San Diego State University pitcher taken first in baseball draft

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The annual draft for the United States and Canadian professional baseball league, Major League Baseball (MLB), started on Tuesday. Stephen Strasburg, a pitcher from San Diego State University, was taken by the Washington Nationals with the first overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. Strasburg was widely considered to be the top prospect going into the draft.

Each year, the First-Year Player Draft is held, allowing MLB teams to select from among the best amateur baseball players in North America. Once selected, a player is obligated to sign a contract with the team that drafts him; if he chooses not to do so, he may not play for any Major League or affiliated Minor League team for one year.

Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals.

Strasburg is expected to sign with the Nationals and play in their farm system this year. The Nationals have held out the chance of promoting him to their MLB roster by September, possibly making him only the third pitcher to be drafted first overall and play in the Majors during the same year. Even before the draft was held, Strasburg was the consensus choice among prognosticators as the likely number-one pick. He has started 15 games this season for the San Diego State Aztecs college baseball team, compiling a record of 13 wins and 1 loss, with a 1.32 earned run average. Strasburg is expected to demand a contract valued at US$50 million; a record for a newly drafted player.

The top position player taken was University of North Carolina centerfielder Dustin Ackley, drafted second overall by the Seattle Mariners.

John Manuel of Baseball America, writing for, has graded the Nationals, the Colorado Rockies, and the Minnesota Twins as the best performers on the first day of the draft.

The first day of the draft concluded after round 3; overall 111 players were selected on the first day. Rounds 4-30 are expected to be completed Wednesday, and the draft will conclude Thursday after 50 total rounds.