Congratulations on getting drafted. Now what?
Lets put the congratulatory process aside and get to a few hardcore truths onto the table:
- Drafted Players are competing with other Players Drafted by the same Team,
- Not every Player gets offered a Contract,
- Sometimes, Teams play games and ask Players to play in a summer league such that they can be evaluated further,
- Players drafted under Rule 4 are limited to a specific period of time which they can negotiate with their Club.
Ready, set, go. Just kidding. Lets relax for a second and enjoy the day.
Should Players Turn Professional?
Ok, now that today is over, lets move forward.
Turning professional is such a personal issue, I question whether I should even discuss it.
You won’t believe me, but chasing after a percent attached to a signing bonus is not my goal. If it were, I would run through walls.
Instead, I find it much easier advising Players who have already made the decision to turn professional. Here are a few reasons why Players might consider turning pro after getting drafted:
- Very few baseball athletes jump from the high school / college level to the Major League level in a couple of seasons. As a result, getting time and experience under a Player’s belt at the MiLB level is critical. Look at it like this: a MLB Club is an employer and they are purposely grooming a Player to reach the highest level. The faster a Player gets into the “program”, the more likely they will get to the Show.
- College is extremely important and every contract signed after getting drafted hopefully includes a College Assistance clause. Basically, this is a contract clause that supports getting tuition paid for by each Club (kind of like a a quasi scholarship).
- The idea of playing professional baseball sooner than later is because Players need professional coaching that supports big league progression. Coaching outside the MLB an MiLB levels is different. It just is.
- Signing bonuses are overrated. Players can spend 4-7 years in a minor league system. By the end of this process, the signing bonus will likely be gone due to normal living expenses. The faster a Player learns and develops their craft, the faster they can earn a MLB salary (which is usually better than the signing bonus).
- Again, college is important. I worked full-time while attending college. As a result, I am under the impression every Player can play professional ball while taking college courses too. For those that can’t, consider taking smaller educational steps.
Getting Drafted: Hiring an Agent
Personally, I do not think a Player should even consider hiring an agent until they make the decision to turn professional.
For me, I prefer being retained once a Player starts believing they are getting to the next level versus the glitz and glamor of getting their named called by a MLB Club. In my experience, Players need more decisions making skills and confidence they can do this.
I am not trying to shatter dreams. I just think playing at the MLB level trumps the draft process.
Assuming Players make an unequivocal decision to become a professional, I like the idea of Players connecting with their Club and playing dumb. In other words, Players have leverage when they can threat going to college or attending college. Hiring an agent removes this threat and reduces leverage.
Leverage, leverage and more leverage. Yes, having an agent while playing MLB and MiLB is critical. But, that is moments before or after putting pen to paper, not before.
Assuming Players can advocate for themselves and ask for the moon, there are 4 areas Players can obtain money from a Club when they sign their first contract:
- Signing Bonuses,
- College Tuition Payments,
- An assigned monthly wage while playing MiLB, and
- Bonuses for reaching certain levels in the Minor League system.
Did I mention the real money starts once a Player reaches MLB?
Getting Drafted by a MLB Club
Look, getting drafted is an awesome experience. But, the process of playing professional baseball is bigger than getting drafted. Yes, I think everybody should turn pro, but not for my selfish reasons.
Instead, turning pro gets Players front and center to begin the process, which really, is what getting drafted is all about.