Major League Baseball announces MLB draft

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Major League Baseball announced on Monday that it has partnered with Prep Baseball Report to form the MLB Draft League – a new summer league that will see the country’s top draft-eligible players compete in a 68-game season at starting next year. The league will be led by former MLB scout Kerrick Jackson, who resigned as head coach at Southern University to take on the newly created position.
Five teams, all former minor league affiliates, were recruited as the league’s five founding clubs: the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, State College Spikes, Trenton Thunder, West Virginia Black Bears and Williamsport Crosscutters. Talks with a sixth team are underway, according to the league press release, with an announcement hopefully in the near future.

The Draft League is made possible by the MLB’s previous decision to postpone the annual entry draft from early June to instead coincide with the MLB All-Star hiatus in mid-July. According to today’s announcement, the 68-game schedule will include an annual all-star break focused on the MLB Draft, so it looks like the idea is for the game to continue once these players are drafted. . That, in theory, could help partially offset the elimination of the short-season Class A leagues. Big league scouts will be able to watch the league in person, and MLB adds that they will also be able to assess entrants with “cutting edge scouting technology.”

Jackson appeared on MLB Network this morning to discuss the league and clarify certain aspects of the schedule and lineup (video link). The league will start in early June and continue into August. MLB’s goal will be to attract as many draft-eligible talent as possible, although Jackson has acknowledged that some programs that qualify for the postseason game will object to sending their players to participate. in the draft.

There are dark areas that have not yet been fully defined. It’s not clear, for example, whether every MLB team will want their draft signers to continue playing in the league, although that can apparently help make up for the loss of some short-season Class A leagues. Jackson hints that the league expects some players to drop out of the league after being drafted, noting that “after the draft we can bring kids – some of the seniors and some other looking guys. to get them. free agent opportunities and put them in that mix. ”

The initial hope is to have a six-team league with 30 players, per Jackson, creating 180 spots in the first iteration of the league. Depending on how things progress, the MLB may look to eventually install additional teams in the league. At the moment, it doesn’t look like there will be a separation of college and high school talent.

Suffice it to say that there is some part of the logistics that needs to be sorted out or at least clarified, but the point to remember is that the creation of the Draft League will ideally give teams and fans a new level of access to prospects in the days and weeks leading up to the project. This should create more marketing opportunities and hopefully for MLB to get some extra eyes and attention to the project itself. The Major League Baseball Draft was never considered a tie event with the NBA or NFL Draft, after all. However, it is impossible to get around the fundamental difference that prospects selected in the projects of these other sports will frequently jump directly to the active roster of their new clubs, while virtually all of the players selected in the MLB draft are at least two years after preparing for MLB. .

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