In the past two MLB drafts, quite a few college players from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) have heard their names called.
Last year, 45 NAIA athletes (including 33 pitchers) were lucky enough to get drafted, something many baseball players can only dream of. This year, 44 players from 28 schools were drafted by 24 of MLB’s 30 professional organizations.
The NAIA normally does not get a lot attention when compared to its NCAA counterpart, but with a .410 BA, 14 home runs, 67 RBI, 26 doubles and a .767 slugging percentage, you can see why the Padres were high on Philips.
The glory is always received by the NCAA, but the NAIA is making some serious noise. Baseball is baseball, and if you can play, you can play regardless.
Take Shaun Valeriote from Brock University, for example. He became the first Ontario University Athletics player to be drafted. The stigma is that collegiate baseball in Canada might as well be a universe away. But with great scouting from the Toronto Blue Jays and their staff, this one draft pick certainly sheds that image that Canadian universities do not produce quality Major League talent.
According to the NAIA, “fourteen percent of participating institutions had players drafted in 2012. Since 2008, the NAIA has averaged 42 individuals selected each year by MLB clubs."
Take into consideration that when I attended York in Nebraska form 1997-2001, we rarely played in front of crowds of more than 300. Despite that, my teammates, myself and multiple others in our conference went on to play professional baseball in various leagues.
It really does say something when barriers are broken down and the talent rises to the top.
Congratulations to all those drafted on their tremendous accomplishment.
For a complete list of the 44 NAIA players selected, please click here (courtesy of the NAIA).
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.