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Saturday, May 09, 2020

MLB to cut amateur draft from 40 rounds to five in cost-saving measure

Major League Baseball will cuts its amateur draft from 40 rounds to five this year, a move that figures to save teams about $30 million.

Clubs gained the ability to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players’ association and MLB plans to finalize a decision next week to go with the minimum, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because no decision was announced.

There will be just 160 players drafted, and the combined value of their signing bonus pools is $235,906,800. The amount of signing bonus pool money eliminated is $29,578,100.

The MLBPA continues to think only of themselves, and sell out the futures of those who come behind them.

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 09, 2020 at 10:08 AM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cheap owners

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   1. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 09, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5949059)
The MLBPA continues to think only of themselves, and sell out the futures of those who come behind them.


I dunno, man. Is being a 23rd round draft pick really such a good thing? For most guys it means you live on dog food and share an apartment with six other dudes for a couple years and then wash out of A-ball.

I spend a lot of time trying to talk students out of going to grad school. It's the same principle. (Except that the opportunity cost of going to grad school is larger.)
   2. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 09, 2020 at 04:46 PM (#5949063)
The MLBPA continues to think only of themselves, and sell out the futures of those who come behind them.


David can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that is what they are required to do. To do anything different would be a breach of their fiduciary responsibility to their dues paying members.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: May 09, 2020 at 05:06 PM (#5949068)
Saving a million dollar bucks a team has nothing to do with a one-year hit and everything to do with trying to shrink the minor leagues going forward.
   4. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 09, 2020 at 05:06 PM (#5949070)
I dunno, man. Is being a 23rd round draft pick really such a good thing? For most guys it means you live on dog food and share an apartment with six other dudes for a couple years and then wash out of A-ball.


because there's no rounds between 5th and 23rd? Recent players drafted 6th round or lower:

Tommy Edman
David Fletcher
Mathew Boyd
Adam Frazier
Joey Wendle
Jake lamb
Marcus Semien
Blake Treinen
Brad Keller
Kendall Gravemen
Trey Mancini
Kyle Hendricks
Corey Dickerson
Kole Calhoun
Jacob deGrom
Whit Merrifield
Travis Shaw
Mitch garver
Joc Pederson
Adam Duvall
Taylor Rogers
Chad green
John Means


That's everyone drafted in the 6th-11th rounds from 2010 till present with at least 5 career WAR.


   5. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 09, 2020 at 05:10 PM (#5949071)
Going back further, Anthony Rizzo was a 6th rounder. So was Ben Zobrist. That's 3 key members of the Cubs championship team. 3 of 9 Game 7 starters, and the WS MVP.
   6. Baldrick Posted: May 09, 2020 at 06:04 PM (#5949083)
because there's no rounds between 5th and 23rd? Recent players drafted 6th round or lower:

If all those guys had jobs in other fields, we wouldn't even know that we missed them.

Major changes to the overall talent pool matter. They matter a lot when it's something like integration. But siphoning out 3-4 stars and a dozen other cromulent players over the course of a decade is a rounding error.
   7. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 09, 2020 at 06:07 PM (#5949084)
I thought the consensus was that the draft was bad for players. Is that no longer the case?

Just because they're not drafted, doesn't mean they won't be signed. Conversely, just because there is a draft, doesn't mean a team is required to sign any players.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 09, 2020 at 06:23 PM (#5949089)
I thought the consensus was that the draft was bad for players. Is that no longer the case? Just because they're not drafted, doesn't mean they won't be signed
There’s a $20,000 cap on bonuses for undrafted players this year. Those who would have been drafted in a normal year either have to lose a year or take a below market bonus.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 09, 2020 at 06:40 PM (#5949094)
The MLBPA continues to think only of themselves, and sell out the futures of those who come behind them.
Was this a Players Union proposal? Like the money-saving shrinkage of the Minor Leagues, I believe it originated with MLB. The players have limited leverage on the draft, and the union’s duty is to its current members, not a large pool of those nonmembers who aspire to reach the top of an industry but are unlikely to do so.
   10. winnipegwhip Posted: May 09, 2020 at 08:15 PM (#5949102)
If all those guys had jobs in other fields, we wouldn't even know that we missed them.


