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High schools with the most first-round Draft picks

@SlangsOnSports
June 11, 2020

MLB Draft prospects can come from high schools, junior colleges and four-year colleges. We already looked at the schools with the most first-rounders, all of which were colleges. But there are plenty of high schools to produce multiple first-round picks, too. They may not compete with Stanford’s 23 first-round selections,

MLB Draft prospects can come from high schools, junior colleges and four-year colleges. We already looked at the schools with the most first-rounders, all of which were colleges.

But there are plenty of high schools to produce multiple first-round picks, too. They may not compete with Stanford’s 23 first-round selections, the most of any school since the Draft began in 1965, but there have been 16 high schools to have at least three players drafted in the first round, an impressive feat considering the sheer number of high schools in question.

Here’s a look at the high schools to produce the most first-round picks, based on research by MLB Pipeline. Only true first-round picks from the primary June Draft qualified, which leaves out those from secondary Drafts, as well as compensatory and supplemental picks. If a player was picked in the first round multiple times, his school only got credit for one of those selections. The picks considered below are solely players taken in the first round when drafted out of the high school in question. If a player attended the school, but was drafted in the first round out of college, he would not count, as he was not drafted out of the high school in the first round.

1) Hillsborough HS (Tampa, FL): 6 first-rounders (3 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 133.5
Most notable first-round pick: Gary Sheffield (No. 6, MIL, 1986)

Hillsborough is tied for 33rd overall on the list, including colleges -- an impressive spot for a high school. The 133.5 total WAR produced by its drafted players ranks 10th among all schools, in addition to being first among high schools. The main reason? The two highest-drafted players out of Hillsborough -- either of whom could’ve been listed as the ‘most notable.’ Sheffield, noted above, had 60.5 career WAR. And Dwight Gooden, taken fifth overall by the Mets in 1982, had 53.0 career WAR.

Not only does the school have two top-six picks to its name, but two picks came in a span of five Drafts, from 1982 through 1986. The only other school with multiple top-six picks from 1982-86 was Texas, with Spike Owen (No. 6, SEA, 1982) and Greg Swindell (No. 2, CLE, 1986).

2-T) Rancho Bernardo HS (San Diego, CA): 5 first-rounders (3 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 59.2
Most notable first-round pick: Cole Hamels (No. 17, PHI, 2002)

The two highest-drafted players taken from Rancho Bernardo HS are Jaime Jones (No. 6, FLA, 1995) and Alex Jackson (No. 6, SEA, 2014). Jones never reached the Majors, while Jackson made his debut last season for the Braves, appearing in four games. Hamels' 59.5 WAR is by far the most of any Rancho Bernardo draftee.

In 2000, Rancho Bernardo had two players taken in the first round: Matt Wheatland (No. 8, DET) and Scott Heard (No. 25, TEX). Rancho Bernardo is one of seven high schools to have two players taken in the first round of the same Draft.

2-T) Sarasota HS (Sarasota, FL): 5 first-rounders (1 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: -1.8
Most notable first-round pick: Casey Kelly (No. 30, BOS, 2008)

Sarasota HS is tied for the second-most first-rounders, but those first-round picks have not had a lot of Major League success. Of the school’s five first-rounders, four signed. Of those four, two did not make the Majors -- including Sarasota’s highest-drafted player, Doug Million (No. 7, COL, 1994). The two who did sign each had negative WAR, and neither played more than 30 career games. Sarasota is one of 22 schools -- college or high school -- that has had multiple first-round picks but a negative total career WAR of first-rounders who signed.

The school has had some success outside the first round, though. The school’s most notable draftee overall is Ian Desmond (No. 84, MON, 2004), who was taken in the third round.

4-T) Woodrow Wilson HS (Long Beach, CA): 4 first-rounders (2 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 106.0
Most notable first-round pick: Bobby Grich (No. 19, BAL, 1967)

Grich’s 71.1 WAR is the most of any player drafted out of Woodrow Wilson HS. Grich hit 224 career homers, one of two players drafted out of the school to hit 200-plus home runs. The other is Jeff Burroughs, the school’s only No. 1 overall pick (WSN, 1969) -- who hit 240. His son, Sean, became the second-highest drafted player out of the school when he was taken ninth overall by the Padres in 1998. The school's other first-rounder is Aaron Hicks (No. 14, MIN, 2008).

