|Pro Baseball Draft Process
former Major League player, Reds; former Major League Manager, A's: "I
don't think a player who wasn't drafted has less of a chance to make it to the big leagues at all. We never discuss
it at our meetings. We just carefully analyze his physical skills to determine the best we can whether he has a
future as a Major League player."
Did you know the Baseball Draft didn't exist until 1965? It came about as baseball's attempt to level the playing
field, so to speak, by giving organizations a more equal chance to sign the best amateur players out there. Bet
that's a question in some trivia game someplace!
Here's more baseball history for you. These new rules and guidelines changed the way scouts work with players and
their parents. It's often said this was the beginning of the skyrocketing player salaries we hear so much about.
Also, it was the beginning of a ranking among the players themselves. Suddenly "What's your draft number?"
became one of the first questions rookies ask each other.
Curious about what actually happens during the Draft? About how the organizations prepare for it? Could there be
an impact on your pro baseball career if you don't get drafted? Is your draft number a big deal? Why was Ryne Sandberg
drafted in the 20th round? Or Keith Hernandez in the 42nd round? Why is it players like Tom Candiotti, Jeff Tredway
and many others who qualified under the draft eligibility rules and went on to have long major league careers were
never drafted? What's with that?
former major league player, 20 years; former manager Indians, Giants, Orioles; only player to win MVP Award in
both the AL and NL; member, Hall of Fame: "The number of young players
playing baseball at different levels throughout the country is staggering. It's in the millions. Most of them dream
about how to get scouted, how to get drafted, and how to become pro baseball players. But their wake up call comes
when they realize there's less than eight hundred players in all of Major League Baseball….".
I always imagined the pro baseball draft happening in a smoke filled room with lots of yelling and haggling over
players. Boy was I wrong! All I'm going to tell you here is that the pro baseball draft process takes two days,
goes approximately thirty rounds (some organizations need more), and roughly 1170 players are drafted. You can
check out the details in the book.
Number One draft in the country, 1982, Chicago Cubs: "What's it like
being number one? I get asked that so often. Well, it's a great honor for my family and me…..I think part of the
interest in me is because I'm not a pitcher. The scouts say they usually go with pitchers first."
Be sure to read the rest of his story in the book.
former ML player, Red Sox; former scout, Red Sox: "Every organization
looks for pitching first. Pitchers are really the toughest part of scouting today because of the way it's organized.
You have such a large area to cover…and many pitchers pitch on the same day. So you pick one, but he might not
have his good velocity or his good stuff that day. So you gotta go back when you get the chance. Then you hear
some other scout say, 'Gee, did you see Nolan Ryan?' And you tell him you did but he really didn't throw that hard
that day, and the scout says to go back because he's throwing hard now!"
If you're thinking, "Will pro baseball draft me?" you need to answer these questions:
Are you eligible for the draft? Will you get drafted out of high school? Junior college? College? Do you know the
draft eligibility rules are different for each of those situations?
If the phone rings and you hear the words, "Congratulations, you've been drafted," does that make it
official? Or could it be one of your prankster friends? What does make it "official"? What was the round?
Do you have to sign? What if you don't sign? Better find out about the Major League Baseball College Scholarship
Plan or your Mom will never forgive you. And what do you need to know about the pro baseball contract? If you think
you need to get an agent to help you get drafted, watch out! You'd better read the book first.
former player, Tigers: " If you're in high school or college, don't worry
about how to be a pro baseball player. If you go out there and enjoy what you do, play hard every game, well, that's
the way you're gonna get scouted, then get drafted. The scouts are everywhere and if you do something out there
on the field…hit the ball…pitch hard….show some speed…they'll hear about you….".
former ML player, 15 seasons, Cubs, Diamondbacks: "I was drafted out
of college in the 24th round by the Cubs. I was 21 years old. I wasn't a very good player in high school and wasn't
even approached by the scouts. But when you get to the college level, scouts are around every game. Whether they're
there to look at you or somebody else doesn't matter. But if you play hard, they can't help but notice you. Scouts
were there to watch Chris Gwinn, Tony's brother, when I was told there was some talk about me….".
former ML pitcher, Phillies, Dodgers, Padres, Pirates, Mets: "Greg Maddux
is my kid brother. I was five years ahead of him in school, which is a lot, in a way. I mean, if one brother in
a family is scouted and eventually gets drafted, then when another brother comes along, scouts usually give him
a look. But when the scouts came to see me, Greg was in little league.
"Greg's considered small for a pitcher, if you go by the book, that is. Well, when he was a senior in high
school he wasn't much bigger than your local batboy, and he even LOOKED like a batboy! And there I was at 6'2",
180 pounds. Scouts said they'd like to draft him, but he's too small. Then they'd look at me and I'd tell them
I was his size when I was twelve. Our dad's a big man, so the scouts decided he'd be a latecomer."
former pitcher, Padres, Cubs, Phillies: "In my senior year of high school
the scouts were there because of my brother, Bruce. He's a year ahead of me in school. He got scouted pretty heavily
and went with the Brewers. Anyway, I got their attention because of him. And I had an exceptional senior year…was
17-0 with a .87 ERA as a pitcher. I played first base on the days I didn't pitch and led the state in homers. We
played 30 games and I pitched 17 of them. I was drafted in the 8th round by the Padres. We haggled a little bit
about my bonus, but they knew I wanted to play baseball and didn't want to go to college, so it didn't take long."
YIKES! A pitching record like Mitch Williams' only earned him an eighth round spot. That means at least 210 other
players were drafted ahead of him that year. Several of them were pitchers. Makes you think, doesn't it?
former major league player [[sixteen seasons], Twins, Cardinals, Cubs: "I
didn't sign when first drafted right out of high school because they didn't offer me enough money and I had enough
confidence in my ability to know I'd get drafted again later. So I went to Northwest Missouri State University,
but then transferred to a junior college and was drafted the second time by the White Sox in the third round…and
again I refused to sign because…".
OH NO YOU DON'T! To get the rest of his story, you'll have to read the book.