If the most talented athletes decide to go play other sports people won't care. After all we still are going to hold on to that 55-65 male demographic for another decade.
   11. winnipegwhip Posted: May 09, 2020 at 08:17 PM (#5949103)
There’s a $20,000 cap on bonuses for undrafted players this year. Those who would have been drafted in a normal year either have to lose a year or take a below market bonus.


You are partly right. Teams can sign a maximum of 5 guys at $20K. After that the maximum they can sign anyone else is $5,000. Not a lot to entice athletes to play baseball as opposed to other sports.
   12. winnipegwhip Posted: May 09, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5949105)
Well I hope some player holds out after getting picked and really ####### a team up by not agreeing to sign and therefore screws their draft for a season. Stuff like this makes one cheer for Scott Boras.
   13. puck Posted: May 09, 2020 at 09:06 PM (#5949111)
Teams can sign a maximum of 5 guys at $20K. After that the maximum they can sign anyone else is $5,000.


I didn't realize that 2nd part. Not that $20K is much.
   14. flournoy Posted: May 09, 2020 at 10:54 PM (#5949123)
Those who would have been drafted in a normal year either have to lose a year or take a below market bonus.


As opposed to if they had been drafted and signed, in which case they'd lose a year anyway. There isn't going to be a minor league season this year, so unless these guys were going to be on the 40-man roster, they weren't going to play any professional games this year.

Unsigned players who have major league talent (and no other promising job prospects) will wind up playing independent ball eventually, and might wind up making it to the majors in the end.
   15. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 09, 2020 at 11:03 PM (#5949124)
As opposed to if they had been drafted and signed, in which case they'd lose a year anyway. There isn't going to be a minor league season this year, so unless these guys were going to be on the 40-man roster, they weren't going to play any professional games this year.

Unsigned players who have major league talent (and no other promising job prospects) will wind up playing independent ball eventually, and might wind up making it to the majors in the end.


If someone is not drafted this year, and doesn't sign as an undrafted free agent, can they be drafted again next year?
   16. winnipegwhip Posted: May 09, 2020 at 11:13 PM (#5949125)
If someone is not drafted this year, and doesn't sign as an undrafted free agent, can they be drafted again next year?


If they go back to school they will go back into the draft. If not they will have to enter baseball as an undrafted free agent and will only see a maximum $20K. They are only worth unless they denounced their citizenship and move to a Latin American country...
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 09, 2020 at 11:29 PM (#5949126)
Undrafted high school players should probably consider college baseball, especially if a top program has interest.
   18. Meatwad Posted: May 09, 2020 at 11:33 PM (#5949128)
you guys realize this makes most draft eligible players who dont get picked a chance to choose what team they go to those 6th through 10th rounders with a future will go where they want instead of being forced to go to Sea or Pit etc.
   19. JJ1986 Posted: May 10, 2020 at 06:39 AM (#5949146)
If someone is not drafted this year, and doesn't sign as an undrafted free agent, can they be drafted again next year?
College juniors can, but they'll be seniors next year with less leverage. High school seniors can't unless they go to JuCo. College seniors obviously can't.
   20. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 10, 2020 at 07:59 AM (#5949148)
I dunno, man. Is being a 23rd round draft pick really such a good thing? For most guys it means you live on dog food and share an apartment with six other dudes for a couple years and then wash out of A-ball.

because there's no rounds between 5th and 23rd? Recent players drafted 6th round or lower:
The two sides of this discussion were at cross purposes. For MLB, the draft rounds 6 and up are a good thing; see the 23 players on the list above. For the players, being drafted in those rounds is probably a bad thing. Between 2010 and 2016 there were 1080 players drafted in the rounds 6-11, and 23 have done enough in MLB to earn some money. That's a 2% success rate. For comparison, in my wife's old humanities PhD program about 13% of the people entering got jobs out of it, and that was considered disastrous and unconscionable.

If the draft is good or not depends entirely on what direction you approach it from.

(Admittedly some of those 1080 players will be guys drafted more than once.)
   21. Rally Posted: May 10, 2020 at 08:48 AM (#5949150)
Tough decision for talented high school seniors. Sign a pro contract and not play since the minor leagues are very unlikely to re-open? Attend an online college and hope your superior reaction time translates to MLB video games?

