MLB Draft 2011: Looking Back at the 10 Best Late-Round Picks from 1991-2010
If the first few rounds of the MLB draft are a crapshoot, then rounds 31-50 are like trying to hit a bullseye with a BB gun from a mile away.
But that doesn't mean it's impossible.
Here's a look at the 10 best late-round picks over the last two decades.
10. Nyjer Morgan, 33rd round (2002)
The speedster broke through with the Pirates in 2007, but it's his bat that's made him a serviceable major league regular. He's hitting a career-high .338 this season for the Brewers and has 76 steals in the last two seasons.
9. Mike Jacobs, 38th round (1999)
Jacobs has had an up-and-down career as a slugging first basemen, launching 32 home runs in 2008 but also striking out 119 times. He's now back with the team that originally drafted him, the New York Mets.
8. Marcus Giles, 53rd round (1996)
Giles always had the makings of a five-tool second baseman even though it took him five years to make it to the majors with the Braves. He was an All-Star and MVP candidate in 2003 after finishing with a .917 OPS, but he's been out of baseball since 2007.
7. Scot Shields, 38th round (1997)
Shields was for a time one of the best set-up men in the game. He made at least 60 appearances every year from 2004-2008 and owns a career 3.18 ERA. The righty was a big part of the 2002 Angels' championship team.
6. Casey Blake, 45th round (1995)
Blake was nothing more than an emergency utility player for the first four years of his major league career, but he became a full-time player in 2003 with the Indians and never looked back. The third baseman has some serious pop with 166 career home runs and a .781 OPS.
5. Orlando Hudson, 43rd round (1997)
The Blue Jays groomed the slick-fielding second baseman into one of baseball's best. O-Dog has won four Gold Gloves and been named to two All-Star teams, most recently in 2009. The switch-hitter has a .279 career batting average.
4. Jason Isringhausen, 44th round (1991)
Isringhausen is one of the best closers of the past decade with 293 career saves in 646 games and two All-Star appearances on his resume. The righty is now back with the team that originally drafted him, the New York Mets, in a set-up role.
3. Travis Hafner, 31st round (1996)
The Rangers knew that Hafner had a big bat when they drafted him out of high school in North Dakota, but they could have never imagined it was this big. From 2004-2007 Hafner was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball and still has a .904 career OPS.
2. Raul Ibanez, 36th round (1992)
It took Ibanez nearly a decade after being drafted to become a regular, but he certainly made it count. He has 240 career home runs, 1,000 RBI and a .819 OPS. He was named to his first All-Star team in 2009.
1. Mark Buehrle, 38th round (1998)
How so many teams passed on Buehrle is anyone's guess. But the dominant lefty has no regrets with the way his career has gone. Buehrle has been named to four All-Star teams, has won two Gold Gloves and has a 153-114 career record in 12 major league seasons. He's thrown a no-hitter (2007 against the Rangers) and a perfect game (2009 against the Rays). He's still just 32 years old and might be a future Hall-of-Famer.
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