The St. Louis Cardinals will make their 2020 draft selections soon. Fans should not expect these upcoming picks to be household names any time soon.
Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, and the whole sport, are eager to see the boys of summer return to action. As the baseball world awaits word of a plan to begin the 2020 season, teams are preparing to select their next crop of prospects. The MLB Draft is set to begin on June 10th and for the potential draft picks, they are one step closer to realizing their dream of playing in the MLB.
As fans dig into the stats and scouting reports of their team’s new draftees, it is here that a crucial point must be made. The MLB draft does not serve the same way as other league drafts do. Take the NBA or NFL, for example. In these sports, draft picks are often counted on to contribute immediately. Thus, it is much quicker to judge the success or failure of a draft class for those sports.
For baseball, however, a player could spend years in the minor leagues or never make the Major Leagues at all. The MLB Draft (in a normal year) provides more rounds and teams more chances to strike gold with their picks.
In basketball or football, a first-round pick is someone with a high probability to help a team from the start of the next season. Baseball does not operate that way. The Cardinals have found absolute gems in late rounds, such as Albert Pujols in the 13th round. They’ve also seen high round selections flame out or be traded away to have minimal success. When baseball teams make their picks, it is with the assumption that these players will help the team in the future.
It is important to note that because teams promote players or push them more aggressively than others, some teams will see the fruit of their draft labor come to fruition in a quicker amount of time. As the 2020 draft draws near it is worth reminding that these players cannot truly be judged in the short term.
It could take years before the Cardinals see positive contributions from anyone in the 2020 class. Even then, it is a real possibility that they never see meaningful contributions from this upcoming draft class. That is why the MLB Draft is such a crapshoot and so hard to evaluate compared to other major sports.
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In a matter of weeks, the Cardinals will have the chance to select their next batch of prospects. Just don’t expect these players to become household names, at least for a while. Even a “can’t miss” prospect can, in fact, miss. The only difference is that with baseball, players usually have to wait their turn to find out.