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Ever wondered why the MLB draft is in the middle of the season, while other major sporting leagues have their drafts in-between seasons? Well, there is a very good reason for this. Let our experts explain.
Why is the MLB draft in the middle of the season? It is because this is when people start to graduate from college and high school. This means that a fresh batch of picks will now be available. Rather than having these players wait until the end of the MLB season, which is many months away, teams will want to introduce them to their ranks as soon as possible.
Of course, our experts have a lot more information to share with you, so read on!
Why Is The MLB Draft In The Middle Of The Season?
At the time of the MLB draft, two things will have happened:
- The high school baseball season would have just finished
- The college baseball season will finish within a few weeks of the draft occurring
At this point, the scouts for the various MLB teams will already have an idea about which players would complement their team’s roster. The thing is that once players have graduated from high school or college, they will not have that many opportunities to play baseball to a high level. If they are not introduced to a professional baseball environment quickly, then their development as a player may stall.
Teams really do not want to wait 6-months to pull new players into their ranks. If they did, the player’s development will be 6-months behind schedule, and that is a long time in the world of professional sports. By signing players in the middle of the season, the teams can start to train them up to a professional baseball standard. Some may even be introduced to the field at this point. Basically, baseball teams are going to end up with far more well-rounded players.
It is worth noting at one point, there were three drafts for the MLB. These occurred at various times of the year. This was June, August, and January. However, the June draft is now the only one that remains.
Who Can Be Selected in a Draft?
There are strict rules that govern who is entitled to be selected in the MLB draft. If a player does not meet these criteria, then they can be signed by the team any time the team wants them. They do not have to wait until the next draft. These rules are:
- The player must have attended education in the United States, Canada, or any territory belonging to the United States.
- If they do not meet the first criteria, then they must at least be a resident of one of those territories. This means American and Canadian citizens will always be included in the draft, whereas a British citizen would only be included if they attended a college in one of those countries.
- They must never have signed a professional contract. This means no contract with any team in the major or minor leagues.
- Anybody signed from a High School must have graduated.
- Players can only be signed from college if they have either finished 3-years of education or they are at least 21-years old.
As one final point to note, these rules do not apply to those that attend community college. In the eye’s of the MLB, these are not regarded as ‘colleges’, and thus players that attend a community college can be signed at any time of the year.
What Happens if an MLB team Doesn’t Sign Their Draft Pick?
If a team makes a pick and that player opts not to sign for them, then the MLB team may be offered extra picks in the next draft. However, this is only if they have made a qualifying offer to the player.
For each of their picks, the MLB team must should a contract of at least 1-year. The value of this contract must be equal to the average of the 120 highest paying contracts in the MLB. While teams can make a contract offer less than this value, and the pick can accept that contract, it would not be regarded as a ‘qualifying offer’ if the offer is declined. Therefore, the team will not be entitled to any compensation in the next draft.
How Is the Draft Pick Order Chosen?
The draft pick order will be determined by team performance in the previous season. The first team to make their pick will be the team that performed the worst in the previous season, with the final pick being awarded to the team that performed the best.
The purpose of this system is to ensure that the lowest-performing teams have a chance to improve by adding better players to their roster. Many people believe that this makes the league a lot more competitive, although some lower-ranked teams have had trouble signing the best players due to their ranking, even if they have made a qualifying offer to picks.
When did the first MLB draft happen?
The first draft happened in 1921. Up until this point, all of the best players were being signed to the wealthiest teams in the league, which made MLB a lot less competitive. While there have been various attempts to eliminate the draft, none of them have come to fruition,
How many draft rounds will there be in the 2021 season?
The 2021 season of MLB will halve the number of draft rounds. This means that it will be set at 20 rounds. It is unknown whether this will stay at this number of rounds for future seasons.
What happens to players not selected in the draft?
Any player eligible to be drafted but who is not selected as a pick will become a free agent. Any team will be able to sign them. This is possible up until a week before the next draft.