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A Look at Sporting’s Draft Position

A look at players that have been taken in the 13th and 18th spots in the draft.

MLS match New York Red Bulls v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Tim Parker was selected with the 13th pick in the 2015 Superdraft.
Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

The first two rounds of this year’s MLS Superdraft take place this Friday in Philadelphia, where Sporting Kansas City holds two picks, both in the first round, the 13th and 18th picks. As the years have gone by, the draft has produced fewer players that have been taken not just in later rounds, but later on in the first round as well. Kansas City already looks set to be drafting for depth on the Swope Park Rangers instead of looking for immediate assistance with Sporting KC based on Kerry Zavagnin’s comments in his interview with Bob Rusert.

With that in mind, expecting a lot from Kansas City out of the 13th and 18th picks would seem to be a stretch. Given the history of both of those picks, especially recently and it becomes even more of one. While the 13th pick has produced some talent who have had decent MLS careers, the top player at this pick has to be Pablo Mastroeni in 1999. Other talent has been taken here with the likes of Stephen Armstrong in 2000, Arturo Alvarez in 2003, and Stefan Frei in 2009. The best recent pick has to be Tim Parker in 2015, who is currently with the US national team in their January camp. Other than him though, most of the players taken in the 13th spot since 2010 have had short careers in MLS and if they’re still playing it’s in the minor leagues of US soccer. That includes new Swope Park Rangers signing, Hadji Barry who was drafted 13th in 2016. In fact, while Parker has 76 games in MLS,and over 6,600 minutes, the other six players taken 13th since 2010 have played a combined 87 MLS games for a total of just 2,855 minutes.

13th pick

1996 - Derrick Brownell - San Jose

1997 - John Smith - Columbus

1998 - Pablo Mastroeni - Miami

1999 - Seth George - LA

2000 - Stephen Armstrong - DC

2001 - Rodrigo Faria - New York

2002 - Hemir Neibles - LA

2003 - Arturo Alvarez - San Jose

2004 - Josh Gardner - LA

2005 - Jamie Watson - Salt Lake

2006 - Jed Zayner - Columbus

2007 - John Michael Hayden - Houston

2008 - Rob Valentino - New England

2009 - Stefan Frei - Toronto

2010 - Corben Bone - Chicago

2011 - Corey Hertzog - New York

2012 - Jason Johnson - Houston

2014 - Marco Franco - Chicago

2015 - Tim Parker - Vancouver

2016 - Hadji Barry - Orlando

2017 - Reagan Dunk - Salt Lake

The 18th pick is very similar to the 13th pick with a couple stand outs like Steve Ralston (1996), second in league history in assists with 135 and Damani Ralph in 2003 who scored 22 goals in two seasons in Chicago before a move to Russia. In the last few years though there’s been only one real stand out pick with Tim Ream being taken 18th in the 2010 MLS draft. Since Ream was taken though, only two players, Justin Bilyeu in 2016 and Jacori Hayes in 2017 have made MLS appearances, just seven between the two for a total of 297 minutes played.

1996 - Steve Ralston - Tampa Bay

1997 -PASS - Tampa Bay

1998 - Daniel Hernandez - LA

1999 - Jeff Bilyk - Columbus

2000 - Joseph Ragusa - San Jose

2001 - Ali Ngon - Miami

2002 - Matt Behncke - Dallas

2003 - Damani Ralph - Chicago

2004 - Seth Stammler - New York

2005 - Will John - Chicago

2006 - Blake Wagner - Dallas

2007 - Andrew Danielse - Dallas

2008 - Babajide Ogunbiyi - New York

2010 - Tim Ream - New York

2011 - Eddie Ababio - Colorado

2012 - Colin Rolfe - Houston

2013 - Fernando Monge - Montreal

2014 - Ryan Neil - Salt Lake

2015 - Leo Stolz - New York

2016 - Justin Bilyeu - New York

2017 - Jacori Hayes - Dallas

No matter who Sporting take with the two selections on Friday based on the recent history of the draft the chances of them being difference makers in the near term, if ever seems unlikely. Looking to fill depth or to supplement the Rangers roster seems a much more likely conclusion to the picks.