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Baseball

When we survey NCAA student-athletes about their expectations of moving on to professional athletics careers, the results indicate surprising confidence in that possibility. The reality is that very few go pro.

Estimated probability of competing in college baseball

High School Participants NCAA Participants Overall % HS to NCAA % HS to NCAA Division I % HS to NCAA Division II % HS to NCAA Division III
486,567 34,198 7.0% 2.1% 2.2% 2.7%

Sources: High school figures from the 2014-15 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations. College numbers from the NCAA NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.

Estimated probability of competing in professional baseball

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro* % NCAA to Total Pro^
34,198 7,600 1,215 738 9.7% --
  • MLB draft data from 2015.  There were 1,215 draft picks in that year; 738 of those picked were from NCAA schools (source: MLB Draft Tracker 2015).  Of the 738, Division I student-athletes comprised 643 of those chosen, Division II provided 84 and Division III had 11. 
  • Percent NCAA to Pro calculated as number of NCAA student-athletes taken in the draft (n=738) divided by the approximate number draft eligible.  Not all of the student-athletes drafted go on to play professional baseball and many draftees fail to reach the Major League.
  • Percent NCAA to Major Pro figures are based on the number of draft picks made in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS drafts only.  See methods notes for important details on the definition of NHL draftee in men’s ice hockey.  Column percentages were calculated as (#NCAA Drafted) / (Approximate # Draft Eligible).
  • Percent NCAA to Total Pro takes the number of pro opportunities from the “% NCAA to Major Pro” calculation and adds in some additional professional opportunities that we were able to quantify.  So, for football, this calculation includes NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena League slots available to first-year professionals.  For men’s basketball we accounted for NBA, NBA D-League and international opportunities.  For women’s basketball, we assessed WNBA and international roster slots.  See methods notes for details on these calculations.  Data on full-time international professional opportunities available in baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer were not analyzed here.

Last updated: April 25, 2016