The draft for dummies?

My 2018 is getting a little bit of interest from pro scouts. He was asked to fill out some questionnaires after Jupiter, and now his travel team is holding some kind of showcase in March and a coach said a scout asked to see him there.

I've looked at some of the old threads, but honestly, this isn't about money or where he might get drafted. It's much more basic than that. So, can you tell me the draft process for dummies?

Is this process of people seeing him and evaluating his skill similar to how college coaches work? Is there any benefit in getting in front of people now and trying to create interest even if he does plan to go to college? How and when do you know scouts are seriously interested?

I'm not wild about the idea of him skipping college at this point, and I'm not sure where he sits, but I know it's at least an eventual goal so we both probably need to learn more.

Original Post

We've been through it a few times.  He was drafted last spring, but returned to school for his junior year. 

Doing a few questionnaires is exciting but it's really just scratching the surface.  Questionnaires get sent to a lot of guys.  Scouts are like recruiters, some are outwardly interested and seek an opportunity to get to know your son early on, others are more reserved until later in the process.  You'll sometimes hear about kids drafted by scouts they claim they never talked to.  That said, if scouts are really on him, it will likely be several and you will start regularly seeing them at games in the spring.  The more interest, meaning the higher he's likely to go, the more scouts you will see more often.  When you start seeing cross-checkers, national cross-checkers or perhaps members of the front office then you know he's going pretty high.  In home visits and offers to come to team workouts at their location is often another part of the process.

You mention not being crazy about skipping college.  Ultimately that decision may come down to money if interest heats up.  If you don't know about slot values in the draft, Baseball America is a pretty good source.  They list the slots for each position in the draft and then the actual signing bonus paid for each (most) draftees.  The other thing to learn about is the scholarship program that you could negotiate in.  That has it's own set of complexities.

I think that you got good advice above.

I would just sit tight and enjoy the ride. You will know if there is serious interest for the early rounds. Or you may not know until draft day for a later round pick.

The important thing is that it should not be a distraction and unless someone hands him lots of money, go to college.

When son was drafted, 2nd round he went to play in the NY Penn league, better known as the college league. He twisted his ankle so they shut him down sent him to Jupiter, he pitched a lot his junior year and they knew he needed some time out, but he was 21 going on 22 with college experience behind him.

His roommate was a HS senior who accepted 10K as a late sign. He cried himself to sleep every night. It's not fun getting up early and playing games in the backfields of the complexes, which HS drafted players start out with the Latin players who speak no english. Done at 1pm everyday a young man of 17, 18 can get into a lot of trouble.  

Don't mean to be a downer, but it's not what everyone thinks it is getting drafted out of HS unless you have a big support system which includes an agent, a financial advisor as well as athletic sponsors and free gym memberships.

 

Not much more to add since 9and7dad nailed it.  JoeMktg son was drafted out of high school.  PM him.  I have found him responsive to draft questions.

"This isn't about money".....but it will eventually come down to that.   If your son does get drafted, you will have to weigh out the cost/benefit of signing as a HS player.  Yes, college could be paid for with the MLB scholarship, which could be important to some, but there is a lot of benefit to going to college.   Including getting drafted later at a higher round.  (Getting drafted at a higher round is more than just the money.   HS players and high rounders ARE treated differently...unless you are a high round HS player.)  

He can turn down the offer if drafted.  Many do.

Sometimes teams will draft a HS player (or college for that matter) on the third day with low money just to use up a slot, hoping he won't sign.   But , he will be on the radar, PG will list  his draft status on his PG profile,  etc.   College coaches have been known to up the scholarship to keep players from entering the draft.  

If the decision is even close or a coin flip, I say send him to College. There are 3 kinds of minor league players. Prospects, Non-Prospects & First Round Picks. If your boy was a possible first round pick, you would be well aware of it by now. It sounds like he is a real nice player & they are feeling out his level of interest in Pro Ball. Not everyone has the College option or desire. Certainly no harm in sending him to pro camps or workouts just for the experience.

