Those involved in the early days of the AFL drafts talk about carrying a copy of the Smith and Street college football annual in his back pocket. The book was not there for reading material between picks. It was a statement about the lack of professionalism involved in the early drafts of the league. But the first AFL draft was organized compared to the MLB Draft.
Many years ago, MLB would not release the results of their draft of high school kids for fear that the colleges would use that list to recruit players. Over the years the baseball draft has been the least efficient in terms of top 3 round picks making it to the major leagues. There is a reason that the NFL drafts 7 round plus compensation picks, the NBA drafts 2 rounds and MLB drafts 50 rounds plus supplemental rounds for players lost to free agency.
To be fair, baseball has a lot of minor league positions to fill. But a great percentage of the picks will never get past A ball. Baseball drafts are a little like insurance company recruitment. They hire everybody and let the recruits sell policies to their friends and family. Those newbies that are able to move beyond their immediate circle are kept but the others are let go.
Baseball also drafts a great number of high school players. The NFL has enough trouble trying to compare players from the BCS leagues vs. those that played in 1AA or 1A. Multiply that by a couple of the federal government’s spending sprees buying out companies and you begin to see the problem of comparing kids in different states and at difference levels of high school ball.
Most years, the draft has half a dozen so called can’t miss players. Even so, usually 2 or 3 can’t miss players do miss making the major leagues. The major league scout that can tell which guy available in the 23rd round is going to make it should be the highest paid staff member in the organization.
This year all 47 of the baseball fans that get the MLB channel got to see the first few picks of the draft. It is the first time that the draft was televised. Since I am not one of the lucky 47, I will not comment on the coverage. There is very little suspense because very few of the players picked will be recognized by anyone other than baseball geeks. I call them geeks with respect because I consider myself an NFL draft geek. The MLB draft does not allow trades so that aspect of other sports is missing as well.
Pitcher Stephen Strasburg (San Diego St) is the prize this year. He is 13-1 this year. He is a 3 pitch guy with a nasty curve and a 100+ mph fast ball. That is the extent of my knowledge of the players in this year’s draft.
So as you look over the draft for your favorite team, don’t hold your breath for your team to ride these guys to a World Series win. It won’t happen any time soon.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .