Monday, June 2, 2008

MLB's Rule IV Draft

With MLB's Rule IV draft but days away, here is an explanation of how the draft works at Baseball America (courtesy MLB Trade Rumors). The Rule IV draft, for those who do not know, is baseball's amateur draft where highschoolers and college players alike have their hopes and dreams of heading towards their childhood dream come true.

According to MLB.com,

MLB.com will have exclusive coverage of the remaining rounds on Day 1 with live analysis from The Milk House by Draft expert Jonathan Mayo. Coverage will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Day 2 and continue through to the final pick. MLB.com's coverage will also feature two days of live video from Florida on BaseballChannel.TV.

In addition, MLB.com's live Draft Tracker will provide a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player that will feature biographical data, statistics, scouting reports and, in many cases, scouting video.

This will be the first year that the MLB draft is open to fans and will undoubtedly head in the direction of making the draft more of an event. With MLB's 24-hour channel on the horizon, the league certainly wants to ensure that all the draft day kinks are ironed out before jumping feet first into the venture.

MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has done an outstanding job covering the draft, providing readers with a weekly report on the players who have declared for the draft. Check it out.

Over at Minor League Ball.com, John Sickels provides his readers with a first round mock draft, selecting 30 players involved in the 'regular' picks, and 29 'supplemental picks'. Here is a sneak preview of John's top 10 as well as the token Canadian highschooler:
1) Rays: Tim Beckham, SS, Georgia HS: Seems like the most logical pick to me.
2) Pirates: Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt: Pirates prove they are willing to spend $$.
3) Royals: Buster Posey, C, Florida State: Royals opt for close-to-ready bat.
4) Orioles: Brian Matusz, LHP, San Diego: Can't pass him up.
5) Giants: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina: Excellent bat, close to ready.
6) Marlins: Kyle Skipworth, C, California HS: The rumors make sense to me.
7) Reds: Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri: Best player available.
8) White Sox: Gordon Beckham, SS, Georgia: System thin on hitting could use him.
9) Nationals: Aaron Hicks, RHP, California HS: Nats decide he's a pitcher.
10) Astros: Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky: Astros opt for "safe" college pitcher.
14) Twins: Brett Lawrie, INF, Canada HS: Twins pick cold-weather bat, hoping for another Morneau and worried that he won't last to 27.
Jonathan Mayo also has his first round mock draft at MLB.com. There are not a whole lot of deviations from the predictions as both seem to be following their leads from MLB executives and scouts a like.

What is most interesting about projecting the draft is how much of a crap shoot the MLB draft is. While teams are certainly becoming more efficient with their scouting, having to wait 2 or 3 years for even the best prospects is a troubling task for many fans. This year, it is said that there is truly no consensus #1 pick and unlike many years, the draft does not appear to be incredibly deep. Which leads me to wonder, why are the Rays looking for 'best available' when they could potentially fill a hole with a quick signing relief pitcher that is major league ready but has a relatively low ceiling.

Enjoy the coverage.

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