Do You Feel a Draft?

It’s that time of year when there will be literally thousands of amateur baseball players glued to their houses and their cell phones hoping that their lifelong dreams will become a reality. So many kids grow up playing baseball and at an early age they dream of being a professional ballplayer. Today at the Wide World of Sports on the Walt Disney World properties representatives from all 30 major league franchises will gather and fulfill the dreams of some 3,000 kids. Today of course is draft day and the festivities will begin at 10 AM Arizona time with each of the major league clubs drafting a living member of the Negro Leagues to represent all those players who through segregation were never given an opportunity to play Major League Baseball. In the past it has been painfully difficult to try and follow the draft. Unlike their football brethren, baseball has kept the draft relatively closed off and low key. The past few years have seen baseball open up and try to create the type of media buzz that goes along with selecting the stars of tomorrow.


The problem is that with the NFL draft the draftees can immediately begin to compete for a starting job while in baseball most of the names selected are 2-3 years away from beginning to appear on a major league roster. It is further complicated by the fact that the baseball draft goes on for what seems like forever. Instead of the 5 or 6 rounds that the NFL uses, a Major League Draft is 50 rounds. This can be a tedious task to follow and one that is not the most media friendly. So for the casual fan it is hard to get excited about the draft since it is players you may not see for quite some time and for later round players they may never see them. Instead the draft becomes a chess match between the clubs and a trivia contest for most fans. For example, who really can name the 50th round draft pick from the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007? Ok, I’ll admit it I am a total freak of nature as I knew it was right-handed pitcher Dylan Moseley.

This year things will be a little better as XM Radio will be carrying the draft in its entirety on XM Channel 188. This will at least allow me to tune in while I am in the car. Unfortunately Major League Baseball rules preclude them from having this channel available online so I have to be by my XM Radio to hear the action. I initially thought about working from my car today but with temperatures expected to be over 100 degrees I am not sure that would be such a great idea. I have only a few brain cells remaining so frying those that are working probably would not be in the best interests of baseball. MLB.com will be carrying the draft live on their web site and they do a decent job. You can even watch the draft on baseballchannel.tv so for those of you who are just dying to know the answer to next year’s trivia question of who the Diamondbacks selected in the 50th round of the 2008 draft, here’s your chance.

This is going to be an interesting draft for the Diamondbacks. With their success in 2007 their draft order placement is at the 26th spot so many of the big name players will be off the boards by the time the Diamondbacks pick. The off-season trades made by the Diamondbacks further eroded the upper levels of their deep farm system so they will take that into consideration too. For the past few years beginning just prior to the Josh Byrnes era, the Diamondbacks modified their draft strategy focusing the early rounds on college players and predominately those who were seniors. This has led them to obtain faster dividends than perhaps drafting high school kids and nurturing them in the minor leagues. The Diamondbacks have somewhat of a dilemma. Their Triple-A club is relatively raw and not as talented as has been the case in years past. If the Diamondbacks were forced to rely on those players to fill in for injuries for an extended period of time it would have a grave impact. On the other hand the Diamondbacks nucleus is so young that you cannot have a lot of players at Triple-A knocking on the door to make the 25-man roster since there just are not that many spots available. For that reason I look to see more players drafted that could help Double-A and Triple-A in a 1-2 year time frame meaning more college juniors would be selected allowing Arizona to mature these players but still building up the upper levels of the minor league system.

The Diamondbacks farm system is one of the deepest in baseball and much of that talent was in position players. With many of these players now contributing at the Major League level, the talent base has moved and the farm system is more loaded with pitchers than position players. Since you can never have too much pitching this is probably a good thing but I expect that the Diamondbacks may focus more on position players than arms after the first round. If it were me I would be looking for a potential corner infielder and outfielder that could take over when Eric Byrnes or Chad Tracy begin to age or their contracts expire. I would also look for starting and relief pitching to build up the bullpen. This is the great thing about the draft, it allows every fan to be General Manager for just a moment and perhaps gain a new appreciation of how difficult that job is to do well.


3 Comments

  1. Andre

    Are you sure the draft starts at 10 AM Arizona time? My options are limited in the office and the ones I found keep telling me to come back at 2 PM ET

  2. The Negro League draft selections begin at 10 AM Arizona time.

    The actual draft of high school and college age players begins at 11 AM Arizona time.

  3. Andre

    Now the bigger question: Will Dbacks wait until deadline to sign their first round pick?

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