Three shortstops lead off draft for first time
SECAUCUS, N.J. — Shortstops were a big hit leading off the Major League Baseball draft.
The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Vanderbilt slugger Dansby Swanson with the No. 1 pick Monday night, setting off a history-making run at the position.
With the second pick, Houston took LSU's Alex Bregman — marking the first time since 1982 the first two players chosen were shortstops. That year it was Shawon Dunston (Cubs) and Augie Schmidt (Blue Jays).
And for the first time, Colorado made it 3-for-3 by taking Florida high schooler Brendan Rodgers at No. 3 overall.
A fourth shortstop went 10th, with Philadelphia selecting Georgia high schooler Cornelius Randolph. A record-tying eight shortstops were selected in the first round (36 picks), matching the number that were taken in 1971 and 2002.
Oregon State right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore went in the second round, 72nd overall, by the Seattle Mariners. The Beavers have had a player drafted every year since 1993.
Moore has pitched three seasons for the Beavers, going 27-9 over 51 games, 48 of which were starts. He has a 2.10 ERA and has struck out 251 to just 75 walks in 347 2/3 innings.
Swanson, who helped lead the Commodores to the College World Series earlier in the day, was the first college shortstop to be the top pick since Bill Almon from Brown University in 1974.
"I think it sounds pretty good," a smiling Swanson said in an interview on MLB Network.
It marked the first time the Diamondbacks had the No. 1 selection since they drafted Justin Upton in 2005.
Swanson seamlessly switched from second base to shortstop this season as a junior. He was the Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series last year, helping the Commodores to the national championship. Swanson is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Howser Trophy, given to college baseball's top player.
"An exceptional baseball player that has all of the intangibles and makeup of a championship-type player for which this organization is building a foundation on," Diamondbacks scouting director Deric Ladnier said in a statement.
Two of Swanson's teammates at Vanderbilt were also first-rounders, with righty Carson Fulmer going eighth to the Chicago White Sox and Walker Buehler, also a right-hander, No. 24 to the Dodgers. The trio made the Commodores the fifth college program to have three players chosen in the opening round.
It was the 50th anniversary of the first draft in 1965, and the first for new Commissioner Rob Manfred, who took over when Bud Selig retired in January.
The Astros received the No. 2 pick as compensation for not signing pitcher Brady Aiken, last year's top pick. Aiken was taken by Cleveland at No. 17 despite having Tommy John surgery in March.
Bregman is the offensive leader of an LSU team that will play in the College World Series and has been ranked No. 1 in the country in several polls for most of the season. The Golden Spikes Award finalist is hitting .312 with nine homers and 49 RBIs, and has stolen 37 bases.
"It's such an honor," Bregman said. "I can't wait to get to work right after we go win the College World Series."
Houston kept things in the family at No. 5, taking Florida high school outfielder Kyle Tucker, the younger brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker. He broke his brother's school record with 31 career homers.
"I've never had the opportunity to play with him since he's 7 years older," Kyle Tucker said. "I've sat in the stands and watched him. Possibly having the opportunity to play with him at the major league level, that would be something really special for me."
With the first pick of the second round, the Astros went for another player with baseball bloodlines by taking Georgia high school outfielder Daz Cameron, son of former All-Star Mike Cameron.
California high school third baseman Tyler Nevin, the son of 1992 No. 1 overall pick Phil Nevin, went next to Colorado. Texas high school third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes, went 32nd overall to Pittsburgh.
UC Santa Barbara fireballing right-hander Dillon Tate was chosen by Texas with the fourth pick, giving the Rangers a potential staff ace or late-inning reliever. He was one of the best closers in the country last year, and established himself as an outstanding starter this season for the Gauchos.
Rounds 3-10 will be held Tuesday and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday — both days via team conference calls.