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Fixing the draft

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Offline  Fixing the draft
#1

Posted: June 14, 2015, 9:31 PM Post
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I know this is a hot topic for some around here, particularly splitterftj, and I came up with a few ideas. The first thing is, the more I thought about it, the more complicated it gets. You just can't paint a broad stroke that treats all HS, juco, and college players the same way, and it might not be fair to. Second, the more complicated something is, the less you will be able to "sell" people on the idea of it. Simple = believable = sells. I think you have to keep the pool; otherwise you have to have a designated value for each slot/round with no variance.

These are just the first things that come to mind:

1) Establish a slot value minimum - this is the most important step, as without this nothing else I think works. Not having a minimum creates too much uncertainty for both sides. The actual values are arbitrary and the least important part, but there is a method to the madness - some of these will come into play later:

Rounds 1-3: 80% of slot value, plus $200K for college for HS seniors if they don't make the majors
Rounds 4-10: 70% of slot value
Rounds 11-20: $75,000
Rounds 21-30: $50,000
Rounds 31-40: $25,000 (can probably eliminate these rounds)
Bonuses >$100K after the 10th round still count against the pool

Remember, this is the minimum, could be more as long as they don't go over the pool limit. But no more using college seniors as pawns. This should help increase the likelihood that the better players go earlier because you have to pay a minimum amount.

2) HS and juco players have to opt-in; college juniors have to opt-out - this was the toughest one. I don't think everyone should have to opt-in, as that would create chaos in scouting departments - how much time do you spend scouting someone if you don't know if he's going to opt-in? Given the leverage that teams have on college seniors, I think it would be best to have all juniors (three years post-high school) automatically eligible; if they want to finish school, they have to opt-out. Maybe it's a junior year or age-21 automatically eligible. You would also have to have a reasonable opt-in cutoff date, such as April 15th, to give teams time to scout players who they know will be eligible.

Now for HS kids... you have to have some measures in place to protect them from themselves. Teenagers aren't known for making the best decisions (they say the human brain isn't fully developed until age 25, and attribute that to poor decision-making by teenagers). But... they are the hardest to scout and project. One scout may feel a kid is a 2nd/3rd round pick, but other scouts (or crosscheckers... or scouting directors) may feel differently. What do you do if a kid thinks he's going to be a 2nd/3rd round pick, but doesn't end up going until the 12th round? He thought he was going to get $600K and that was enough to bypass college, but now he's looking at $75-100K? Should he be forced to turn pro?

3) Those drafted in the first three rounds have to turn pro; HS kids drafted in the 4th round or later can go to college - by setting the minimum at 80% of slot value for rounds 1-3, it ensures a minimum signing bonus. At the least, someone drafted at the end of the 3rd round will get a minimum of $438K (plus $200K for college). If that isn't good enough to turn pro, then don't opt into the draft.

Again, teenagers don't make the best decisions, and it's hard to project HS players. So if a player thinks he'll go in the first three rounds but doesn't, I think it's fair that he should have options. You can also say that if they are forced to turn pro, teams will automatically offer them 80% because they have the leverage. That's true; and that's why it gets set at a high %. Maybe it's 90%. But this also can create extra pool money that can help sign kids that get drafted after the 3rd round. And if HS kids can go back to college, it helps ensure that more than the minimum is offered to those HS kids. Maybe they don't have to turn pro, but a team holds that player's rights for 3.5 years (at slot value) if they are drafted in the first three rounds. Maybe it's the first 3 rounds, plus anyone picked in the 4th round and offered >100% of slot (still at least $400K).

There's also nothing stopping a kid from saying, "it will take $X to sign me". Teams will then know what round to slot the kid in, if he's worth taking at that spot, and if they need to allocate extra pool money from other picks and plan accordingly.

These three things won't solve everything that is wrong, and I don't know that there is anything that could (that is reasonably simple). But by having slot minimums, making HS/juco players opt-in, and making those drafted in the top 3 rounds go pro (or hold their rights for 3.5 years), I think it will go a long way towards ensuring that the best players are picked in the early rounds and that almost all players drafted will be signed.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#2

Posted: June 14, 2015, 9:47 PM Post
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Really all that needs to happen is to shorten the draft. At one point teams needed to have 20+ rounds to fill the minor leagues but that is in the past and that is not needed anymore. If the draft were to be shortened to 25 rounds this would alleviate a lot of the problems with the draft. Even at 25 rounds that is a lot of players being picked I would prefer a 15 round draft as I believe that would be more beneficial to the game.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#3

Posted: June 14, 2015, 10:34 PM Post
Posts: 1274
Great topic and subject. It's very complicated with many legal issues, including collective bargaining points. I'd love to hear opinions from others.

