The Detroit Tigers managed to get a second Monday off in two weeks. While this is good for the team, it really stinks for fans who want to watch baseball.
Unfortunately, this Monday without a Detroit Tigers game had to happen on the same night as the MLB draft.
And, I’m not watching it.
I find draft days to be the most overrated events in the world of sports, especially in regards to Major League Baseball.
Rare return on investment
When it comes to drafts, teams in the NFL and the NBA get some immediate return on their investments (keyword: some). The young men who are added to NFL and NBA rosters in the earliest rounds are often ready to begin playing as soon as the season begins. But, baseball is different.
All too often, players who are drafted into baseball never even show up on a Major League roster. And, some who are drafted end up attending college instead. No matter what choice a young baseball player makes, the odds of getting on an actual MLB roster are incredibly slim. And, keep in mind that the MLB draft does not even include players from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, or other foreign countries where kids play baseball even more seriously than they do in the USA.
That why I’m not impressed with the MLB draft.
Of course, every young baseball player dreams of being the next Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or Justin Verlander. The story of Miguel Cabrera being drafted at the age of 17 is the stuff of legends. But, the actual odds of even landing on a team and getting time playing in an MLB stadium are slim.
By the numbers
Now that youth sports are uber competitive, young athletes have even greater delusions of grandeur than they had in the past. According to an article titled “A Long Shot” by Jake New on Inside Higher Ed, he found that 60% of baseball players in the NCAA think they will play professionally. But in reality, only 9.4% of them will. In the other professional sports leagues, the “reality” numbers were all under 2%. Baseball has a higher percentage of men playing professionally because of the minor league system – where players are paid, but nowhere close to the dollar amounts in the Major League. And the life of a minor league baseball player is far from easy.
The NCAA numbers support New’s piece. According to the NCAA’s website, this was the result of the 2016 MLB draft:
"“There were 1,206 draft picks in that year; 695 of those picked were from NCAA schools. Of the 695, Division I student-athletes comprised 595 of those chosen, Division II provided 80 and Division III had 20.”"
The most disappointing part of the MLB draft is that high school players are included in it. Keep in mind that these boys are only 17 or 18 years old. Some of these boys have never held a job. Some might not even have drivers’ licenses. Many have been overly coddled high school athletes who may not have ever done their own homework. Most have no business being on a stage like this, even if at the time they can hurl a ball at 90 MPH.
So much disappointment
According to the website High School Baseball Web, high school baseball players have an even smaller chance of making their way to an MLB team.
"Approximately one in 200, or approximately 0.5 percent of high school senior boys playing interscholastic baseball will eventually be drafted by an MLB team.More from Detroit Tigers NewsDetroit Tigers: Victor Reyes finding ways to get the job doneThe Detroit Tigers must cut their losses and release Jonathan SchoopDetroit Tigers: Garrett Hill’s new role and changed delivery are excellentDetroit Tigers: Joe Jiménez has rebounded in 2022Detroit Tigers: Is it finally time to move the fences in at Comerica Park?"
Then, there are the young college athletes who think they will actually make it to the Big Show. The NCAA shares this staggering number at the top of the web page titled “Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics”:
"“More than 480,000 compete as NCAA athletes, and just a select few within each sport move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.”"
This is the reality for these young men who are being paraded out in front of a national audience. They might get their two minutes of fame and a little clip on ESPN or the MLB Network, but in a few weeks, how many of these young men will be remembered by the average baseball fan?
Instead of reaching their dreams, these young men will have to learn to deal with disappointment. Sure, there might be a handful who do make it Bigs, but how many of the 1,206 drafted young men from 2016 can you name? That’s the tragedy of the MLB draft and why I’d rather be watching a Tigers baseball game instead.