The MLB draft will never be a marquee event like its counterparts in the NBA and NFL for many reasons.
To start off, the NBA draft is two rounds and the NFL’s is seven, whereas the MLB draft has 50 rounds and lasts from early June and wraps up right around the end of the World Series. No one wants to sit around and watch a 40 round draft where maybe five players will play in the majors someday.
And if those five do make the majors, it most likely won’t be anytime soon. Whereas the other drafts feature players who will be in the league immediately, if your favorite team drafts a high school player, if you see him at all in the majors it probably won’t be for about four or five years.
Now this is not to say there is no reason to watch. You never know who is going to be a star.
The first draft occurred in 1965. With the 36th pick, the Cincinnati Reds took maybe the greatest catcher in baseball history in Johnny Bench. That means 35 teams passed up the opportunity to draft a catcher that would go on to hit 389 home run and win two MVPs. Even Rick James was taken before Johnny Bench. I’m not sure if the pitcher the Chicago Cubs took with the sixth pick is the same Rick James who sang “Super Freak”, but let’s assume that it was. If that’s not worth your time, I don’t know what is.
The first player to reach the majors from that draft was Washington Senator’s pitcher Joe Coleman, who was taken with the third overall pick. He pitched in 143 games over six years for the Senators, before moving on to the Detroit Tigers, where he made the All-Star team in 1972.
You also get to see potential history by watching the draft.
Last night the New York Yankees drafted an outfielder from Fresno State named Aaron Judge with the 32nd pick. Aaron Judge is 6’7”, 255 lbs. If he reaches the majors, he will be tied with former Senators outfielder Frank Howard as the tallest outfielder in baseball history.
The MLB draft is like Las Vegas. It’s fun for a little while, until you reach that point where you think to yourself, “What the heck am I still doing here?” And then it’s time to leave and not look back.