Something else that's beyond absurd is how international players are handled. With the influx of Cuban players, this is even more critical now. Part of the fix here has to be how the international market is addressed. We go to all the trouble to have a US and Canadian draft, then we let the Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers and Bosox go bonkers in the international market. The Brewers get one solitary big time guy in Lara and we act like we split the atom while those other clubs get a bunch of them.

This all needs fixed. It's all very primitive. But these are all related under "fixing the draft."


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#4

Posted: June 14, 2015, 10:40 PM Post
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Louis, I don't think you can mandate that anyone drafted in the first three rounds has to go pro. But, why not do it the NBA way that you have to register for the draft? In or out and give the clubs certainty. I wonder if this is something the Union has gone against for whatever reason.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#5

Posted: June 14, 2015, 10:50 PM Post
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Fixing the draft...

By all means, shorten this thing. 25 rounds is the most they should have, in my opinion, less is better.

Players declare for the draft...gosh, does that work? It seems to have ruined the NFL and the NBA...or something. Do it.

Get medicals to the teams before the draft. That nonsense that happened with Brady Aiken really needs to go away. Teams needed to ask permission to see his medicals, and then, only some people could see them, if they knew the secret knock? Hey Kid...go look for work, if you don't want to play the game. Type One Diabetes discovered after the draft? Yeah, thanks for helping folks out, MLB.

International players make their way into the MLBPA just like everyone else - they should enter through the same door anyone else does. Don't give the 28-year-old free agency on the way in, give him free agency in three years if you want, but don't send him up here with all the leverage in the world - that's backwards, and it obviously favors the wealthiest teams.

A lot has happened to make the system better, finally, but they are nowhere near, "done" - this system stinks. This kid went to a JUCO to get back in the draft sooner, that kid will only sign for X amount, or he'll go to college - why in the world would anyone connected to this industry want to give leverage like that to the bottom of the talent pool?

Why do I think the US Congress oversaw the development of this thing?


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#6

Posted: June 15, 2015, 1:04 AM Post
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I miss the DFE. But I'd like to see it tweaked to include college as well. So that if a kid is drafted out of high school but goes to college, their first 3 years (or 2 for 21-yo sophs) they are still property of the organization that drafted them out of HS. However, if they do not sign by a date and choose to return to college for the final year, they then can re-enter the draft. It would give an MLB team a chance to nab a steal out of HS and pay him later, but it would also give that kid some leverage if he so chooses.

the draft slotting stuff is stupid right now. If they want to slot, it needs to be hard slots.

There need to be regional combines held, perhaps with the draft pushed back two weeks and Rookie ball extending into September.

I like the idea of kids declaring for the draft. MLB's Scouting Bureau does a nice job, and could open up a branch that helps kids hear comments from MLB officials, agents, scouts, etc.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#7

Posted: June 15, 2015, 5:06 AM Post
Posts: 12418
I am not sure declaring for the draft is a good idea. You are talking about a huge pool of kids compared to other sports.

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#8

Posted: June 15, 2015, 5:36 AM Post
Posts: 16230
Minimum slot value doesn't have any use in my opinion and your chart is horrible. It might not allow a team to draft a guy at the top of the draft to save money for later rounds and your values for other top 10 rounds would never fly with owners. Teams draft a lot of college seniors for $10,000 to save money for other picks. Once again I just don't see the need.

I don't know if opt in or out is really a problem. Teams will likely scout them regardless. That's what they do. Teams know how likely it is to draft a certain guy...It isn't like it is some mystery.

That last one makes no sense and would never happen.

Spitter actually mentioned some real problems.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#9

Posted: June 15, 2015, 8:32 AM Post
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MrTPlush said:
Minimum slot value doesn't have any use in my opinion and your chart is horrible. It might not allow a team to draft a guy at the top of the draft to save money for later rounds and your values for other top 10 rounds would never fly with owners. Teams draft a lot of college seniors for $10,000 to save money for other picks. Once again I just don't see the need.

I don't know if opt in or out is really a problem. Teams will likely scout them regardless. That's what they do. Teams know how likely it is to draft a certain guy...It isn't like it is some mystery.

That last one makes no sense and would never happen.

Spitter actually mentioned some real problems.


Damn, it's just one man's opinion and he's putting some honest thought into it. That's fine if you don't agree but this seemed rather harsh.

