It’s a very exciting time in Major League Baseball right now! The first round of the First-Year Player Draft took place last night and hope springs eternal for many of the franchises who made high selections. Every team seeks to acquire and develop young and talented baseball players who might one day crack the Big League team and produce long-term value for the club. Odds are, your favorite baseball team made one or two of these very selections last night, and you are probably filled with anticipation and optimism. The player your team drafted could very well become a solid Major League regular one day! Or even go on to a Hall of Fame career!
Unfortunately, the cold hard truth of the matter is that most amateur baseball players do not pan out in any way, shape, or form. A team’s chances of ending up with an average MLB player from the first round of the draft is something like 5%, maybe even lower. Elbows break. Shoulders stop working. Ligaments tear. Development halts. TINSTAAPP and all that. In my capacity as Call to the Pen’s Official Wet Blanket and Token Fun Ruiner, I’ve taken the liberty of sketching out the probable career paths for a number of different hypothetical baseball prospects, listed out below by position. What type of player did your favorite team draft last night? Read on to have your adorable and innocent dreams completely crushed to pieces by the cruel weight of unemotional pragmatism!
High School Pitcher: This guy has amazing stuff and a lot of upside. He’s also eighteen and won’t even sniff AAA until he can legally drink alcohol three years from now. He’s also considering Tommy John surgery—you know, just to get it over with.
College Pitcher: Has great numbers and results from beating up against the inferior competition in his college’s conference that doesn’t feature a lot of strong baseball teams. College football is a very popular sport in this country. Anyway, he projects as a solid #5 starter with the upside of a #4 if he can develop a third pitch. Could be a really awesome 8th inning guy one day.
Catcher: Huge power, but he’s still growing and no one thinks his size and receiving skills will stick behind the dish long term. He probably won’t hit enough to handle the DH spot full time. They could stick him in left field, but he’s so big and slow it would probably be a disaster.
First Baseman: A great hitter with no true defensive position. The league-average bar is set astronomically high at first base and it’s unlikely he’ll ever slug enough to hang in the upper tiers. Could pan out as an awesome pinch hitter down the road.
Second Baseman: No amateur prospect plays second base.
Third Baseman: Recently landed at third base after losing a bit of speed and outgrowing the shortstop position. That’s a real shame because decent shortstops are hard to find these days. Maybe you’ve heard that before. He does everything well but excels at nothing. He probably won’t hit enough to stick as an average regular. Could be an awesome super-utility guy/late game defensive replacement.
Shortstop: See previous entry.
Left Fielder: Makes a lot of contact and hits for a high average with decent speed. Absolutely terrible in the outfield. Projects as a solid 4th outfielder.
Center Fielder: A stunning defender with blazing speed and the upside to steal 50+ bases at the Major League level. Pedestrian contact skills and a propensity to hack at off-speed pitches in the dirt mean he might never get on base enough to fully realize his potential. Projects as a solid 4th outfielder.
Right Fielder: Has a huge arm but suffers in the field due to poor instincts and less than ideal route running. Projects as a solid 4th outfielder.
Reliever: That’s hilarious. No team is stupid enough to draft a reliever.