Peter Gammons sent out this tweet not too long ago.
NCAA Coaches and MLB officials met Monday, general agreement on a July 1 draft and July 15 signing deadline
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) January 21, 2015
If this does happen it will change the draft in a very big way.
One big effect will be felt by the short-season leagues, like the New York-Penn League and the Appalachian League, which are typically very college-heavy leagues. Those leagues tend to have guys who were drafted out of go there right away, with guys signing in early-to-mid-June and getting put on those rosters to start. If a draft change is made, those leagues may or may not get players to come there at all, as most need time to get back into timing of baseball after upwards of a month or more off. If I was an owner of a short-season team, I would be very upset if this change does go into place.
Another reason this is a game changer is that it helps college coaches, who have claimed that they don’t know whether players drafted out of high school will make it on campus or not. This change will give them more time to get a feel for players after their high school careers have ended; that’s good for them, but the problem is college coaches aren’t paid to develop players, they are paid to win baseball games, period. There have been multiple instances over the years of coaches blowing kids’ arms out or costing kids money in the draft because of overuse.
Finally, this announcement would really hurt teams, who must now scout and plan differently. Right now, teams typically don’t like to tinker with a player’s mechanics right when they are drafted, instead wanting to see how they translate into pro ball first and then using what they see to tweak things in instructional ball. If this change is made, however, they’ll lose roughly a month of that development time without gaining anything from college baseball.
The only real conclusion I can come up with as to why MLB would do this is to avoid a situation like the one the Astros endured this summer with No. 1 pick Brady Aiken, who became just the third No. 1 overall pick to not sign before the deadline after Houston got conflicting reports on his medical standing. I believe that this might be the start of trying to establish a medical combine for the top 200 picks, one that happened after the College World Series ends to teams could check players before the draft to know for sure if they are healthy.
Stay tuned to see if any more news on the draft comes out soon.