This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express, and I'm talkin' to whoever's listenin' out there.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#10

Posted: June 15, 2015, 9:04 AM Post
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Well, thanks for the compliments MrTPlush. I appreciate you coming up with some ideas of your own instead of just criticizing someone else's ideas. I also appreciate you noting my comment that, "The actual values are arbitrary and the least important part."

I believe splitterpfj mentioned the exact issues I was addressing - his sixth paragraph addressed exactly what I was getting at with the third suggestion - kids going to JUCO to get back in the draft sooner, only sign for X amount or go to college. Otherwise how do you stop that circus from happening?

Like I said, maybe it isn't forcing them to turn pro if they are drafted in the top three rounds, maybe it's holding their rights for 3.5 years. But the key is all of the things combined - if they declare for the draft, and the drafting team holds their rights or the player has to go pro, and there is a minimum value - then it is much more fair for both sides. Also, how many kids drafted after the third round make the majors anyway? Many of those who have were given signing bonuses equal to a top-3 round pick, so in essence they were top 3 round picks. End that circus so that the best kids go in the top 3 rounds.

If there is no minimum signing amount and a kid has to declare for the draft, then teams hold all the leverage. If you have to declare, then there has to be something in place to ensure you get a minimum amount or can go back to school so that you have some leverage. The NBA has guaranteed contracts for first round picks, and the NFL has four-year contracts with minimum base salaries for draft picks (and typically guaranteed money for top-2 round picks). You have to have some type of guaranteed minimum in place.

Remember, in the NBA kids have to declare early but if kids don't hire an agent they can go back to school, regardless of whether they are drafted or not. If they hire an agent and don't get drafted... too bad, they lose their college eligibility. With the NBA draft being only two rounds, and so few pro jobs available in the NBA, how is that fair to kids? In the NFL there are a lot more jobs (63 per team - 53-man active roster plus 10-man practice squad), and injuries create many more job openings, even though there is no minor league, so draft picks have a much greater chance of making the team.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#11

Posted: June 15, 2015, 9:40 AM Post
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logan82 said:
I am not sure declaring for the draft is a good idea. You are talking about a huge pool of kids compared to other sports.
Yes, but for the most part there are only a handful of guys that clubs will be keeping an eye on for whether they declare or not. And if an international draft is going to be a thing, there pretty much has to be an opt-in. It wouldn't make sense to have one draft opt-in and the other a free for all.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#12

Posted: June 15, 2015, 12:16 PM Post
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How would high school players know to opt in unless they were scouted? Opting in for high school players seems like a lot more paperwork for MLB with no real benefits.

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#13

Posted: June 15, 2015, 1:30 PM Post
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Logan, the high school kids who really should sign and get going, DO know they've been scouted. Scouts are all over the Perfect Game showcases, etc, which these kids participate in.

A high school kid who might have gone in round 27 today might be affected, but the kid who was going in round five, has absolutely heard from the teams who are serious about him.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#14

Posted: June 15, 2015, 2:03 PM Post
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splitterpfj said:
Logan, the high school kids who really should sign and get going, DO know they've been scouted. Scouts are all over the Perfect Game showcases, etc, which these kids participate in.

A high school kid who might have gone in round 27 today might be affected, but the kid who was going in round five, has absolutely heard from the teams who are serious about him.

I realize that. Why should they have to opt in? Sounds like nothing more than a bunch of extra paperwork.

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#15

Posted: June 15, 2015, 2:05 PM Post
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logan82 said:
How would high school players know to opt in unless they were scouted? Opting in for high school players seems like a lot more paperwork for MLB with no real benefits.
Eh... if you want to opt in and you're eligible, then you should know to do it. Maybe require an MLB organization to sponsor each application to opt in. If a scout has never seen you play and you don't know where to contact one, then you're almost certainly not getting drafted anyway.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#16

Posted: June 15, 2015, 4:12 PM Post
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or we could just stick with the way we are doing it now and not add any special steps. If we are going to add something in it should have some benefit. How would opting in help? What does it accomplish other than extra paperwork?

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#17

Posted: June 15, 2015, 5:53 PM Post
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logan82 said:
or we could just stick with the way we are doing it now and not add any special steps. If we are going to add something in it should have some benefit. How would opting in help? What does it accomplish other than extra paperwork?


I think you're missing the larger points...

1) The paperwork is already in place, the scouting bureau has to assign every player likely to be drafted a draft ID. if you've ever listened to the conference call you're familiar with those draft IDs because that's how players are actually picked.