Here is the reality of Professional Baseball. Unless they spent a ton of $$ to sign you, you are basically thrown into the "shark tank" to grind it out against the best of the best and make your bones. Nobody really cares about you & nobody really tries to help you (Unless you are a big $$ kid). There is limited or zero instruction & direction provided. There is no concept of team, with the exception of the Manager who can possibly advance by winning. When I was in AA, we started a "Boot Hill" for departed players. By the end of the season, there were 26 name tags of players who had come & gone (up, down, released) taped up on the column in the center of the clubhouse. The players do not give a rip about winning. The games are all about individual performance and advancing. Nobody, including coaches, wants to be where they are at. Everyone is looking to get to the Big Leagues.

The days & bus rides are long. The hotels are often bottom shelf (Rookie Ball through A Ball mostly). I recall checking into a Little Rock hotel with junkie needles left in the sink. There is tons of down time away from the park. You spend your life in 4 places. Hotels, Ballparks,  Buses/ Airports, Bars / Restaurants. 

If you are the type who refuses to sit in a hotel for days on end, there are 2 main types of distractions. Alcohol & women. Needless to say, maintaining a committed relationship is "challenging."

Now, take all this & toss in a healthy dose first time significant failure when he confronts equal or better talent after owning HS.

Contrast this with the College experience, particularly if the maturity level of the player is not at a high level & this decision is easy to make. The $$ needs to be "exceptional" & even then it can be a mistake to sigh out of HS if the player is not ready to face, and excel in this environment.

So having said all of this, I will add that I have a 2021 who has serious Div 1 interest already. It would be his decision if it came down to it in a few years but my STRONG advice would be College unless First Round, Slot $$ / College Plan & he was at a maturity level to cope.

In addition, I would also demand that his Minor League contracts be for a sum between maybe 25-50K (even if this took away from bonus) so he did not have to eat his Bonus $$ to survive. He could learn how to budget his $$, pay bills & actually have an income as opposed to the $12K / Year or whatever crazy $$ they pay now for first year MILB players.

TPM posted:

Excellent SteveA.

I am going to add one more thing.

In many cases, the coaching staff is MUCH better in college than the lower level milb staff. The better instruction takes place at the AAA level and ML.  

Absolutely, no doubt. There would certainly be more structure & direction to the day / evenings in a good College Program as well.

As a 18 year old HS draftee, he will have very little in common with the rest of the draftees. Some are married, some with kids..........the locker room culture will be eye opening as will the night life!

There is a reason they have 40 rounds, plus supplementals...........the early rounds need people to play with and as we know the money is on the top picks, which in reality guarantees nothing but some additional chances to prove they can't do it. I've seen my share of kids drafted rounds 6-40 that stall out in ROK ball for 2-3 years, get released and end up in Indy ball. Then return home to become the next wave of instructors and coaches in 30 minute increments.

I had a good friend whose kid was taken in late rounds out of college. He had a very difficult time adjusting to the culture in ROK/A(short) ball. As a D1 baseball players accommodations are a big upgrade and they are somewhat spoiled as athletes. The language barrier, cutting lines and being ganged up on.......you can't raise a player that's too tough, mentally or physically.

I tell my 2018, go to college and grow as a person with your peers. If you continue to progress, you will get an opportunity. The chances are greater to come out ahead of your HS draft class after playing college ball in addition to having a backup plan in hand with a degree.

There are no secrets in baseball when it relates to the top prospects that were on the national stage, aka, PG, AC, ECP.........The players in remote areas that didn't make it to the national stage are the dark horses that seldom see questionnaires or garner much attention. Baseball has eyes everywhere and scouts will hold those close to the vest.

My 2018 was out hooping it up last night with a group of friends at a local sports facility. Someone took video and posted it on social media. An hour later his PC text him to let him know multiple scouts had been chiming in......What are you doing!!!!!!!! They did not want to see you playing basketball, it's reckless and you could get hurt. Much to his surprise, someone was watching him. Teams are looking for as many reasons NOT to draft a player as they are looking for reasons to draft them.