At this point baseball scholarships have to be considered up in the air. Colleges are really going to be hurting for revenue unless somehow everything is back to normal by fall.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2020 at 10:00 AM (#5949159)
For the players, being drafted in those rounds is probably a bad thing. Between 2010 and 2016 there were 1080 players drafted in the rounds 6-11, and 23 have done enough in MLB to earn some money.


On the other hand, a bunch of guys got to spend a couple of season playing pro ball. On the list of terrible fates, that isn't one of them.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5949164)

Undrafted high school players should probably consider college baseball, especially if a top program has interest.


This coupled with juniors returning and an extra year of eligibility for seniors, is going to make college baseball rosters pretty loaded


For MLB, the draft rounds 6 and up are a good thing; see the 23 players on the list above. For the players, being drafted in those rounds is probably a bad thing. Between 2010 and 2016 there were 1080 players drafted in the rounds 6-11, and 23 have done enough in MLB to earn some money.


Players in rounds 6-10 routinely earn six figure bonuses, and even players drafted after than can earn bonuses of up to $100k, while undrafted players in this scenario can earn no more than $20k.

I guess I don't really get the reasoning behind this by owners. This will save them an estimated $500k per team, chump change really. If you were going to attack the costs of the draft, it would make more sense to do it at the upper end. And even then, its way less money than what some middling reliever on your team is making.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2020 at 10:53 AM (#5949167)

On the other hand, a bunch of guys got to spend a couple of season playing pro ball. On the list of terrible fates, that isn't one of them.


<American Chopper meme.jpg>

We're cutting draft bonuses!

That will cost players a chance to make money playing baseball!

They don't make any money anyway!

Then pay them more!

We're cutting draft bonuses!
   25. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 10, 2020 at 11:06 AM (#5949168)
All but six of last year’s six-round picks signed for $200,000 or more. Chicago Cubs catcher/first baseman Ethan Hearn had the highest bonus of the round at $950,000, deciding to sign ather than attend Mississippi State.


This is a BIG loss for 6-11 rounders.
   26. jacjacatk Posted: May 10, 2020 at 12:17 PM (#5949184)
College seniors obviously can't.


A fair number of them could go back to school, I believe the NCAA gave everyone another year of eligibility. Figuring out how to make that work with grad school, money, etc. might make it harder, but it's potentially a better option for guys who'd otherwise not get drafted this year, but might otherwise be middle round picks.

Of course, that's also putting a lot of faith in the there being a college season next year, which doesn't seem like a given to me at this point.
   27. The Duke Posted: May 10, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5949188)
1. Players will still sign, they just won’t be drafted
2. A lot of players who would be 6-10 round picks will get a choice of what team they want to play for in lieu of a smaller signing bonus
3. If there is a place to play, most guys will still play. You only get one chance at a ML career. You can’t go be an accountant for two years and come back to baseball. You only have one chance.
4. MLB is contracting the minor leagues materially. This is just an acceleration of that. I’m betting there will be a huge non-affiliated pro baseball league that develops as a result of MLB stopping their subsidy.
5. The raw cost savings appear to be $1-2 million a team plus no scouting costs. That’s not chump change. Let’s call that $60 million. Is finding Tommy Edman and Joc Pederson worth that ? No. And almost everyone on that list likely gets a contract, just for less money.

##### about the MLB all you want, but this makes a ton of sense

   28. JJ1986 Posted: May 10, 2020 at 02:01 PM (#5949191)
Is finding Tommy Edman and Joc Pederson worth that ? No. And almost everyone on that list likely gets a contract, just for less money.
Joc Pederson isn't worth $60 million, but how often are teams finding Joc Pedersons? If it's every ten years, he is probably worth $15-$20 million for a team. And finding a Jake deGrom is worth >$100 million.
   29. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: May 10, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5949196)
Another issue to consider. Say they drafted all these kids down to the 23rd round? Where are they going to put them? The minors aren't going to be playing much if at all. And then you have the contraction of the minors.
   30. Thok Posted: May 10, 2020 at 02:56 PM (#5949199)
Every other Big 4 sports league has significantly decreased the number of rounds in their drafts over the last 50 years without suffering. MLB will be fine.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2020 at 03:24 PM (#5949203)
The raw cost savings appear to be $1-2 million a team plus no scouting costs. That’s not chump change. Let’s call that $60 million. Is finding Tommy Edman and Joc Pederson worth that ? No. And almost everyone on that list likely gets a contract, just for less money.


