The MLB Draft Is A Different Animal

In a period of 12 years following the turn of this century there were 17,925 players selected in the MLB June Amateur Draft. Of those almost 18,000 players, approximately 66% percent of them signed with a major league club. Of the 66% percent that signed approximately 11% of them ever made it to the majors. Not were successful in the majors or became everyday players; MADE it to Major League Baseball. Now this does not cover the International Amateur Free Agent and/or International Professional Free Agent Signings, which could skew the numbers a little bit. However, I could not see this having an enormous effect on the 11% percent either up or down, so I would most likely settle on a margin of error of approximately 1 to 2% in either direction. That leaves some 87% to 91% of players that never make it out of the minors and onto a major league roster at any point in time during their careers. This is what I believe makes the MLB Draft so unique. The only one of the Major 4 Sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB) in America that would be even somewhat similar would be the NHL Draft. For example; from 1995 to 2009 the percentage of players selected in the NFL Draft to make any team roster, maybe not the team they were drafted by, was approximately 75% at its lowest point. This included the guys that were drafted in the final rounds, when no one was even watching. Yet people still try to make comparisons, assumptions, predictions, projections and/or a general who their team should pick statement about the MLB draft; as if they were picking the future starting whatever for their team for the next five to ten years or trying to fill an immediate hole in the roster. That is not how this works. That is not how any of this works!

Nevertheless, many Pittsburgh Pirates Fans and others are using General Manager Ben Cherington’s words of trying to address catcher depth through free agent signings, trade or the draft to justify picking a catcher in the first round in June with either the #7 Overall Pick or the Competitive Balance Round A Pick at #32, when many of them have no idea exactly who is available or how long it will be before the player actually reaches the big league club, if he even does. Here’s something to think about when another Pirates Fan, blogger, beat writer or whoever throws out a name of a catcher that the Pirates could be targeting in the first round. Are you aware that the only high school catcher drafted in the First Round to accumulate a WAR of 5.0 or better, as a catcher, in the last 37 years, is none other than Joe Mauer (Drafted by the Minnesota Twins at 1st Overall in the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft)? That’s 5.0 WAR for a career, not just one year.

Another trap that we as Pirates Fans fall into is the track record of the previous regimes ability to draft, and beyond that the capability that former General Manager Neil Huntington and his staff had in developing talent. I will see and hear many say that we need to avoid high school right handed pitchers/prep arms or we need to draft some lefties because we don’t have one that worth anything in the system.  Why would you avoid any player because of their right handedness or pick a player just because they happen to be a lefty? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Wouldn’t it make more sense to draft the best player available, no matter the position or dominant hand? Do yourselves a favor and actually look at the MLB Pipeline Top 100 Draft Prospects and see who is actually out there, who the Pirates could realistically take at each of their first two picks and where they could fit into the system for the future; not where they could fit into the team as it currently constructed. 

So who does everyone think that the Pirates should take with their first two picks in the draft now? Has your mind changed at all? Personally, I am still undecided. However, I will still have my own opinions. Hopefully you check back in with me as we progress toward the 2020 MLB Amateur Draft in June, as I will be highlighting players that could be potential future Pirates and those others are mentioning that I would much rather avoid.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

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