A kid from our high school passed on a ranked, top academic D1 to sign for 7th round money out of high school. I understand why from knowing the kid. But it was a bad decision. 

After he was released three years later I chatted with him. He said it was the worst decision in his short life. He saw himself as the stud on the block in high school who could hit anything and run like the wind. The kid was so athletic he could have gone D1 in his pick of three sports.  He didn’t see himself as a 6’1” 170 seventeen year old with a fall birthday who was sent off to compete against men (twenty-one and twenty-two year old former college players).

Being twenty when he was released he hooked up with an Atlantic League Indy hoping to get another shot. His play improved as he filled out and mentally matured. But the second shot with a MLB franchise ball never came.

 

84% of American born MLBers come from rounds 1-10. Another 10% come from rounds 11-20. A majority of drafted players are single A roster filler.

Here’s a story that relates to Steve’s post. A friend’s son was hitting .320 with 20 homers between AA and AAA. A teammate was hitting .230 with no homers. They could both play second, short and third. The .230 hitter was called up. Why? Second rounder signed for 600K versus 38th rounder signed for a plane ticket. 

The next spring the kid tore it up in spring training. He was sent down on Opening Day Eve. The MLB manager told him first injury and he’s up with the club. The manager was fired the third week of April. Guess who the GM called up. The next spring the kid was released on Opening Day Eve. 

The kid never saw a day in the majors. For the next eight years he played AAA ball for five different organizations rooming with the stud prospect teaching him how to act as a ball player. He’s now a minor league coach. 

Why play AAA until age 34? He was being paid 75K to play baseball. It provided contacts until he was asked to be a coach.

Note: He did spend a year in Japan making significantly more money plus all expenses paid. He had a decent year. His American manager who got him there was fired. The second year option was not picked up. 

RJM posted:

A kid from our high school passed on a ranked, top academic D1 to sign for 7th round money out of high school. I understand why from knowing the kid. But it was a bad decision. 

After he was released three years later I chatted with him. He said it was the worst decision in his short life. He saw himself as the stud on the block in high school who could hit anything and run like the wind. The kid was so athletic he could have gone D1 in his pick of three sports.  He didn’t see himself as a 6’1” 170 seventeen year old with a fall birthday who was sent off to compete against men (twenty-one and twenty-two year old former college players).

Being twenty when he was released he hooked up with an Atlantic League Indy hoping to get another shot. His play improved as he filled out and mentally matured. But the second shot with a MLB franchise ball never came.

 

You can cut and paste that story hundreds, if not thousands of times......a local kid had his sights set on a D1college scholarship, looking at an engineering degree......succeeded and was committed. Yep, you guessed it. Took some bad advice, he got an advisor, who makes a nice pay day upon his draft day. In the end doesn't give a rip about him personally. 

The 6'4", 170lb RHP, gets taken in the draft, 6th round, signs, spends the last two seasons in ROK ball. Fires his agent this off season....everyone tells him he should have fired his dietician instead. Times ticking.......until they cast him aside for the next. The business of baseball is tough!

I appreciate the help on the whether to sign or not to sign. Honestly, he's a pretty mature kid and works for a guy who was drafted out of high school, got hurt, and, as he frequently tells my son, is here teaching him to play baseball rather than playing in the pros because of bad choices he made along the way. If you can't have a good example in your life, a reformed bad example is a powerful teacher.

I guess the whole process sort of confused me, but it sounds like making connections now, even if you plan to really shoot for a draft after your junior year in college, is worthwhile?

Iowamom23 posted:

I appreciate the help on the whether to sign or not to sign. Honestly, he's a pretty mature kid and works for a guy who was drafted out of high school, got hurt, and, as he frequently tells my son, is here teaching him to play baseball rather than playing in the pros because of bad choices he made along the way. If you can't have a good example in your life, a reformed bad example is a powerful teacher.

I guess the whole process sort of confused me, but it sounds like making connections now, even if you plan to really shoot for a draft after your junior year in college, is worthwhile?

My 2C would be: If he is going the College route, he will have 3 full years before the issue of Pro Ball possibly enters the picture. Embrace that College Experience, have fun, get better. The rest will start to take care of itself when the time comes. He will also be surrounded with some people who have been through the process in addition to his current instructor.