Rosenthal's analysis had it at $500k to $1M per team, which is chump change. Finding a Tommy Edman is easily worth that - he was easily worth several millions last year alone, and you have him cost controlled for six years.


2. A lot of players who would be 6-10 round picks will get a choice of what team they want to play for in lieu of a smaller signing bonus


C'mon, this is ridiculous. Choosing where you want to play is not worth giving up six figures when for most of these guys that will be all the money they'll ever make in baseball.
   32. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 10, 2020 at 03:28 PM (#5949204)

Another issue to consider. Say they drafted all these kids down to the 23rd round? Where are they going to put them? The minors aren't going to be playing much if at all. And then you have the contraction of the minors.


There has been a movement against even putting players in game action to develop them, Travis Sawchick has written a lot about this. You could have guys work out in Arizona or Florida, and rotate them into affiliates.

I don't have a big problem reducing the draft this year for the reasons you mention, but I have a problem (a) reducing it by this much; and (b) reducing the bonuses for UDFAs to a ridiculous $20k (or $5k if you're not among the first five signed); and (c) the overall move towards contracting affiliates. It seems very pennywise and pound foolish.
   33. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2020 at 04:51 PM (#5949215)
Even if MLB loses talent through this how would we know?
   34. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: May 10, 2020 at 05:06 PM (#5949218)
From Ken Arneson's blog yesterday:

None of us know the inner financial workings of any MLB teams. Nor do we know any of the inner workings of any of the Pay-TV providers. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say as many people do on Twitter, “You’re billionaires, suck it up.” But I think that attitude is based on an outdated idea of some sole Scrooge McDuck owner who sits on a pile of gold coins in his vault somewhere, where the price of a ballteam is a pittance for them. But nowadays, most MLB teams are so expensive that there are very few Scrooge McDucks who can own a team by themselves and pay for it with cash. Most teams are owned by an assembled group of people who pay for it using loans secured with collateral. These ownership groups really don’t want their collateral touched. That’s especially true if it’s some large publicly owned conglomerate on the stock market. Covering losses is not anywhere near as simple as asking McDuck to pull another coin out of his vault. Instead, getting any sort of decision made is a big giant mess of regulations and internal politics.

All of which is to say, this pandemic is creating a lot of pressure on MLB teams from a lot of different directions. And the first sign of that pressure is when the weakest link in the MLB value chain starts to break. And that weakest link is…drumroll please…the minor leagues.

Minor league teams and minor league players have a strongly dependent relationship with MLB, with absolutely no leverage at all. They are a source of cost for MLB, with very little direct revenue coming back to MLB. So when MLB revenues start to get squeezed, where do you think they’re going to look first to cut costs? The place with the least resistance to those cost cuts and the least effect on revenues, of course.


The piece is more about politics than baseball, so with that notice here's the link: Slow Motion Disasters.
   35. PreservedFish Posted: May 10, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5949221)
The raw cost savings appear to be $1-2 million a team plus no scouting costs. That’s not chump change. Let’s call that $60 million. Is finding Tommy Edman and Joc Pederson worth that ? No. And almost everyone on that list likely gets a contract, just for less money.


Rosenthal's analysis had it at $500k to $1M per team, which is chump change. Finding a Tommy Edman is easily worth that - he was easily worth several millions last year alone, and you have him cost controlled for six years.


If all teams decide to ignore the next Tommy Edman in concert, then there's no loss to anyone.

Remember, if Tommy Edman isn't really "worth" $30 million in a real way from the perspective of the league as a whole, which is to say, from the perspective of the cartel of MLB owners - he does not increase MLB revenue by $30 million, not by a longshot. He improves one team's revenue, but at the expense of every other team's. The 2 wins that Edman adds to the Cardinals, valued at $16 million or whatever, constitute 2 losses spread around to the other teams, valued at negative $16 million.

