While established stars jockey for high price tags in free agency, the process which started their successful run is undergoing change. As such the MLB Draft is undergoing its own changes.
Upon the arrival of the 2020 season, the MLB draft will be moved from New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska. The draft will now head into the home of the College World Series. The draft will take place ahead of the annual College World Series beginning June 10 and going through June 12.
2020 MLB Draft to Be Moved to Omaha
The Benefit of Change
Many have been vying for a change of both venue and time for the College World Series for quite a while. Moving the draft to the home of the College World Series makes for a great fit. Additionally, it fixes the timing issues. As it stands right now, the draft takes place amid the regional finals with many draftees not knowing they’ve been drafted. Moving the draft date ever so slightly gives college draftees the chance to experience the draft process and atmosphere.
It also gives the draft the opportunity to bring in more revenue and exposure across the first few rounds. By not competing directly with the college baseball postseason, the draft can gain more exposure and MLB can potentially bring in more revenue per the single event. That, in turn, could potentially grow a sport who’s game attendance dropped 1.7 percent from 2018 alone.
It also adds to the flow of the collegiate postseason. It brings an MLB flare to the collegiate scene and segues nicely into college baseball’s crown event.
Pushing back the draft even ever so slightly can have lasting impacts on the collegiate summer scene as well. The movement will benefit the collegiate summer leagues and the USA Collegiate National Team. As of right now, the Collegiate National Team is comprised mainly of juniors. Seniors have to contend with signing professional contracts and more. A later draft date would allow players the time to commit to the CNT. As a result more players would be willing to suit up.
While the upside of the draft time change is quite substantial, there are some downsides that could occur. The later the draft is held, the less time to decide whether to sign a professional contract before college classes start. It would also add to the burden for college coaches who already have to distribute 11.7 across 27 separate players.
Ultimately, moving the draft up has long-reaching positive effects that can impact both collegiate baseball and MLB. Should it continue on and become a staple, it will be a continued sign of growth for the sport of baseball as a whole.