Iowamom23 posted:

I appreciate the help on the whether to sign or not to sign. Honestly, he's a pretty mature kid and works for a guy who was drafted out of high school, got hurt, and, as he frequently tells my son, is here teaching him to play baseball rather than playing in the pros because of bad choices he made along the way. If you can't have a good example in your life, a reformed bad example is a powerful teacher.

I guess the whole process sort of confused me, but it sounds like making connections now, even if you plan to really shoot for a draft after your junior year in college, is worthwhile?

Navigating the college experience, if that's his destination, should be the only concern. There is a lot of movement at the college level in regard to transfers, up/down, due to playing time, fit, you name it. Next fall will set the stage for what's to come.

If he continues to develop, he'll get an opportunity. Focus on the NOW......and enjoy the ride. The future will come .......too soon in fact. As we tell our players to live one pitch at a time, we should slow life down a bit as well.

Steve A. posted:
Iowamom23 posted:

I appreciate the help on the whether to sign or not to sign. Honestly, he's a pretty mature kid and works for a guy who was drafted out of high school, got hurt, and, as he frequently tells my son, is here teaching him to play baseball rather than playing in the pros because of bad choices he made along the way. If you can't have a good example in your life, a reformed bad example is a powerful teacher.

I guess the whole process sort of confused me, but it sounds like making connections now, even if you plan to really shoot for a draft after your junior year in college, is worthwhile?

My 2C would be: If he is going the College route, he will have 3 full years before the issue of Pro Ball possibly enters the picture. Embrace that College Experience, have fun, get better. The rest will start to take care of itself when the time comes. He will also be surrounded with some people who have been through the process in addition to his current instructor.

It is definitely exciting times for your son and the family, congratulations.  The questionnaires are the first step in the process,  The next few months will dictate where he may "possibly" place in the draft.  Some scouts will make themselves known, others will be strictly behind the scenes until the month prior to the draft.  If your son is a round 1-10 possibility he may in the course of a few weeks before the draft be traveling across country working out for MLB teams.  There will be many publications coming out with their prediction on how the draft will happen.  You can get an idea where your son fits compared with the draft class, but definitely not written in stone.  For what it's worth, I will give the same advice I gave my son.  Except for a few gifted high school athletes, it is virtually impossible to predict how you will do in the next level, whether it be college or pro.  Go to college, experience the college life, grow, mature and have fun.  This is the only chance most likely you will have to live your life as a young adult in an adult body.  Give 110% at baseball but don't dwell on your 3 year plan of entering the draft.  Trust in the process, trust in Him.  If you do well playing college ball the draft will always be there.  If you don't or have a career ending injury, you will always have a college education to fall back on, nobody can take that away.  I have no doubt your son at 17 is mature and has great morals, but remember he will be among men 21 and up in the minors and be forced to mature. My son told me the best decision he made so far in his young life is going to a D1 college for baseball, excelling then when most of his goals/experiences were met (baseball, maturity and college life) it was time to move onto the next level.  Good luck

Iowamom23 posted:

I appreciate the help on the whether to sign or not to sign. Honestly, he's a pretty mature kid and works for a guy who was drafted out of high school, got hurt, and, as he frequently tells my son, is here teaching him to play baseball rather than playing in the pros because of bad choices he made along the way. If you can't have a good example in your life, a reformed bad example is a powerful teacher.

I guess the whole process sort of confused me, but it sounds like making connections now, even if you plan to really shoot for a draft after your junior year in college, is worthwhile?

It certainly can't hurt. One piece of advice we got was to make sure you provide consistent answers to any medical questions for each team. And you may get a smile from the personality assessment questions. Some of them are actually pretty funny. "Do you peek at Christmas presents before you open them?"  "Would you rather be a cat or a dog?"  "Do you love to win or hate to lose?"  To which my son, God love him, simply wrote "Yes."

