It’s the most exciting moment of any amateur league baseball player, the MLB draft picks. This stage is when young athletes advance from high school into college baseball, and scouts are on the lookout for a future champ.
The sluggers, the blazing-fast pitchers, and even the coaches are excited for this time of the season when fresh bucks are to be drafted into teams across the states. So now that you are among the aspiring lucky few to be listed, what happens after you get drafted?
Worry no more! This article will help you understand the process, the different levels of drafting, and all the things associated with MLB drafts.
How Many Rounds Are in the MLB Draft?
In the “pre-COVID world,” as we like to call it, every year, there would be 40 rounds of MLB drafts in which 1214 players were picked across the US. However, due to the major economic crisis amid the COVID pandemic, the league went with only 5 rounds to save costs.
After COVID, the MLB decided on 20 rounds in the following draft, and in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), it was announced that the MLB would continue to have 20 rounds, or 614 players picked every year in drafts. While this change came with the loss of young, hopeful players as the competition got tougher, it did allow the MLB teams to have a much more refined team line-up.
This year, the draft took place in July, and for the first time in the history of MLB, a draft lottery was used to give six teams a head-start on picking off the finest and brightest of players. The main goal of this change is thought to be creating excitement, challenge, and a new event for fans to look forward to.
MLB Draft High School Vs. College
It has been a debate as old as the history of school-level baseball, which is better for the player, a high school draft or a college draft. To elaborate, if a high school senior is drafted into a team right off the bat (pun intended), as soon as possible is the best pathway to their career or not.
Of course, anyone cannot just sign a team without the basic requirements being fulfilled. For high school drafts, finishing high school and maintaining an average GPA is vital to be successfully signed up to any team. Usually, many players manage this and can start pro ball as early as the ages of 17-18 years.
College drafts are slightly different. They require the player to complete 3 years of college or be 21 or above. Either way, the age at the time of being drafted is obviously more than a high school graduate already out there hitting homeruns or striking out line-ups for an additional 2-3 years.
The college players like to debate that this time between getting drafted allows them to grow as a player in not just performance but also increase their networking and draft portfolio. After all, baseball, especially MLB, is a business that requires networking and a public appearance, which many of the local state college stars manage to build prior to being drafted, thus bringing the team additional publicity.
Do MLB Draft Picks Get Paid?
Simply put? Yes. A Lot! It’s not a straightforward system, though, and each team has a specific slot for each player drafted. The slot value changes every year and is different for each type, as well as the rank of the player.
Last year, the highest-ranking draft was by the Orioles, who paid a whopping $8.19 million to their top pick, Jackson Holliday, which surprisingly was 10% lower than the slot value of $9.05 million. This year, the maximum slot value was set at $9.73 million, yet the Pirates signed Paul Skenes at $9.2 million.
This shows that a slot value, while giving a specified number, is still negotiable by the hiring team, and they can get a lower-than-set value deal if they play their cards right. For a high school graduate or even a college student, that is a boatload of cash sprinkling across the year like Christmas every day!
Conclusion for The MLB Draft: What Happens After You Get Drafted?
To conclude, the MLB drafts around 600 players every year in different teams from different states. Among these players are students fresh out of high school bouncing right off into the big leagues or college students who have a more experienced and polished portfolio.
The number of rounds has decreased for the drafts from 40 to 30 over the last few years, and a new draft lottery has been introduced that allows the creation of a lottery event. The draft picks are paid a large sum of bonus on top of perks and MVP cheques in well-performing games.
The highest-paid pick of this year was Paul Skenes, drafted by the Pirates. So that’s all the information you need to understand how the MLB drafting works and what it pays out. Here’s hoping you or your kid gets drafted in the next rounds!
No, players do not have a say in which team drafts them. They are selected by teams in the order determined by the draft order, and they are obligated to sign with the team that selects them.
Yes, international players are eligible for the MLB draft if they meet certain criteria, such as being at least 16 years old and having lived in the United States for a certain period.
Teams have until a specified deadline, usually in mid-July, to sign their draft picks. If a player remains unsigned after this deadline, they can re-enter the draft the following year.