Sunday, June 17, 2007

The New Style of the Draft

Major League Baseball took a huge step in the growth of the popularity of the draft and in the exposure to top prospects. The first ever televised draft was a big deal for MLB and it should lead to positive growth for baseball as a whole. The lead-up to the draft had more mock drafts than I have ever seen available on the internet, and the draft itself provided a good look into the different prospects being drafted by each team along with organizational needs.

The impact this will have on baseball as a whole cannot yet be measured but there are several ways that it will positively impact the world of baseball:

First of all, the draft being broadcast brings attention to baseball in a fashion that the other sports do for their drafts. Fans tune in to see what players their teams draft, receive instant analysis on these players and this allows fans to formulate opinions about low level prospects they would otherwise not have. It also allows baseball fans to follow every team’s moves and see the different draft strategies.

This also boosts interest from fans to both high school and college baseball along with minor league baseball. The College World Series is immediately after the draft and being able to recognize which team a new drafted player is on allows fans to follow new prospects before they even reach the minor leagues. Once they are playing in the Minors, there is more name recognition with players and therefore more interest in Minor League games.

Having said this, there is some work to be done. Not allowing draft picks to be traded (or prospects to be traded until a year after they are signed) is a big step to keeping competitive balance and restricting teams from trading away their future. However, to make the draft more exciting, MLB should allow the trading of draft picks for other draft picks. Per example, if a team really wants a player, allow them to trade a later pick to move up in the first round or to bundle picks for a higher pick. This would bring more excitement to the draft, everyone loves a trade, and would also allow fans to truly recognize how wanted some player were.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Now, if we could only get TSN, Sportsnet or the Score to use ESPN2's feed to get the draft back here in Canada. There is a limited market for it, but really, what do they have to lose? those great ratings they get on weekday afternoon billiards and poker?
The next step would be to move the draft to a more viewable time and promote the hell out of it. Move it to the weekend or Friday night. Have former stars of each team making the pick. I love the 5 minutes between picks...the 15 minutes the NFL uses is brutal. 5 minutes is just enough for Baseball America to analyze the pick and move on. Also, with no draft and follow, they should look into losing some rounds of the draft. Why continue to draft players that wont sign or you dont really want to sign. Jon Lalonde from the Jays (who stopped picking at round 30) said that he didnt see apoint is drafting guys, just to draft them, when there maybe a team that has legitmate interest in the kid and will give him a realistic chance at signing a contact and playing minor league ball. Also, if you limit the rounds, it will limit the chances of teams like the Yanks and Red Sox drafting players in the late rounds that are considered unsignable and throwing huge cash at them to get them to turn pro. Im indifferent on trading picks, it would be interesting, but i think it would be hard for teams to make a big move in the draft. If team A picks 10th and team B picks 25th, I cant see team A moving to 25th unless they are getting a couple supplemental first rounders as well. I cant see them moving down for extra 2nd and 3rd rounder when 1)there are 50 rounds to pick players and 2)draft boards vary tremendously from team to team, so they guy they pick with the extra 2nd rd pick, could have very well been there in the 3rd, 4th or 5th round, but now they have to pay him as a 2nd rounder. The draft is vary money oriented, and having alot of early picks isnt necessarily a good thing if you have a draft budget. I think that also factored into why the Jays were the first team that dropped out of the draft.