Congrats to your son on this interest! I have zero advice for you on the process, but wanted to recommend the book "Where Nobody Knows Your Name, Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball" by John Feinstein. I would strongly encourage you to read it (and your son if he decides to seriously think about skipping college). It provided a behind the scenes look of the brutal life of minor league players. It was a real eye opener. Good luck to your son on whatever path he takes!

The minors is a tough place no doubt , but a lot depends on your round, money, team and if they have a plan for you.  If you are 1-3 round pitcher for instance, 7 figure guys, when the rover pitching coach comes to town you get the attention.  1-3 rounds are treated differently. If you are not going in those rounds and have a chance to play D1 ball, go to college.  If you are good enough after college you will get your shot, and likely do better once you are there.   If you are not good enough after college, you probably were not going to make it in the minors anyway and at least now you have a degree, or close to it. 

Not to mention if you get hurt. The players that are going to be drafted 1-5 rounds, know this prior to the draft.  Most will have injury policies as well.  Not saying a later round cannot make it, we know they do, but I would not pass up college for that grind.

 

Steve A. posted:

Here is the reality of Professional Baseball. Unless they spent a ton of $$ to sign you, you are basically thrown into the "shark tank" to grind it out against the best of the best and make your bones. Nobody really cares about you & nobody really tries to help you (Unless you are a big $$ kid). There is limited or zero instruction & direction provided...

 

Steve, this entire post is outstanding but this bolded line really jumped out as I re-read it.  How on earth is an 18 year-old supposed to get better (a lot better) without focused instruction and training?  This system is mind-boggling.

Smitty28 posted:
Steve A. posted:

Here is the reality of Professional Baseball. Unless they spent a ton of $$ to sign you, you are basically thrown into the "shark tank" to grind it out against the best of the best and make your bones. Nobody really cares about you & nobody really tries to help you (Unless you are a big $$ kid). There is limited or zero instruction & direction provided...

 

Steve, this entire post is outstanding but this bolded line really jumped out as I re-read it.  How on earth is an 18 year-old supposed to get better (a lot better) without focused instruction and training?  This system is mind-boggling.

Smitty, Great question! Perhaps it is a bit different now, or at least I hope it is. My experience was 25 years ago (mid 90's)

The fact of the matter is that outside of the top 10 Prospects in an Organization, the rest of the guys are there to provide a Roster so these "Real Prospects" can play, improve, get focused attention & pay off at the MLB level. For the rest of the rabble, it is mostly up to you to figure it out, make adjustments & grind it out. Sometimes guys emerge from this abyss & when they do, when you hear the stories about this guy who came from Independent Ball or was a 40th round pick & made it, understand that these are some of the mentally toughest dudes on the planet.  You would want these cats in your fox hole. 

Steve A. posted:
Smitty28 posted:
Steve A. posted:

Here is the reality of Professional Baseball. Unless they spent a ton of $$ to sign you, you are basically thrown into the "shark tank" to grind it out against the best of the best and make your bones. Nobody really cares about you & nobody really tries to help you (Unless you are a big $$ kid). There is limited or zero instruction & direction provided...

 

Steve, this entire post is outstanding but this bolded line really jumped out as I re-read it.  How on earth is an 18 year-old supposed to get better (a lot better) without focused instruction and training?  This system is mind-boggling.

Smitty, Great question! Perhaps it is a bit different now, or at least I hope it is. My experience was 25 years ago (mid 90's)

The fact of the matter is that outside of the top 10 Prospects in an Organization, the rest of the guys are there to provide a Roster so these "Real Prospects" can play, improve, get focused attention & pay off at the MLB level. For the rest of the rabble, it is mostly up to you to figure it out, make adjustments & grind it out. Sometimes guys emerge from this abyss & when they do, when you hear the stories about this guy who came from Independent Ball or was a 40th round pick & made it, understand that these are some of the mentally toughest dudes on the planet.  You would want these cats in your fox hole. 

