Division 3 (D3) baseball is often seen as a more balanced college experience, allowing players to dedicate time to interests outside of athletics. However, this does not mean that D3 baseball lacks talent or competitiveness. In fact, every year, players from D3 schools are selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) draft, proving that D3 baseball is a legitimate and viable option for players.
The MLB Draft and D3 Players
The MLB draft is an annual event where professional baseball players are chosen from collegiate teams across the United States. Interestingly, there has been a significant uptick in the number of D3 players being drafted in recent years. This increase can be attributed to the growth of college baseball as a whole, with more colleges now offering baseball as a varsity sport than ever before.
In 2023, senior right-hander Hayden Snelsire was selected in the 17th round of the MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, one of two current D3 players to be drafted. This demonstrates that D3 players do indeed have a chance of getting drafted, although the number can vary greatly each year.
Success Stories from D3 to MLB
There are numerous examples of D3 players who have made it to the MLB. For instance, Dan Pasqua from D3 William Paterson University had a successful MLB career. Similarly, Joe Nathan, who came from Stony Brook University (a D3 school when he left), had several All-Star game appearances and was considered one of the best closers in the game for a time.
Another inspiring story is that of Stephen Ridings, who played at D3 Haverford College. Despite facing challenges, Ridings refused to quit and eventually got a chance in the big leagues with the New York Yankees.
Factors Influencing D3 Players' Drafting
The drafting of a D3 baseball player depends on various factors, including the level of play and talent in the D3 baseball league, as well as how often players are picked up by pro teams. However, it's generally safe to say that most players who make it to professional levels started out playing in D3 leagues.