MLB Amateur Draft begins Monday at 7pm ET

Getty Images
16 Comments

If you’ve spent a lot of time around here, you know that we don’t really cover high school or college baseball, so we’re not going to put on some fake draft expert cap and pretend that we know what the heck we’re talking about when it comes to the MLB Amateur Draft. We are men of action. Lies do not become us.

We do know this much though: The 2018 draft gets underway today and will last through Wednesday. The Tigers pick first thanks to Pablo Sandoval hitting a walkoff dinger on the final game of the 2017 season to push the Giants “ahead” of the Tigers, record-wise. Thanks?

We can also point you to the folks who do make it their business to know what the heck they’re talking about when it comes to the top amateur baseball talent in the land, thereby helping you get ready for the draft. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Rounds one and two will be broadcast on MLB Network starting at 7PM EDT tonight. There’s a preview show at 6PM; Rounds 3-10 will be live-streamed on MLB.com beginning at 1PM tomorrow. Rounds 11-40 — they go fast, folks — will also be on MLB.com, beginning at noon eastern on Wednesday;
  • Baseball America’s draft preview material remains unmatched. Some of it — including their top 500 (yes, 500) prospects list — is paywalled, but don’t let anyone say you didn’t have the option to learn literally everything worth knowing about the draft. If you’re looking for a broader, less-intense overview, here’s MLB.com’s rundown of what to watch for in the draft. Keith Law of ESPN has a mock draft at ESPN.com, also behind a paywall, but premium content sometimes, quite reasonably, costs a premium;
  • Depending on whose mock drafts and previews you look at, Casey Mize, a right-handed pitcher from Auburn, Joey Bart, a catcher from Georgia Tech or Cole Winn, a high school righty from California are top candidates to be picked first and, in any event, will likely go in the top five. Nick Madrigal is a middle infielder from Oregon State who is thought of highly, as is Brady Singer, the righty from Florida pictured above.

Unless you follow college baseball closely those aren’t likely to be household names to you, but such is life in the baseball draft. Unlike football and basketball, Major League Baseball doesn’t have national broadcasters teaming up with colleges to publicize and subsidize their talent development pool. Your introduction to most of these guys will be when the beat writers who cover your team do profiles on the guys who actually got picked. Which is fine. The grind of the minor leagues means that, eventually, you’ll know what your team’s GM got.

Enjoy the draft if it’s your cup of tea. If not: you have anywhere from, oh, 2-6 years to get to know these dudes.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

mlb
Logan Riely/Getty Images
0 Comments

PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.