The MLB's push to turn its draft into an NFL-style spectacle will make its biggest move yet, as the 2023 draft will take place during All-Star weekend in Seattle.
Joe Doyle of Prospects Live reported MLB is set to host its draft from July 9 to July 11 next year, coinciding with the Midsummer Classic.
The MLB draft was traditionally held in June until the last two. years, when MLB shifted it to July but did not associate it with the All-Star Game. Once held with little-to-no fanfare, MLB has been broadcasting the first two rounds in recent years.
Viewership for MLB draft broadcast has been middling. The 2022 draft averaged just 780,000 viewers across MLB Network and ESPN, which was down 31 percent from a year prior.
Hype for the MLB draft lags behind the NFL and NBA in large part because of baseball's minor league system. Whereas top NFL and NBA prospects are expected to contribute immediately, baseball players typically spend several years in the minors before being called up.
There tends to be far more interest in the prospect pipeline once players actually get in the minor league system than in the draft itself.
It's also not particularly helpful that interest in college baseball lags significantly behind football and basketball. Very few baseball prospects are household names before the draft, whereas the NFL and NBA drafts are littered with players we've seen starring on national television.
Adding the draft to All-Star weekend will likely help increase viewership during the doldrum periods of the sports calendar. That said, the issues with MLB's draft won't be solved without a complete overhaul of the sport's prospect pipeline.