6/15/12

Mack and Company - The MLB Draft

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Craig Brown asked -

Hi Mack, baseball is, by far, my favorite sport, however the MLB draft is my least favorite to watch of the major sports.  What would you do to make the draft more watchable and less ridiculous?

Renan Varghese -

I don't know that there is a way to necessarily make the MLB draft more watchable and/or entertaining. A lot of this is just the nature of the beast. College, and especially high school, ball players don't get nearly the exposure that their counterparts in basketball and football do. Except for the odd scouting fiend, it's unlikely that anyone who follows major league baseball will have ever seen so much as a single game any of the first rounders play. Add to that the fact that unlike the NBA and NFL, players drafted in baseball likely won't see the big leagues for anywhere from 2-5 years and it's hard to imagine the casual fan getting excited about who a team does or does not draft. There are definitely changes that could be made at the margin, like having the first round televised on ESPN (although I'm pretty sure that experiment was tried and failed pretty spectacularly), spotlighting potential draft picks on the Extra Innings pre/post game shows, etc., it just doesn't seem realistic for the MLB draft to ever become the event-type programming of other sports.
David Rubin -

I would do two major things. First, I'd allow teams to trade draft picks, but like they do in the NBA, there need to be limits to prevent smaller revenue teams from trading top picks in consecutive years. Second, I'd immediately change the rules so that teams have way more financial leeway to sign all of their picks, including the ability to go over slot if necessary, with less harsh penalties (go over in 2013 by $1,000,000 and your 2014 pool goes down by $500,000, for example. On a smaller scale,  I would also have retired players, representing each team, call the names at the podium for at least the first round, instead of Bud Selig, making it more interesting for the television audience AND I'd have a few specials a week or two prior to the draft wherein experts would discuss each team's needs AND different experts would preview the best players at each position, making them more accessible to the audience as well.

Mack –

Well, first of all they need a Mel Kyper who could talk  30 seconds about each one of these kids while tape is run from the highlights of their game. You know, a draft expert. Someone like…  me… email:  macksmets@gmail.com  (I don’t need no stinking agent…)

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