Scott Campbell has become the first New Zealander to be picked in the draft by a major league baseball team, but that would probably come as a surprise to many of the professional players he is soon to call teammates.

The Aucklander was picked in round 10 of the annual scramble for fresh talent yesterday by the Toronto Blue Jays.

He has spent the last three years studying and playing at Gonzaga University in Washington state.

The early morning news of his selection ended hopes of a lengthy homecoming as Campbell is needed back in the US soon to begin contract negotiations. Not that the sharp-hitting second baseman is complaining.

"It's a dream come true for me, and it was exciting because I was sitting at the table on the internet waiting for my name. When it popped up I had a few loud words to say and did a bit of a fist pump."

The rookie is well aware he is yet to hit the big time, however. Getting picked in the draft is only the first stop on a long road.

Campbell will have to make his way through the minor leagues before he can even think about pulling on a Blue Jays shirt.

"I just want to play well and put myself into a situation where it's going to be tough for them not to move me up. It's a long grind, and I'm willing to go through that to make it."

No other New Zealander has made it that far. Travis Wilson came close during a seven-year stint with the Atlanta Braves, although he did not come from the draft.

The omens are therefore mostly of the bad variety, but Campbell can at least view the circumstances of his drafting - he was picked on the first day of the two-day process and in the 10th round of 50 - as a sign of promise.

"The earlier you get drafted, the more they believe you can become a good player in the future," he says.

New Zealand Baseball national development manager Greg Wolfe believes Campbell has the dedication to make it and says news of his selection is a big boost for the sport here.