It's that time of the year again... the MLB draft! Every year, the professional sports league assigns amateur baseball players from high schools, colleges, and other baseball organizations to its teams.
However, unlike other pro sports drafts, the MLB draft takes place during the middle of the regular season — why is that? Stick around because we have all the answers you're looking for!
Why does the MLB draft happen mid-season?
At the time of the MLB draft, high school and college leagues are wrapping up their seasons. The scouts have all the information they need by this point, so there's no real reason to wait. All in all, each team wants to start bringing in new people right away rather than wait until the MLB season is over.
The MLB draft coincides with All-Star festivities.
Since 2021, the MLB draft takes place in July — specifically during All-Star Weekend. While this sounds like a pretty exciting time in baseball, it's actually not all it's cracked up to be.
In early July 2022, Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, revealed via The Athletic that having the draft during the All-Star game "presents some challenges." A scouting director added, "It all feels like it doesn't add up well. It's not really in the spirit of developing prospects."
Overall, holding the MLB draft in July makes life harder for a lot of people in the game — but the owners disagree.
"There's 30 people that like it," one agent told the outlet, "and they all own a team."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged the pros and cons in a news conference, stating, "Ownership likes the idea of building the draft as part of All-Star week." He framed the draft's new timing as "part of a larger plan of marketing players early in their careers and building fandom." Rob said he was aware of the criticism, but "frankly, everything in life is a balance between competing objectives."
Although having the draft coincide with All-Star festivities promotes the game of baseball, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing. A director-level staffer says the timing is "a very careless thing" that affects everyone in the league "down to the intern level." Hopefully, everything works out and changes are made.