Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Amateur Draft (Rule 4)

Last Thursday-Friday was this years first year player draft(that's what Bud Selig calls it). When the Rays selected Tim Beckham(a SS from High School) Bud Selig said "with the first selection in the first round of the 2008 first year player draft, the Tampa Bay Rays select Tim Beckham a SS from some high school(I don't remember the high school) in Georgia". After he said this, I thought to myself why he calls it the first year player draft when most of the guys drafted have been drafted before. I don't know the answer to this but I thought this was very interesting and if anyone knows why feel free to drop me a line.

Anyways this years draft was a unique draft because money conscious teams didn't pass up expensive players like in previous years, instead they drafted the best player available or the best player to fit their team needs. This is what made this years draft a very good one. The art of the baseball draft is to pick the best player available because all these players are still pretty far away from the major leagues. There are some specific cases where you can draft a player at a position of need in the majors instead of the best player available, like if you have a lot of needs in the majors or if you draft a guy that's practically big league ready. The big issue in the draft is whether to draft high school players or college players. I think it depends on the situation because if you have a team like the Rays filled with young talent at the big league level you can afford to take someone with tons of upside that is far away from fulfilling his potential and develop him while keeping him in the minors for 4-5 years and then letting him excel at the big league level. But if you're in a situation like the Mets where you need bats quickly, you draft college bats, guys that you can rush through the system and have in the big leagues in a year or two.

Both of these teams had good drafts but I believe the Royals had an outstanding draft, maybe even the best. My favorite player in this years draft went 115 overall to the Royals, a kid by the name of Tim Melville. This kid is a 19 year old stud out of high school and is a power right hander standing at 6"5, 210. He's got great stuff on the mound and could be an ace. Needs to work on his changeup, but has a terrific knucklecurve and a fastball with cutting action at 92-95 MPH. I think this guy will pan out and will give Dayton Moore his own Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Avery with Grienke, Hochevar, Melville, Bannister and Soria. Baseball Executives are getting smarter so look for more and more players from the draft to make it to the pros. The '05 draft started this trend, now with almost all of the players taken in the first round are doing well in the majors(Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Jay Bruce) or are highly touted prospects(Cameron Maybin, Colby Rasmus, Andrew McCutchen). Baseball is realizing that free agency isn't bearing any fruit and therefore the draft is probably the best way to improve their teams.