Swing and Miss

Is there anything more worthless than the MLB draft?

All-Star games? International friendlies? The NIT? The Piltdown Man? Black licorice? WWE referees? Michael Bay?

Ok, besides the obvious. Is there any professional draft more worthless than the MLB draft?

No. No there is not.

The MLB draft was held last week with very little hype and pomp because…well… it doesn’t matter.

So why doesn’t it matter? Well, here are some examples:

  • A list of the first overall picks since the MLB draft started in 1965:

Know any of those guys? Maybe a few, but only one has been elected to the HOF (soon to be two). Not a very good percentage, considering over 40% of NBA first overall picks are in the HOF.

  • A list of the Mariners first round picks over the years:

There are some big names, but not too many. Only one out of all of them is currently playing for the M’s.

  • A list of the top MLB players and where they were drafted:

Pitchers - Clayton Kershaw (1st round), Jake Arrieta (6th round), Madison Bumgarner (1st round)

Catcher - Yadir Molina (4th round), sorry I like him too much to leave him off

1st - Miguel Cabrera (free agent-amateur)

2nd - Jose Altuve (free agent-amateur)

3rd - Adrian Beltre (free agent-amateur)

SS - Carlos Correa (1st round)

OF - Bryce Harper (1st round)

OF - Mike Trout (1st round)

OF - Carlos Beltran (2nd round)

OK, so there are some high picks there. But still there’s more….

  • Only 1 in 6 players drafted will EVER make the major leagues. 1 in 6!!!!

  • Although 73% of 1st rounders make the big show, only 39% play for more than 3 years.

  • No one has ever ever ever sat down and watched the MLB from beginning to end without dying of boredom.

So why is this the case? Why is it much harder to predict success for a baseball player than a football or basketball player? Well if I ever figure it out, I’ll make sure never to tell you so I can make million’s off the solution. But I have a theory.

The other sports rely on physical assets (eg:height, weight, speed, etc) more than baseball, and physical assets are easier to measure. Baseball relies on hand-eye coordination and the fine-tuning a very particular coordinated skill that is very hard to test and measure. Sure, you can see if Johnny Hitter can make contact against AAU competition, but how that skill will be honed over time and how his motor skills can handle more advanced training is harder to predict.

Therefore, the end result is a draft that is boring, worthless, and not worth covering.

But the Mariners did draft a guy who batted .395 with 20 hrs this year in college. Hmmm……..