Top Paid Draft Picks & IFAs

While we were discussing what we might do next for the blog, Ben mentioned that “I plan to write about S33, where I think there were three INTL players that signed for 30m+. If I am correct, there have been less than ten of those IN OUR HISTORY.” I have long wanted to do a piece on IFA’s but wasn’t sure how to approach it until his comment gave me an idea: I’d look into the top five signing bonuses for IFA’s and then compare their ML production to see which ones paid off and which ones were busts. I also figured that I’d do the same with draft picks while I was at it. Here are the results:

{Editor’s Note: This was originally published after S37, but I decided to update it after the signing of Esmil Marmol prompted me to take a look at the list. Marmol’s bonus checked in at 9th all-time for IFA’s.}

International Free Agents 

1. Yoslan Rivas, CF: $38.9M in S33 

ML Seasons: 6

ML Teams (listed by current city): AUG

ML Wins Above Replacement: 15.62

Awards: S40 AL Silver Slugger (2B)

2. Oswaldo Estrada, SS: $37M in S33

ML Seasons: 7

ML Teams: LR, VC

ML WAR: 33.14

Awards: S36 NL ROY, 2 NL All-Star Teams, S37 NL Silver Slugger (3B), 2 Gold Gloves, S38 All-Star MVP

3. John Kida, LF: $35.1M in S25

ML Seasons: 15


ML WAR: 64.05

Awards: S29 NL ROY, S39 AL MVP, 5 All-Star teams, 8 Silver Slugger awards, 2 WS Rings (S35 & S37 w/SFE)

4. Matty Ibarra, SP: $34.5M in S25

ML Seasons: 14


ML WAR: 57.70

Awards: 6 AL All-Star teams, S35 AL Cy Young

5. Wilin Rivera, SP: $32.6M in S28

ML Seasons: 11

ML Teams: BUR

ML WAR: 59.8

Awards: S32 AL ROY, 3 AL Cy Young (S32/38/40), 8 AL All Star teams, 5 WS Rings (S34/38/39/41/42 w/BUR)

Honorable Mentions (Only other $30M+ IFA’s in FYC History): 

Esteban Balentin, SP ($32M in S38)

Felipe Figueroa, SP ($31M in S38)

Alexi Ibanez, SP ($31M in S19)

Esmil Marmol, P ($30.5M in S43)

Yamil Cho, P ($30.4M in S41)

Akinori Suzuki, LF ($30M in S30)

Hipolito Ynoa, SS ($30M in S33)

Amateur Draft Picks

1. Damian Chisenhall, SP: $20M (drafted S9, #24)

ML Seasons: 12


ML WAR: 31.40

Awards: 1 NL All Star team

2. Wladimir Blasco, LF: $11.2M (drafted S30, #4) 

ML Seasons: 9

ML Teams: MON, MIN

ML WAR: 43.74

Awards: 8 NL All Star teams, 1 Gold Glove, 1 NL Silver Slugger (LF) {has also hit for the cycle once}

3. Ernie Kroeger, C: $11M (drafted S8, #147) 

ML Seasons: 0

ML Teams: none


Awards: none

4. Rick Wolf, SP: $10.2M (drafted S27, #12) 

ML Seasons: 11

ML Teams: COL, SFE

ML WAR: 19.70

Awards: 1 NL All Star team

5. Dan Clontz, 2B: $9.2M (drafted S6, #17) 

ML Seasons: 3

ML Teams: MON

ML WAR: -5.14

Awards: none

Honorable Mentions ($8M+):

Trey Guiel, SP (9.1M, S31/#4)

Jason O’Keefe, SS (9M, S27/#1) {highest paid #1 pick in FYC history}

Fernando Lee, SP (9M, S28/#30)

Jim LaRocca, RP (8.8M, S8/#12)

Kevin Holdridge, SP (8.7M, S8/#2)

Benny Darr, 2B (8.5M, S37/#4)

Kennie Ankiel, SS (8.5M, S38/#12)

JR Webster, 1B (8.35M, S37/#8)

Ted Thompson, 2B (8.31M, S4/#4)

Erick Reed, RF (8.27M, S2/#78)

Geoff Buckley, SP (8.16M, S31/#2)




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