On a recent episode of the Backward K podcast, Ryan Blake, the podcast’s co-host and a regular contributor here at Baseball Essential, found something interesting: Kris Bryant was almost a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bryant was drafted by the Jays in the 18th round of the 2010 MLB amateur player draft. At the time, Bryant had just graduated Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, and his play there had attracted the attention of several major league scouts. Instead of choosing a career path that could eventually land him north of the border, however, Bryant opted to play college baseball at the University of San Diego instead.
Such an action is actually pretty common among high school draftees, especially ones picked in the later rounds. Once a player is drafted, he has a set window to sign with the franchise that picked him before being released back into the draft pool. Many high school players will opt not to sign with a pro team and take a college scholarship instead. The hope is that a couple years of college ball will increase their draft stock enough to land them in one of the higher rounds of the draft, where they’ll be eligible for a much bigger signing bonus.
Bryant is the perfect example: after three seasons at USD, he was considered one of the top amateur players in the country and was selected second overall by the Chicago Cubs in the 2013 draft. Sure enough, the Cubs awarded him a $6.7 million signing bonus. You probably know the rest of the story – Bryant shot up through Chicago’s minor league system, became the North Siders’ starting third baseman early last season, and won the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year in a landslide.
He may be the latest big name to take this route to the big leagues, but Bryant’s far from the only one. Here are some other MLB stars that have been drafted more than once.