I'm no expert, but I can confirm this is still true in at least 1 recent World Series champ's minor league system today. Family member is a trainer in low minors and he talks about how they have him focus solely on 1 or 2 high dollar prospects and leave others to fend for themselves. He implied (based on his contacts) that's true in all minor programs.

bacdorslider posted:
If you are a money player, you will get instruction... maybe not to the degree that you would in college, maybe more, depends on the team. I know several high school players drafted in the top 5 rounds that moved quickly and are playing major league ball. Lets see Mookie Betts, Robbie Ray are a couple.

Get Outlook for Android<https://aka.ms/ghei36>

Yes and well, not necessarily a definite. It depends on the organization. There have been circumstances where the PC would hardly interact with a top draft pick. They didn't want to be responsible for messing with them mentally or physically as there's a ton of money wrapped up in the prospect. It happened to a young pitcher I know that was taken 42nd overall out of HS. His thoughts today, fifteen years later, most mid rounder's adapted and were more approached/developed by PC's at the minor level. His reasoning was that making a mid round pitcher better was the best way to get promoted, as nobody really expects them  to do much......How are you gonna make the money pitcher that chucks 97-99 better?.....have a problem with the money pitcher or an unwelcome change to him.............jobless.

 

Zia2021 posted:
Steve A. posted:
Smitty28 posted:
Steve A. posted:

Here is the reality of Professional Baseball. Unless they spent a ton of $$ to sign you, you are basically thrown into the "shark tank" to grind it out against the best of the best and make your bones. Nobody really cares about you & nobody really tries to help you (Unless you are a big $$ kid). There is limited or zero instruction & direction provided...

 

Steve, this entire post is outstanding but this bolded line really jumped out as I re-read it.  How on earth is an 18 year-old supposed to get better (a lot better) without focused instruction and training?  This system is mind-boggling.

Smitty, Great question! Perhaps it is a bit different now, or at least I hope it is. My experience was 25 years ago (mid 90's)

The fact of the matter is that outside of the top 10 Prospects in an Organization, the rest of the guys are there to provide a Roster so these "Real Prospects" can play, improve, get focused attention & pay off at the MLB level. For the rest of the rabble, it is mostly up to you to figure it out, make adjustments & grind it out. Sometimes guys emerge from this abyss & when they do, when you hear the stories about this guy who came from Independent Ball or was a 40th round pick & made it, understand that these are some of the mentally toughest dudes on the planet.  You would want these cats in your fox hole. 

I'm no expert, but I can confirm this is still true in at least 1 recent World Series champ's minor league system today. Family member is a trainer in low minors and he talks about how they have him focus solely on 1 or 2 high dollar prospects and leave others to fend for themselves. He implied (based on his contacts) that's true in all minor programs.

I agree. Keep in mind they meed players to be teammates for the guys that will move forward.  FWIW college drafted guys dont start off in the lowest levels.

Steve A. posted:

 

If you are the type who refuses to sit in a hotel for days on end, there are 2 main types of distractions. Alcohol & women. Needless to say, maintaining a committed relationship is "challenging."

........

 

In addition, I would also demand that his Minor League contracts be for a sum between maybe 25-50K (even if this took away from bonus) so he did not have to eat his Bonus $$ to survive. He could learn how to budget his $$, pay bills & actually have an income as opposed to the $12K / Year or whatever crazy $$ they pay now for first year MILB players.

To add to the first point above:  Son took his Playstation to spring training.  They even bought a TV so they could have 2 in the hotel room.  New kind of entertainment, and certainly more cost effective than alcohol and women

To the second point, I am sure you could add most anything to a contract, but most minor league contracts are standard and salaries are by year of service and everyone knows they stink (for those that reading this and it is a mystery, salaries start at about $1050/month, only for the months you play, and go up yearly about $50 per month, and again if you are promoted to a different level.   Then deduct:  housing or host family fees, clubbie fees, supplement the stipend for food, etc.  It doesn't go far).  One of son's teammates this past summer who was drafted out of HS, has a financial advisor that doles out his bonus yearly/monthly so that he doesn't spend it all.  Some of the college-drafted guys on his team should have done this. 

^^^^This is why bonus money can be important...to support the player in the off season, as well as during the season if they are a high roller.

  

  

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