Miller, LHP Tigers
2006 28 Daniel Bard, RHP Red Sox
2009 15 Alex White, RHP Indians
2010 7 Matt Harvey, RHP Mets
2017 15 J.B. Bukauskas, RHP Astros


Miller and Bard helped UNC break through in Omaha and establish the program as title contenders. Miller won Player of the Year honors and was in play as the possible No. 1 overall pick in 2006. He has carved out a career as a relief ace.

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