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Mansfield Magazine

MLB Amateur Draft and the Decision of a Parent

Jun 08, 2013 03:50PM ● By Todd Kaufmann

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Every year around this time, Major League Baseball holds its annual amateur draft which takes place over the course of four days.

It doesn’t have quite the fan fare of the NFL or even the NBA Draft, but the media coverage has certainly grown over the last decade.

Where it differs from that of the National Football League as well as the National Basketball Association is drafting players not only out of college, or junior college, but also out of high school. While the NBA was able to draft players like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett just to name a few, out of high school prior to the rules changing, they’ve since changed the rules to where athletes have to play at least a full year of college basketball before being eligible to be drafted.

Over the last few years I’ve been interested in the draft moreso than the one from the NFL or even the NBA.

This year, however, it brought a completely different mindset; one of a parent. While my wife and I haven’t started our own family, at least not yet, I did wonder how I would react if we were put in that situation. What if our son had just finished his senior year of high school, scouts from Major League Baseball had been watching him all year, and representatives had come for a visit and wanted to draft him.

However, a few months earlier, he had signed a commitment to a certain college, telling them he was ready to be a part of their team for the next four years.

How would I react to him being drafted? Would I suggest he not sign with a big league club and, instead, play four years of college ball because he might actually get more experience as well as a great education?

My wife and I actually had this conversation over dinner on Friday night. Both of us had different viewpoints of how we would handle it.

So I pose this question to the parents who have a chance to read this and have children, sons in general, who are currently active in sports, whatever they might be.

Would you support their decision to go pro right out of high school or would you encourage them to hone their skills at the college level which might then make them even more ready for what’s to come at the professional level?

I know some parents have already been a part of this decision making process while others have had the same discussions with their spouse as I had with mine. Which way did you go and did you have a hard time not leaning one way or the other?

As for me, as much as I love the game of baseball I would encourage my son to continue his journey at the college level. The minor league life is not an easy one, ask any player who’s been through it, and only a small percentage of players drafted actually make it to the big leagues.

High school baseball is a far cry from the minor leagues as well as some of the best college programs out there.

While there are those who will bring up Los Angeles Angels’ outfielders Josh Hamilton, a former Texas Ranger, and Mike Trout, as well as Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper, they are once in a generation talent. How many high school players do you know of that have that kind of talent and make it to the big leagues that quickly?

I believe in getting better and I believe in gaining as much experience as you can to better your chances at getting where you really want to go.

It’s a tough decision for any athlete to make. I can’t imagine what that decision is like for the parents of said athlete.

So, with all that said, which way would you lean? Would you support the decision to turn pro or would you want your child to get better with experience at the collegiate level?

Want to know why I lean towards encouraging the college experience? Here are just a few of the big names in baseball today and where they went to school.

Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals) – San Diego State University

Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers) – Old Dominion University

David Price (Tampa Bay Rays) – Vanderbilt University

Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels) – Long Beach State University

Cliff Lee (Philadelphia Phillies) – Meridian College and University of Arkansas

Andy Pettitte (New York Yankees) – San Jacinto College

Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox) – Arizona State University

Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox) – Florida Gulf Coast University

Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays) – Long Beach State University

Tanner Scheppers (Texas Rangers) – Fresno State University

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