Thursday, February 16, 2012

College Baseball and the MLB CBA

One storyline for the 2012 Season will be how Major League Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement will affect College Baseball. Before, fans and coaches would anxiously wait the MLB Draft and watch as one by one their top recruits are enticed by the lure and dollars of professional baseball. College Baseball is weird when it comes to its pro brother. Unlike Football where the 3 years in College time is seen as needed for development or the NBA which has to now put caps on when a player can turn pro, baseball is a waiting game. Very rarely does a player get drafted and have an immediate impact. At best? They spend 2 to 4 years in the Minor League getting adjusted. Rarely do guys come straight from the draft to the pros. In fact, only one comes to mind, Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds. So, in college baseball, teams used to have to consitently deal with teams overpaying for players (above slot is term thrown around) and guys will normally take the money and go pro instead of enrolling. Now, things are a bit different.

 

“The release of the new CBA, no doubt, was a big day for college baseball,” an agent said. “I absolutely think college coaches benefit a great deal. The new CBA ends the confusion of trying to figure out if a player is showing up to campus in August. In turn, MLB teams will be forced to pick their spots in the draft a little better. I think the new CBA definitely will lead to more kids deciding to go to college.”

There are other pieces to the CBA college coaches love, such as the new draft tax, which we’ll get to later. But the new signing deadline is music to the ears of several coaches, especially Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan and LSU’s Paul Mainieri, both head coaches of programs that recruit a huge crop of highly-drafted prospects each year.

Mainieri is extremely pleased with the new signing deadline. Two summers ago, he and the Tigers were left at the alter at the signing deadline by talented prospects such as Zach Lee and Garin Cecchini. Meanwhile, right-hander Kevin Gausman opted to attend LSU despite some intense moments leading up to the deadline.

“Any signing deadline that was pushed earlier than where it was would be looked upon favorably by all college coaches. I wish they would’ve gone all the way up to July 1, but it’s better than August 15,” Mainieri said. “The old rules just put college coaches in such a difficult position leading up to the deadline. This gives coaches a much better idea of what they’re working with when the fall semester begins.”

 

So what changes? In a nutshell, you can now think of the 10th round of the MLB draft as a cut off point for college baseball. Anything above and these guys will get big money thrown their way. Anything below? The player might be better off enrolling in college. There are now penalties and caps puts into place that will prevent teams from overspending and most MLB clubs would rather use the money they have on their upper round picks. The other big change? The signing deadline:

 

The Draft signing deadline will move from August 15 to between July 12 and July 18, depending on which day the MLB All-Star Game is. This will allow college teams to better manage their scholarship percentages and rosters. High picks normally wait until the last second to sign, so this just takes out some of the dead time that is far from necessary. It will also give Division I schools an opportunity to purge junior colleges to replace any players that sign professional contracts.

 

With three guys (and probably more) in the incoming Auburn recruiting class that will be drafted fairly high, the Tigers will have to keep a close eye on the draft, the round, and hope (fingers crossed) that the majority of this incoming class will stay intact.

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