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:

International Free Agents 

1. Yoslan Rivas, CF: $38.9M in S33 

ML Seasons: 1

ML Teams (listed by current city): AUG

ML Wins Above Replacement: 1.45

Awards: no ML awards yet

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

ML Seasons: 2

ML Teams: LR

ML WAR: 10.89

Awards: S36 NL ROY

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

ML Seasons: 9


ML WAR: 47.91

Awards: S29 NL ROY, 4 NL All-Star teams, 6 Silver Slugger awards, WS Ring (S35 w/SFE)

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

ML Seasons: 8

ML Teams: LR, ANA

ML WAR: 29.78

Awards: 2 AL All-Star teams, S35 AL Cy Young

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

ML Seasons: 5

ML Teams: BUR

ML WAR: 29.3

Awards: S32 AL ROY, S32 AL Cy Young, 5 AL All Star teams, WS Ring (S34 w/BUR)

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

Alexi Ibanez, SP ($31M in S19)

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: 17.4

Awards: 1 NL All Star team

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

ML Seasons: 3

ML Teams: MON

ML WAR: 26.47

Awards: 3 NL All Star teams, 1 Gold Glove {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: 5

ML Teams: TUC

ML WAR: 7.2

Awards: 1 NL All Star team

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

ML Seasons: 3

ML Teams: MON

ML WAR: 3.41

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)

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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