MILB, College, the Draft, and the Future of MLB
Posted 17 June 2020 - 09:36 PM
Nebraska native, (why oh why couldn't we have signed him to play for the Big Red), All American, top draft choice, successful ML pitcher and successful broadcaster, (and pretty smart guy), Kyle Peterson was having an interesting discussion on sports talk radio regarding milb and the draft and changes taking place within baseball.
Milb is cutting teams. It's becoming a fact. While I hate to see any community lose a baseball affiliate, I can understand and appreciate some contraction of the system. Baseball is a very hard sport to succeed at the highest level. And no matter if you are a HS player or college player, it takes time to perfect your skill set to succeed at the highest level. College ball is the farm system for the NFL for obvious reasons. And the NBA is a very different sport, but even with the inclusion of HS players many years ago, there have been very few Kobe's and Kevin Garnett's or Lebron's who didn't need time sitting on a bench or who just washed out. And they've been tweaking their draft and the developmental league for a reason.
Baseball, especially in the more modern era, 80's on, there is still development time needed. Personally, I absolutely see the need for the GCL, the advanced rookie league, two levels of A ball, to go along with AA and AAA. But I can absolutely see and understand the elimination of various additional short season leagues. Leaving out the DSL for a collection of 16-19yo foreign born players, isn't 6 levels more than enough?
But while I again really hate for a community to lose their affiliate, is MLB really misguided here? If a team has a really good draft of 40+ players they will sign 50-60%. In fact, teams including the Twins, will at times draft a local player or two as a courtesy nod with no intent or ability to sign them before they go to college or back to college. And from all of that, if they have a really good draft, they will find 2-3 really good ML players with a decent to good to great career. They might even find a couple solid role players. We all know this.
So while a 5 round draft is certainly going to be an aberration, it would not be surprising to see the current 40 round draft shrink. And even if it doesn't, you could see a logical reason to "squeeze" rookie ball and maybe A ball for what is considered the cream of the crop.
And this brings me around again to changes happening in milb and the draft and the conversation with Kyle Peterson. Much like the NFL and NBA, he sees MLB concentrating on college players going forward. And except for TOP HS talent it makes sense in total context.
And this puts the onus on college universities. (Normal years, not the current Pandemic situation). College baseball could/should see a greater influx of HS talent. This is good for college baseball, and ultimately good for MLB for more mature and advanced players down the road. Think the one and done scenario in the NBA but with another couple years.
This is potentially very good for college baseball. But college baseball has very limited scholarships and very limited TV exposure, except for the CWS. And this is again where the onus is on college baseball. Post covid, can the universities find their niche beyond the CWS? Can they find a market? Can they up scholarship numbers, based on roster size, to rival football and basketball? If top talent is on campuses across the country that can be draft selections, and possible ML players, can they parlay this in to exposure and revenue?
It's a tremendous opportunity for college to build baseball as an exposure sport. This is not wrestling or track and field. This is a national and even world wide professional sport that they can build on for viewrship and interest and money with the various networks.
And this all comes back to the draft and MLB and milb. Suddenly there is more interest in college baseball as an even better product with players who the public knows better, and who they may see in a couple years at the ML level. But the onus is on college baseball to take the best product they have ever had and make something out of it.
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Posted 18 June 2020 - 08:28 AM
Minnesotans really needs to sell baseball community wise on all levels. Baseball has taken back seat on all levels especially on the college level.Football, basketball, hockey, scholastic & protests takes priority. They lack to see the impact of the sport on life
The teams where the states promote baseball like Cali, will have an upper hand if this draft schedule remains
Posted 18 June 2020 - 08:43 AM
ongoing debates about 2020 happening or not happening.
As for the topic, I don't really see college baseball rising in esteem. There could be a little uptick in attention, but it will always be a poor third to football and hoops. It comes at the wrong time in the college calendar.
Build tunnels. Nobody burns their tunnels behind them.
Posted 18 June 2020 - 09:35 AM
I like the idea, but one of the best baseball players in the state in recent history just went 3rd overall in the draft and most people in MN don't know or ever even heard of him.
