Monday, August 25, 2008

One Last Time

With apologies to PETA, we may be beating a dead horse on our rage against the NCAA machine, but everyday we uncover a new article or stat that gives us more fuel to want to make another point....and bore you guys with another rant.

More and more signs are pointing to a shift in the draft strategy for MLB. According to Baseball America, the player projections on the 2009 draft doesn't mention any high school prospects. It's all about college players. If that is the case, then MLB themselves, should be in Indianapolis as we speak, lobbying for an increase in Scholarships for NCAA collegiate baseball players. It's in their best interests to do so.

As we stated in past posts, it costs upward of $12,000 a year for parents to send their son to school WITH a scholarship. Families in need must get grants, subsidized and unsubsidized student loans to offset the difference. How many families with athletes fall through the cracks or just give up when faced with that burdensome red tape, when other sports like football and basketball are more accommodating. MLB and college baseball are missing out on a lot of two sport athletes due to the financial gaps between baseball and their fall and winter counterparts.

According to a John Manuel article from Baseball America, here are the names being bandied about at the top of the draft.

* Stephen Strasburg,San Diego State phenom. The only collegiate player on the U.S. Olympic team, the right-hander struck out 23 in a game against Utah this year and is the consensus No. 1 overall pick. "He compares favorably to Mark Prior at a similar stage of his career. ... He's an elite, elite guy and could move very quickly."

* Alex White, pitcher from University of North Carolina. "He has an electric arm and plus athletic ability."

• Kyle Gibson, pitcher from University of Missouri. "Average fastball, projectable body, wipeout slider."

• Grant Green, shortstop from USC. "Has torn up the Cape Cod League."

• Dustin Ackley, first baseman-outfielder from North Carolina. "A ridiculous hitter. He's fascinating. He has an elbow issue, can't throw, so he plays 1B. If I had to compare him to a player, the only one I can come up with is Tony Gwynn, because he has hit .400 two years in a row at UNC with speed, etc."

All those players are collegians. 2009 is considered a down year for high-schoolers, at least at the elite level. "There's no high-school guys, right now, worth taking up there," said ESPN's Keith Law, senior baseball analyst for Scouts, Inc., and a former executive with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Now, I'm not convinced that there are not any high schoolers worth taking. I can think of two people in the state of California alone that have been rumored to be top two round material. The conventional wisdom amongst many scouts and with the Major League Scouting Bureau however, is that pro teams would rather see a player grow up and be conditioned by the college process of strength and conditioning coaches, fall work-outs, the rigors of a 56 game regular season and the summer assignments to the Cape, Northwoods, Alaskan leagues and the myriad of other college summer leagues that will challenge and ready them for a career in the Bigs.

So if that is the case, then why not structure baseball like basketball and football and make collegiate baseball the sole resource to the pro ranks...eliminating the draft for graduated high school seniors?

The only problem with that scenario is that baseball doesn't offer enough scholarships to entice a player that is wooed by the prospect of making $500,000 or more. Does the player that is on the fence take the half million or have his parents pay out $48,000 over the next four years to go to college? Tough choice if the lure of college doesn't excite him as much as the money does.

However, what if that education was 100% paid for? Would that top prospect consider college over the pros? MLB should be all over this issue if they really feel more comfortable with the maturity, strength and overall skill set of the college player.

Now enough on this subject. The rest of this week, we will highlight the winners of this summers major tournaments.

RT Staff


Central Florida said...

You don't touch enough on the two sport athlete issue. my nephew had offers for both football and baseball. He was a much better baseball player, but due to finances, the family decided to take the football scholarship. The university told him that they would talk about him doing both at his school, but it never happened. He's not a starter so I think part of him wished that he would have played baseball, but it just wasn't financiaally possible. He got a full ride for football. That was hard to turn down.

My son is also a two sport guy, but he is committed to baseball. Luckily I have a small college fund, but it wil still be a struggle. His summer league tournament schedule and travel bleeds a little into that fund evry summer. For as much work and money as the colleges want you to spend at these showcases and camps, you'd think they would give some of that back in the form of more scholarships.

Anonymous said...