College Baseball

MLB's reduction of draft will start to kill dreams

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 28, 2020 12:01 am

Since taking over as the Quincy University baseball coach in 2010, Josh Rabe has been able to use his professional experience and his draft stories as recruiting tools.

If you're a high school senior with pro baseball aspirations and sitting across the table is a guy who went from QU to the big leagues who says he can guide you down that path, that's a powerful draw.

So is knowing Rabe has made it possible for others.

Three QU players in the past five years received a draft day call -- first baseman David Jacob, right-handed pitcher Graham Spraker and second baseman Cody Birdsong -- and began the arduous journey through the minor leagues.

All were drafted in the 31st round or later, and although it made them a longshot to reach the majors, it opened the door for them to live out a childhood dream.

The door is closing on the next QU player hoping for a chance.

Major League Baseball team owners will hold a five-round draft this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic and have made plans to limit future drafts to 20 rounds as a cost-cutting maneuver.

Rabe and Brad Stone would have been the only QU players drafted in the last 20 years who would have been selected under this proposed format. Rabe was taken in the 11th round in 2000 by the Twins and Brad Stone was selected in the 12th round in 2006 by the Florida Marlins.

Two other draftees -- Kevin Reynolds in 2005 and Rich Ruff in 2011 -- were selected in the 42nd round or later. Baseball reduced the number of rounds in the draft from 50 to 40 in 2012.

They lived out a dream.

The next crop of Hawks might not.

That becomes a challenging reality for the coaching staff and the players to grasp.

Rabe and his staff may have a more difficult time selling recruits on the idea they can get them to the next level. They will sell them on the chance to chase a national championship, the opportunity to earn rings and the fact they will get a quality education.

The coaches will continue to do all they can to prep the Hawks for any opportunity that exists beyond college -- no matter whether that is on or off the diamond.

Despite knowing that, players may choose to change their own trajectory. Academic pursuits, such as going to graduate school or accepting a summer internship, may take priority over an extra season or two and the opportunity to catch the eye of an area scout.

In a way, that would be tragic.

We're told to dream and dream big. Getting drafted is the biggest dream for anyone growing up with a bat, ball and glove.

To save money, baseball owners are killing dreams.