Because the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke this offseason the team forfeited its first round pick. Seeming as if it it were fate, the team will make its first draft selection at the 52nd overall pick during the 52nd MLB Amateur Draft on Thursday.
Because up to 1,200 players can be selected in the MLB Draft, it is impossible to predict where a player will be drafted outside of the top-tier prospects. But just because the Diamondbacks don’t have a pick in the first round doesn’t mean this years draft is awash.
Of the 52 players selected 52nd overall since the amateur draft began in 1965, 22 players went on to play at the major league level. These players include Ralph Garr, Carl Crawford, J.P. Howell and Blake Snell among others. Garr and Crawford were both All-Stars in their primes while other players like J.P. Howell and Matt Belisle have had, and continue to, have long and fruitful careers across big-league bullpens in the past decade.
Ralph Garr played most of his career with the Atlanta Braves where he shared the outfield with Hall of Famer Hank Aaron towards the latter part of his career. In 1974, Garr hit .353 to win the National League Batting title. He batted .300 or higher five times between 1971 and 1977.
Carl Crawford, a four-time All-Star, is perhaps the best player to ever be selected 52nd overall thus far. Crawford lead the American League in stolen bases four times and only Juan Pierre had more stolen bases than him during the 2000’s. Earlier this week he was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he spent the last four seasons with but struggled to healthy.
Though he has pitched just one game in the Bigs, Blake Snell is currently listed as the 12th-best pitching prospect by MLB.com. The lefty is expected to be a top of the line strikeout pitcher once he settles into the everyday rotation, as he has demonstrated by striking out 544 batters in 479 minor league innings.
Arizona has only at this slot once before. In 2013, the team selected high school shortstop Justin Williams who is currently playing with the team’s Single-A affiliate
So historically speaking, the 52nd overall player drafted only has a 42 percent chance of making it to the big leagues, and a 3.9 percent chance of becoming an All-Star. Only time will tell where the Diamondbacks’ pick will end up.