Limiting MLB draft to five rounds should benefit colleges

Kirk Kenney, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Baseball

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County is annually among the nation's biggest hotbeds for amateur baseball talent, with dozens of players selected each year in the MLB draft.

Expect the number of local players to be counted on one hand with MLB's plan to scale back next month's draft from 40 to five rounds.

One result of this development is that both four-year universities and junior colleges expect to benefit, with more incoming freshmen heading to campus and more draft-eligible players staying on campus.

"Colleges are going to be all backed up," a longtime local scout said. "You're going to have a lot of guys going to JCs this next year. ... The JCs will have the most abundance of talent that they've had in 15 or 20 years."

Baseball America ranks San Diego State third baseman/closer Casey Schmitt (Eastlake High) as the No. 60 player in the nation.

Three other college players produced by area high schools are in BA's top 160 -- Arizona shortstop Alika Williams (Rancho Bernardo High) at No. 31, Oregon State right-hander Kevin Abel (Madison High) at No. 83 and USC right-hander Kyle Hurt (Torrey Pines High) at No. 135.


"I'm sure Casey will get drafted in the first five rounds," SDSU head coach Mark Martinez said.

This, even though play was canceled just four weeks into the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Based on the fact he had such a good summer," Martinez said. "He had a slow start, but he was on fire over in Oklahoma (for a series against Oklahoma State). There were a lot of cross checkers there to see him play.

"He's really the one guy that will have the opportunity. Some of our other guys might get a phone call regarding the free agent stuff."


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