I look at how big the Saints are and wonder how do they get a minor league team of their own in the cities.
Posted 18 June 2020 - 09:40 AM
Was just talking with my wife about this over breakfast, Doc. At least the part comparing baseball to hockey, basketball and football, all of which a lot/most players go straight from the draft to the big league roster.
- DocBauer likes this
Posted 18 June 2020 - 11:36 AM
A big piece of it will have to do with the unspoken and underreported part that helps to fund the money in college football and college basketball - the investment from the pro leagues into it.
Whether noticed or not, MLB sent out memos to clubs limiting the scholarship money that they could offer to players as part of their signing bonuses this year after multiple clubs have been making that a significant portion of non-baseball bonus (and it didn't have to be fully reported and still does not, per the CBA, this was just a "we see what you're doing and will put an end to this" memo).
If MLB wanted to emphasize the college game, it'd be incredibly easy. While the NBA and NFL can't DIRECTLY buy scholarships for their sports, if you truly believe that the abundance of full-ride scholarships available in those sports from the NCAA level is a coincidence, you're blind. There's a significant financial investment through properties, through television contract tie-ins, through licensing sharing, through all sorts of ways that the leagues have padded the pockets of the NCAA that the NFL and NBA will always have a pipeline of full-scholarship athletes, especially at the largest universities, playing their sports.
If you want to attract the best athletes to stay in baseball, first make it financially feasible to play the sport beyond the age of 12 without taking out an additional mortgage every other year the child continues to play. However, once they finish high school, give the opportunity to get a free education. As we're having open discussions on race, so many former college football teammates talked with me about how football was a way for them to be the first in their family to have education behind high school. One even became the first to graduate high school purely in order to be able to play collegiate sports. That's family tree changing sort of stuff right there. Whether that guy plays professionally or not (he didn't, but now makes six figures annually due to his education), he's making a way that previous generations in his family did not have the financial opportunity to make.
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Posted 18 June 2020 - 12:08 PM
I also we need to look at the quality of coaching at the college level. MLB is looking more to college coaching, Wes Johnson is a great example. When more focus is on college baseball & the need for more technical methods. College coaching is a great avenue to develop that because a common old school coach might have more difficult time to gain the respect of a college player instead of a high tech one. Always looking for an edge the schools could look more high tech coaching
Posted 18 June 2020 - 12:32 PM
1. I think the MLB Draft is going to evolve to the shorter round structure they did this season.The reason is cost.Last year, the Twins spent $875,000 plus on signing bonuses for players drafted in rounds 5-10 and another $1.326 million on players drafted in rounds 11-25.This totals to $2.1 million for a single year of signing bonuses.
Then, if you look at the last 10 years of Twins drafting 2010 - 2019, 12 players have made it to the Twins from draft choices between rounds 6 through 25.Only two of those players, Mitch Garver (5.1) and Taylor Rogers (6.4) have WAR > 1.0.The other 10 players have a cumulative WAR of -2.9.
Maybe the Twins have been historically poor drafting teams and there are still a lot of players in the more recent drafts that are still making hteir way through the minor league system.But, the point is, spending $2+ million a year on signing bonus with very little results isn't something that I think will move forward.
I think that they will eventully evolve into a much shorter draft of 4-10 rounds and a lot more UDFA with a fixed bonus pools.Unlike the 2020 draft, there will not be a fixed UDFA bonus maximum and teams will be able to bid on the available UDFA.This will benefit many UDFA because they can negotiate amongst teams but it will have an impact on the players who used ot be mid round picks who could command 6 figure bonuses.
2. I believe that the minor leagues will evolve too and they will become team centric.By this I mean instead of the minor league players playing in leagues spread all across the nation, teams will concentrate their minor league players at one or two facilities.There would be live games, and they would perhaps play against other MLB minor league teams, but everything would be under the team control.The Twins would move the lower level minor league players to Ft. Myers.Like "Extended" Spring training they would mostly play in competition against this group of players. If you want to have a prospect play against AA level players on Monday and A players on Tuesday, you just move them to a different field.
The savings in transportation and affiliation fees would be significant, and the development would be more team focused.
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