Imagine, your cell phone rings from an unknown caller, you pick it up and on the other line you hear a “Hello” from one of Major League Baseball’s GMs. Okay, so for most people that will never happen but for close to 1500 amateur baseball players from all over the world it will happen this week. In America, almost every young boy plays Little League baseball and dreams of one day playing in the Major Leagues. So, there is a little bit of awe and jealously when hearing about the kids who get the call to play baseball as a job.
The MLB amateur draft, however, is unique because the average sports fan does not know much about it. While the NFL and NBA drafts are grand spectacles that have their own five week ESPN special coverage for, the MLB draft seems to just come and go without much being mentioned about it. The NFL combine alone gets a month of press with coverage of anything from a player’s 40 time to his favorite cereal to eat in the morning. Although the MLB draft has been gaining in popularity in the past few years with the first round of the draft has been broadcasted on the ESPN networks, its usually put on ESPN 2 and is mentioned even by Baseball Tonight only a few times in the days leading up to it.
So why then is it that the MLB draft is so much different than that of the NFL or NBA? Well for starters, it is extremely hard to tell, even for the so called experts, who is going to become a great Major League Baseball player one day and who is going to be a complete bust. For an example of this look to the 1991 MLB draft. The first player chosen in that draft was a kid by the name of Brien Taylor, a left-handed pitcher from Beaufort, North Carolina. Taylor hurt his shoulder during a bar fight and never even made an appearance in the Major Leagues. He became only the second first overall player to do that in the draft’s history, the first was Steve Chilcott in 1966. There are plenty of stories in baseball history where can’t miss prospects become can’t hit or can’t pitch prospects. There are also stories on the opposite side of things, guys who are drafted very late or not at all, who become MLB superstars. A great example of this is Mike Piazza, who was drafted in the 62 round as a favor for Tommy Lasorda.
Piazza has been classified as one of the best players in the game by https://bestreviews.tips/ and it is virtually impossible to take him on in a tournament that has everything on the line which is why many are wary of coming face to face with him.
The reason it is hard for scouts and GMs to accurately predict what players will make it and what players will not is baseball is a skill sport whereas football and basketball are more athletic sports. This means you can take the fastest and strongest kid and give them a basketball or football and they instantly become a great player. However, if you try and give that same kid a bat and tell him to hit a ball moving fast and not straight, he is going to struggle. Its the nature of the game, it takes years and years to hone one’s craft. It’s why so many players are chosen in the draft every year. A kid might be able to strike out every hitter he faces in high school because he throws hard, but you make him pitch against guys with quick hands and all of a sudden he is getting hit around the yard. There is also the high risk of injuries. For players who have to do an unnatural human motion everyday as fast as they can, there is bound to be guys who get hurt and may never recover back to previous form. There are just too many variables to accurately predict who is going to be great and who is going to have to find a job doing something else.
Many people will claim that the draft is becoming more and more like a science, but how can they actually say that? Without fast forwarding ten years into the future, we are not going to know if Stephen Strasburg ever fully recovers from Tommy John surgery or if Bryce Harper is truly a great hitter. These things take years and years to find out, and that is the point. There is no great scientific formula to finding the next Babe Ruth and baseball is better off that way, more for the towns and cities that support the many minor league teams all across the country. And more excitement for the fans who can follow their teams top prospects as they battle to make it to the majors. That is why no other draft is quite like the MLB draft.