I recently read an article over on MLBTR written by Nick Collias on the situation in the Domincan regarding the fear of being lumped into any type of draft. I do not have, nor did I have, that much skill as these Dominican kids do before they are even old enough to drink. Basically, to sum up the article, the Domican baseball community fears being lumping together their 16 year old phenoms with Cubans, Koreans, Americans and so forth. They site the decreasing talent of Puerto Rican players in baseball since Puerto Rico was included in the draft in 1990. The article also sites that the Dominicans would rather be able to negotiate with all 30 teams as opposed to one in any type of draft and that they would lose money if they are to fight against other countries.
To me, that is a crock. I agree that the priority in the Dominican, as well as world wide, is identity theft and other forms of fraud. Too many people, not just Dominicans, are gaining access to the sport under false pretenses. Some where off by only a few months, but others were off by years. I assume that the falsification of documents is to be considered better at a younger age, but good is good. Good players will signed no matter what age they are.
I really think that it all just an issue caused by greed. I understand that a lot of these players come from not the greatest of neighborhoods and that this is their way to escape a bad life. You are basically telling everyone one of two things. Either you are not as good as you say you are. Or you know you are falsifying something and are afraid of being caught. Lots of teams have invested millions of dollars in setting up scouting branches in the Domincan. There is also the Domincan Summer League which a good majority of teams have atleast representation with atleast one team. So don’t tell me these players aren’t getting paid or a chance.
I think the part that is being missed is that if there is to be inclusion of all international players in the draft, it would only be one miniscule revamp to the draft. The MLBPA would not just agree to make the draft better for the owners. The MLBPA is going to want to add stipulations that would benefit all players entering their fraternity, not just American born ones. It would not surprise me to see Major League contracts to first round players. Or eliminate the “Super Two” status that teams use to keep players under team control an extra year.
I think the whole idea of an international draft or even adding international players to a revamped draft is a great idea. I think it gives smaller market teams an even greater chance to become competitive. Ultimately, these kids are getting advice from people who say go for the money or go for the top tier teams. Granted there are instances where smaller markets go after the big names, but more often than not they are one and the same.