Baseball Draft Is Coming … Blink And You Will Miss It – Orange County Register

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The world according to Jim:

• The final reminder of what Major League Baseball’s deep thinkers really think about the player development process comes from Sunday. (And no, it’s not the Futures Game, which kicks off All-Star Weekend.)

The amateur draft begins Sunday, a month later than in the past to coincide with the All-Star Game. In theory, that’s a good idea, mainly because it no longer clashes with the NCAA baseball tournament and the College World Series and forces some rookies to divide their attention. But it will be limited to 20 rounds, an accompanying piece with MLB’s decision last fall to eliminate 42 franchises in its minor-league restructuring. …

• The result: fewer players, fewer opportunities. And while executives may think in terms of fewer non-prospects cluttering up the rosters, it’s also (a) fewer players who ultimately use their professional baseball experience to develop the game as coaches or mentors in companies. professional organizations or in their communities, and (b) fewer players who are undervalued but who have made the most of their chances. …

• Do we need a reminder? Mike Piazza was a 62nd round selection by the Dodgers in 1988 and made the Hall of Fame. Current Fox commentator John Smoltz was a 22nd round pick for the Detroit Tigers in 1985 and is also a Hall of Famer. Under those conditions … well, they might have gotten one of those $ 20,000 unwritten free agent teams that the teams started handing out last summer. Then again, maybe they wouldn’t. …

• Want more examples? Andy Pettitte (22nd round), Roy Oswalt (23rd), Dusty Baker (26th), Ken Griffey Sr. (29th, 29 laps later than his Hall of Fame son), Mark Buehrle (38th) and Keith Hernandez ( 42nd) would have not been drafted this weekend. The Tampa Bay outfielder either Kevin Kiermaier (31st round). Or Jared Walsh of the Angels, a 2021 first-time All-Star who was a 39th round pick in 2015.…

• Cutting the draft – the first in 1965 was 72 rounds, although all but a handful of teams were successful in the last 40 rounds – has become a trend. It was reduced to 50 rounds in 1998 and 40 in 2012. Last year there were five rounds mainly because of the pandemic, and this had the combined effect of reducing both costs and headcount. Game. …

• One of the MLB’s explanations, remember, was that with fewer Minor Leaguers, teams would be able to pay them more. So there was this a few days ago from a Twitter account called Advocates For Minor Leaguers, stating that minor leaguers from the Rangers and White Sox organizations “tell us that in May their teammates were denied apartment requests due to insufficient income “. …

• And it’s worth noting: The Houston Astros have become baseball villains, but they’ve stepped up their efforts to fully pay for in-season housing for their minor leaguers at all levels. Anyone else paying attention? …

• In theory, baseball is a strict meritocracy. In reality, the road to an end-of-round pick or an undrafted player is much more difficult. High choices get more chance and more attention because they represent a larger investment. But Angels manager Joe Maddon never believed in this philosophy when he was a minor league manager, instructor or scout.

“Well, you’re looking at a guy who was never drafted. So I treated everyone equally, ”he said the other day in response to a question from our colleague Jeff Fletcher. “I was never impressed with draft status because I played with a lot of guys who are high draft picks that I knew weren’t very good, but they had all the opportunities in the world in reason for draft status. And then you get guys beyond that who never really got a big opportunity that we all knew we deserved and just wouldn’t get it. “…

• In other baseball news, the Giants this week released their Nike-designed “City Connect” uniforms that make them look like Creamsicles. They’re meant to evoke fog, which the folks in The City certainly appreciate as a selling point. And they don’t seem to be doing well up there, with a reviewer of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SF Gate website saying they arrived “with all the fanfare that a corporate-designed cash grab can reasonably expect. to collect “.

God only knows what Nike has in mind for the Dodgers, whose “City Connect” uniforms will be unveiled in August. Be very afraid. …

• Meanwhile, New Era, the official cap designer for MLB, has taken on Nike’s challenge, unveiling on Twitter this week cap designs that appear to be a cross between clip art and graffiti. …

• This, in addition to the horrid All-Star uniforms we discussed two weeks ago (which, remember, will be worn in Tuesday night’s game in Denver), makes me wonder: in which trade class or Marketing on this earth is it taught that in order to appeal to those who may or may not care about your product, you must do all you can to alienate your current customers.

Great job, baseball.

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@Jim_Alexander on Twitter



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