What is the MLB Draft League?
A six team league featuring teams no longer a part of affiliated minor league baseball, all in the Northeastern part of the United States. The league is created by and run by MLB and Prep Baseball Report(PBR) and features prospects who are trying to improve their stock for the upcoming MLB Draft.
This league is the perfect setting for giving some of the teams eliminated another shot at having high quality baseball to watch for their fan bases, while giving prospects an additional shot at getting looks from MLB teams with the extra time between the end of their seasons and the now later in the summer MLB Draft.
Which teams are included?
The Frederick Keys, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, State College Spikes, Trenton Thunder, West Virginia Black Bears, and Williamsport Crosscutters are the six teams included in the initial season of the draft league.
What does the season look like?
There will be 68 games played per team starting on May 24th.
What kind of talent can we expect to see?
While you won’t be seeing likely first round talents participating in the draft league, you will be seeing plenty of college players who would slot into rounds 3-10 in the draft format we are familiar with from 2019- though maybe not going quite as high this year due to all of the quality prospects who were forced to return to school after the 2020 draft was shortened to five rounds.
Does that mean the league won’t produce any first rounders?
While there aren’t any first round types on paper, there are talented players who will get a chance to impress scouts for an extended look. It isn’t ever out of the question that a prospect sees their stock rise with a strong showing.
Who are some of the bigger names publicly committed to playing in the league?
It is still early in the process, and players haven’t all decided or been public with their intentions yet, but so far the biggest names playing have to include Hylan Hall (Wabash Valley JUCO), Brendan Tinsman(Wake Forest), Brandon Birdsell (Texas Tech), Mason Erla (Michigan State), Andrew Peters (South Carolina), Garrett Schoenle (Cincinnati), and Jacob Teter (Florida Southern).
I know of additional quality players who have committed to play, but with their intentions not being public at this time it wouldn’t be my place to announce them. However, I did want to include this fact to advise the talent level should be intriguing.
How does this league compare to other spring/summer leagues such as the Cape Cod League?
It is hard to compare them because there are so many differences. The draft league is talented, but it is also going to be below the Cape in terms of overall talent. That is not a gap anyone should expect to close considering the leagues are competing for different players. The Cape is a league that features underclassmen while this league is focused on giving looks to those prospects who are draft eligible.
Is this league worth watching?
Absolutely. A lot of these kids will be drafted, some even high, and more will be signed as undrafted free agents. One thing that can be promised is a good level of baseball with plenty of future pros- and it’s not like you need to look very far to find standouts at the MLB level who were drafted after the first round, guys like Jacob deGrom and Justin Turner weren’t first rounders. Then, you have guys like Brent Rooker who wasn’t a first rounders as a draft eligible sophomore only to return to school and blow up into a first rounder. You never know when it will click for a player.