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The Drafting System

Many people across the world believe that players who are given professional contracts are the best in the game. Higher draft picks mean they are better players. This is something that is not always true. Many players are drafted because of their age, their position, their size, their eligibility and how fast they can run. Is this the game of baseball? well not so much. It is, but only to a certain extent. Obviously having speed is a plus, however I think power hitters are more valuable as RBI’s are very crucial in the game of baseball. The pitchers arm or fastball is also more valuable. A pitcher that throws in the high 90’s will obviously be a high draft pick even if he has control problems. Of course as a pitching coach you cant really teach velocity on a arm too much with exception to adding a few miles per hour to the fastball.


Being a high draft pick will lead to a big signing bonus which ensures several years in the professional baseball organization system. These players then become an investment. Even if another player was to come along that was twice as good as their 1st round draft pick from 3 years ago, it doesn’t seem to matter. The organizations keep the guy they gave all the money to. And you ask yourself is this fair? The answer is no. With this, professional baseball organizations need to stop looking at the sport as more of a business and more so as a talent leveled game. On top of that, teams push high draft picks to the big leagues just to show everyone out there that they think they know what they are doing.


Many players get drafted for being fast runners. I have seen many players throughout my life have very good speed but cant hit, yet these players get drafted by major league organizations. These players would hit .400 to .450 in high school with half of their hits being infield singles. Well once these players would get to professional baseball, they would quickly see most of those infield singles disappear. They are not going up against high school infield arms anymore but yet cannons across the diamond. In order to be a true valuable baseball player in my eyes you must have five tools. If you don’t have all five, you need to have at least four, otherwise it’s hard to see you filling the role of a professional baseball player. A few players are able to get away with three tools. Pitchers are obviously exempt from the five positional player tools.


Even though players drafted early aren’t always the best, high round draft picks are usually decent players with good potential and some actually do make long careers in the big leagues and they go on to be All-Stars and even Hall of Famers. Of course due to being drafted in the higher rounds, these players get more time in the system to be able to become more comfortable. It’s like any player playing at a school. Very few freshmen in high school and very few freshmen in college actually start their first year and become a big asset. It’s not because they aren’t good enough. It’s because they need some time to adjust to their environment so they can feel comfortable and relaxed while playing. Sometimes playing for certain coaches or managers make players feel uncomfortable and unable to perform. The only way a player could really be given the equal opportunity as another player would be to give them both the same amount of time in the system, however this is extremely difficult because of how many draft picks they have each year, there simply would not be room on rosters for everyone. I have seen players play in the same league 3 years in a row in professional baseball and I have watched a player struggle his first year with hitting in the mid .200’s but then break out the second year with hitting over .300 and twenty some home runs. He put up some of the same numbers his third year as well. However if this player only got the 150 day evaluation period that many professional organizations give, he probably would never have been seen as a great player and his luck would have ran out after his first season. I heard two scouts say that this player didn’t really have what it took as far as talent prior to his second and third season. I bet they realized how wrong they were after this player became a two time All-Star his 2nd and 3rd year.


Years ago, organizations used to draft based on talent; what the player actually has as far as tools. Some organizations still draft this way and I congratulate them for this, but many do not. Now a days, they draft more on future projectability and what they feel a player has to offer after he develops, saying he actually does develop. Many organizations also like to draft young players, they feel 18,19 & 20 year olds out of high school or junior college are more valuable. Players that are in their mid 20’s and older are left with almost no hope, even though players in the major leagues hit their prime a few years after turning 30. Being drafted or even offered a professional contract in some cases has to do with who you know or what some people call politics. They call this the favor system. The favor system revolves around relationships between two people, usually one person involved in an organization and another who has decent skills. A good example would be to look at players who played in the Major Leagues. If they have a son that plays the game and they are somewhat decent, it is almost guaranteed that they will sign a professional contract and be offered a few years in an organization. And this is just because of who the father was and not necessarily because the young player is really that talented.

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