sure you’ve spent some time in the past few days thinking about the
new draft rules that were announced on Tuesday. Most of you have
advisors to talk to, along with the ability to bounce questions off
the coaches at colleges where you’ve signed and pro scouts you have
are all good resources, as long as you keep your head on straight and
realize that each of those groups has a vested interest in your
future. The scouts want you to sign and play professional baseball,
the college coaches want you to attend their school and help them win
games and the advisors are businessmen who are looking to make money
off your skills. That’s what each does for a living, it’s not a
criticism of any group.
what you need to do is to educate yourself using all the sources
available to you. We’re all going to be working under a different
system now, we all are on a learning curve and need to pay attention.
my take on the changes, as it applies to you, the top high school
prospects in the country. I feel I have a relationship with you as
I’ve seen virtually every one of you play somewhere, whether it was
at a Perfect Game/WWBA event or some other gathering of top
prospects. I watch you, I try to educate myself about you. Knowing
you is my professional business.
money is still in the system. There have been no draconian cuts in
what Major League Baseball as a whole is going to spend on signing
bonuses for young players, such as yourselves, to enter this great
game at the professional level.
Houston Astros, for instance, are going to have approximately $11.5M
to sign their draft picks over the first 10 rounds and will be able
to spend up to $100K to sign each pick after the 10th round, with the ability to spend more than that if they wish to pay
what amounts to a very stiff tax to go more than 5% over their
numbers do go down from there (the Astros hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, so they have the most money to spend according
to the new system) but the numbers are keyed off the bonuses paid to
players in 2011. And I’m pretty sure you are familiar with the
basic numbers, especially the number of zero’s involved.
if you’re good and the teams (or at least one team) recognize that,
the money is there.
is NOT going to be there that was in the old system is the tendency
and temptation for teams to “overpay” for a player for the round
he’s drafted in. It’s not a slotted system (thank goodness) in
that it does give teams the latitude to save money in one round (by
signing a college senior, let’s say, or maybe doing a pre-draft
deal for someone at under what “slot” is considered to be) and
spend it in another round. But the penalties are just too
significant to expect any team to really “overpay” by much.
example, the mantra for high school players in Southern California
last year seemed to be to throw out a signability figure of $1.5M.
Sort of as a conversation starter if nothing else. The advisors
were accustomed to players getting overpaid for the MLB slots where
those players were drafted, especially from that part of the country,
so that’s what they told their clients to say to scouts.
that’s not going to work this year and beyond. The advisors know
this, they are the supporting structure of the Player’s Union, they
are involved in the negotiating strategies that determined this CBA.
many, if not most, of you are going to have to decide to accept what
is become known as “slot” money, or close to it, for where you
are drafted. Either that or go to college. That is Major League
Baseball’s intent in the new system and that’s how they’ve set
up the rules.
the base money is there, but the extra money has been taken away.
The owners want cost certainly, just like your parents want their own
version of cost certainly in their lives.
being said, College Baseball is a wonderful thing; you will not find
many more enthusiastic supporters of College Baseball than myself or
anyone on the Perfect Game staff. The ability to go to college and
have someone else pay for a significant part of the cost is something
that only parents (and I’m one of them) can truly appreciate. The
experience of playing baseball for your college is an irreplaceable
part of your life experience and you’ll benefit in ways too
numerous to mention. Don’t ever disrespect the opportunity to play
the reality is that there will likely be more of you who choose to
play College Baseball than would have previously. The decision
makers in Major League Baseball know this and support it. I wish
they would support College Baseball more in real (i.e. $$$) terms,
but this new CBA is a big winner for college baseball.
in summary, what has happened is this: Major League Baseball has
taken away your realistic ability to say “I want to be overpaid to
sign out of high school” and have a strong chance of getting that.
They have NOT taken away your ability to sign out of high school for
a very significant amount of money. And they have said that, yes, we
support College Baseball and their ability to develop you as a player
and a person, should you not want to sign out of high school.
that, the decision for a high school prospect is where it has always
been; with the player and his family, weighing the different options
and figuring out what is right for their own unique situation. That
hasn’t changed a bit, just some of the numbers and details.
still the same issues: The importance of the bottom dollar figure.
The importance of continuing your education. The opportunity to
start one’s professional baseball career now, with no guarantee
that opportunity will ever come around again.
for listening. I hope you all have a great Holiday Season and an
outstanding spring, both on and off the field.