2) This is about removing the BS leverage that HS players and college Juniors have in the draft. No other professional sport lets amateurs have as much leverage out of the gate except maybe soccer, it's ridiculous. If you want to play professional baseball then opt in, if you aren't taken in the top 10 rounds (or top 15) then you can choose to go back to school.

3) Having players opt in actually reduces the number of players scouts have to see in a calendar year, which in theory should allow for more thorough scouting.

4) Having players opt in is good for college baseball because it removes all of the grey from signing/commitment process.

I'd like to combine the international and domestic drafts into 1 event, the NBA can draft players from around the world in a single draft, why not MLB? I realize the NBA draft is about filling 2 or 3 roster spots in a year, but the MLB system is already massive, an international draft could easily be rolled into the annual event. That way all of the players in a certain class are getting assigned proper value relative to their peers, and there's no more signing and trying to project 16 year old Latin kids. Let them all finish high school before worrying about professional baseball.

The slotting should be hard, as in none of this over or under slot garbage, do away with the lame pools. That way the best players get picked in the order they should be picked in. The system shouldn't be drafting 4-5 guys you really like, then 4-5 guys with low ceilings no leverage just to be able to go and draft 1 more kid you really like.

I'd like the draft to be 20-25 rounds (with international) and then after that it's about undrafted free agent signings to fill out rosters.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#18

Posted: June 15, 2015, 6:56 PM Post
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LouisEly said:
Well, thanks for the compliments MrTPlush. I appreciate you coming up with some ideas of your own instead of just criticizing someone else's ideas. I also appreciate you noting my comment that, "The actual values are arbitrary and the least important part."

I believe splitterpfj mentioned the exact issues I was addressing - his sixth paragraph addressed exactly what I was getting at with the third suggestion - kids going to JUCO to get back in the draft sooner, only sign for X amount or go to college. Otherwise how do you stop that circus from happening?

Like I said, maybe it isn't forcing them to turn pro if they are drafted in the top three rounds, maybe it's holding their rights for 3.5 years. But the key is all of the things combined - if they declare for the draft, and the drafting team holds their rights or the player has to go pro, and there is a minimum value - then it is much more fair for both sides. Also, how many kids drafted after the third round make the majors anyway? Many of those who have were given signing bonuses equal to a top-3 round pick, so in essence they were top 3 round picks. End that circus so that the best kids go in the top 3 rounds.

If there is no minimum signing amount and a kid has to declare for the draft, then teams hold all the leverage. If you have to declare, then there has to be something in place to ensure you get a minimum amount or can go back to school so that you have some leverage. The NBA has guaranteed contracts for first round picks, and the NFL has four-year contracts with minimum base salaries for draft picks (and typically guaranteed money for top-2 round picks). You have to have some type of guaranteed minimum in place.

Remember, in the NBA kids have to declare early but if kids don't hire an agent they can go back to school, regardless of whether they are drafted or not. If they hire an agent and don't get drafted... too bad, they lose their college eligibility. With the NBA draft being only two rounds, and so few pro jobs available in the NBA, how is that fair to kids? In the NFL there are a lot more jobs (63 per team - 53-man active roster plus 10-man practice squad), and injuries create many more job openings, even though there is no minor league, so draft picks have a much greater chance of making the team.


Apologizes if it came off sounding a tad harsh. I was writing it quite fast and I can see how it could sound that way. While I did see your note on the numbers being the least important part they are way off. Any minimum past round 2 would not make sense because that is when teams could start drafting college seniors.

Also the better ideas I was referring to were getting medicals and then international player integration. I also could see making the draft shorter if I was aware of any negatives. I don't understand why that is a problem...but maybe I am missing the boat on that one.


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Offline  Re: Fixing the draft
#19

Posted: June 15, 2015, 7:17 PM Post
Posts: 12418
I would like them to go with lower, hard caps for draft spots and up the minor league pay. My thought was to make all draft spots with the same bonus but then the players could just hold out for a better MLB team. The higher picks have to at least have some cost/benefit decision based on position or all a player would do is hold out for a certain team. Also add in college education for all players who do not have a bachelors degree.Make it so high schools can go back to college and do not have to work a lower than minimum wage job if they forgo college.

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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Online  Re: Fixing the draft
#20

Posted: June 15, 2015, 7:46 PM Post
Posts: 3110
No question in my mind that it is far more important that low level minor leaguers earn better pay, between spring training and other potential expectations it is a full time job for the whole year. Most of those guys won't make it and they are providing a service to the real prospects by helping them field a team. 20-25K a year is not unreasonable. 1 year of A-rods salary can support 1,000 minor leaguers at that price.


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