Baseball America

MAJOR CHANGES TO THE MINOR LEAGUES

To get a better understanding of the potential effects of Major League Baseball’s proposed plan to cut the minor leagues to 120 full-season clubs and to reduce the draft to 20 or 25 rounds while moving the draft date back from early June, we asked MLB front office officials for their reactions to the proposals.

Everyone we asked was someone who is directly involved in scouting or player development, and thus will be directly affected by the potential changes. To ensure we were getting a wide variety of opinions, we talked to officials of small-market and low-revenue teams, mid-range teams and large-market, high-revenue clubs. All officials were granted anonymity to ensure candor because this is seen as a sensitive subject where many have not been given permission to speak publicly.

We simply asked executives for their thoughts on MLB’s proposed plan and about the ramifications. Here’s what they had to say.

ON SCALING BACK THE DRAFT

A SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE GM WHO HAS BEEN A SCOUTING DIRECTOR:

“I don’t have a problem cutting (the draft) back to 25 to 30 rounds. You’re still drafting enough players to fill out those (short-season) rosters. That creates a much bigger pool of free agent possibilities. Quite honestly, it gets to be nauseating in the 35th round to find a player who is worth a selection. You’re not excited about any of those players. The draft board has been obliterated. It gets worse every year because teams get better and better at the draft. Most teams are increasing staff. Teams are getting better at it. More data is available. There are more looks at kids. Once you get to the 36th round, it’s not good. You’re better off doing a workout a week after the

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