Five most notable players to go 21st overall in the MLB Draft

The Toronto Blue Jays drafted J.P. Arencibia 21st overall in 2007. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Toronto Blue Jays hold the 21st pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, which begins Thursday night, and fans are wondering what type of player the team could potentially land with the selection.

Toronto has held the 21st-overall pick four times since 1981, the most recent being in 2011 when the team selected RHP Tyler Beede.

Compared to the 20th (Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, Torii Hunter, Bob Welch) and 22nd (Rafael Palmeiro, Craig Biggio, Jayson Werth, Chet Lemon, Bruce Hurst) selections, the quality of player taken with the 21st pick is often below average.

They’re not all stinkers, though, so with that in mind here are the most notable players to go 21st overall.

Jason Varitek

The catcher was originally taken by the Twins in 1993 and after electing to not sign with Minnesota, he was drafted again (this time 14th overall by the Mariners) in 1994. He spent his entire 15-season career with the Red Sox, however, and it was an impressive one. The three-time all-star and two-time World Series champ even received MVP votes in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Rick Sutcliffe

Sutcliffe has the highest WAR (34.3) of any player taken at No. 21. The 1979 NL Rookie of the Year finished his career with a 171-139 record and won the N.L. Cy Young Award in the 1984 season, which he split between the Indians and Cubs.

Todd Worrell

The 1986 N.L. Rookie of the Year was a quality closer who spent the first half of his career with the Cardinals and his final five seasons with the Dodgers. The righty was a three-time all-star and his 256 career saves ranks 32nd all time.

Gorman Thomas

The outfielder led the A.L. in home runs in 1979 (45) and 1982 (39) with the Brewers. His 268 homers is more than any other 21st-overall pick.

J.P. Arencibia

Blue Jays fans might be torn about seeing Arencibia’s name here, but he was actually one of the more successful players taken in the 21 slot. Toronto drafted him in 2007 and he played three full seasons with the team from 2011-2013. Although he led the Blue Jays in strikeouts twice during that stretch, he also set a franchise record for most home runs in one season by a catcher with 23. He eventually fell out of favour with the fans and joined the Rangers in free agency.

Honourable mentions: Ian Kennedy, Jake Westbrook, Cliff Pennington

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