Mariners seek late-round magic
Sweeney among current players drafted after third round
SEATTLE -- When the First-Year Player Draft in 1991 went through the first nine rounds without his name being mentioned, future five-time American League All-Star Mike Sweeney had to be wondering if he ever would be selected.Finally, in the 10th round, Sweeney was selected by the Kansas City Royals, becoming the 262nd player picked out of the deep pool of amateur talent. Five years later, he was making his Major League debut.
He's still playing first base/designated hitter for the Mariners, winding down a stellar big league career that included All-Star Game invitations in 2000, '01, '02, '03 and '05 with the Royals.It just goes to show that players selected after the first three rounds can become All-Stars. After 111 picks on Day 1 -- including Rounds 1, 2 and 3 and Compensation Rounds A and B, -- and rounds four through 30 on Wednesday, the Draft will conclude on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 8:30 a.m. PT. MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others. The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com. In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft). The Mariners' current 25-man roster includes eight players that were selected in the fourth round or later. Left-hander Erik Bedard was the Orioles' sixth-round Draft choice in 1999, the 187th overall selection, and reached the big leagues for the first time in 2002. First baseman Russell Branyan, a seventh-round selection by the Indians in 1994, the 185th player chosen, needed just three years of Minor League seasoning before reaching the big leagues. Reliever Mark Lowe, Seattle's fifth-round Draft selection in '04, the 153d pick overall, made it to the Major Leagues in 2006. And more recently, and even more astounding, right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley -- currently on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique -- sat around until the 13th round of the '07 Draft, was selected by the Mariners with the 405th overall pick, and needed just two years to reach The Show. Here are the fourth-round Draft choices -- or later: Rob Johnson, 4th round '04, SEA, 123rd overall, reached MLB in 2007
Mark Lowe, 5th round, '04, SEA, 153rd overall, reached MLB in 2006
Erik Bedard, 6th round, '99, BAL, 187th overall, reached MLB in 2002
Sean White, 8th round, 2003, ATL, 247th overall, reached MLB in 2007
Jamie Burke, 9th round, '93, LAA, 243rd overall, reached MLB in 2001
Russell Branyan, 7th round, '94, CLE, 185th overall, reached MLB in 1998
Mike Sweeney, 10th round, '91, KC, 262nd overall, reached MLB in 1995
Shawn Kelley, 13th round, 2007, 405th overall, reached MLB in 2009
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.