Having excellent and entertaining players does increase league revenue, but a Tommy Edman's effect on the overall appeal of major league baseball is so vanishingly tiny as to be irrelevant.
   36. McCoy Posted: May 10, 2020 at 05:33 PM (#5949222)
But the thing is is that Edman doesn't really add revenue in an absolute sense. Pujols comes and Pujols goes and revenue does not decline.

All that really matters is that your customer base thinks your product is valuable enough to give you X dollars.
   37. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 10, 2020 at 05:46 PM (#5949227)
Even if MLB loses talent through this how would we know?

The media, fans, and pundits all seem to think they can tell when various major league sports talent pool is high or low. "Oh, the NBA talent pool fell off in the years after MJ's retirement, but then cycled back."

MLB and MLBPA have continually made short term decisions against the league's long term interests.

If they continue to make decisions to lower the talent pool, it will be noticeable.

   38. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 10, 2020 at 05:50 PM (#5949228)
All that really matters is that your customer base thinks your product is valuable enough to give you X dollars.

I've long thought that big contracts and big ticket prices made the public think "this is something I gotta see." The bigger the dollar amounts, the more the public is intrigued.

MLB is undercutting the talent pool, undermining the minor league system, a third of MLB isn't trying to win, front offices are full of ivy league MBAs who view 75% of the players as marginal and not worth spending money on. These messages are slowly but constantly drummed into the fanbase and the public.

The long term effect is they will think those tickets aren't worth what they've been paying. The MBAs think most of the players are replaceable, so the fans should start to the think the same way. If the players are marginal, then the tickets are marginal.
   39. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 10, 2020 at 06:08 PM (#5949233)
On the other hand, a bunch of guys got to spend a couple of season playing pro ball. On the list of terrible fates, that isn't one of them.

Not only that, but if their goal is to start a baseball training academy in their hometown or coach the local high school baseball team, they probably get a lot more credibility as a "former professional player" than a "former D-I Scholarship player."
   40. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 10, 2020 at 06:34 PM (#5949238)

Every other Big 4 sports league has significantly decreased the number of rounds in their drafts over the last 50 years without suffering. MLB will be fine


Going from 70 rounds in 1988 to 40 rounds last year doesn't count as a significant decrease? (if you want to go back the full 50 years, 90 rounds in 1969)
   41. Ron J Posted: May 10, 2020 at 06:53 PM (#5949242)
#38 I've found fairly clear evidence of three things.

Your first big free agent signing of the year appears to function as fairly effective advertising

Salary dumps always cost revenue

Related to the first two, public perception of how good a team is is roughly twice as important as actual team quality in explaining marginal revenue. And opening day payroll, free agent signings, expensive players no longer with the team and recent playoff success are a very large part of the public perception.

This is because marginal revenue is mostly about fair weather fans and they don't follow too closely or all that critically.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2020 at 07:45 PM (#5949248)
Every other Big 4 sports league has significantly decreased the number of rounds in their drafts over the last 50 years without suffering. MLB will be fine.

Football and basketball don't run (or need to run) large minor-league operations to develop talent. A 10-round NBA draft would just be a waste of time. Baseball is very different. It doesn't need 80 rounds, it might not need 40 rounds but it clearly needs more than 150-160 plus international signees for new entrants every year. Those can of course be undrafted FAs but there's little reason for an undrafted FA to sign this year.

If this is just a 1-year thing, it may not be such a big deal. I'm curious how many of those big-bonus 6-10th round guys were guys being bought out of college scholarships. It seems sensible to me that MLB would decide that, for this year with no HS or college or minor-league baseball -- and who knows when it will be back -- buying guys out of college scholarships makes no sense from either a baseball or financial standpoint.

#34: Just going by that excerpt, he seems to be greatly overestimating the risk. (But I am no finance expert so if somebody more informed wants to chime in, please do.) The group buying the team will usually be a separate corporate entity (and I think Liberty, maybe Rogers, are the only ones publicly traded). Worst-case scenario that corporate entity files for baknruptcy, leaving the personal assets of the investors generally safe. Further while they are leveraged purchases, given baseball teams haven't gone under in a bejillion years, given MLB will do everything in its power to keep one afloat and find new owners and franchise values have inexorably gone up, it can't be that hard to find those loans at a good interest rate. And given the current common and shared revenue structure, each team is guaranteed $200 M plus 52% of their local revenue so how in the world can they go belly up? MLB as a whole has to be in trouble -- which is possible if this continues for another year.

