Friday, June 12, 2009

The Next 200 Major Leaguers

TigerBlog weighed in on the coverage of the Major League Baseball Draft a few days ago. After two more days of listening to draft picks, there are a few more things that come to mind…

Each year there are more than 1,500 players selected in the draft. Add to that a large number of Latin American players that are signed through a different process and you have more than 2,000 players assigned to Major League Baseball teams each season. That’s roughly 65 players per team. Sure, not every drafted player signs a contract. Some college juniors return for their senior seasons and many high school seniors opt to go the college route. Let’s say that for whatever reason 10 picks don’t sign per team and you have about 55 new players per team entering the system each season.

So, where do you put them? Well, most teams have Short Season A and Rookie Ball teams that do not start their seasons until late June. Divide your new players in half and assign them to a pair of teams and they have a place to play.

What immediately stands out in TigerBlog’s mind is the logic that if you’re adding more than 50 players into the system each year, roughly the same amount of players are being dropped from the system.

Using just Princeton as the example, three new Tigers entered the system in the last three days as David Hale, Brad Gemberling and Jack Murphy were all drafted. Conversely, Spencer Lucian, Steven Miller and B.J. Szymanski, who played in the Minor Leagues last season, are now moving on to the next stages of their lives, with Lucian continuing playing in Spain this summer.

Speaking of this year’s draft, Princeton had three players chosen for only the second time in program history. The only time more Tigers were taken came in 2004 when five members of the two-time Ivy League champion were chosen in the first 20 rounds of the draft. That was quite a draft for Princeton, which saw the same amount of players drafted in the first 20 rounds as traditional baseball powers like Rice, Tennessee, UCLA and Vanderbilt. Two of the players chosen in that draft have played in the Major Leagues–Ross Ohlendorf and Will Venable–and a third, Tim Lahey, is currently playing at the AAA level.

Back to the draft, after the televised pomp of the opening three rounds which TigerBlog touched upon here on Wednesday. The draft went back to the conference call that it usually is for rounds 4-50. It makes for stimulating radio…

Arizona’s representative states… With its 24th round pick, Arizona selects ID number 1234 Brad Gemberling, a right hand pitcher from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J…

MLB answers back… Arizona selects ID number 1234 Brad Gemberling from Princeton. Los Angeles Dodgers are next…

And on it goes for hours. It makes it tough when you really are only concerned with where three of the 1,521 drafted players are chosen. Somewhat shockingly, TigerBlog was actually able to see/hear two of the three picks live.

Anyways, congratulations to the 1,521 players drafted over the three days of this year’s draft. TigerBlog will keep close tabs on three of those players, but can’t help but wonder how many of those 1,521 players will one day actually wear a Major League uniform.

Looking at historical trends provided by Major League Baseball, the answer is 200 or 13%. Now if only we could guess which 200. That seems high to TigerBlog, but good luck to all the players in their attempt to make it to the Big Leagues.

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