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Baseball: Probability of competing beyond high school

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
482,740 36,011 7.3% 2.2% 2.2% 2.9%

Sources: High school figures come from the 2018-19 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.  College numbers are from the NCAA’s 2018-19 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report. These college numbers account for participation in college athletics at NCAA-member schools only.    

Estimated probability of competing in professional baseball

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro % NCAA to Total Pro
36,011 8,002 1,217 791 9.9% --
  • MLB draft data from 2019.  There were 1,217 draft picks in that year; 791 of those picked were from NCAA schools (source: MLB Draft Tracker).  Of the 791, Division I student-athletes comprised 686 of those selected, Division II provided 95 and Division III had 10. 
  • Percent NCAA to Pro calculated as number of NCAA student-athletes taken in the draft divided by the approximate number draft eligible (calculated as 791 / 8,002 = 9.9%).  Not all of the student-athletes drafted go on to play professional baseball and many draftees fail to reach the Major League.
  • We estimate that 28.5% of draft-eligible Division I players were selected in the 2019 MLB draft (686 / 2,404). 

Last updated: April 20, 2020