We've seen a few ownership groups go pretty much belly-up -- the Trib (Cubs), McCourt (LAD), Hicks (Rangers) and, for all intents and purposes, the Wilpons (Mets). In all four cases, the team was one of the few remaining assets, not a liability and the subsequent sale of the first three generated excellent profits.

Now it's surely true that Ricketts (for example) won't ride to the rescue of the Cubs with an offer of $300 M of his own personal cash but did anybody really expect Scrooge McDuck to do so?

   43. DL from MN Posted: May 10, 2020 at 08:29 PM (#5949254)
I’m betting there will be a huge non-affiliated pro baseball league that develops as a result of MLB stopping their subsidy.


I think the teams are hoping that college baseball is that vehicle. It would explain incentives pushing this year's high school talent to college. It would explain moving the draft to Omaha. Between college ball and wood bat summer leagues the players can get a lot of games. When the players turn 21 MLB can pick the cream of the crop. They get to eliminate two levels of rookie ball and $500k in draft bonuses. I know it's hard to determine which players will be good at age 25 when the players are 16 year olds in foreign countries or 18 year olds playing against inconsistent talent in high school. Players that are All-Americans at age 21 on a college team in a power conference are generally a pretty safe bet.
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: May 10, 2020 at 08:30 PM (#5949255)

"A 10-round NBA draft would just be a waste of time."

the NBA draft in its wacky days

it has only been since 1989 that the NBA draft has been limited to 2 rounds. also, FTFA:

"The first limit to be imposed on the NBA draft was done in 1974 to limit the draft to just 10 rounds. One reason for this is because the later rounds of the draft became pretty ridculas with teams drafting celebrities, ball boys and in one occasion a team attempted to select House of Representatives Minority leader Gerald Ford. The League would not allow the unnamed team to draft Ford, who was a stellar basketball player and likely had no intentions of ever player in the NBA, but the NBA did allow teams to draft other famous athletes like Carl Lewis, Bruce Jenner, and Dave Winfield.

With Lewis, Jenner, and Winfield and even Ford, these guys were world class athletes and Lewis and Winfield at least played basketball so the picks were not out there. Two dubious selections where made by the Hawks and Sixers. The Hawks selected GM Pat Williams newborn baby in 1984 and the Sixers selected a pharmacist and friend of the owner, a 47 year old named Norman Horvitz.... The New Orleans Jazz drafted a female player named Lusia Harris in the 7th round of the 1977 draft."

nba.com has more offbeat picks:

http://archive.nba.com/draft2003/draft_oddities_030619.html

Bob Beamon (1969): Beamon was fresh off of shattering the world and Olympic record in the long jump at the 1968 Mexico City games when the Phoenix Suns selected him in the 15th round. Beamon played basketball fanatically as a youngster in New York City, but was certainly more of a track star while at Texas El-Paso.

Jim Brown (1957): A true "Mr. Everything," Brown played four sports while at Syracuse -- basketball, football, lacrosse and track. He even averaged 15.0 ppg for the hoops team his sophomore season, so the Syracuse Nationals can't be faulted for taking Brown in the ninth round of the 1957 Draft even if most experts knew his future was in football.

Frank Howard (1958): While Howard was better known for being a prodigious baseball slugger, he was also an accomplished hoopster at Ohio State. The 6-8 Howard was an All-American in both sports, which led to his being taken in the third round of the 1958 Draft by the Philadelphia Warriors.

Yasutaka Okayama (1981): Before Yao Ming, Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol, there was Yasutaka Okayama. The 7-8 Japanese center was taken in the eighth round of the 1981 Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Bubba Smith (1967): Smith was best known for being one of the most feared defensive linemen of his era, but his size (6-8) made him an enticing hoops prospect. The Baltimore Bullets took a chance on Smith in the 11th round of the 1967 Draft.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: May 10, 2020 at 10:28 PM (#5949263)
Further on Howie's #44: From the article: "most of these players never even knew where they were drafted and the majority of them did not care as they planned to focus on other endeavors rather than the NBA." And "many players drafted beyond the third round never even bothered to show up to the teams and started their careers elsewhere."

