Blengino: How scouts prepare for the amateur draft

From SABR member Tony Blengino at FanGraphs on June 3, 2014:

This week, one of the key events on the baseball calendar takes place: the annual Rule 4 draft. Yup, that’s what it’s technically called, but it’s better known as the amateur draft, with 1,200 high school, college and junior college players hearing their names called over the three days of proceedings. Unlike the football and basketball drafts, the baseball version takes place a bit under the radar, with all but the most hardcore fans unfamiliar with the vast majority of the draftable players.

This is understandable, as all but the rarest of exceptions among players are not seen at the major league level for a while, unlike the instant gratification of the football and basketball drafts. This isn’t to say that the events of later this week aren’t vital to the short, intermediate and long-term future of all 30 clubs. On the contrary; the draft remains the cheapest way to turn a club around, though it does take time. There is a lot of player-specific draft content around this week, so let’s take a different tack and look at the process, the people involved – the who’s, what’s and where’s surrounding the baseball draft. 

While many people might be aware of the draft only during the three-day period during which it takes place, or at most throughout the spring season preceding it, the reality is that preparation for the next year’s draft begins immediately – literally, immediately – following the end of the previous one. Let’s begin this review by examining the draft calendar.

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Originally published: June 3, 2014. Last Updated: June 3, 2014.