You probably have a few favorites in the MLB right now, but did you ever wonder how they got there? Furthermore, how do high school players end up in Major League Baseball? You’ve probably heard terms like ‘scouts’ and ‘recruitment’, but really, how does it all work? It’s not as complicated as you think, but enough so that we have decided to dedicate an entire article to it.
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE DRAFT
Each year, in June, there is a conference call that takes place amongst the 30 major league clubs participate in a conference call where they will begin to select new players in the reverse order of their win/loss records following the close of the regular season.
FIGURING OUT WHO IS ELIGIBLE
The MLB is not permitted to pick just anyone for their team, there is a rule set that determines which player are eligible for selection in the draft, and they’re actually pretty extensive. Because of that, we’re going to give you the cliff notes version of the rules to help you understand what’s going on here and who you can expect to see on the field next season.
The rules state that a player is eligible if they are a resident of the United States or Canada, and with that being said, residents of Puerto Rico are also eligible for both Major and Minor League contracts. One of the biggest exceptions to the rule would be high school students who have attended in the United States, regardless of their country of origin. There are some players who are not eligible to be drafted due to their status, so below we’re going to make a quick list of players that ARE eligible to be drafted into the MLB:
- High School Players
- Graduated from High School
- Have Not Attended College or Junior College
- College Players
- From Four-Year Colleges
- Completed Junior or Senior Years
- 21 Years of Age or Older
- Junior College Players
On draft day, a Club will have until 11:15 on August 15 to sign a selected player. Assuming a player is drafted but does not sign with the Club, they will be eligible for the future year draft. In some cases, you will have a player that is eligible to be selected but is rejected by every Club, and will then go on to become what is known as a free agent, able to play for any club until they enter or return to a four-year college/junior college.
The function of the draft is pretty simple, but they are in fact so complex and nuanced that entire movies have been made about them. So, who are you keeping an eye on for next season? It’ll be here before you know it, and so will plenty of new players.