2023 MLB Draft is in the books, but…?

Could the draft use some changes? I personally believe it needs quite a few.

The 2023 MLB Draft is officially in the books with Paul Skenes going #1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Dylan Crews at #2 to the Washington Nationals and the Orioles taking speedster and outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. at #17.

However, I have a lot of questions about the MLB draft going forward because I feel like it could use some changes.

First and most importantly, MLB does not allow for the trading of draft picks and I REALLY don’t understand why. Why is that? NFL allows it. NBA allows it (even picks past the next season. I.E. The Wizards got a protected pick for the 2030 draft). NHL allows it. The MLB doesn’t. That part I really don’t understand.

My belief is that the MLB can do it the way the NBA does it and allow for conditions to be placed on draft picks like “Top-10/15 protected picks for ####-## season.” While I understand draft picks are like gold, it does add an additional element of surprise to the draft. Players should be able to be traded with the picks too provided the value is good enough.

Second, teams need to determine what players they drafted are major league ready and which ones should be given more seasoning in the minors through the MLB Draft Leagues or Florida Coastal Leagues. Here’s how we fix this: If the player is 22 or 23 years old and is a graduating senior? After signing, up to 2 players should be given a special status and should start NO LOWER than Double-A, Triple-A, or they should come immediately to the Majors.

Why do I feel this way? With Adley Rutschman, he was already wreaking havoc in the minors with his bat and he was major league ready right from the get-go. He was already proficient with the wooden bat in the Cape Cod Collegiate Leagues and transitioning from the aluminum bat in the college game was going to be no problem. Many collegiate players play in the Cape Cod Summer League to better their chances of getting draft but also to become more proficient with the use of the wooden bat.

I look at Paul Skenes, the Pirates number 1 pick in this year’s draft. He’s very much major league ready and should be in at the LOWEST, AAA to start his career. Now I understand there will be jitters and so on but I also look at the big picture, it will help them in the long run.

Now check this: NFL doesn’t have a minor league system, so they’re already on the big league roster (Personally I think the XFL and USFL should be incorporated as minor leagues for the NFL). NHL has the AHL and ECHL and it takes a lot to get to the big club if you are in the AHL though because they are a very established minor league system. The NBA has the G-League as a developmental league for NBA players but it’s not a true minor league system for them to get more seasoning before joining the big club and as the NBA draft is only 2 rounds. The MLB puts too many steps to reach the Major League clubs (5 steps: Rookie League, Low A, High A, AA, AAA). So don’t waste their time in the minors if they are a graduating senior. If the team feels that they are AAA or major league ready, then ok, put them in AAA or the major leagues.

A good example of this is Pete Incaviglia. He didn’t play a day in the minors (he refused to) and while it did hamper him, he didn’t want to waste time in the minors but then again, he transitioned very well to the wooden bat.

Third, the MLB draft should give all teams an equal pool of bonus money to work with to sign draft picks and it should not depend upon the position of the team last year.

And finally, ROOKIE CONTRACTS: MLB does not allow for rookie contracts, just bonus money when they get signed, and then the players get a “personal services” deal. The MLB really does their minor league players dirty and that’s very sad. They’ve done it for decades and I don’t understand how the MLB continues to get away with it. While they did give them a new deal last year, it’s still not enough. Teams should be giving their minor league teams subsidies via team revenue to pay for player contracts and per diems.

MLB, come on, you can do better than this. Make some more changes.

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Joshua Leuschner

Orioles/Ravens/Capitals/Terrapins/Inter Miami CF fan. Runs a podcast who tells it like it is (I-95 East Coast Sports Podcast) and loves sports, sports betting (responsibly of course), and finding arcane statistics in professional sports. He is also a devoted classic cartoon enthusiast (1930s rubberhose and 1940s-1960s silver/golden age animation), video game player, Enya enthusiast, devotee of classical music (Mozart, Sibelius, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and others), Hair/Classic/80s Rock fan, beer connoisseur, gym goer, former Slow Pitch Softball Player, and traveler.

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