When is the 2013 MLB draft?
I'll give you the amount of time it takes for your eyes to cross the following ellipsis to figure it out...June 6-8. In those three days, the top amateur baseball players from high schools and colleges around the country will be selected somewhere within the draft's 50 rounds.
You read that right, 50 rounds—and therein lies one of the draft's clearest flaws.
The MLB draft can learn something from its superior NFL counterpart by cutting back. Finding a professional-caliber player in rounds later than the 15th is like finding a needle in a haystack.
However, there are more pressing issues as to why the MLB draft pales in comparison to the media-crazed (and frankly overhyped) NFL draft.
For one, the talent from the high school or college level to professional competition does not translate the same way between the two sports. As we saw last season with Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, for example, a draftee can be ready enough to seamlessly step into the leadership role after just a preseason.
But in baseball, a dominant college starting pitcher like Mark Appel—who was drafted eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012 and offered a $3.8 million initial contract before deciding to return to Stanford for his degree—may not reach a major league mound for one, three or even 10 years. There are no guarantees in the MLB.
Without the instant gratification fans receive from NFL rookies, who can make an immediate impact on one's favorite team, the spectator interest is stunted, leaving a challenging hurdle for the MLB to overcome.
Let's consider a few scenarios that can increase the popularity of the MLB draft.