One other Woodrow Wilson alum worth mentioning is Hall of Famer Bob Lemon, who attended the school in the 1930s and signed with the Indians as an amateur free agent before the 1938 season, long before the draft came into existence.

4-T) Harvard-Westlake HS (Los Angeles, CA): 4 first-rounders (1 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 17.9
Most notable first-round pick: Jack Flaherty (No. 34, STL, 2014)

Harvard-Westlake has had four first-round picks, and they were all taken since 2012. No other high school has had more than two first-rounders in that span.

All but the 2020 pick, Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 19, NYM), are on Major League staffs right now: Max Fried (No. 7, SD, 2012), Lucas Giolito (No. 16, WSH, 2012) and Flaherty. When Fried and Giolito went in the same first round in 2012, it was the seventh and most recent time that a high school had multiple players taken in the same first round. Harvard-Westlake’s three first-rounders from 2012-14 were tied with Stanford and Florida for the most first-rounders out of a single school in that span. No other high school had even two players drafted in the first round over those three Drafts.

6-T) Great Bridge HS (Chesapeake, VA): 3 first-rounders (2 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 52.2
Most notable first-round pick: Justin Upton (No. 1, ARI, 2005)

Great Bridge HS has had just six players drafted in school history, but half of those have been in the first round. In 1997, the school produced both the ninth and 17th overall picks, with Michael Cuddyer taken by the Twins and John Curtice taken by the Red Sox, respectively. At the time, it was just the second time two players had been drafted out of the same high school in the same Draft’s first round (1972 Cordova HS: Mike Ondina No. 12 CHW, Jerry Manuel No. 20 DET). Cuddyer and Upton are the only players from Great Bridge to appear in the Majors, regardless of whether they were drafted out of high school or college.

6-T) Valley HS (Las Vegas, NV): 3 first-rounders (3 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 27.6
Most notable first-round pick: Mike Morgan (No. 4, OAK, 1978)

The most notable player drafted out of Valley HS wasn’t taken in the first round, but rather in the second. The Cubs drafted Greg Maddux 31st overall in 1984, and he went on to amass 106.6 WAR, a 3.16 ERA and earned a plaque in Cooperstown. His career WAR is more than three times the career WAR of the school’s three first-rounders -- all of whom were top-10 picks. Of those three, one did not reach the Majors (Dan Opperman, No. 8, LAD, 1987).

6-T) H.B. Plant HS (Tampa, FL): 3 first-rounders (2 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 0.0
Most notable first-round pick: Kyle Tucker (No. 5, HOU, 2015)

The most notable player drafted out of H.B. Plant overall is Hall of Famer Wade Boggs (7th round, BOS, 1976). 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso attended H.B. Plant, too, but was drafted out of Florida, and in the second round.

6-T) Brenham HS (Brenham, TX): 3 first-rounders (0 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: -6.7
Most notable first-round pick: Jack Heidemann (No. 11, CLE, 1967)

Of the three first-rounders drafted from Brenham HS, two made the Majors -- both putting up negative WAR in their careers. The school’s -6.7 WAR from first-rounders is the least WAR from first-rounders who signed of any school, high school or college, with at least one first-round pick.

6-T) Acadiana HS (Lafayette, LA): 3 first-rounders (0 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 16.0
Most notable first-round pick: Gil Meche (No. 22, SEA, 1996)

6-T) Grant Union HS (Sacramento, CA): 3 first-rounders (2 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 7.0
Most notable first-round pick: Ricky Jordan (No. 22, PHI, 1983)

6-T) Whiteville HS (Whiteville, NC): 3 first-rounders (2 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 6.7
Most notable first-round pick: MacKenzie Gore (No. 3, SD, 2017)

6-T) Adolfo Camarillo HS (Camarillo, CA): 3 first-rounders (1 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 3.5
Most notable first-round pick: Delmon Young (No. 1, TB, 2003)

6-T) Merritt Island HS (Merritt Island, FL): 3 first-rounders (2 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 2.7
Most notable first-round pick: Clint Hurdle (No. 9, KC, 1975)

6-T) Purcell Marian HS (Cincinnati, OH): 3 first-rounders (0 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: 0.1
Most notable first-round pick: Drew Denson (No. 19, ATL, 1984)

6-T) Horizon HS (Scottsdale, AZ): 3 first-rounders (0 in top 10)
Career WAR of first-rounders: -3.8
Most notable first-round pick: Brandon Wood (No. 23, LAA, 2003)

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.