MLB Draft: 5 Changes That Should Be Made
Every year, the MLB Draft takes place to disperse the young talent coming into the league to different teams. It is supposed to put the best players on the worst teams, allowing them to come back into contention.
However, there are several rules in the draft that greatly favor large-market teams, defeating the purpose of the draft. These changes would make sure the best players go to the worst teams more often, as well as make the draft more interesting to watch.
Make the Draft Worldwide
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Right now the draft only applies to players who are residents of the US or Canada. All other players are amateur free agents and may sign with the highest bidder. This gives a big advantage to large-market teams, especially because near 30 percent of MLB players are international.
If international players were part of the draft, it would ensure that all talent is as evenly dispersed as possible, rather than 70 percent being dispersed and the other 30 going to big-market teams.
Introduce a Slotting System
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In 2009, Stephen Strasburg received a four-year, $15.1 million contract in addition to a $7.5 million signing bonus. Pretty impressive for someone who had never thrown a pitch of professional ball before. While he may be worth that much when it's all said and done, players can draft several spots, even an entire round, just because of signability.
The purpose of the draft is to get the best young players on the worst teams to even the playing field, and if the worst (smallest-market) teams have to pass on them because of signability, letting them drop to the best (largest-market) teams, it defeats the entire purpose.
A slotting system would fix this, preventing players from holding out for ridiculous signing bonuses.
Make Players Declare for the Draft
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Every year, a number of players who get drafted do not sign with the team that picked them. Often these are high schoolers who intend to go to college, but get picked in a later round on talent alone.
If players had to declare for the draft, teams would not waste a pick on a player they never get. This also stops other teams from being penalized when the team that failed to sign the player gets a compensation pick ahead of them.
Get More Players to Attend the Draft
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Did you notice the picture is of John Wall, the most recent No. 1 in the NBA? That's because there aren't any pictures of a player from the MLB Draft. Before Larry Greene, the last prospect to attend the MLB Draft was Mike Trout.
It is always a great moment to see the first-overall pick hear his name called and go up to shake the commissioners hand and it's a shame that it never happens in baseball. This would make the dead time in between picks more interesting.
Decrease Times Between Picks
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Have you ever watched the MLB Draft? To be perfectly honest, it's boring. The first round this year, consisting of 33 picks, took 189 minutes, or 5 minutes, 44 seconds per pick.
The MLB Draft will never command the audience enjoyed by the NFL or NBA because of the long time between being drafted and playing in the majors, the unpopularity of NCAA baseball and the large bust potential of picks. Despite this, the draft can become a little more interesting if they decreased the current five minutes in between picks.
I would suggest making first-round picks three minutes maximum, and allow teams to take less time if they wish.