Why the MLB Draft Should Not Be Judged Like the NFL or NBA Drafts

Why we should not react to the MLB Draft as we do for the NFL or NBA Drafts.

Photo Courtesy of Julio Cortez, AP

On Monday evening after the Cleveland Indians drafted pitcher Daniel Espino, many people on Twitter were aghast that the Indians would draft a pitcher when the issue this season for them has been hitting. This article will explain why this line of thinking is incorrect and it comes down to how to view the MLB Draft.

There is a fundamental difference between the MLB Draft and the NFL and NBA Drafts and understanding this difference will help people immensely. The MLB Draft is more about the future than the present, while the other drafts are about the present and the future. Take a look at the first five picks from the 2018 drafts of the three sports we are talking about.

Pick Number MLB Draft NBA Draft NFL Draft
1 Casey Mize Deandre Ayton Baker Mayfield
2 Joey Bart Marvin Bagley III Saquon Barkley
3 Alec Bohm Luka Doncic Sam Darnold
4 Nick Madrigal Jaren Jackson Jr. Denzel Ward
5 Jonathan India Trae Young Bradley Chubb

For the NFL and NBA draftees, all 10 have had significant playing time in their rookie seasons. While quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold did not start every game for their respective teams, they played in a majority of them and both Browns and Jets fans are excited to see their young signal callers take the next step.

Running back Saquon Barkley and cornerback Denzel Ward both made the Pro Bowl as rookies and linebacker Bradley Chubb recorded 12 sacks, an excellent number for a veteran, let alone a rookie. As for the top draftees of the NBA Draft, all five were named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and are expected to make big strides in their second seasons.  

As for the players drafted in the MLB Draft, none have played a major league inning. The closest is first overall pick Casey Mize, who is currently pitching for the AA Erie SeaWolves, but it is still a ways away to get to the majors. The most recent MLB Draft that has players in the top five picks making major contributions is the 2015 Draft, where the top two players drafted were Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman.

The MLB Draft is more about building up your minor league system so that there is a continuous stream of young productive players who can either make an impact by playing for the team or by getting traded for someone who will make an impact by playing for the team.

While it is not in our nature, for the MLB Draft we need to show patience.

As there are over 1,200 players who get drafted, many players will never make it to the majors but the few who do can go on to accomplish amazing things. Did your favorite team have a good draft? Nobody knows and we won’t know for a few years.

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