It mentions a few late-round picks that had big careers but I notice one of them is Artis Gilmore. He of course was drafted high in the ABA draft and signed for big money there so the Bulls didn't draft him until the 7th round only because they wanted a claim to any future rights. According to Wiki, it sounds like the fix was in for the ABA draft as well, saying the league very much wanted Gilmore in the league and so allowed him to fall to the 7th overall pick to Kentucky who could actually afford him. Other names mentioned included Dan Issel (also KY) and Ron Boone (Dallas) who started in the ABA and I'm guessing also dropped for siganability. I think that leaves Randy Smith as the best legit late-round pick of all time.
   46. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 10, 2020 at 11:02 PM (#5949267)
Winfield was on the Gophers' Big Ten Championship team and a starter his senior year. If it was a silly idea, it was one replicated by Utah in the ABA.

Never did get to pitch.
   47. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 10, 2020 at 11:16 PM (#5949274)
This is because marginal revenue is mostly about fair weather fans and they don't follow too closely or all that critically.

Ron, thanks for sharing. This all makes sense.
   48. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 10, 2020 at 11:47 PM (#5949277)
Winfield was on the Gophers' Big Ten Championship team and a starter his senior year. If it was a silly idea, it was one replicated by Utah in the ABA.

Never did get to pitch.


Yes. Winfield being drafted by the NBA was legit. It was the Vikings drafting him that was the publicity stunt.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: May 11, 2020 at 12:31 AM (#5949289)
Maybe. (The article does go into a bit of detail on some of these.) Winfield played two seasons averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds. He was 4th on that team in scoring and 3rd in rebounds. Those other 3 players were also in their last years. Jim Brewer went on to a long NBA career as a (mostly) 20-minute player. (2nd overall pick in the draft.) Ron Behagen, 7th overall, also had a lengthy career as a power forward. Clyde Turner was drafted but never played in the NBA/ABA. Given how many rounds the draft went in those days, Winfield may have been a reasonable pick but unlike Ainge or (per the article) Gwynn, the basketball teams don't seem to have made any real attempt to sign him. But, fair enough, the PR value for Atlanta and Utah to draft him was prertty much nil (as opposed to the Vikes) so he was probably a legit pointless pick rather than a PR-driven pointless pick.

Correction before I even post -- seems it was the 71-72 team not the 72-73 team that won the title, finishing 2nd in 72-73. So none of those guys were seniors on the champ team ... but then Winfield was 6th in scoring and 5th in rebounding on that team. They don't have game logs back that far at cbb-r but Winfield seems to have moved into the starting lineup after Behagen was suspended for the rest of the season after a big fight with Ohio St. (A fight in which Winfield is accused of pummeling an OSU player off camera for whatever that's worth.)

Anyway, he was a legit college player just not a particularly standout one. He probably was among the top 200 (or whatever) players available to be drafted that year so a legit pick in that sense -- just an example of how pointless it was to have so many rounds in the NBA draft.

ML Carr was drafted a few spots ahead of Winfield. He went to the ABA but got cut at the end of training camp, went to Israel, didn't make it back to the ABA until 2 years later (for the last gasp of St Louis). He then went on to a solid career. There are also a couple of players drafted after Winfield who hung on for 3-4 years.
   50. Karl from NY Posted: May 11, 2020 at 01:40 AM (#5949297)
Even if MLB loses talent through this how would we know?

The effect should show up as a lower replacement level. The playing time not being occupied by these low-round gems who never enter the league would instead go to worse players, while not affecting the top talent. Would be a heck of a job to tease that small effect out of the big picture, though.
   51. Ron J Posted: May 11, 2020 at 08:08 AM (#5949318)
46 Pretty sure I saw Winfield play basketball before I saw him play baseball. Back in the day I used to go to the NIT if I was visiting my father at the time and I recall that Winfield played in it. (I've learned not to trust my memory though)
   52. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:04 AM (#5949326)
46 Pretty sure I saw Winfield play basketball before I saw him play baseball. Back in the day I used to go to the NIT if I was visiting my father at the time and I recall that Winfield played in it. (I've learned not to trust my memory though)


That would have to be 1973
   53. Rally Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:11 AM (#5949327)
Looking at the best NBA draft picks from round 7 on, the top 2 are Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel. Superstars who started in the ABA.

