On one way to challenge the legitimacy of the MLB Draft

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On Wednesday, Baseball Prospectus published my latest feature, “The MLB Draft is an Unnecessary Relic of the Past.” The events surrounding Mets’ first-round pick Kumar Rocker made it topical, sure, but did not force the arguments made within to exist: those arguments are longstanding, recent (and recent-ish) goings on more like further ammunition for said arguments than anything. As was written in this space a couple of years ago now, drafts are indefensible, unless you’re a team owner.

A subscription is required to read the whole Prospectus feature, so just in case you need the background on where I’m about to go with this, it’s about how if the draft once had a legitimizing purpose that helped the game, and not just line owner’s pockets, it no longer does: thanks to revenue-sharing, lucrative television contracts even for teams you wouldn’t want if you didn’t have to, and a streamlined and shrunken minor-league system, there is no real reason why, say, the Pirates can’t go toe-to-toe with a financial juggernaut like the Yankees when it comes to acquiring amateur talent on an open market.

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