Today (Monday) at 7 PM ET (4 PM AZT) will begin the 2011 MLB Draft. I know this because with my work over on the regional Arizona page (which I will note is the best place to get Arizona and national sports information). I had to write up a couple of player profiles that will be part of the page's MLB Draft preview. While writing, I was reminded that, while I love major league baseball, its draft is so far inferior to the NFL counterpart we all love and over which we obsess for months once the Super Bowl is complete.
Why is the NFL Draft so much better than the MLB Draft?
I will admit that baseball was my first love. I still love and adore the game. But football is my passion now. But even in my most passionate baseball days, I never paid attention to the draft.
To begin, the baseball draft is too dang long. The NFL draft used to be longer -- I remember 12 rounds back when I was younger. Now, with its seven rounds, it is just right.
The baseball draft? It goes on forever. I know it has to be that way. Teams have to get guys to fill their minor league system. But it is impossible to cover.
Another reason I love the NFL Draft is because the players the teams draft will actually see the playing field in some way in most cases. In baseball, they disappear for at least a year because the jump from amateur to pro ball is greater than other sports. There are the rare cases of a Pete Incaviglia or a Jim Abbott who never play in the minors, but those are two examples I remember in my memory and they happened ages ago.
The players are so much more well known for the NFL Draft. For baseball, you have high school kids and college kids. It's likely only because college football is huge so you know all the big names, but unless you make a conscious effort to follow baseball prospects, they are no one special.
The last thing that cemented it was looking for stats. For college football, it is a piece of cake. You would think that for college or high school baseball it wouldn't be too hard. After all, baseball is the most stat-heavy sport I know. While putting together player profiles, I had a heck of a time tracking down 2011 stats. They were hidden.
Now I know that I am preaching to the football choir here, but when it comes to the draft, the NFL does it right, or at least better than the other sports.