Did the ABA hold their draft earlier, and the reason nobody in the NBA took Gilmore earlier was because he was already signed in the ABA?

I don't think it could have been a talent mis-evaluation, Gilmore was a 7-2 monster who could play, not a project at all, he dominated in 4 years of college and from day 1 in the ABA. The kind of talent you'd expect to be drafted 1-1. I remember watching him play late in his career, but I was an infant when he was drafted so no recollection of that.
   54. Rally Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:24 AM (#5949328)
Trying to take the ABA out of the equation, from 1977 on there were 47 players to have at least 10 career win shares drafted in the 3rd round or later.

Top guys are Bill Laimbeer and Anthony Mason.

I don't see an easy way to search for undrafted players, I would be curious to see how that compares for more recent seasons.
   55. Ron J Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:39 AM (#5949331)
52 Sounds about right.
   56. Ron J Posted: May 11, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5949332)
53 The ABA had set things up so that he went to a team that could afford him. He hadn't actually signed but the NBA knew that he couldn't be signed.
   57. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5949345)
John Starks. Undrafted.
   58. McCoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 10:29 AM (#5949346)
   59. SoSH U at work Posted: May 11, 2020 at 10:34 AM (#5949349)

John Starks. Undrafted.


Of comparable vintage, Brad Miller was even better.
   60. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 11, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5949354)
list of undrafted players

couple names of note: Charlie Criss who was kind of a proto-Muggsy Bogues in that he was listed as 5-8 but was almost certainly at least 2 inches shorter. He did have a 7 year career as a journeyman, but was thought of as a novelty

and Slick Watts, who I maintain was the first NBAer to wear a headband--before Wilt did
   61. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: May 11, 2020 at 12:33 PM (#5949375)
Top guys are Bill Laimbeer and Anthony Mason.

Both of these guys went overseas for a year after four years of college ball, so they kinda don't help the notion that the extra rounds accomplish something.
   62. flournoy Posted: May 11, 2020 at 01:38 PM (#5949429)
John Starks


I thought he declined Stannis' proposal.
   63. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2020 at 02:56 PM (#5949452)
Tommy Edman - Stanford
David Fletcher - Loyola
Mathew Boyd - Oregon State
Adam Frazier - Mississippi State
Joey Wendle - West Chester U
Jake lamb - Washington
Marcus Semien - Cal
Blake Treinen - South Dakota State
Brad Keller - High School
Kendall Gravemen - Mississippi State
Trey Mancini - Notre Dame
Kyle Hendricks - Dartmouth
Corey Dickerson - Meridian CC
Kole Calhoun - Arizona State
Jacob deGrom - Stetson U
Whit Merrifield - South Carolina
Travis Shaw - Kent State
Mitch Garver - New Mexico
Joc Pederson - High School
Adam Duvall - Louisville
Taylor Rogers - Kentucky
Chad Green - Louisville
John Means - West Virginia

That's everyone drafted in the 6th-11th rounds from 2010 till present with at least 5 career WAR.


Interesting that there are only two high school draftees on that list and one from community college.
   64. Zach Posted: May 11, 2020 at 08:01 PM (#5949554)
We've always known that MLB sees the minor leagues as a few prospects plus a lot of roster fillers, but it's interesting that once you take the need to fill minor league rosters out of the equation, they only feel the need for a five round draft. That's not even enough to fill out a lineup!
   65. DL from MN Posted: May 11, 2020 at 08:22 PM (#5949570)
they only feel the need for a five round draft.


They wanted a 10 round draft but couldn't agree on the bonuses. The commissioner set a 5 round draft. I think going forward they settle on 10-15 rounds and a cap on bonuses for the undrafted free agents. Like you said, 5 rounds isn't enough to field a team.
   66. Karl from NY Posted: May 12, 2020 at 03:09 PM (#5949796)
they only feel the need for a five round draft. That's not even enough to fill out a lineup!

Well, if you don't have minors, you don't fill the ML lineup with only one year worth of drafting. If the average career length is six years, you fill the 26-man roster and most of the 40-man with that, plus a few undrafted fringe leftovers.

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